Truth | Research | Education

I am an Ambassador of Truth, Researcher, and Educator. In a broader context, I am a bridge connecting the dots between people and periods of time. I give agency or credence to those who are forgotten in history through Research, Historical Education, Interpretation, and Oral Histories (Ethnography).

I specialize in a bottom to top approach with topics of diversity, and inclusion. I work with Congressional Representatives, World renowned Historians, National Museums and Historic sites, Public and Home Schoolers, Colleges and Universities, Government and Civic organizations; along with Recreational and Religious venues.

I am recognized at National sites, such as Monticello and Mount Vernon. I am one of a few, Bi-Racial Living History Educators interpreting subject matters on Black and White relationships.

My approach provides an audience with a better understanding into the diaspora, or exodus of African Americans, through the Middle Passage, Slavery, Reconstruction, Segregation, and Jim Crow. My work benefits those persons wanting an in-depth overview of history and diversity. It provides an additional layer of understanding toward complex racial issues we are facing today.

Museums and other venues commission my services to provide visitors with details of historic living, through 18th century cooking and other elements of daily life.

In a polarized political climate, my expertise provides a unique understanding toward race relations through an historical lens.


For Many years I have been researching the African American Community, it’s history, hardships and accomplishments. I have been commissioned to provide lectures and public speaking events on subjects, such as Land ownership, creating community during Reconstruction and the ramifications of Segregation and Jim Crow Laws. My services include research on a specific topic, providing first or second hand sources with citations for all information. Providing the information in an informative platform is the end product of any project.


For over 20 years I have been hired for Living History context to historical sites. My proudest accomplishment has been working with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. There, I have cooked 18th century meals on Mulberry Row and educated the masses on life on a plantation and how the “other” half lived. My sessions include documented, historical content, told in interactive modalities, such as wearing period clothing, using era appropriate tools and equipment, along with engaging the visitor so they walk away wanting to know more about the subject matter presented.


 Ethnography is capturing a person’s collective memory before it is  gone. As an Ethnography or Oral Historian, I have worked in many different settings. I worked with Congressman Gerald Connolly in the Civil Rights Video Archive, Mount Vernon’s enslaved community, descendents oral  histories and Arlington National Cemetery.  In an Ethnography or oral history session, an individual or individuals provide answers to questions regarding past experiences and insights into historical events.  These memories can be captured on video or tape and used in museum exhibits, archives or historical records for corporations, schools or other areas.


Collin Davenport

Legislative Director at Office of Congressman Gerald E. Connolly

I have worked with Ms. Dobbins and have witnessed her passion and ability firsthand. Together, we coordinated the Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive, Personal Histories of Struggle and Achievement in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The project was managed through Congressman Gerry Connolly’s office in conjunction with the Library of Congress and the George Mason University Folklore Program. Ms. Dobbins spearheaded this person-of-interest database project which included the collection of oral histories from local citizens involved in the Civil Rights Movement and those who lived through segregation and the Jim Crow era. She conducted extensive research to validate testimonies of oral history contributors and functioned as the liaison between George Mason University, the Library of Congress, our office, and oral history contributors. Throughout the Civil Rights Archive project, she routinely engaged archive participants on subjects and stories that were difficult to discuss and elicited very honest and personal testimonials. Ms. Dobbins served in several capacities throughout the duration of the project to include project coordinator, ethnographer, archivist, and videographer. She also acted as emcee for the project dedication ceremony which was attended by over 300 people. Our effort collected over 50 hours of video testimony, several written submissions and assorted photos. Ms. Dobbins supported the archival process with George Mason University and the Library of Congress to ensure that the collection will be publicly available and preserved for posterity. 

Dr. Debra Shutika

English Department Chair at George Mason University

Marion worked for me as a graduate assistant in the Northern Virginia Folklife Archive. She transferred materials into a new digital archive, and trained new students on how to manage best practices. 

 Marion was also the lead researcher on the Northern Virginia Civil Rights Oral History Archive. She independently interviewed 40 men and women in the 11th Congressional district about their memories of the Civil Rights movement. Those interviews will be archived at the Library of Congress. 

 I’ve worked with Marion on ethnographic-based projects for over a year, and all of my interactions with her have been extremely positive. She is reliable, professional and does fantastic work.


Congressman Connolly and Marion Cohen
  • Juneteenth Celebration, Charlottesville Virginia 2002-Present – (HE)
  • Prince William County Historic Preservation Division 2010-Present – (HE)
  • Ben Lomond Historic Site
  • Bull Run National Park
  • Fairfax City; Civil War Days – (HE)
  • Fairfax County History Association -Guest Speaker
  • Life in the Pines
  • AA life in Northern Virginia
  • James E. Lee, the Man
  • Speaker; Board of Visitors, University of Virginia
  • Speaker; University of Virginia, BIS program
  • Prince William County Schools, Bull Run Historic Site-Present, (HE)
  • Prince William County Middle School-Civil War Days, Liberia Plantation (HE)
  • 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Manassas-Jennie Dean Educator
  • Women in Time; Jennie Dean-Manassas Museum – (HE)
  • Civil War Days-City of Manassas/Manassas Museum – (HE)
  • Manassas City, Guest Lecturer-Jennie Dean 
  • Chairman of the “Pines” historical marker, Falls Church VA
  • Gainesville United Methodist Church, Guest Speaker, African American History
  • Second Baptist Church, Falls Church Virginia, Guest Speaker
  • Fauquier County Teachers Association-Vint Hill, Virginia, Presenter
  • Alpha Chi Omega; Guest Presenter
  • Dominion Valley Women’s Club-Haymarket Virginia-Presenter
  • James Lee Community Center, Falls Church Virginia, Guest Speaker
  • Tinner Hill Foundation, Guest speaker and participate in numerous events
  • Frederick Douglas, and Isaac Myers Maritime Museum; Baltimore Maryland-Historic Educator
  • Montipellar, Home of James Madison-18th Century cooking-Historic Educator (HE)
  • Poplar Forest; 4th of July Celebration-Slave Live, Bedford County, Virginia (HE)
  • Poplar Forest; 4th of July Celebration-Slave Live-(HE)
  • Montipellar, Home of James Madison-18th Century cooking-(HE)
  • Warrenton, Virginia Civil War Days-(HE)
  • Charlottesville High School, Guest Lecturer- 2003
  • Gunston Hall, Virginia – (HE))
  • Afro-American Museum, Plains Virginia, Guest Presenter
  • Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun County Elementary, Middle and High Schools-(HE)
  • Northern Virginia Community College-Guest Presenter