A Guide to African American Heritage Sites in Hampton, Virginia
Family Tree was published courtesy of the Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau as a result of scholarly research, oral histories and community participation. We express sincere gratitude to all who assisted in the presentation. Every effort was made to ensure accuracy.
A G ui d e t o A frican A m erican H e ri tage Sit es in Ham pt o n, Virginia
CONTENTS Introduction African American Heritage Begins Here History Education Commerce Religion Hampton Heritage Sites Neighboring Sites Famous Footsteps Itineraries Heritage Sites Map
Published by the Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau 757/722.1222 â€˘ 800/487.8778 visithampton.com
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Sallie Grant-DiVenuti, FCDME, CMP, CDME, CEM Executive Director Mary Fugere, CMP, CTIS Editor, Director of Media & Community Relations
Deep Roots o f he r itage a nd pr ide
Emancipation Oak towers above the entrance to Hampton University like a proud old matriarch keeping a watchful eye over her kin. Her trunk, deeply rooted, will not be swayed. Her gnarled, but sturdy, limbs reach down to the ground and rise up again in a complex fingering of smaller branches and delicate twigs. Her bark is dark and weathered, her shade, inviting. And when you listen to the wind rustle her leaves, you can hear the stories of the thousands of children she has sheltered throughout her lifetime. According to tradition passed down through generations, it was beneath this massive tree that the entire Hampton community first learned the enslaved would be emancipated; where black pupils gathered for school; and where worshipers congregated for religious services on Sunday mornings. Today, citizens, students and visitors alike continue to find a source of inspiration in this mighty oak.
to President Barack Obama’s proclamation naming Fort Monroe a National Monument on November 1, 2011, the culmination of a grassroots effort involving members of the Hampton community, city leaders, and state representatives. You’ll find sections on history, education, religion, neighboring sites and African American men and women who helped shape Hampton’s beginnings. And like the branches of a family tree, each section has evolved from deep roots of heritage and pride.
We have named this heritage guide in her honor. Family Tree chronicles Hampton’s African American history from the first Africans who arrived at Point Comfort in 1619
We hope this guide will help to illuminate more of Hampton’s diverse African American history and help you experience a meaningful visit to our city.
America’s African American History b egan i n H a m p to n
On a still day, the waves lap gently against the stone seawall that protects Old Point Comfort from the Hampton Roads harbor. Under a clear sky, it is easy to understand how the members of the Virginia Company of London came to call the site Point Comfort. After four months aboard ship, it can be imagined the discovery of the navigable channel and anchoring here brought them “good comfort” before their travels continued to Jamestown. A vessel carrying “20 and odd” Africans arrived at Point Comfort in August 1619. The vessel was the White Lion and the passengers were the first Africans brought to English North America. Although once here they were initially bound by servitude, their coming would usher in the era of American chattel slavery and lay the foundation for a history that is both startling and inspiring. Today, the legacy of these first Africans and the offspring that would follow lives on in Hampton’s history and African American heritage sites.
17th & 18th c ent ur ies
Hampton, founded in 1610 and the oldest continuous English speaking settlement in America, is home to many “firsts.” In late August 1619, the first recorded Africans to be brought to English North America arrived at Point Comfort, today’s Fort Monroe. The first “20 and odd” Africans were brought from Angola. They had been captured from the Kingdom of Ndongo during the 1618-20 Portuguese war against the African kingdoms. They were loaded aboard a ship in Luanda on the African West coast in May 1619 and departed for Vera Cruz, Mexico. The ship, slave merchant vessel Sao Joao Bautista, was attacked by two ships, Treasurer and White Lion, in the Gulf of Mexico. The captains of the attacking ships each captured Africans as human cargo from the Sao Joao Bautista. “In the latter end of August, a Dutch man of War...arrived at Point Comfort,” wrote Virginia Colony secretary John Rolfe in 1619. Rolfe further noted that the White Lion commander delivered “20 and odd negroes” who were traded for provisions and other supplies. They would become either servants or chattel slaves.
Located at the present-day site of Fort Monroe and separated from Hampton’s mainland by Mill Creek, Old Point Comfort is a fitting place to begin your heritage tour. Two of the original Africans to arrive, Antoney and Isabell, became servants of Captain William Tucker. Tucker was commander of the fort at Point Comfort. Captain Tucker noted in his 1624 muster roll that their child, William, was the first recorded baby of African descent to be baptized in English North America. The other Africans were transferred to plantations along the James River. Africans were brought to Virginia to provide labor to plant and harvest crops, thus beginning the transatlantic slave trade and two centuries of slavery in America. The original Africans came from a civilized society and brought to America their skills as farmers - growing crops and raising large herds of cattle, goats and chickens. They were skilled artisans as blacksmiths, textile weavers, and metal workers. Africans were responsible for various innovations, some inaccurately credited to English immigrants. A possible early example of this was reported in Virginia where Governor William Berkeley ordered rice to be planted in 1648. The Africans were also credited with bringing from Africa a musical instrument that led to the creation of the American Banjo.
