Black History Moment: The Syphax Family of Arlington, VA

by Feb 20, 2021Blog0 comments

Today’s black history moment highlights another prominent family name from the D.C. metro area: The Syphax Family.
The Syphax Family – Key Highlights/Accomplishments
* The Syphax family name originated from the family patriarch named William Syphax
* Origin of the modern-day Syphax family began with the marriage of Charles Syphax (patriarch William Syphax’s son); and Mariah Carter Custis, formerly enslaved daughter of parents George Washington Parke Custis (plantation owner) & Airy Carter (enslaved woman)
* Syphax descendant/extended family member accomplishments include:
    1) genealogist and family historian, retired US Department of Interior employee (Steven Hammond)
    2) landowner, served in the US military during the Civil War (Douglas Syphax)
    3) served as a leader to establish public high school education for African Americans in the D.C. school system (William Syphax)
    4) Arlington County property owner, held several elected office positions in Arlington County (John Syphax)
    5) community leader, educator, founder of Arlington’s Black Heritage Museum (Evelyn Reid Syphax)
The Syphax Family – Legacy & Significance
* The Syphax family name has a connection to historic sites that include The Decatur House in DC, George Washington’s estate in Fairfax County’s Mount Vernon, and the current-day Arlington National Cemetery
* Illustrates a proud history about a family legacy that can be used as inspiration to pursue one’s own research into his/her family legacy
Visit the websites below and/or conduct your own research to learn more about the Syphax Family and their legacy:
C-SPAN (video): “Arlington House – Syphax Descendants Interviews”
FOX5 DC news article (w/ video): “Arlington National Cemetery was once freed-slaves community called Freedman’s Village”
Washington Post article (March 20, 2000) – Evelyn Reid Syphax


George Washington’s Mount Vernon – The Syphax Family (w/ video)
Natl Park Service: Freedman’s Village (see John Syphax)
Natl Park Service: Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial – The Syphax Family
The Black Heritage Museum of Arlington, Virginia