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Date(s) - 10/14/2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Reinsch Library Auditorium, Marymount University


Historian and genealogist Steve Hammond will discuss the Syphax family, a founding African-American family here in Arlington. Our speaker will provide an overview of the Syphax family in a “scenic by-way” of the Syphax family in Virginia and Washington, D.C . He’ll cover long-time Arlington residents William T Syphax and his brother Julian M. Syphax and their impact on both their local communities and the nation and and he will explain how he is related in the family.

He will also discuss the reopening of Arlington House and the work he participated in to include the history of  both the enslaved and free people who lived there.  He will comment on why it is important to share these narratives.

Steve Hammond is a retired federal employee having spent his entire 40-year career as an earth scientist with the United States Geological Survey. He is now a Scientist Emeritus with the agency.  He is a 7th generation member of the Syphax family. He has participated in a variety of National Park Service programs at the Arlington House to highlight the lives of his Syphax ancestors and other enslaved Americans on the estate. He has spoken at the African American Civil War Museum and the historic Decatur House on Lafayette Square both in Washington, DC and has contributed to exhibits at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. He has been interviewed by numerous organizations including NPR, C-Span, Civil War Times and most recently was featured in a story on CBS “This Morning” about the reopening of the Arlington House after a 3-year closure for restoration.

His goals are to educate and inspire others to research and document their own family history. He is a member of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and serves as the treasurer for the James Dent Walker chapter in the District of Columbia. He also currently serves as a Trustee for the Arlington House Foundation and is a Trustee Emeritus at his Alma mater, Whitman College.

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 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, please email: info@arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org or visit the AHS website: https://arlingtonhistoricalsociety.org/events

AHS has continued hosting monthly local history presentations throughout the pandemic using Zoom. This event will be the first AHS monthly event that is live and not broadcast via Zoom. 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.)