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Posted on: February 27, 2019

Remembering Some of the Greats During Black History Month

Alda-White

Stafford’s Board of Supervisors presented its annual proclamation recognizing Black History Month to former County Attorney Alda White at its recent meeting. White was not only the first woman County Attorney in Stafford County, she was also the first African-American local government full-time attorney in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“We are very happy to have Alda back to accept this proclamation on behalf of the African-American community,” said Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Gary Snellings. “She is a remarkable woman with an impressive list of achievements. It’s important to highlight folks like Alda and their many contributions to Stafford County to preserve history for those who come after us.”

White was appointed Acting County Attorney in 1983 and become the official County Attorney in 1984, serving for 20 years in that position until her retirement in 2004. Among her many accomplishments, White served as president of the National Association of Civil County Attorneys, on the Mary Washington Healthcare Board of Directors, on the Board of Directors of Potomac Legal Aid and was the 2007 recipient of the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Mary Washington’s Women’s Leadership Colloquium. White’s husband, the Honorable John Scott, Jr., was the first African-American Circuit Court judge in Virginia.

White joins other African-American history “greats” featured in historical offerings around the County.

  • John Washington was an enslaved man in Fredericksburg who crossed the Rappahannock River to freedom in Stafford County during 1862 and later wrote about his life and the story of his escape. Washington was one of the thousands who came to Stafford County for freedom in 1862 when the Union Army deployed in the County. Stafford’s Trail to Freedom recounts their stories and features an interpretive driving trail following in the footsteps of those seeking freedom.
  • Palmer Hayden was a renowned African-American artist born in Widewater. Hayden went on to study in Europe and was one of the most accomplished painters in the Harlem Renaissance. He was one of the first American artists to use African subjects and designs in his paintings.
  • Ella Rowser was a popular African-American teacher who taught at the Stafford Training School, the hub of the African-American community. Students from that school attempted to integrate Stafford High School, leading to the eventual desegregation of schools in Stafford County and the greater Fredericksburg area. The school was renamed the Rowser Building and now houses a senior center and offices for Stafford County. A history wall inside depicts the rich history of the African-American community in Stafford County. The wall may be visited during normal opening hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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