In addition to reflecting on the 1619 landing, you will want to explore all of Fort Monroe, a Union-held fortification where thousands of slaves sought shelter during the Civil War.
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, slavery had become well established in Virginia and in the thriving port community at the mouth of the Hampton River. Among the documented imported “goods” to Hampton during the second decade of the eighteenth century (17101718) were 743 Africans, or 17% of the total brought into Virginia. From 1718-1727, the slave trade exploded with 11,000 Africans brought to Virginia, with only 251 reported to have landed in Hampton. By 1782, Virginia’s population consisted of 296,852 free persons and 270,762 enslaved individuals; nearly 48% of the population. On May 23, 1861, Major General Benjamin F. Butler accepted three runaways seeking their freedom, declaring they were “contraband of war.” The men, purported to have been Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker, and James Townsend, were from the Hampton plantation of Col. Charles King Mallory. Mallory’s slaves complained to Butler that they were being forced to work on the construction of nearby Confederate fortifications at Sewell’s Point. Butler argued that since the men were being treated
as chattel property and since their labor was being used to enhance the enemy’s military strength, they fit the definition of contraband and could be confiscated. Butler refused to uphold the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850. After all, Virginia had seceded from the Union and, as a foreign country, was no longer subject to American law. Butler determined the three men would not be returned to Mallory. News of this extraordinary development spread. The policy was adopted by other post commanders who were eventually supported by the federal government. Hampton’s Fort Monroe quickly earned the nickname “Freedom’s Fortress.” Within two months, over 900 enslaved people had escaped to Fort Monroe. Thousands more would follow. Confederate General John B. Magruder learned Butler intended to use Hampton to house troops and “contrabands.” Magruder, determined the town would not be used to harbor runaway slaves and traitors, ordered Hampton burned. The local soldiers agreed to this “loathsome, yet patriotic” action and, led by Hampton resident Captain Jefferson Curle Phillips, met in
the dark of night at St. John’s church, then, starting from the intersection of King and Queen Streets, set fire to the town. Soon after Major General Butler’s declaration, two contraband camps were established in Hampton to accommodate the influx of refugees. One was constructed outside the entrance to Fort Monroe in Camp Hamilton and became known as Slabtown. The name Slabtown refers to the construction materials used to build cabins adjacent to standing chimneys. The other camp, the Grand Contraband, was established just outside Hampton’s ruins. Hampton’s new residents gave the city streets new names, such as Union, Lincoln, Grant, Washington and Liberty (later changed to Armistead).
“Contraband of War”
Civil War Trails markers interpret the sites of Camp Hamilton, Slabtown, and the Grand Contraband.
Contrabands could enlist in the U.S. Navy in 1861. Some served on the U.S.S. Minnesota. Several contrabands also served on the U.S.S. Monitor. An 1863 Army census showed that the War Department’s Bureau of Negro Affairs, established earlier that same year, was managing 10,500 contrabands located in Hampton and the nearby counties. African Americans assisted the Union Army by serving as cooks, laborers and carpenters in exchange for rations and small wages. Many developed opportunities of their own. During this period, the First and Second Regiments of the U.S. Colored Cavalry and Battery B of the Second U.S. Colored Light Artillery, were established at Fort Monroe and nearby Camp Hamilton, where Phoebus is today. In 1865, Harriet Tubman, known as “Black Moses” and memorialized as one of the daring conductors of the Underground Railroad, was appointed to the position of Matron at Fort Monroe’s Colored Hospital located near Camp Hamilton. Chesapeake Military Hospital, the former site of the Chesapeake Female Seminary, served Union officers. Enlisted men were sent to nearby Hampton Military Hospital according to Harper’s Weekly Monthly Magazine’s 1864 article, “The Military Hospitals at Fortress Monroe.” Following the war, through the efforts of General Butler, black soldiers had access to the National Soldiers’ Home, established at the Chesapeake Military Hospital site. The first member of the Soldiers’ Home to be buried in the Hampton National Cemetery occurred on May 14, 1871. The soldier was Levi Jones, a white man and veteran of Company E, 5th U.S. Colored Infantry. Postwar time did not honor the rights of the freedmen. Contraband families had constructed homes and farmed land vacated by Confederate sympathizers; nevertheless, following the war’s end, their settlements were returned to previous owners. Support was to be provided by the American Missionary Association (AMA) who came to Hampton, establishing schools and teaching Christian philosophy and spirituality. Education would be the answer for freedmen seeking true independence and self-sufficiency.
