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Date(s) - 11/14/2019
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Marymount University Main Campus, Library Auditorium


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 including “‘I Was a Union Man’: James and Lewis Marcey’s Civil War Experience.” She is a member of the Arlington Historical Society.

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. This event is part of a monthly series of public programs sponsored by the Arlington Historical Society and Marymount University’s Department of History and Politics. For more information, email: info@arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org or call: 703-892-4204

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.