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Alexandria, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Memorial Pool

Casualties of Segregation

 
 
The Memorial Pool Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 15, 2014
1. The Memorial Pool Marker
Inscription. African Americans in Alexandria suffered, along with other of their race, when a segregated system prevented them from enjoying recreation facilities in their hometown.

From 1926 to 1951, the city had a municipal pool for white residents only. African Americans often swam in the Potomac River or on Hunting Creek for relief on hot summer days. Although the city provided transportation to a swimming pool in Washington, D.C. once a week during this time, this was not enough for some African American youth; walking two or three blocks to the Potomac River or Hunting Creek was too tempting to pass up.

As a result, accidents and drownings were bound to happen, and did. The Charles Houston Recreation Center Pool is named "The Memorial Pool" in honor of African American youth who perished in the Potomac and local creeks during segregation, when they were not permitted to use the city pool.

In 1952, the city opened the Johnson Memorial Pool, named for two brothers who had drowned the year before, for African American residents to use.

Dedicated February 27, 2010
 
Erected 2010 by City of Alexandria.
 
Location. 38° 48.765′ N, 77° 2.893′ W. Marker is in Alexandria, Virginia. Marker
The Memorial Pool Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 15, 2014
2. The Memorial Pool Marker
can be reached from the intersection of Wythe Street and North Patrick Street (U.S. 1), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 901 Wythe Street, Alexandria VA 22314, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Robert Robinson Library -1940 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); James Bland Homes (about 600 feet away); The Hump: Open Lots For Blocks (about 600 feet away); Parker-Gray High School (approx. 0.2 miles away); Colross-Alexandria's Urban Phoenix (approx. 0.2 miles away); War, Rails, and Wells (approx. 0.2 miles away); Home of Edmund Jennings Lee (approx. mile away); Washington-Rochambeau Route (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Alexandria.
 
Also see . . .  History of the Johnson Memorial Pool and Oakland Baptist Church Cemetery. Alexandria Biker on Twitter. (Submitted on February 15, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil Rights
 
The Memorial Pool image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, March 15, 2014
3. The Memorial Pool
Morris Leroy Johnson<br>and Lonnie Richard Johnson image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 13, 2014
4. Morris Leroy Johnson
and Lonnie Richard Johnson
Morris Leroy Johnson and his brother Lonnie Richard Johnson, ages 9 and 11, were buried in the [Oakland Baptist Church] cemetery next to their father, Morris Johnson. Their deaths precipitated a change in the City of Alexandria a decade before the Civil Rights movement. At that time the only municipal pool was open to white residents only. African Americans had two ways to swim; take a bus (weekly) to a DC pool or go to the Potomac River (Hunting Creek). The brothers, made a “boat” out of cardboard and launched into the Potomac river; both drowned. After this tragic mishap, the City opened the Johnson Memorial Pool...
Close-up of photos on "Oakland Baptist Church Cemetery" marker at Fort Ward
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 567 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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