We are celebrating Black History Month by publishing texts of historical markers in the Old Town and Parker Gray Historic District. So far we have covered neighborhoods and individuals. Today we continue with individuals.
The Charles Houston Rec Center holds a series of panels that are a part of the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame.
Here are four standouts.
William Goddard, Emancipator
William Goddard, the Alexandria African-American emancipator, was born into slavery, his birth date unknown. After being sold to a Quaker for 80 pounds, he was able to buy his own freedom for 120 pounds three years later by paying in installments. He was emancipated in 1799. Throughout his life, he purchased/brokered the freedom of 22 enslaved people in Alexandria. He died in 1819.
Moses Hepburn, Contractor/Builder
Moses Hepburn, an African-American contractor and builder, was the son of an enslaved laundress. He purchased land and water rights to his properties along the Potomac River and helped purchase the land for what is now Roberts Memorial United Methodist Church. He also built four townhouses in Alexandria, Virginia. (206-212 N. Pitt Street).
Reverend George Parker, Minister, Politician, Entrepreneur
The Reverend George Parker holds the distinction of being the first African American in 1870 to serve on the Alexandria City Council. As founder and minister of Third Baptist Church, he was also one of the first teachers at First Select Colored School. He owned the Empire House Hotel, located on King Street between Payne and Fayette Streets.
George Lewis Seaton, Politician, Master Carpenter, Builder
George Lewis Seaton was the first African American elected to the Virginia General Assembly from Alexandria, in 1869. A master carpenter and builder, he constructed the Seaton School for Boys, the Hallowell School for Girls, the Odd Fellows Hall, and was founder of the Colored YMCA. He lived at 404 South Royal.