Northern Virginia
Urban League
1315 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-836-2858
Fax: 703-836-8948

About Us

The Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) is a non-profit, nonpartisan, multi-ethnic, and social service organization.

Our Movement

Established in 1910, the Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community- based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research.
The Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL), as part of this national network, provides direct services and effective advocacy to empower our constituents to enter the economic and social mainstream. NOVAUL addresses the social and economic needs of Northern Virginia’s minorities, youth, elderly and low-income residents.


Our Mission

Our missionis to enable Northern Virginia African Americans and disadvantaged others to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power, and civil rights through program services and effective advocacy.


Our Vision

To become an increasingly more impactful and relevant community-based organization and emerge as the pre-eminent organization in Northern Virginia that will work with key decision-makers to help our constituency in securing self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. To help individuals, families and communities achieve their full potential; in essence, our vision is “Empowering Communities and Changing Lives.”


Our Plan

To continue to build alliances, enhance our advocacy efforts, further our empowerment agenda and create opportunities that foster economic and social advancement and educational achievement for our constituency throughout the Northern Virginia community.


Our Strategy

The Urban League Movement employs a five-point strategy, tailored to local needs, in order to implement the mission of our movement.

  • Education and Youth Empowerment: Ensuring that all of our children are well educated and prepared for economic self-reliance in the 21st century through college scholarships, early childhood literacy, Head Start and after care programs.
  • Economic Empowerment: Empowering all people in attaining economic self-sufficiency through job training, good jobs, homeownership, entrepreneurship and wealth accumulation.
  • Health and Quality of Life Empowerment: Working to build healthy and safe communities to eliminate health disparities through prevention, healthy eating, fitness, as well as ensuring access and complete access to affordable healthcare for all people.
  • Civic Engagement and Leadership Empowerment: Empowering all people to take an active role in determining the direction, quality of life, public policy and leadership in their communities by full participation as citizens and voters, as well as through active community service and leadership development.
  • Civil Rights and Racial Justice Empowerment: Promoting and ensuring our civil rights by actively working to eradicate all barriers to equal participation in the all aspects of American society, whether political, economic, social, educational or cultural.

Our Legacy

What was once headquarters for the largest and most successful domestic slave trading firm in America is now the headquarters of the Northern Virginia Urban League and home of the Freedom House Museum. The museum will tells the unimaginable story of the domestic slave trade and the people who both benefited from, and suffered because of it. But it also tells a story of triumph—the triumph of the human spirit to survive and thrive in even the worst of circumstances.


From 1828 to 1836, the Franklin and Armfield Company purchased local slaves and sent them to the Deep South for sale. At its peak, the business—also known as the Alexandria Slave Pen—was transporting 1,800 slaves a year to Louisiana and Mississippi. The men who owned the firm reaped substantial profits from the domestic slave trade, an industry which flourished at 1315 Duke Street for more than 30 years under various slave traders.

However, in a spin of poetic justice, the Northern Virginia Urban League moved into Freedom House in 1996 and dedicated it to Rev. Henry Louis Bailey—a former slave who was sold through the slave pen to a family in Texas. Freed in 1863, he returned to Alexandria and founded several churches and schools in Virginia, still in existence today. This, and many other stories of the domestic slave trade, is told in vibrant visuals, compelling narratives, and captivating video. Visit the Freedom House Museum and experience the fascinating history of 1315 Duke Street—a legacy of triumph and foundation for the future.

For more information go to:


How Can You Play A Part?
You can play a part in our community empowerment and outreach strategy to increase the visibility, perception, presence and impact of the Northern Virginia Urban League (NOVAUL) in the Northern Virginia region, by becoming a member of the League and join one of our two volunteer auxiliaries, the Guild or Young Professionals Network (YPN). Guilders contribute hundred of volunteer hours annually and play a pivotal role in connecting the Urban League to our community. Our YPN, ranging in age from 21 to 40, is an auxiliary organization dedicated to bringing the next generation of leaders into the Urban League Movement. For more information please contact us at 703-836-2858 or download our membership brochure and sign up today.
NOVAUL Membership Brochure



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Northern Virginia Urban League