Eman cipat ion of t h e B o d y a n d M i n d – T r a i n i n g “ th e H e ad, t h e Ha n d a n d th e H e a rt” Although it was against Virginia law to teach reading and writing skills to blacks prior to the Civil War, opportunities existed in Hampton for many to learn. Before the war, Mary Peake, a free-born black woman and prominent educator, taught slaves in her home. By 1861, Mrs. Peake was teaching some 50 pupils, both children and adults. Mary Peake’s classes initially took place beneath the limbs of the Emancipation Oak. Today the tree is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
them was the Butler School, built by and named after General Benjamin Butler, located on County Street outside the perimeter of Camp Hamilton’s former site.
As the number of contrabands at Fort Monroe grew, General Butler made efforts to feed, clothe, and employ them. Schools were started at Fort Monroe, Camp Hamilton, Chesapeake Female College and in the home of former President Tyler on East Queen Street. The largest of the schools, Courtyard School, was built amid the ruins of Hampton’s Courthouse, burned in August 1861 along with almost all of the town’s buildings. By September 1861, authorities contacted Lewis Tappan of the American Missionary Association (AMA) in the North. The AMA sent Rev. Lewis Lockwood to Hampton to help with the growing number of contrabands, many of whom were women, children, and the elderly. Additional schools were established and hospitals were organized.
Ro senwald Scho o ls in Ham pt o n
By January 1863, the month President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was delivered, six black schools had been constructed in Hampton. Among
There were many one-room schoolhouses including The Little Red School, whose structure can be seen adjacent to Emancipation Oak on the Hampton University campus. The building, while original, was moved from another location on campus.
The Rosenwald Foundation was set up by Julius Rosenwald, the son of an immigrant clothier, who became president of Sears Roebuck and a passionate believer in helping educate southern black children. At the urging of Booker T. Washington, he provided funds for a pilot program involving six rural Alabama schools. When they proved to be successful, he set up the fund that eventually built thousands of schools throughout the South. Local school boards were required to raise matching funds and often did so by donating land and labor to build the schools.
Buck ro e Scho o l In 1896 the Elizabeth City County Chesapeake District School Board purchased a 1.05-acre lot at the intersection of Buckroe Avenue and Old Buckroe Road. Nearby were Antioch Baptist Church and a community that lived along present-day Franktown Road. The school for first through seventh grades opened the following year. In 1920, the school board applied for funds from the Rosenwald Foundation to build a replacement school. By 1938, upgrades were begun, including a new roof, new paint and two wash basins. In 1945, Buckroe School closed and children were bussed past their old school to the George P. Phenix School on the campus of Hampton Institute.
There were many one-room schoolhouses including The Little Red School, whose structure can be seen adjacent to Emancipation Oak on the Hampton University campus. The building, while original, was moved from another location on campus.
Emancipation Oak A living symbol of freedom for African Americans and a National Historic Landmark, the expansive Emancipation Oak grows at the entrance to Hampton University. President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation issued on January 1, 1863 formalized the abolishment of slavery in the states that had seceded from the Union. It was beneath its embracing branches that residents gathered to hear for the first time a reading of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The announcement was interpreted as a promise that freedom would come. Mary Peake taught school, against Virginia law, to free and enslaved blacks in the tree’s shade prior to the Civil War. Today, Emancipation Oak is a popular site for special Hampton University services, social gatherings and picnics. At 98 feet in diameter and designated as one of the “Ten Great Trees of the World” by the National Geographic Society, it continues to be a source of inspiration for all Hamptonians. (Located within view of the parking lot on Emancipation Drive. It is near the intersection with Tyler Road adjacent to the entrance to the university campus.) drive-by site, walking site, motorcoach accessible
Unio n St reet Scho o l The Union Street School, which opened in 1898, had many lives. First, it served elementary students who attended classes in a wooden, unlit schoolhouse heated by wood stoves. With five teachers, it was the largest of seven Elizabeth City County schools for African American children. When Y. T. Thomas became principal in 1917, Union Street began a gradual transformation to a high school, with upper grade classes added year by year while grammar school classes continued. With the aid of Rosenwald Funds, the transformation to a high school was completed by 1929. Just two years later another change was made as high school students began attending the George P. Phenix School on the grounds of Hampton Institute. By 1932, Union Street was again an elementary school and the first class graduated from Phenix High School. A free night school to help combat illiteracy was begun that year with the help of Rosenwald funds. By then, the school consisted of one brick and two wooden buildings, with about 800 students. A federal grant from the Public Works Administration in 1934 enabled construction of an addition. The school, named for the street that honored the Union, was finally closed in 1966, nearly seven decades after it opened.
G r ee nbr ia r E l em e n ta ry S c h o o l The first one-room Greenbriar School was built in 1910. On Nov. 21, 1930, Greenbriar Elementary School, a sixroom building, was dedicated as the 5000th school structure constructed with the help of the Julius Rosenwald Fund. As enrollment grew, eventually reaching 494 students, four additions were made. In 1970, the original Greenbriar Elementary School was demolished, but the additions survived and have been used by the Boys and Girls Clubs.
