The better half and me had the distinct pleasure of attending the 9th Annual Fairfax County History Conference yesterday. Thanks to those of you who stopped by our table to talk history and purchased my book. I found out recently that my sales figures are modest by comparison, but I love the one-on-one contact. If there is such a thing as “organic authoring,” let me say it is wonderful!
The all-day event was held at the Stacey C. Sherwood Community Center, just a short walk from the heart of Fairfax’s historic district. I had fun taking an early morning look see there at some of the historical markers, and then subsequently meeting the Fairfax Curator, Susan Inskeep Gray, at the conference.
(“Are you related to Steve?” “Yes!”).
The theme for the conference was - “Voices For Freedom, Abolitionists, Oral History and Documenting the Past.” 120 attended and we all gained great insight into some of the known and lesser-known folks who pushed for freedom of the slaves.
Albert Williams reenacted Frederick Douglass. The pace of his methodical talk seemed slow for our modern times, but oh what stories he told. When asked about his experiences up north, he said he was most impressed by the way black and white folk got along. Nevertheless, ignorance and prejudice knew no geographical differences.
Jenee Lindner, a familiar face to area history buffs, portrayed Julia Ward Howe. She said she stayed in the Willard Hotel when she wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in 1861. At one point, we all stood and sang the emotive song, including all three verses.
Ringing the room were the authors and their tables and visual aids.
Also from our fair realm was Don Hakenson, who writes out of Rose Hill. Don is the man for Civil War history and Moseby, "The Grey Ghost."
I was also very pleased to meet Charles Mills, author of "Alexandria in the Civil War." I’ve used his book many times.
In closing, I'd like to give a shout out for the Fairfax County African American Historical Society. These folks are just getting started, so let’s welcome and support them!