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Date(s) - 02/12/2020
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

James Lee Community Center

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The Bottom: An African-American Enclave Revisited with local historian Jessica Kaplan

Jessica Kaplan brings to life “The Bottom,” one of the oldest African American enclaves in Arlington and located along Pimmit Run near Chain Bridge. Through meticulous research in newspapers, Civil War soldiers’ drawings, and Southern Claims Commission documents she provides a window into the lives of its residents. The Bottom was a small community established before the Civil War by free African Americans and offered sanctuary to a group of families struggling to earn a living and create a safe community. The area remained their home through challenging times: war, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, segregation, and suburbanization. The black families were slowly displaced during the first decades of the 20th century. In the 1950s, most of The Bottom became the anchor for an overpass of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Jessica Kaplan is a long-time resident of Arlington who has worked as an archivist and freelance historical researcher for more than 20 years. She regularly researches and writes about Arlington history and has written articles for the Arlington Historical Magazine.

This event is in the Urbanites Room of the James Lee Community Center and is in partnership with the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.