Donation Received from one of Arlington's Oldest Black Churches
On February 9, 2020, Arlington's Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church and the Center for Local History celebrated the donation of the Church's archival records to the Center's Community Archives.
The donation included a large 19th century pulpit bible, printed in 1856.
Now members of the community and beyond can research and discover more about the history of one of Arlington's oldest African-American churches.
19th-century pulpit Bible, currently on display at the Center for Local History.
From Left: Arlington County Board Member Matt de Ferranti, Reverend Dr. Adrian V. Nelson, Arlington County Board Chairwoman Libby Garvey, Unidentified Church Member, Center for Local History Manager Judith Knudsen, Lomax Archives Chairwoman Brenda Cox, Unidentified Church Member, Bishop W. Darin Moore, Virtual Library Services Manager Stacia Aho, and Unidentified Church Members.
First established by freed slaves on June 12, 1866, in Freedman's Village, Lomax was originally named Wesley Zion Church under the leadership of Reverend Richard Thompkins. In 1874, the congregation decided to purchase land for a permanent home at an original price of $75 with a down payment of $5. In 1876, when T.H. Lomax was elected Bishop and assigned to the Lomax District, the name was changed to Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church.
In the days leading up to the March on Washington in August of 1963, civil-rights activists from around the country were housed in the Lomax Fellowship Hall, and the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy spoke in the church parking lot prior to this monumental event. A photo of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy speaking with members of the Lomax Church can be viewed at the Center for Local History.
Reverend Dr. Adrian V. Nelson (third from left) and Bishop W. Darin Moore (second from right) with members of the Lomax Church in front of 19th-century pulpit Bible on display at the Center for Local History.
19th-century pulpit Bible, printed in 1856, donated by Arlington's Lomax A.M.E. Zion Church; currently on display at the Center for Local History.
Center for Local History manager Judith Knudsen and her team worked with Lomax Church Archives Committee and its Chairwoman, Brenda Cox, to prepare and move materials for the acquisition. This donation was years in the making and both the Center for Local History and the church's Archives Committee spent countless hours to facilitate the exchange of materials.
Over 100 members of the Lomax Church, as well as Deputy County Manager Shannon Flanagan-Watson and three County Board Members: Arlington County Board Chairwoman Libby Garvey; Arlington County Board Member Matt de Ferranti; and Arlington County Board Member Christian Dorsey attended the ceremony.
Judith Knudsen and Libby Garvey both gave introductions before Reverend Dr. Adrian V. Nelson and Bishop W. Darin Moore each delivered a speech to those in attendance, highlighting the history of the Church and the significance of the archival donation.
After the ceremony, a reception was held in the Center for Local History, where food and refreshments were served, courtesy of the Friends of the Arlington Public Library.
The Center for Local History invites the Arlington Community to play an active role in documenting their history by donating physical and/or digital materials for the Center for Local History’s permanent collection.