The historic Little Union Church welcomed the community to the 2023 Black History Month celebration hosted by the Town of Dumfries. The theme of “Black Resistance” was the topic of guest speaker and President of the Prince William County NAACP, Rev. Cozy Bailey. His message explored how African Americans have resisted ongoing oppression. He recounted his own life in the Naval Academy, where he resisted the derision of fellow servicemen. While things are better now, he added, “Better is not good enough.”

The MC of the Black History Month event was Gwendolyn Washington, a former Town Council Member and the daughter of one of the first Black teachers of integrated public schools in Prince William County. She is also a direct descendant of the Bates family, which was one of the founders of Batestown, an all-black community established after the Civil War.

Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood spoke of the importance of preserving history, because “If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat it.” That message was echoed by the Church’s Pastor Michael Sessoms, who stated that “Our story is in us and no one can take that away.” Those words are particularly relevant today, as many states around the country are attempting to white-wash and erase from school curriculums the painful parts of American history.

As Rev. Bailey stated, we are experiencing “suppression of truth and an assault on history.” He encouraged all to “stay woke…. stay woke to racial terrorism.”

Also present were County Board of Supervisor Andrea Bailey, who recognized the Dumfries Town Council and its Mayor for the revitalization and new spirit of hope that they are developing in the Town. The Town is currently celebrating the 275th anniversary of its charter and in its long history, Mayor Woods is only its second Black Mayor.

Newly elected Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger was amongst the honored guests. She emphasized that we are a better community for those who have resisted.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.
Log in here!