Virginia State SealDHR logo


Henderson House, Falls Church.

A modest circa 1913 Sears, Roebuck & Co. Craftsman bungalow in Falls Church, this house is one of the few remaining in the area from early 20th century. It was the residence of Edwin Bancroft “E.B.” Henderson and his wife, Mary Ellen Meriwether Henderson, influential civil rights advocates. E.B. Henderson was the nation’s first certified African-American male physical education instructor. He also initiated and co-found the Colored Citizen’s Protective League, which by 1915 became the first rural branch in the nation of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). A tireless advocate, E.B. wrote over 3,000 letters to newspaper editors about civil rights issues and served as a lifetime leader with the NAACP. Mary Ellen, a teacher and principal in Falls Church’s segregated schools, led efforts that improved schools for African-American students. She introduced a disparity study comparing Virginia’s all-black, all-white schools, influencing construction of a new school facility in Falls Church. She also served on an oversight committee for integrating schools, as per the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The Henderson House remains in the family today.