Truxtun Historic District in Portsmouth. Source: Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Updated: Wednesday, 27 Jan 2010, 2:12 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 21 Jan 2009, 4:01 PM EST
HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Our area is rich in African American history and heritage. Some of the landmarks are well known, while others are not.
A few of the hidden gems in our Hampton Roads include -
J. J. Moore Visitor, Archives & Family Life
Center - 2216 Long Ridge Road
The only visitor center in the Commonwealth of Virginia with an Afro-Union and Afro-Virginian repository theme.
Aberdeen Gardens Historic District - Roughly
bounded by Langston and Mary Peake Boulevards, including Russell,
Davis, Lewis, Weaver and Walker Roads
Began in 1934 as the model resettlement community for African American families. It was the only such community in the United States designed by an African American architect and built by African American contractors and laborers.
Hampton University Museum - Huntington
Building on the Hampton University Campus
Founded in 1868, the Museum is the oldest African American museum in the United States. Hampton University is also home to the Emancipation Oak, where President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was read to local residents.
Little England Chapel - 4100 Kecoughtan Road
Built circa 1879, the Little England Chapel is Virginia's only-known African American missionary chapel.
Newport News -
James A. Fields House - 617 27th Street
Born a slave in Hanover County, Va., James A. Fields escaped during the Civil War and went on to become one of the first graduates of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) in 1871. The house on 27th Street was used as his law office and primary residence from 1897 to 1903. In 1908, the top floor was converted to the city's first African American hospital.
The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center - 2803 Oak Avenue
The restored 1899 home of the African-American attorney J. Thomas Newsome and his wife Mary Winfield Newsome. Newsome was a respected attorney, journalist, churchman and civic leader.
African American Civil War Memorial - 238 E.
Princess Anne Road
One of the South's few memorials to African American soldiers' who fought for the Union during the Civil War.
Attucks Theatre - 1010 Church Street
Opened in 1919, it is one of the only theaters in Virginia to be financed, designed, and built exclusively by African Americans. It's named after Crispus Attucks, a black man killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770 who was the first casualty of the American Revolution.
Blyden Branch Library - 879 E. Princess Anne Road
Opened in 1921, Blyden Branch Library was the first public library for African-Americans supported by a municipality in Virginia.
John T. West School - 1425 Bolton Street
The John T. West School is the only historically African-American school remaining in Norfolk and one of the two earliest remaining school buildings in the city. It is observed as the first accredited African-American high school in the South.
West Point Monument - Elmwood Cemetary, 232 East
The monument honors William Carney who was born in Norfolk in 1840. Sgt. Carney fought in the Civil War with the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. During the 1863 attack on Fort Wagner, S.C., he saved the U.S. flag from capture, refusing to give up even though he had been shot 3 times. Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Emanuel A.M.E. Church - 637 North Street
Emanuel AME Church is the oldest church of any black denomination in the city of Portsmouth and is the second oldest church building in Portsmouth. The congregation dates back to 1772. There is still a small entrance under the sanctuary that leads to a former stop on the Underground Railroad.
Fisher's Hill Cemetery - southern edge of I-264
off Deep Creek Boulevard
One of three adjoining all-black cemeteries, it includes prominent local African Americans such as I.C. Norcom, Jeffry Wilson, Ida Barbour, and others whose impact has been memorialized by use of their names on schools and other public places.
Medal of Honor Monument - at intersection of High
Street and Water Street
This monument commemorates 11 of the 14 African American soldiers who received a Congressional Medal of Honor for valor during the Civil War Battle of New Market Heights, including Portsmouth native Sgt. Charles Veal, 4th U.S. Colored Troops, who dashed forward to seize the nation's colors from a dying soldier.
Truxtun Historic District - near intersection of
Deep Creek and Portsmouth Boulevards, including Manly, Dahlin,
Hobson, Dewey and Bagley Streets
The Truxtun Historic District was the nation's first wartime government housing project constructed exclusively for blacks. Named for naval hero Thomas Truxtun.
School House Museum - 516 Main Street
Built in 1932 as an addition to an original Rosenwald School, one of 5,000 built across the south to educate black children. The building was originally located in Chuckatuck, but was moved to its present location in 2008.