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Falls Church, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Tinner Hill Historic Site

Birth Place of the first rural branch of the NAACP in the Nation, 1918

 
 
The Tinner Hill Historic Site Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 7, 2020
1. The Tinner Hill Historic Site Marker
Inscription.  
This historic site is a testament to the long African American struggle to gain equality and civil rights. It also honors a moment of triumph for the human spirit.

African American life in Falls Church predates the 1700s. Enslaved and free African Americans lived, worked (too often as enslaved labor), struggled, and prospered for generations before the Civil War. The Tinner Hill community began right after the Civil War when Charles and Elizabeth Tinner purchased land and divided it among their ten children. The Tinners, outstanding craftsmen and highly skilled stonemasons in the 19th century, created a solid and thriving community which, remarkably, continues today. The Tinner Hill neighborhood is a noteworthy array of vernacular homes dating from the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, still owend and occupied primarily by Tinner descendents.

The persistent survival of the Tinner Hill community is cause enough to revere this place. But one event provides an even greater reason. In 1915, on this site and in the home of Joseph and Mary Tinner, nine African American men* met to plan how they could
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defeat a proposed ordinance that would segregate Falls Church, forcing all African American families to live in a small designated area of town. These men, joined by other male and female members of the black community, pooled their resources, hired lawyers, and filed a law suit. They petitioned the National Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), newly founded in 1909, to become a chapter. Calling themselves the Colored Citizens Protective League, they blocked the town from enacting the legislation. In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that residential segregation or such ordinances were unconstitutional.

By 1918 the Falls Church group was a full-fledged chapter of the NAACP and continued to fight successfully for equality in education, equal access to public services, and voter participation in the Northern Virginia area. These local leaders and those who joined them went on to fight against segregation laws in Virginia and for equal rights and opportunities for all people.

1915 Original Members
• Mr. Joseph Tinner
(hosted the meeting and was elected president),
• Rev. John Colbert
(elected vice president)
• Dr. Edwin B. Henderson
(called the meeting and was elected secretary)
• Rev. George Powell
(elected treasurer)
• Mr. Melvin Tinner
• Mr. Robert J. Evans
• Mr. George W. Simmons
The Tinner Hill Historic Site Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), June 7, 2020
2. The Tinner Hill Historic Site Marker
• Mr. William Carpenter
• Mr. Louis Summerall

 
Erected by City of Falls Church, NOVA Parks, Fairfax County and Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the NOVA Parks, and the Virginia, City of Falls Church series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1915.
 
Location. 38° 52.748′ N, 77° 10.593′ W. Marker is in Falls Church, Virginia. Marker is on Tinner Hill Road just south of South Washington Street (U.S. 29), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 Tinner Hill Road, Falls Church VA 22042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Zig Zag Sculpture (here, next to this marker); Tinner Hill (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Tinner Hill Historic Site (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Tinner Hill (within shouting distance of this marker); 1997 (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Modern Schools (within shouting distance of this marker); Today (2016)
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(within shouting distance of this marker); 1961 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falls Church.
 
More about this marker.
Photos courtesy of Tinner & Henderson Families.

The marker is part of a display containing printouts of the exact same information.
 
Additional commentary.
1. Spelling of the NAACP
The spelling out of the NAACP is taken verbatim of the marker. The correct name for the organization is the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
    — Submitted June 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

 
Additional keywords. NAACP, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 206 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 16, 2024