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, and are now focusing on churches. Several have received attention lately with the erection of a State Highway Marker.
We start with Shiloh Baptist Church on Duke Street.
Alexandria, occupied by Union troops during the Civil War, became a refuge for African Americans escaping slavery. Before the war ended, about 50 former slaves founded the Shiloh Society, later known as Shiloh Baptist Church. Members held services in U.S. government buildings until Sept. 1865, when their new frame church on West Street was dedicated. The congregation flourished under the leadership of the Rev. Leland Warring, pastor for more than 20 years. The brick Gothic Revival sanctuary was completed here in 1895. Prominent visitors have included Rep. John Mercer Langston, Dr. Dorothy Height, and Pres. George W. Bush.