Conferences and Speaker Events

The Edwin Washington Society has participated in a variety of conferences, a multiyear development committee and small speaker events in order to foster research into segregated education. Now that the society has moved its headquarters to the Douglass High School Building in Leesburg in 2023, the plan is to hold a wide range of speaker events in the future in our Research Center, and possibly conferences. We will also continue to participate in relevant conferences around the nation. We encourage interested parties to join us.

2015: NAACP Rally, Leesburg, Virginia. Speech by Larry Roeder 7/18/2015 Leesburg Courthouse, Remembering Jim Crow and Those Who Resisted; NAACP Speech by Larry Roeder. At the event in 2015, after consultation with the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Balch Library, Mr. Roeder proposed the design for a statue to replace the Confederate statue then standing in front of the Court House. The basic concept was of two young Black adults (female and male) climbing up a stiff hill in search of educational equality.

The political climate was not right for that change at that time; so the design was reintroduced in 2021 to the commemorative committee for Douglass and adopted, with changes, as the basis for a statue to be erected in November 2023 in front of Douglass. Improvements to the design proposed by the commemorative committee were incorporated by the artist, Jeff Hall of Lovettsville/

2016: Fredericksburg, TX. Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America. Larry Roeder and Tony Arciero made presentations on the impact of segregated education on Blacks in Loudoun, 1870-1968.

2018: Leesburg Virginia. Conference co-hosted by the Edwin Washington Project and LCPS. See below for details.

2019: Frederick, Maryland. Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America. Larry Roeder made presentations on the impact of segregated education on Blacks in Loudoun, 1870-1968. A tour of old school houses included visits to the Training Center in Leesburg and other local sites.

2021: NAACP rally and march, South Riding, Virginia. Larry Roeder acted as tour guide for local sites relevant to Black History, including the Prosperity Baptist Church, which was started by Black evangelist Jennie Dean.

2021-2023: Members of the Edwin Washington Society participated as members of the Commemorative Committee of Douglass High School. The Douglass School was constructed in 1941 on land that was purchased by the African-American community and transferred to the School Board to secure a facility for the secondary education of their children. With the exception of a limited high school program at the Training Center in Leesburg, the Douglass School was the only African-American high school in Loudoun County until the end of segregation in 1968. The building is listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Formed in May 2021, the committee was the driving force behind the historic project. The committee was tasked with determining how to share the history and importance of the school with the community as well as recommending commemorative elements to the School Board. Following reopening of Douglass, this role was taken on by a consortium of three organizations; (1) Loudoun Douglass Alumni Association, (2) the Edwin Washington Society and (3) the Loudoun Chapter of the NAACP. The Society also opened a research center at Douglass, the only one in Loudoun focused on documenting and analyzing Loudoun’s segregated school history.

2022: University of Colorado, Golden. Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America. Larry Roeder made a presentation on technology advances being developed by the Edwin Washington Society, as well as plans to move to Douglass HS building in Leesburg in 2023.

2024 – University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio. Annual Conference of the Country School Association of America. It is our intent to participate.

Dirt Don’t Burn: November 2018, Leesburg, Virginia: A Conference on Black Education

On November 10, 2018, Douglass High School sponsored a community event for the Edwin Washington Project (now called the Edwin Washington Society) which included presentations from community leaders, LCPS school administrators, Edwin Washington volunteers, significant support from the Prosperity Baptist Church in Conklin, and music from Banneker Elementary School. The event topic was “Dirt Don’t Burn.” This was a reference to a teacher’s request in the 1950’s for coal or wood for her classroom. The event was a public discussion on the civil rights struggle by Blacks and their friends for equal education in Loudoun County during the time of segregated schooling between 1870 and 1968.

Watch video

Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall relating to the Edwin Washington Project and the importance of researching and sharing Black history in Loudoun County.