Black Rosemont Neighborhood and Parker-Gray High School

Historical Significance

Black Rosemont or "Colored Rosemont" was one of several African-American neighborhoods settled on the periphery of Alexandria in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The area consisted of about four square blocks in the northwest corner of town. The name of the neighborhood likely referred to the white streetcar suburb of Rosemont located, literally, on the other side of the tracks.

The houses in Black Rosemont were for the most part individually owned. Several black-owned businesses, including grocery stores, were also established in the neighborhood. Because of Jim Crow laws and pervasive racial discrimination, blacks shopped at stores owned by African-American entrepreneurs and many neighborhoods developed thriving retail strips. 

In 1950, the Parker-Gray High School, a segregated school for black students, was built in Black Rosemont at 1207 Madison St. After 1965, the building became the Parker-Gray Middle School until 1979. In the early 1980s the building was demolished; a plaque marks its location.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the government seized the houses of many Rosemont residents to construct public housing in the area.

Physical Description

The houses in the neighborhood were one or two stories high and constructed in a cottage or bungalow style. The neighborhood is bounded on its west side by the Metro tracks, on the north side by Madison Street, on the south side by Pendleton Street, and on the east side by North Fayette Street. Some cottages are still standing on the 600 and 700 blocks of North West Street.

Geographical and Contact Information

600 and 700 blocks of N. West St.
Alexandria, Virginia
22314
Phone: 703-838-4356

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Black Rosemont Neighborhood and Parker-Gray High School,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed July 27, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/55.

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