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Date(s) - 02/10/2022
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Reinsch Library Auditorium, Marymount University


James Parks was born enslaved on the Custis plantation in 1843. He is the only person to have been born on the land to also be buried in what would ultimately become Arlington National Cemetery. James Park’s great-grandaughter, Tamara Moore, will share mementos and artifacts from his life and tell us about him, the honor the US Government gave him upon his death, but also the community and family he left behind.

When Union troops occupied the Custis plantation in 1861, Park, as a newly freed teen, was hired to dig the first graves. He also helped construct nearby Fort McPherson and Fort Whipple (which became Fort Myer).

James Parks (Photo courtesy National Park Service)In the 1920s when the first effort to restore Arlington House began, Parks became the expert for the National Park Service, providing first hand accounts of the location of all the buildings on the site, including the slave quarters and cemetery, dance pavilion, and roads. The legacy of his knowledge lives on today in our nations most sacred grounds. When he died, he was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Join us to help honor Black History month.  This program is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Reinsch Library Auditorium on the Main Campus of Marymount University.  As guests of Marymount University, this event will require attendees and participants to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status, and to practice social distancing. 

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. For more information, please email: info@arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org

AHS plans to record the event and post it on the AHS website on its Video Webpage.

DRIVING DIRECTIONS and FREE PARKING: Attendees should enter the Marymount University campus at the library gate on N. 26th Street. From Glebe Road going north, take a right onto 26th Street. Pass the intersection with Yorktown Road and then enter the campus through the next gate on your left. The library is to your left as you enter the campus. Free garage parking is just past the library at the bottom of the small incline. (Handicapped parking is immediately to your right as you enter the campus.)