Selina Gray (1823 – 1907) has a public square named for her in Arlington. You may remember her as the enslaved woman at Arlington House who saved George Washington’s artifacts after the Lee family fled south at the beginning of the Civil War. Much has been written about her but her legacy after the Civil War is little known. Just as important is her life after the war. She and her family helped found Green Valley and her children and their progeny became community leaders in what was then Alexandria County.
Our speaker is John McNair, the Park Historian at Arlington County’s Fort C. F. Smith Park. He is responsible for educational programing across various historic sites within the Arlington County Parks system. He holds a Bachelors degree in history from the University of Mary Washington, and a Masters in History from George Mason University. He began his career in public history as an intern for the National Park Service at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and has since worked as a Certified Interpretive Guide for the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation. He was selected to give the keynote speech at the dedication of the newly named Selina Gray Square in 2020.
This event is one of the monthly series of public programs sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and Marymount University’s Department of History and Politics. This event was held on April 12, 2022. This video is 1 hour and 3 minutes.