The V ir g inia Sch o o l fo r t h e D e a f, Bli n d a nd M u lt i - D i sa b le d To educate African-American children with disabilities, William and Mary Alice Ritter founded this school in 1906. It was the first state-supported institution of its kind. The 80-acre campus was located on Shell Road. In 2008, after 99 years of educational programs dedicated to children with special needs, the Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Disabled in Hampton closed its doors. The school originally operated with one building, 24 pupils and three teachers. When it opened, a school that had been established in 1838 for deaf and blind children already existed in Staunton, Virginia. William and Mary Alice Ritter graduated from the Staunton school in the 1890s. The couple moved to Hampton with the intention of establishing a second Virginia school for the deaf and blind. Mr. Ritter was deaf and worked as a printer for the large Hampton newspaper, the Hampton Monitor. At the time, a gentleman named Harry R. Houston was managing editor and proprietor of the paper. Houston was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1905 and, in 1906, Houston successfully introduced a bill to the General Assembly that established the Virginia School for Deaf and Blind Children in Hampton. The school was to serve the special needs of African American children. Years later, the school was opened to all deaf and blind children, regardless of race. Elementary education and trade skills were taught. Students tended to crops and livestock and helped with building construction on campus. By 1913, over 100 students attended the school. While similar to the public school curriculum, the school specialized in auditory training, speech, speech reading for the deaf, Braille and mobility
training for the blind. The school also added a deaf-blind division, the only one in the state. In 2007, the General Assembly and the State Board of Education consolidated the Hampton school with the still-operating Staunton school. The two Virginia schools merged and the Hampton school was shuttered. Forty students were enrolled in the Hampton school at the time, most of whom were graduating, and the remaining fourteen were transferred to the other facility. Site of Virginia School for the Deaf, Blind and Multi-Disabled at Hampton, 700 Shell Road, Hampton, VA 23661. (Take I-664 to exit 3, follow Aberdeen Road, turn left onto Pembroke Avenue, turn left onto Shell Road. School site is located on the corner.) drive-by site
Ham pt o n Universit y Situated on 204 acres on the shore of the scenic Hampton River, Hampton University opened in 1868 as the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Its mission was the education of thousands of newly freed Southern slaves. Under the leadership of Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, former superintendent of the Hampton area Freedman’s Bureau, the school trained and provided African Americans with manual and academic skills. Using $19,000 acquired from the American Missionary Association, the school opened with two teachers and 15 pupils with Armstrong as principal. Armstrong’s philosophy emphasized the training of the head, the hands, and the heart. Upon graduation, many students shared their knowledge, teaching in communities throughout the South. For example, Booker T. Washington graduated from Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute in 1875. He later applied the institute’s philosophies as founder of the Tuskegee Institute. The students contributed to the construction of several campus buildings and many Hampton homes. Students made bricks and provided labor. The Hampton Singers, students of the university, performed throughout the MidAtlantic raising funds for campus construction.
Hampton University By 1878, in an agreement with the federal government, the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute extended its innovative education program to include Native Americans. Seventeen young captives of the 1873 Indian Wars arrived from Kiowa and Cheyenne reservations. The university program, supported by the federal government, served as an effort to assimilate the students into mainstream society. The program drew an additional 1,300 members of more than 65 tribes to Hampton over the years, until it ended in 1923. The school’s name was changed to Hampton Institute in 1930 and Hampton University in 1984. Today, Hampton University is one of the nation’s topranked private universities and enrolls approximately 6,000 students from 50 countries. The waterfront campus contains 110 buildings, which include the following National Historic Landmarks: Academy Building (1881), Virginia-Cleveland Hall (1874), Memorial Chapel (1886), Mansion House (1828) and Wigwam Building (1878). The sixth National Historic Landmark on campus is Emancipation Oak, whose age is unknown. (From Interstate 64, take exit 267 to Hampton University. Enter campus by turning left from Tyler Street onto Soldiers Home Road. A security officer will provide a campus pass and directions. Suggested driving tour time for campus sites: 30 minutes. Allow additional time for stops at Emancipation Oak, Memorial Chapel, Booker T. Washington Memorial Garden & Statue and Hampton University Museum.) Driving tour, walking site, motorcoach accessible
Reserve driving tour through Hampton University Museum at 757/727-5308.
