Fairfax County is considering renaming its community center in Bailey’s Crossroads after a mid-20th-century pillar of the Black community.
At a Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday (Tuesday), its first since July, retiring Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross proposed looking into renaming the decades-old Bailey’s Community Center after Minnie Peyton.
Peyton was the well-known matriarch of Springdale, a historically Black community in Bailey’s Crossroads that originated as a home to freedmen after the Civil War.
Peyton founded several local churches and donated land to the county, specifically for an elementary school for Black students. When the school was completed in 1956, per county tax records, Fairfax County was still segregating Black and white students.
Today, the land once occupied by the school is the site of Bailey’s Community Center and Higher Horizons Head Start Program, an early education facility founded in 1963.
Naming the community center after Peyton would be a fitting acknowledgment of her role in the area’s history, Gross said in a board matter.
The Springdale community in Bailey’s Crossroads had its beginnings as home to freedmen following the Civil War, and has nurtured hundreds, perhaps thousands, of families in the last century-and-a-half. As with many traditional Black communities, the residents erected a church and built a small elementary school to educate their children, but the neighborhood received few local services – no paved roads, no sidewalks, no public drinking water or wastewater infrastructure. There is a growing desire in the community to re-name the community center to honor Minnie Peyton and reflect its historic roots.
While advocating for the change, Gross acknowledged that “more research needs to be done” and requested that the Fairfax County History Commission “verify available documentation” before the switch.
Gross gave the commission a deadline of next summer to report its findings.
The Board of Supervisors approved the request unanimously, though no date or timeline was given on when the community center’s name might actually change.
Scott was a former supervisor and represented the county in the Virginia House of Delegates for over two decades. He was most known for advocating for the state’s “motor voter” law, which allowed people to register to vote at DMVs, employment centers, and welfare offices. He died in 2017.
A renaming ceremony for the community center in Oakton will be held on Sept. 30.
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