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Virginia is home to the longest continuous experience of African-American culture and life in the United States. African-American history in Virginia dates to August 1619 when the first Africans were involuntarily brought to the shores of Historic Jamestown. The proud, rich heritage and struggle of the black experience in Virginia is unmistakable.

Withstanding the bonds of slavery, fighting for freedom, and striving for equal rights and progress, African Americans played a vital role in the formation and development of Arlington County. African American history is not a separate component of the Arlington story, but a central part of our shared history. And yet, the telling of the story of African American heritage in Arlington is far from complete.

That’s where The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, VA comes in.

Mission and Purpose:

The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes, to acquire, preserve, catalogue and display historic items relevant to the black history of Arlington County and Northern Virginia; to develop and establish in Arlington County an institution dedicated to the exposition of African American experiences, leading to, and proceeding from the abolition of slavery in the United States.


The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington celebrates the African American Journey to Freedom, providing a focal point exhibit on Arlington’s Freedman’s Village and contributions made by its residents and their descendants to local and national history.


  • Provide educational programs regarding the African American Journey to Freedom and the history of Freedman’s Village and its impact on the local community and the nation.
  • Hold exhibitions, speaker series and develop Educational Television & Radio programming.
  • Secure funding from public and private sources for the establishment and maintenance of a permanent museum

Formally a “Museum without walls” The BHMA was founded to celebrate the African American journey to freedom in Arlington County. At the heart of the BHMA mission is the story of Freedmen’s Village. To date, the museum board has commissioned a model of the village, which is now part of a cosponsored exhibit on slave’s life at Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery.The Board also sponsors a lecture series, an oral history program, and a walking tour brochure. The ultimate goal of the BHMA is the establishment of a physical museum with space for permanent and temporary exhibits.