Don’t just read about Black History Month this February; experience it first-hand in Prince William and Manassas. Rich in African-American history, these Virginia communities have preserved the homes, stories and heritage of people who played a crucial role in shaping America. Here are just some of the special events that will captivate visitors as they get a glimpse of African- American life both before and after the Civil War.
Discover what school was like from 1885 to 1926 for black youth at Lucasville, Northern Virginia’s only restored, one-room schoolhouse built for African-American children. This interactive museum, located in Manassas and dedicated to interpreting post-Civil War African-American education in Prince William, will be open every weekend in February.
Get a rare glimpse inside Liberia Plantation in Manassas and the lives of the 80 slaves who worked at this 1825 home, which served as the headquarters for both Union and Confederate officers during the Civil War and was visited by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Liberia, which was also one of the largest and most successful plantations in Prince William, will be open for special tours Feb. 8 and Feb. 22 at 11 a.m.
At Ben Lomond Historic Site, also in Manassas, explore one of the only public slave quarters in Northern Virginia. Or walk the grounds of the Manassas Industrial School & Jennie Dean Memorial, commemorating the now closed educational institution for African-American youth and the former slave and educator who founded it.
You can also plan a trip to other local sites rich in African-American history. Must-see destinations include Prince William Forest Park, which was home to one of the few freed black communities prior to the Civil War, and Bristow’s Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre where 12 slaves were executed. One of them, known as Agnes, allegedly still haunts the centre’s former jail. For more February event information, visit DiscoverPWM.com.
Ann Marie Maher is the president and CEO of Discover Prince William & Manassas. For more information about what’s going on in Prince William and Manassas, visit DiscoverPWM.com.