On the walls of Annie Rose's sitting room are a dozen plaques, one thanking her for 39 years as a church organist. A plate with The Lord's Prayer is not far from her Bible. On the lap of her navy knit dress is a typed list of 27 civic organizations that have honored her. A photograph of a nephew, Floyd Kyes, rests on the piano, next to one of her aunt, ed- ucator Jennie S. Dean, and one of activist Mary McLeod Bethune with a young Annie Rose.

But the one plaque that releases the memories for Rose, 92, a resident of Alexandria for more than 40 years, is the wood-and-gold memento of the day in 1985 when the Franklin and Armfield Slave Pen was dedicated as a landmark. There on Duke Street more than a century ago her father, Lewis Henry Bailey, was sold and ended up on a Texas plantation. After emancipation Bailey became a minister and founded five churches and two schools in Virginia. It doesn't take his daughter long to touch this personal history, living within blocks of the slave pen and one of his earliest churches.

Rose, a petite woman who wears black loafers, brown-rimmed bifocals and a wavy dark gray wig, has been an eyewitness to much of the century's changes and remains an important and active participant in her community today. At a recent banquet, Rose was one of six people honored by the National Caucus and Center on Black Aged Inc. She was cited for her work in voter registration drives, housing for the poor and general services for the elderly.

Born in Catharpin, Va., Rose was educated at the Manassas Industrial School, which was founded by her aunt, Jennie S. Dean. For several years, Rose taught school in Prince William, Fairfax and Loudoun counties and also worked for 25 years at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. A widow since the early 1940s, she lives alone, and still drives herself to meetings and nearby errands. After she retired nearly 40 years ago, she started a second career as a nursing assistant. Her father died in 1936 at the age of 94.

What follows are her words:

It is precious ... that in this day those dear people saw the importance of saving that {slave pen} building and dedicating it. That they would recognize that all those who were slaves ... made such a great contribution to this country.

My father never said anything about it. All I knew was that in those days a slave was looked down on {by blacks who had been free before the Civil War}. So it was one of those hush-hush things. I knew poppa told me he had been sold from Alexandria; he was farmed out in Dranesville, Virginia, {and then left} with other slaves in the pen until the masters would come and pick them up.

When he came out of slavery he met his mother here. My dad was 55 when he married my mother. She was 25. And that's how I happen to be here. He was born in Virginia, must of been around Dranesville. His home was there and they were farmed out all over that part of Northern Virginia. And the slave pen was where they were brought to sell. He went to Texas, I can't tell you what part. I never thought once, and I don't guess he did either, anything would come {of putting down the history} ... The thing he used to try to impress upon us was he was treated so mean by that first master he carried scars. But God blessed him with another, a good master, and he put him in the house with his little daughter. She was a beautiful little person and tried her best to teach him to read. But in those times that was against the law and every time she would start to teach him someone would come and they would have to stop.

Finally she said, "Henry, I can't teach you the book but I can tell you something and you can write it on the table of your heart. If there ever comes a time when you get out {of slavery} these are the things that will build your life." She taught him the importance of being honest, being truthful, being independent. All those values this woman taught him. He talked about that.

When the time came when black people could vote, he worked hard to get black people to understand the importance of voting. He was completely engrossed with Abraham Lincoln ... who had freed him. He was working, talking from the pulpit. He founded five churches and two schools.

He was 21 when he was freed. After the Emancipation Proclamation he walked back from Texas. I guess all of them did. They didn't have money to ride trains. He came back to Dranesville, looking for his mother, and then he came into Alexandria and found her in a little house on the corner of Queen and Payne streets. She was just doing housework. Her name was Martha Bailey.

He stayed with his mother and immediately began to seek work and what he found was cutting the railroad, the RF&P from Washington to Richmond. He knew not a letter, but with the group of workers, there was a white man who brought his paper to read at lunch. He noticed that my father would pick up the paper and turn it upside down all kinds of ways. And finally he said, "Henry, you would like to read?" And my father said, "I would rather learn to read than anything I know." And with that, that white man sacrificed a part of his lunch hour every day to teach my father his alphabet. That is the way he learned to read.

