NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Richard A. Tucker was Norfolk’s first Black principal and advocate for Black education and has a library in the city that bears his name.

It will soon have a bronze sculpture to honor Tucker’s legacy, with a dedication ceremony to take place on the library grounds at 10 a.m. Nov. 19.

Norfolk Arts commissioned artist Vinnie Bagwell of Yonkers, N.Y. to create “Richard A. Tucker,” a life-sized, free-standing bronze sculpture depicting Tucker and honoring his legacy.

Its details, according to Norfolk Arts, honor the culture and history of the Campostella community and the people who live, work and contribute to it.

“Education is the right of every American,” Bagwell said in a statement. “My vision of ‘Richard A. Tucker’ is a means by which to sharpen memories, provoke critical thinking and give voice to Norfolk’s African American history and meaning to its legacies.”

The 17,000 square foot library, which opened in September 2021, is the newest library in the Norfolk Public Library system and was named after Tucker, the former rector (principal) of the Cumberland Street School. It was the first school built by Norfolk Public Schools for Black students. The Richard A. Tucker School opened on the current library site in 1943 and closed in 2011.

Tucker was born in Norfolk in February 1850 and became principal of the Cumberland Street School – renamed the S.C. Armstrong School – in 1888. The school was later renamed the Tucker School.

Bagwell, Mayor Kenny Alexander and Norfolk Arts will be at the Richard A. Tucker Memorial Library for the dedication ceremony and celebration reception, which will feature a live, interactive puppet-making theatre created by local artist and founder of Meliq on the Move, Tanya Shadley.

Free shuttle service from Oakleaf Forest and Diggs Town to the event will be provided and will stop every 15 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Pickup locations will be marked with black balloons.

The event is free and open to the public.

Want to go?

What: Dedication of public art honoring Richard A. Tucker

When: 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 19

Where: Richard A. Tucker Memorial Library, 2350 Berkley Ave. Ext., Norfolk