Sit e o f Dixie Ho spital A training school for Black nurses was established in 1890 at Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute when one of its teachers, Alice Mabel Bacon, saw that African Americans needed formal nursing skills to tend to their families. The 10-bed, two-ward hospital was affectionately named “Dixie,” after the horse Alice rode to visit the sick. In 1892, the Virginia General Assembly granted the school the formal title of Hampton Training School for Nurses. It was one of the earliest training schools for black nurses in the country. The school’s last class of nurses graduated in 1956. The location of the hospital changed several times throughout its history and the building was recently demolished. The hospital was moved to Victoria Boulevard in 1959 and became known as Hampton General Hospital in 1973. It was the precursor of Sentara Hampton, located on Coliseum Drive. The Hampton University School of Nursing presently offers degree programs in nursing on the undergraduate, graduate and PhD levels. Hampton University has continually provided professional nursing education at the Bachelor of Science degree level since 1943. The nursing doctoral program at Hampton is the first to be fully implemented by a historically black college or university. (From Tyler Street on the Hampton University campus, turn right on Queen Street.) drive-by site, walking site
Ne w indus t r ies pr ov i d e d j o b s o u ts i d e agr i c u ltu r e , inc l uding o p p o rtu n i ti e s f o r w o m e n Progress made in Elizabeth City County and Town of Hampton demonstrated what could be accomplished by African Americans on educational, religious, economic, and social fronts. Hence, African Americans entered the political arena. From 1869 through 1890 Elizabeth City County had at least one black representative in the state legislature at every session. African Americans held such county and city positions as sheriff, commissioner of the revenue, constable, and commonwealth attorney. During the 1880s, of the nine Hampton elective offices, African Americans held five. In addition to its political power, the late nineteenth century African American community had a major economic presence. New industries provided jobs outside agriculture, including opportunities for women. Shoemaking, seamstressing, baking, brick masonry, waiting tables, midwifery, carpentry and blacksmithing were among the trades. The seafood industry jobs like oystering, crab and oyster packing, and transportation jobs like teamster or driver offered self sufficiency, free of white supervision. African Americans such as Henry Armistead and John Mallory Phillips prospered as watermen, owning their own boats and oyster bed leasing rights. As seafood processing became a vital industry to Elizabeth City County and Hampton, it employed hundreds of African Americans. Tradesmen such as blacksmiths often owned their own businesses and a large African American mercantile group served both races. African American professionals, including ministers, teachers, social workers, lawyers, doctors, and undertakers, many of whom had graduated from Hampton Institute and had continued their education, had a mostly black clientele. They were generally considered the community’s leaders.
Th e Black Business Dist rict The district was located from the beginning of Queen Street to west of Liberty (Armistead Avenue) and from King Street northward. It was largely located on the present site of today’s Downtown Hampton. Hundreds of black-owned businesses provided desired products and services. The Peoples Building & Loan was founded March 4, 1889 on King Street near First Baptist Church and lasted 102 years. A second bank, the Galilean Fishermen’s Consolidated Bank was on Queen Street. W.T. Smith & Sons Funeral Home (later renamed Smith Brothers) and the County Journal were located at the intersection of Lincoln and King streets. Other businesses providing goods and services included groceries, dry goods, beauticians, pharmacies, restaurants, dry cleaning, taxi cabs, butchers, and furniture sales, plus many others. The Lyric Theater, later replaced by the Basie Theater, featured popular African American films and performers.
Garden Cit y Garden City, founded in 1913, was an African American community of watermen, shipyard workers, farmers, and tradesmen. Garden City became so progressive during the era of Jim Crow and segregation that later university professionals opted to build their homes there. From 1940-1960, the community blossomed with black-owned businesses giving rise to some of Hampton’s early multimillionaires. Residents were particularly proud of their gardens and showcased them through the Federated Negro Garden Clubs of Virginia as early as 1932. The community members also organized to establish the Greenbriar School. The Garden City movement is an approach to urban planning introduced in 1898 by Sir Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. Garden Cit-
ies were intended to be planned, self-contained communities and the development plan was sold throughout Europe and America. A fully integrated venue for entertainment known as the “Sports Arena” hosting such artists as James Brown, Otis Redding, Bobby Womack, Ray Charles and others was located in Garden City, preceding the construction of Hampton Coliseum. Garden City resident Joseph King, visionary of the restoration and founder of the Garden City Cultural and Historical Society, became a successful businessman from the influence of growing up there. The Garden City neighborhood is located west of historic Olde Wythe and now included in the “Greater Wythe” planning district. The small community is bordered by Teach Street (often thought to be named for the infamous pirate Edward “Black Beard” Teach), Shell Road, Maryland Ave, and Pembroke Ave. The community is six blocks from the Hampton Roads harborfront where the Battle of the Ironclads occurred during the Civil War.
Old N o rth ham p t o n From its establishment in 1850, Old North Hampton was a community built on the premise that African Americans should strive to “own the land they lived on, educate their children, worship God, and be productive.” Its inhabitants engaged in livelihoods that supplied homes, food and education for the residents. For the men, farming, carpentry, and brick masonry were favored crafts, while the waterways offered the opportunity to be the captain of your own boat or work on someone else’s. For women it was teaching, nursing, midwifery or domestic work. There were also opportunities as crab pickers and oyster or clam shuckers. The youth were educated in community “nursery” schools, a oneroom school, and later Union Street School followed by Phenix High School on the Hampton University campus. Old North Hampton was a “garden” community with nearly every home having a backyard garden and fruit trees to supply the family and to share with neighbors. Many of the families in North Hampton have had “home places” there for over 100 years. Old North Hampton, originally known simply as North Hampton, is bordered today by North King Street, Mercury Boulevard, Armistead Avenue and LaSalle Avenue.
