3rd Annual Martin Luther King Day March for Social Justice, Unity and Racial Healing
The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and the Social Justice Committee of Falls Church and Vicinity will hold it’s 3rd annual Martin Luther King Day March on January 21st in the City of Falls Church, Virginia. The march will be followed by a program at the historic Falls Church Episcopal Church at 166 E. Broad Street in Falls Church.
The march will begin at the Tinner Hill Civil Rights Monument at the corner of Lee Highway and Tinner Hill Road. The march will proceed due East along Lee Hwy (officially S. Washington St. in Falls Church City), and go approximately 3 ½ blocks to The Falls Church Episcopal on E. Fairfax Street.
**Ironically, the march will take place along Lee Highway where an African American community was taken by eminent domain to create a highway to honor the Commander of the Confederate Army, General Robert E. Lee. We wish to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday in his honor, but we won’t be allowed, by various government entities, to walk on the street honoring Robert E. Lee. In protest we will march along this route, but we will be required to walk along the sidewalk for 3 blocks to the Falls Church Episcopal.
The commemoration program will take place in The Falls Church Episcopal Main Sanctuary, where there will be songs and tributes to Dr. martin Luther King, Jr. There will be a keynote speaker (TBA).
The Tinner Hill area in Falls Church has been recognized as the location where the first rural branch of the National Association for the Protection of Colored People (NAACP) in the United States was initiated. In 1915, The Falls Church Town Council proposed an ordinance that would have forced many African American property owners to sell their property to Whites and move to a section of town designated “For Colored Only”. This was unacceptable to the African American Community, who immediately mobilized and formed the Colored Citizens Protective League (CCPL), wrote letters to each Council member, community churches and businesses asking where they stood on the proposed ordinance, and also wrote a letter to W. E. B. DuBois of the NAACP. The town council did not vote on the ordinance, but scheduled a referendum vote on the issue, which passed. The CCPL challenged the vote in Fairfax Circuit Court. The judge would not rule on the issue, because of a case (Warley vs Buchannan) was coming before the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming session. The decision of the Supreme Court decreed that creating segregated districts within any municipality was unconstitutional, which made the ordinance in Falls Church unenforceable.
Which meant a victory for the Colored Citizens Protective League.
In 1918, the NAACP changed their by-laws which allowed smaller communities to form branches of the organization. The Colored citizens Protective League received their charter in June, 1918. 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the Fairfax County Branch of the NAACP.