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Happy April

Historic Fire station 8, Langston Blvd, Arlington VA

We Appreciate All of Your Support!

As we enter another season (and thankfully it’s spring) we celebrate the beauty of greenery, flowers, longer daylight hours and walks in the sun.

We want to say thank you to so many of you who continue to show constant interest in our museum and its history. We struggle monthly to stay alive, and sadly we’re not the only ones. Six out of 10 museums now fear for their survival, so we want our supporters to know we are very grateful when you donate to us, visit and or buy something from our gift area.
A big thank you to our supporters like realtors Natalie Roy and Marybeth Fraser who held a fundraiser for us last month!

As we continue the struggle to find permanent space in ‘not so cheap’ Arlington, please continue to visit, support and spread the word about our/your museum and it’s rich Arlington history! As the world emerges from the cold grip of winter, may the season of spring bring with it a sense of hope and renewal. Let springtime serve as a reminder that change is possible, and that with perseverance and dedication, we can make a difference in our lives and commUNITY !
Again, thank you!


Dr. Scott Edwin Taylor, PhD

Relators Natalie Roy and Marybeth Fraser with BHMA President Scott Taylor

John B. Syphax

John B. Syphax was a son of Charles Syphax and Maria Syphax. His mother was the natural daughter of an enslaved woman, Ariana Carter, and white planter George Washington Parke-Custis.

Custis was the only grandson of First Lady Martha Washington, by her first marriage. Custis permitted his mixed-race daughter and her chosen spouse, Charles Syphax, to marry at his mansion of Arlington in 1821.
In addition, Custis arranged in 1826 for Maria Syphax and her (then) two children to be freed by selling them to a Quaker apothecary. Because children’s status was determined by that of the mother, this ensured that the remainder of the Syphax children were born free. In addition, he granted Maria 17 acres at his Arlington estate, where she and her family could live. She stayed there for the remainder of her life.

Among Syphax’s siblings was his older brother William Syphax, who became active in Washington, DC, working for the Department of Interior and later on the school board for black schools.

John Syphax became active in politics after the Civil War. He was appointed as a justice of the peace of the Arlington Magisterial Board. Later, he was elected to the Virginia Assembly, serving two terms representing Alexandria and Alexandria County, from January 1, 1874, to March 31, 1875, alongside J.C. Oneal.

In the late 19th century, Syphax migrated north to New York. He died in Brooklyn, New York, on September 8, 1916.

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