T o urism and Bay Sho re Beach The privately owned Hygeia and Chamberlin hotels at Fort Monroe employed many African Americans. Desiring to have a vacation resort by the sea for their own people, a group of African American leaders in Hampton formed the Bay Shore Hotel Company in 1897 and the next year bought beachfront land adjacent to Buckroe Beach, south of the fishing pier. The effort was led by Frank Banks of Hampton Institute. Bay Shore Beach and Resort, considered the first vacation spot for blacks in the South, attracted thousands of vacationers from the mid-Atlantic region, including hundreds who came by excursion train from Richmond. There was an amusement park with rides like the “Dixie Flyer” rollercoaster and a carousel. What began as a four-room cottage in 1898 grew into a four-story beachfront hotel with 70 rooms and long porches facing the water. There was a dance hall that brought in famous entertainers like Cab Calloway, James Brown and Dizzy Gillespie. On August 23, 1933 a major hurricane decimated the resort. It was later rebuilt by the New Bay Shore Cooperation and the new Bay Shore Amusement Park operated well into the late 1960s. In 1973 the directors sold the property to private developers, but Bay Shore’s existence continues to hold a memorable place in the history of Hampton. bay shore beach drive-by site, walking site
Today, privately owned homes and vacation cottages dot the shoreline. Buckroe Beach is a popular public park for visitors who enjoy swimming, fishing and beach-exploration. Family-friendly music concerts are offered during the summer months. (From Interstate 64, take exit 268 north and follow signs to Buckroe Park. Open daily.)
The T r u s ty H ous e Built in 1897 and located at 76 West County Street, this charming Phoebus Victorian home was constructed by William H. Trusty (1862-1902), an affluent African American business owner and a civic leader. Voted onto the Phoebus town council at the turn of the century, Trusty was one of the first African Americans to be so elected. Upon his death in 1902, the home was inherited by his wife and was later occupied by other relatives. Community preservation efforts saved the home from destruction in the mid-70s. The home is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. The home is privately owned and not open to the public.
Soc i a l Serv ic es Janie Porter Barrett, an 1884 Hampton Institute graduate, formed the Locust Street Social Settlement in 1890. The settlement’s child welfare department provided young mothers and children with guidance. When rescuing black children from jails, Barrett personally petitioned judges to release them into her custody. Often they stayed in her home, or she placed them in the Weaver Orphan Home. Barrett also formed the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in 1908 at Bethel AME Church in Hampton. She served as its first president until 1932. The association was an umbrella for club activity throughout the state. Each club was committed to at least one social service project annually for the community, city, state, or an individual. The State Federation emphasized voter registration, African American history, and other areas of vital importance to family life, and conducted statewide leadership workshops yearly. College scholarships were awarded to outstanding, deserving high school graduates. Her work with young girls led the Federation to found the Industrial Home for Colored Girls in 1915 in Hanover County, where Barrett was Superintendent for a quarter century. It exists today as the Barrett Learning Correctional Center for young men and women. Also serving the needs of widows and children, the Reverend W.B. Weaver and his wife, Anna Belle Weaver, changed the lives of hundreds by operating the Weaver Orphan Home on 25 acres on West Queen Street (where McDonald’s Garden Center is today). From 1904 to 1965 the Weaver Orphan Home provided a refuge for black orphans on a 25-acre farm located near here on what is now West Queen Street. It housed about 20 to 30 children at any given time. Difficult financial circumstances meant continuous fund-raising, and merchants, grocers, church congregations, sororities, and other members of the local African American community were very generous. One friend donated two cows, volunteers built a barn, and the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute faculty gave a workhorse. The children did much of the work around the farm and dormitory, raised their own food, developed habits of discipline, and gained the satisfaction of jobs well done. Schooling also took place at the home. A freed slave, Mrs. Weaver had graduated from Hampton Institute in 1881 and was introduced to Rev. Weaver through her brother, his classmate of 1875 at the same school. He had already established the Gloucester Training School and the Cappahosic Academy prior to settling in Hampton. After the Weavers passed on, their daughter Anna W. Fagin and her husband continued the orphanage for several more years. Many young residents went on to lead distinguished lives.
St. John’s Church
D eep R oot s o f R e li g i o u s E x p r e ssi o n Following the Civil War, many African Americans in Hampton received their education in concert with religious studies through the programs of the American Missionary Association, a philanthropic society dedicated to teaching people of color. But while the presence of the association brought new religious ideas to their communities, Hampton’s African American population soon broke away. Forming their own congregations, they were able to worship more inclusively. The churches were also the source of moral and social advancement, initiating and sustaining temperance organizations, fraternal groups, a YMCA, and a host of social gatherings. Membership in one of the eight churches operating in the 1880’s gave a stamp of social acceptability. The following churches are significant because they represent some of Hampton’s first African American sanctuaries. These are just a few of more than 100 Hampton churches existing today that we invite you to explore during your visit.
