Throughout Loudoun County's history, people of African and European descent have lived, worked, and played together. Despite the segregation that was present, the civil rights and integration movement brought much needed change to the county and the nation. Ash, a former slave born in Loudoun, was elected to the House of Delegates representing Amelia and Nottoway Counties. He was one of 87 blacks elected to the General Assembly between 1867 and 1895; none represented Loudoun or the surrounding counties.
A graph showing the distribution of slave ownership in Loudoun County in 1860 and other information on the population of the county can be found in Charles Poland's book From Frontier to Suburbia. The Loudoun County School Board received requests for integration but rarely took action. Property was used exclusively for the “use and benefit” of black children in Loudoun County public schools as an athletic field and as the location of a black public school and other improvements. Henry Jackson, director of the Loudoun County Emancipation Association, bought land on the north side of a cemetery and built a house and farm buildings; his son later built a house nearby.
Jackson was also president of the Loudoun chapter of the NAACP and filed a lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board to fully integrate his schools. In 1938, Loudoun County hired an African-American elementary school supervisor, recognizing the injustice and illegality of segregation. Loudoun County's landscape reflects African American industry and achievements in the homes, churches, schools, fraternal shelters, and settlements they built, many of which still exist today. The Loudoun County Emancipation Association was established by Clark to celebrate Freedom Day, cultivate good fellowship, and work for the betterment of the black race.
The association purchased ten acres of land on the corner of 20th and A Streets for its annual Emancipation Day celebrations and many other community functions. The history of African Americans in Loudoun County during segregation is one that is filled with both struggle and progress. Despite facing discrimination, African Americans were able to make their mark on this county through their hard work and dedication. The election of Ash to the House of Delegates was a major milestone in this journey towards equality.
The lawsuit filed by Henry Jackson against the school board was another important step towards integration. The establishment of the Loudoun County Emancipation Association provided a platform for African Americans to celebrate their freedom and work towards bettering their community. The legacy left by African Americans in Loudoun County during segregation is one that should be remembered and celebrated. Their hard work and dedication has left an indelible mark on this county that will never be forgotten.