While they were still working on the railroad a philanthropist came into his life and was so taken with him that he decided he needed help. He wrote the American Baptist Publications Society and said, "I have met a young ex-slave and he would benefit and I want you to educate him." With that the society sent books to study, sent him books to sell and gave him money to go up to Whalen Seminary, now Union Seminary. He went there and took a course in education. He was so poor he graduated in a boot and a shoe. And here is where I condemn myself. He used to say, "Don't let foolish pride get in the way of your progress." Yet many a time I could have helped myself had it not been I didn't have the clothes. That is one of the reasons I didn't accept a scholarship from his professor, Dr. G.W. King, because some of the girls were going there and telling about the clothes you wore, and whatnot, and I was stupid. My momma oughtta have kicked me out ...

After studying education, he was called to the ministry and then he went back to Whalen. After he completed a course in theology, he came back to Alexandria and was connected with the Third Baptist Church. And after a course of years, the minister there and my father left and started the Ebenezer Baptist Church here on Queen Street. My father was an understudy. Then from here somebody told him about this wicked little town of Occoquan, Virginia, and that is how he got there. He used to walk back and forth from Alexandria through snow drifts. The white people were so glad a black minister came to that community that they told him if he would stay they would see he got land. And they did. But down there in Occoquan there were all those free blacks, so the slave thing was hush-hush.

After he finished his ministry, he went around building five churches. He met my aunt, Jeannie S. Dean, who founded Manassas Industrial School. And I presume from that he met my mother. I think maybe during that time she was at Whalen. She didn't start teaching until after she married him. ... Jeannie Dean lived in Catharpin, Virginia, and that is where I was born, in her home, January 7, 1895 ...

He would walk to get to these various churches, and finally he got a horse, and poppa and I would ride to the various churches, eating soda crackers and ginger snaps.

I was brought to Occoquan as an infant. By this time my father had built a home there. Built it with friends' help. Four children. My mother was only 25. I am the oldest of the four, only member of my immediate family still living.

I stayed in Occoquan until I went to boarding school. I think I went to Manassas in 1912 because I remember I was in Manassas when {Halley's} comet happened. I took the first course and then they had a teacher's course. I took that and finished in 1914 and went into teaching ...

For eight years that is what I did, county of Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun. I went to work for the government ... I guess it was about 1920. I started as an examiner and then I went to tissue. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing. When I left I was an examiner of money.

Many black women in the government then? Lord, yes, black and white. At that time I always think of the superintendent who had charge. When I went in there he said to me and to others too, "If any of these printers make advances to you, you let me know." That was the attitude back in those days; people were treated as people. Now any old thing goes.

My mother had taught in Loudon and they were in need of a teacher and they had written to her and she sent my name to the superintendent. I did. I taught there for three or four years.

Back in those days, reading, writing and arithmetic and English. Then, if you knew a little art work, you could do that. Those were the main subjects in black schools. In other schools they were given science and those kinds of subjects. My mother used to go every summer to summer school. I often think about the sacrifices she made. She would go to Hampton, to Petersburg, to take arts courses. This place in Loudon ... There my mother taught those kids to plait corn shucks. She could cane chairs, she did handwork, she taught sewing. And why momma didn't knock me in the head and make me learn some of those things ... If she had, I would really be up in the world today as a senior citizen. I am saying, the sacrifices -- and mind you they weren't getting the salaries they get today. She didn't ever get more than $35 or $40 a month. I earned not more than $40 or $45 a month. And with that you were doing good. While I was at Loudon, I applied and came back to the government. And that's where I stayed for 25 years. We used to have to work 10 to 12 hours, sometimes 16 hours, because of the war.

When I first came to the government I had my dad and mom here in Alexandria. I bought this house next door, which is a historic house. There was a black doctor there, the first black doctor in the city. That is where I bought because my husband had died. I didn't see how I could go from Occoquan to Washington every day. But in the meanwhile I allowed a renter, and the wrong people got in there, and I lost the house ... I must have moved in this house about 1945 ...

