PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Carlton Copeland and Tye Cuffee grew up together in the Cavalier Manor section of Portsmouth. The mid-century development was among the first in the south: a middle-class neighborhood built for Black doctors, attorneys, teachers, and preachers.
Many of the streets are named for Black icons including the city’s first Black Mayor, Jim Holley.
“This was Mayor Holley’s house so when we got our bikes, we definitely made sure we rode here to see the mayor’s house,” said Copeland in a stroll around the neighborhood.
On Friday night, Cavalier Manor will be the focal point as Copeland and Cuffee are hosting an event to take back the community starting with two wheels. It’s called the Cavalier Manor Community Bike Ride.
“We are going to ride 45 minutes through the neighborhood that’s about six or seven miles,” said Copeland who returned to Cavalier Manor after living in Baltimore and West Virginia. Over the year he has hosted numerous activities for families in Portsmouth.
Copeland told Ten On Your Side that efforts to restore the historical role of the village are urgent.
“We want to do it all day as soon as possible; we want our neighbors to come out and be a part of what we are doing in the community
The goal is to break the cycle of crime and despair. Listen as Cuffee recalls a recent conversation with a teenager who was standing on a street corner.
When asked how he sees himself in 10, 15 years, the teen responded bluntly.
“Sir, I really don’t care. I don’t see myself living past [the age of] 15.”
Cuffee is now energized to work day and night to restore the village.
“Were gonna get our community back…we’re gonna get our community back. We gotta start somewhere so this Friday after 5 p.m., it starts right there,” declared Cuffee.