The seaport town of Alexandria has been bustling with activity since it was founded by Scottish merchants in 1749. Today, the blocks up and down King Street are known as Old Town where the colonial spirit is alive in the culinary creations created by renowned chefs attracted to Alexandria for the freedom of expression. Shopping addicts enjoy the charm of the Old Town boutiques of all types housed in historic buildings. The free King Street Trolley will take you to all of the antique shops and contemporary art galleries that line the cobblestone streets of this neighborhood once home to George Washington and Robert E. Lee although the area is still very much walkable.
Named for the principals of two schools in this northern Alexandria neighborhood, Parker-Gray was originally a haven for escaped slaves and freedman during and after the Civil War. The neighborhood, covering 24 blocks just north of Old Town, launched the region into the Civil Rights era when five African-American men staged a sit-in at Parker Gray's segregated Queen Street Library in 1939 demanding more access to educational opportunities. Alexandria responded by building the Robert Robinson Library, now home to the Alexandria Black History Museum.
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