Jennie Dean Park

During the planning process, Arlington worked closely with the Green Valley Civic Association and its history working group to incorporate several features to honor and celebrate the park’s past. Starting in the 1930s, the park became a major hub for Black baseball clubs in the region, where game days were lively, social epicenters for the community. Over the next few decades, more teams were formed, both semi-pro and recreational, run by members of the Green Valley community.

Along the fence of the diamond fields are several pennants of the historic semi-pro and recreational teams from Green Valley – team names included Green Valley Quicksteps, Green Machine, and Over the Hill Gang – designed by local graphic artist Ted Irvine in collaboration with the Green Valley Civic Association. The two fields have been named after Ernest E. Johnson and Robert Winkler to recognize their deep contributions to the Green Valley Community.

Johnson became the director of Arlington County’s “Negro Recreation Section,” a separate division of the County’s segregated Department of Recreation in 1950. Under Mr. Johnson’s leadership, the “Negro Recreation Section” expanded to include a variety of sports, dance, theater, musical and community events for all the Black American communities in Arlington. He was a vital figure in the County’s African American community and ultimately oversaw the desegregation of Arlington recreation in the early 1960s. He went on to serve the County for two more decades.

Excepted from Arlington County Jennie Dean Park website.