Mission & Background



The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation was founded in 1997 to preserve the early civil rights history of Falls Church and vicinity. The history of Tinner Hill is about civil rights, location, and a few brave people who defended the U.S Bill of Rights. It is about hard work and perseverance. E.B. Henderson, Joseph Tinner and numerous others who lived on or around Tinner Hill had to outsmart and outflank the rulers of this rural area and they did. Today, we all reap the benefits of this almost forgotten battle, and up to the eighth generation of these families still live on the hill.

The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation has two, close-in-proximity properties that, remarkably, survive from the post Civil War period. Both properties are intimately tied to the history of Falls Church and to the struggles of African Americans to attain their rights and freedoms, from the period of Jim Crow through the Civil Rights Movement. The existence of the two properties presents the City of Falls Church and, in fact, the state and the nation, with a rare opportunity a) to preserve vernacular places not grand in stature but immensely important in the evolution of this freedom-based democracy, b) to acknowledge the importance of these places by making their presence central to the City’s development projects. (At present, these planned developments--commercial and residential buildings—surround or are visibly near the two African American sites.) In 1999 THHF constructed the Tinner Hill Monument located near both properties.


Organizational Rationale

African Americans have made many significant contributions thorough out Virginia’s history. Many do not realize the actions of African Americans living and working in Northern Virginia have virtually shaped the course of history in America. The African American’s struggle for equal rights and civic equality has been persistent and paved the way for social justice for women, gays and lesbians, the elderly, the disabled and many other groups in America. Many people are unaware that the struggle for civil rights began long before the 1960’s and that the political, social and economic fabric of this nation was affected by the struggles of African Americans.



The Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation was established in 1997 as a 501 c (3) nonprofit corporation chartered in the Commonwealth of Virginia, with the following goals:

  • To preserve the rich cultural heritage of pioneering African Americans who fought racial segregation and established the nation’s first rural branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

  • To promote understanding and respect for all people, sponsor educational and other activities designed to increase awareness for the achievements African Americans have made in Falls Church and Virginia.

  • To recognize the achievements of special individuals and groups by developing written materials; creating memorials and monuments; Organizing festivals, cultural events and observations and exhibitions; sponsoring workshops and seminars

  • To create Educational opportunities to disseminate to teachers, students and the general public the rich history of Tinner Hill and the citizens of the region providing photographic reproductions, videotaped productions, and online information services; and by any other appropriate means.


Purposes of the Foundation

  1. To provide awareness of African Americans to the development of Falls Church, Fairfax County, Northern Virginia, the United States and people of African descent in Diaspora through the dissemination of information and by providing needed community services.

  2. To organize the annual Tinner Hill Festival to celebrate the founding of the first rural branch in the United States of the NAACP

  3. To develop cultural and historical resources of archival value including, but not limited to the establishment of a museum, monument and other interpretive displays.

  4. To provide opportunities for growth and development through cultural enrichment, arts, career and entrepreneurial education, mentoring, counseling and by sponsoring clubs, groups and organization consistent with our mission.

  5. To recognize the achievements of special individuals and groups by developing written materials; creating memorials and monuments; organizing festivals, cultural events and observances; sponsoring workshops and seminars; developing educational materials, photographic reproductions, videotaped productions, and on-line information services; and by any other appropriate means.

  6. To encourage the constituents and land owners to develop Tinner Hill as a place of historical importance.

  7. To do any and all things herein set forth as fully and to the same extent as natural persons might do, to buy or otherwise acquire, invest in, hold, store, lease, mortgage, goods, etc. and to purchase, convey, lease, and acquire land on which to build, erect, maintain, operate, manage offices, warehouses, etc.