History of Afro-American Life in Fauquier County

Here in Fauquier County, one of the many jewels we offer is an Afro-American museum with information on a plethora of topics – including the journey of African  Americans from Africa to the White House and everywhere in between!

Fauquier County is full of American history. Parts of the Civil War were fought on our soil, and African Americans hold an important place in our history. To preserve that history, Karen Hughes White co-founded the Afro-American Historical Association (AAHA) of Fauquier County.  

This gem, located at 4243 Loudon Avenue in The Plains, specializes in finding and exhibiting the history of enslaved and free people who were born in Fauquier County. It is home to numerous archives, artifacts, replicas, pictures and other resources that depict an era when Africans were enslaved.  Searchable databases provide genealogies, land records, underground railroad escapees, color guard members, and runaways – as well as the names of WW1 veterans and records of marriages and deaths.  

The volunteers who work at the museum can help you with all of it. Historians love the museum, but people from all walks of life come in search of all sorts of information. The volunteers’ standard response?  “If we do not have what you are looking for, we will find it!” This is a world-class establishment with a passionate staff that is enthusiastic about researching the rich history of Fauquier County. 

“This is a world-class establishment with a passionate staff that is enthusiastic about researching the rich history of Fauquier County”

White, herself, is a rich resource for information. During Black History Month, she held a presentation at Lord Fairfax Community College to explain the history of the black vote in Fauquier County.  She talked about how blacks were not allowed to vote because of poll taxes, literacy laws and a lack of citizenship.  And through her own research, White found out that the seamstress who made the costumes for Barnum and Bailey’s Circus was born here!  These are just a few of the fascinating facts you can find at the museum.

In 2016, White was recognized by the “Aging Together’s Five Over Fifty” for her work providing us with the facts of our past to change our future.  The AAHA was awarded over $65,000 dollars from the Path Foundation to fund a “Perpetual Blackness” podcast as well as the oral history project, “Listen the Community Speaks.”  Fauquier County and the Town of Warrenton have always supported the museum with resources and an annual grant. 

The museum offers an auditorium with a seating capacity of 100, which can be rented to hold private functions. The museum is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.  

Come visit a space where you can go back in time and get the “real facts.” It’s a masterpiece of a museum.  

Schedule a tour by calling 540-253-7488 or visiting the website at   www.aahafauquier.org

by Alison Lewis

CategoriesArts & Culture

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