St. Jo h n’ s E pis c o pa l Ch urc h a n d S t. Cyprian’ s Episco pal Church The year 1610 is significant for Hamptonians for two reasons. It marks the time from which the first English-speaking settlement was established on land that would become Hampton. It also marks the year that Elizabeth City Parish was formed. The oldest English-speaking parish in continuous service in America, the parish that would become that of St. John’s Episcopal Church in 1728, helped other Episcopal parishes organize, including the first black Episcopal congregation in Hampton, that of St. Cyprian Episcopal Church. Formed in 1905, St. Cyprian’s group was small at first, numbering just 10, and moved from location to location until a permanent sanctuary could be raised. For a short time the black congregation met in the parish hall at St. John’s. In 1907, the first St. Cyprian’s Church was built on Lincoln Street and remained there until 1963, when it moved to a new church on the campus of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University). Today, the congregation resides at 1242 West Queen Street.
At St. John’s, look for the stained-glass window depicting the baptism of Pocahontas. It was given to the church by Native American students from the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute in 1887. (St. John’s Church is located at 100 West Queens Way, Hampton. 757/722-2567. From Interstate 64, take exit 267 toward Downtown. Turn right onto Eaton Street and left onto Queen’s Way. The sanctuary is open to visitors year-round, Mon., Wed., Fri. and Sat., 9:00 a.m. to Noon. Guided tours by appointment; no tours Sun. or Thurs. a.m. due to services. Closed major holidays. Suggested tour time: 30 minutes.) St. John’s Church—tour site, motorcoach accessible; Open to visitors for Sunday services
(St. Cyprian’s Church is located at 1242 West Queen Street, Hampton. 757/723-8253. From Interstate 64, take exit 267 toward Downtown. Continue straight on Settlers Landing Road, crossing the intersection with Pembroke Ave. St. Cyprians will be located immediately on the right. Visitors are welcome to attend Sunday services.) St. Cyprian’s – drive-by, motorcoach accessible; Open to visitors for Sunday services
Li ttl e E ng l a nd Chap e l Little England Chapel is Virginia’s only known African American missionary chapel. The forerunner of the Chapel was Ocean Cottage School, a “Sunday School” established in the community of Newtown by George C. Rowe in 1877. What began with three students attending Sunday classes became so popular that William Armstrong, Samuel Chapman Armstrong’s brother, offered to build a chapel and contributed funds to support a teacher. Built around 1879, the church served black landowners who had purchased lots and built homes in the integrated Hampton community, Newtown. During its more than 100-year history, it served as a non-denominational church, Sunday school, sewing school, Bible study center, meeting facility and the base from which extensive missionary work was conducted. Little England Chapel was vacated in 1989. After an extensive twoyear renovation it reopened in 1993. The chapel offers a permanent exhibit and video program to help visitors understand the religious lives of post-Civil War blacks in Virginia. Little England Chapel is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Little England Chapel
(Take I-64, exit 267 and turn onto Settlers Landing Road toward downtown Hampton; Continue to Kecoughtan Road and turn left; turn left onto Ivy Home Road; church is located on the corner. Located at 4100 Kecoughtan Road, Hampton. 757/728-1710. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and other days by appointment. Free admission; donations accepted. Suggested tour time: 30 minutes.) tour-site, motorcoach accessible
Queen St reet Ba pt ist Church First known as Second Baptist (considered a branch of First Baptist Church of Williamsburg, Virginia), Queen Street Church was established in 1865 by African Americans from Williamsburg. The group worshiped at various locations including the Hampton Court House and at Butler School near the site of Emancipation Oak. Eventually land was purchased and the church was raised “in town” before eventually moving to its present address on West Queens Way in 1893. Rev. Thomas H. Shorts, who served as pastor from 1883 to 1917, founded the Galilean Fisherman’s Consolidated Bank and served as Vice President of People’s Building and Loan. (Take I-64 to exit 267. Follow Settlers Landing Road through downtown Hampton; continue to Armistead Avenue, turn right. Turn right on Queens Way. Located at 190 West Queens Way, Downtown Hampton. 757/723-6630) drive-by site; open to visitors for Sunday services
Memo r ia l Chu r ch Located on the campus of Hampton University, Memorial Church is an Italian-Romanesque structure that features an 150-foot tower and four-faced illuminated clock. Built in 1886, the elaborate building was designed by New York architect J.C. Cady. It is still used as a college sanctuary for non-denominational religious services. The chapel is one of six National Historic Landmarks on campus. The pews are made of yellow pine and were built by Hampton trade school students. Carved African American and Native American faces adorn the trim throughout the chapel. (On Shore Drive on the Hampton University campus. Coordinate tour through the Hampton University Museum. 757/727-5308) drive-by site, walking site, motorcoach accessible; open To visitors for Sunday services