My husband's name was William Henry Rose, ex-government employe. A messenger. He had been sick for quite some time. He was up and about when I went home that evening, he was in the yard and he said he felt terribly bad. I helped him upstairs and I called the ambulance and he died the next day. Died from heart and pressure.

He was a very fine person and I guess maybe some of the strides I made were because of him. When I was traveling down home there working with voters and whatnot, I would be out, and he would support me. And the church would be a great support for me ...

{She lives at 812 Duke St., right off Washington Street in the residential section of Old Town. The houses are similar, with small white stone steps and flat fronts, no front yards, an alley running behind the house. Around the corner is the Alfred Street Baptist Church.}

I must say it is kind of distressing to me to see and know the loss of so many of my friends and homeowners. Back of me here there was nothing but blacks. Here there were blacks, only two white families and the family on the corner. Of course when I came here the property was mostly owned by Dr. Johnson; next down to him was Alma Pen, a teacher. All these people in this block, both black and white, were on a professional level. They tell me no black or white drunk came through this block. That was the way it was. Now whites are in this house {next door}. Only two other black families in the block.

One of these houses was the home of the first black mailman, Lawrence Arnold. He was a graduate of Howard University and he was the first black mailman in Alexandria. At that time blacks, you know, weren't supposed to do anything but acts of servitude. So he was not accepted, so some of his patrons put the dogs on him. So he resigned. That is one of the ugly things about here. But I must say to you in my coming to Alexandria, I found some of the kindest, open-hearted, concerned white citizens who were concerned about their help. They would open up avenues for them to buy homes and some of them would tell the help, "Don't you think you should buy that house?" and encourage them, just take out $5 or $10 a month {from their pay}. One girl has a nice big house uptown and she told me she only paid $15 a month for her house.

The Alfred Street Church is here. I am grateful to say we still have that. That old church was built by slave hands and ex-slave hands, and that is one of the oldest churches in this country. The pastor is one of the most progressive ministers I know. I have heard he plans to have a museum in there. But that doesn't stop the black heritage museum in the historic building because that little building was the library. That came about by five blacks being arrested for going into the white library, Alexandrians' pride. They couldn't afford to have that kind of blemish, so they build this little library {for blacks in segregation days}, and the city has let us use it for $1 a year. Now they are going to remodel this building for us and we will have a museum ...

We always worked toward the voter registration. We had found teachers in the school who weren't registered to vote. To keep us free we only have two avenues, the grace of God and the ballot. It is bad enough for blacks as it is.

I am very concerned about my race ... At one time blacks attended college. Blacks are attending college now but they are not American blacks. They are from Haiti, Africa or some other dark country. Many of our blacks come in, stay two years, and then when you go to find them, they are in a ghetto accepting welfare. We have got to begin to see ourselves, to make a change. And this is what worries me because I know, and you know, some of my people can work but they don't understand what independence means or what they are doing to themselves and to all of us. Those in the higher echelon have got to look down upon those of us who are lower down and try to make us see ourselves, see the things we can do and make us recognize our talents. Especially our young blacks ... We are the foundation of the country. But what are we going to do if you don't take and use what you have and be involved in the things you can be involved in and be a responsible person?

I am seeing foreigners coming over there, blacks and others, and they are taking advantage of every educational opportunity. My blacks, I understand, {say}, "I don't want to study like Mary and John, and be like whitey." They don't realize that if they don't study, to try and be in some comparison with whitey, they are lost. Because, with this computer age and technology and all of these things, if they don't, what else is there?

First, the preachers have got to go back to the old standards and think about people. My father was an old preacher and I know a lot of old preachers. And they were definitely concerned about the souls of men. But my dear, time after time have I heard them say whatever you do, register to vote. This is when we had to pay a dollar-fifty to register and vote. And the next thing to do would be to get yourself a home. My father always told us to get shelter. And it distresses me now to see so many people without homes, especially my blacks. The worst part of it is, we are just in a state of apathy. Some of my young blacks think the only way they can live and have things is to fool with this drug situation. They don't seem to see. And they don't understand.