Written by Dr. Alfred O. Taylor, Jr., this is the first book about Arlington County, Virginia’s oldest African American community, Nauck, which dates back to 1844. Nauck is rich in history and abundant with bridge builders, both past and present, who have made local and national contributions while fighting for their right to experience a good quality of life.
The perseverance of the pioneers of Nauck is alive through their accomplishments, triumphs and achievements. In their own words, the words of their loved ones, or through history books, the author’s labor of love seeks to memorialize the important work these African Americans have achieved and the legacy they leave for future generations.
The Nauck story needed to be told by its residents, past and present, before it becomes “His Story.” It needs to be told because of the efforts of those who helped build the community from one that had its growth stymied by laws of the Commonwealth, to one that is fast becoming, one of Arlington’s most diverse neighborhoods and must be passed on to its youth and new residents.
The stories in this publication have been compiled from a number of sources, i.e., obituaries, interviews, oral histories, internet searches and biographies. It is the author’s hope that the contributions of these 100+ ordinary men and women, often seen as springboards, will propel future generations to achieve their goals and aspirations. Those featured are/were ordinary Nauck/Green Valley residents who survived segregation, Jim Crow laws and lacked the financial backing to become economically independent, but were able to educate themselves and their children, fight for freedom, make national contributions and remember from whence they came.
The inspiration or driving force behind the author’s desire to publish this book comes from the Akan symbol of the “Sankofa,” a mythical bird that flies forward with its head turned backwards. The Akan word “Sankofa” informs us that we must go back and reclaim our past, so we can understand why and how we came to be who we are today.
The traditional ways of a culture can only survive if people value, learn and pass on these cultural experiences to the next generation.
Dr. Taylor, retired from the University of the District of Columbia, was born in and presently lives in Nauck (Green Valley) with his wife of 63 years. Published by Dorrance Publishing Company, Bridge Builders of Nauck/Green Valley: Past and Present, is currently available online for $20.00 plus tax and S&H. The book will also be available from several local establishments in the near future.
Dr. Taylor will give a talk about his book on the evening of June 18 at Central Library, click here for more information.