Alexandria African American Heritage Park

On June 17, 1995 the Norfolk Southern Corporation presented the Alexandria African American Heritage Park to the City of Alexandria. The 7.6 acre park is part of a mixed-use Carlyle Development and a satellite site for the Alexandria Black History Museum.

Page updated on Jan 26, 2018 at 9:02 AM

Memorial sculptures at the African American Heritage ParkThe park was designed by nationally recognized landscape architectural firm EDAW, with memorial sculptures by Washington, D.C., sculptor Jerome Meadows.


The park includes a one-acre 19th century African American cemetery. Of the more than 20 burials on this site, six identified headstones remain and are in their original location. The park was designed to co-exist with the original landscape of the cemetery and preserves the interesting and varied plant life on this site.


The focal point of the park is a sculpture group of bronze trees called "Truths That Rise From the Roots Remembered." This formation acknowledges the contributions of African Americans to the growth of Alexandria. Other smaller sculptures throughout the park commemorate historic African American Neighborhoods and the people known and unknown buried on this site. A book stand in the park contains a visitors guide which identifies the names of African American citizens and sites etched on the sculptures. The memorial sculptures in the park are the creation of Washington, D.C., sculptor Jerome Meadows.



The park also sustains a wetland area that provides a home for mallards, painted turtles, beavers and crayfish in their natural habitat.


In 1885, the Silver Leaf (Colored) Society of Alexandria established the Black Baptist Cemetery just west of the Alexandria National Cemetery. The Silver Leaf Society was one of several burial associations organized by African Americans in the late 19th century. Burial society members paid to regular premiums to ensure that upon their deaths they would have a casket, funeral and final resting place. At some point the Black Baptist Cemetery was abandoned and in the mid-20th century, the area was used as a landfill. Development plans in the 1980 and 1990s prompted City and contract archaeologists to study the site. Their discoveries of headstones, footstones, and coffin fragments and hardware revealed the site’s history as a burial ground and ultimately led to its protection.

An archaeological report and an article by the City Archaeologist provide more information about the park's past.

Visiting the Park

The park is located at 500 Holland Lane, on the east side of Holland Lane and just to the south of Duke Street. Park hours are from Dawn to Dusk. The park may be  rented for events through the Alexandria Black History Museum.

See the Park on the Google 360 Virtual Tours virtual tour.

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