Fi rst Baptis t Ch urc h First Baptist Church grew out of Hampton Baptist Church, the city’s oldest Baptist congregation, dating from 1791. Before the Civil War, whites and blacks shared the same
worship service, with white parishioners utilizing the main sanctuary while blacks worshiped from the balcony. In 1863, black churchgoers separated from the parent body to establish their own place of worship. Land was cleared near Washington and Bailey streets (known then as the “Pee Dee” section of Hampton), and construction of the first small frame church was completed in 1865. First Baptist would move once more before opening its doors in a permanent location at North King Street in 1889. It is believed that General Samuel Chapman Armstrong of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute laid the cornerstone of the building. First Baptist’s first minister was Reverend Zechariah Evans. The church’s third pastor, Rev. Richard Spiller, also served as the first president of the People’s Building and Loan Association. (Take Interstate 64, exit 267. From I-64 west, turn left at the exit; from I-64 east, turn right off the exit. Continue over Hampton River, past Radisson Hotel. Turn right on King Street. Located at 229 North King Street in downtown Hampton. 757/723-0988) drive-by site; open to visitors for Sunday services
Zio n Ba pt ist Church Zion Baptist Church was also established in 1863. The congregation held house-to-house prayer meetings and open-air assemblies. The Reverend William Thornton, a former slave, was its first and only pastor for 39 years. Drawn by his powerful sermons, membership soon grew and a larger structure was raised on County Road (now County Street) in 1869 following the $80 purchase of a half-acre from the American Missionary Association. Zion Baptist Church was instrumental in organizing several other churches in Hampton as well as the Norfolk Union Association. The present building was completed in 1951. (Take Interstate 64, exit 267. From I-64 West, turn right at the exit; from I-64 East, turn left off the exit. From Woodland Road, turn right onto County Street. Located at 125 West County Street, Phoebus section of Hampton. 757/723-3442) Memorial Church is an Italian-Romanesque structure that features a 150-foot tower and four-faced illuminated clock.
drive-by site; open to visitors for Sunday services
Hampton University Museum
Heritage Sites to See Sometimes a city’s intriguing sites are not immediately visible. Perhaps it’s a private, historic home neatly hidden on a seldom-traveled street or a remote stretch of sandy shoreline that once held a prominent local landmark. The following listings represent Hampton’s renowned and “off-the-beaten-path” heritage sites, some still standing, others not. A visit to any one compliments your Hampton heritage tour. We recommend them all.
Hampto n H is tory M us e um As the history of Hampton parallels major events in American history, so too is the city’s history intertwined with the story of African Americans in this country. The Hampton History Museum recounts this inspiring story in ten galleries that span from the city’s early inhabitance by the Kecoughtan Indians through the 20th century, illuminating the contributions of African Americans throughout. In addition, exhibitions change throughout the year providing a unique focus on aspects of history and are featured in a changing gallery on the second floor. Dedicated heritage tours may be arranged by contacting the museum’s educator. The museum is also the home of the Hampton Visitor Center. (120 Old Hampton Lane, Hampton. 757/727-1610, www.hampton1610.com. From Interstate 64, take exit 267. Continue on Settlers Landing Road over the Hampton River, past the Virginia Air & Space Center, and turn right onto History Museum Way. Turn right to park free-of-charge in the Settlers Landing Parking Garage. The Hampton History Museum is located at the intersection of History Museum Lane and Old Hampton Lane.) tour and walking site, handicap accessible, motorcoach accessible
Casemate Museum, a National Historic Landmark, features the cell in which Confederate President Jefferson Davis was held for treason following the Civil War.
Fort M o nr oe at O l d P o i n t C o mfo rt Among the largest stone forts ever built in the United States, Fort Monroe is a National Monument, a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register. Military prisoners, civilian artisans and slaves that had been hired from their masters for the job, provided labor for the fort’s construction. The post insignia contains the motto “Freedom’s Fortress,” a fitting reminder of its past. Please see pages 4-6 for additional Fort Monroe history. (From Interstate 64, take exit 268 to Mallory Street. Turn right on Mellen Street and follow to Fort Monroe. Suggested driving tour time: 30 minutes.) drive-by and walking site, motorcoach accessible
Case m ate M u s eu m at F o rt M o n ro e Fort Monroe’s fascinating history is interpreted for visitors through weaponry, uniform and Civil War exhibits at the Casemate Museum, located within the historic walls of the fort. The National Historic Landmark features the cell in which Confederate President Jefferson Davis was held following the Civil War for treason, mistreatment of Union prisoners, and complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Additional historic sites to note within the stone-fort walls include the Chapel of the Centurion, Lieutenant Robert E. Lee’s living quarters, the Flag Bastion atop the fort walls and Quarters One, the oldest Army constructed building at Fort Monroe and the quarters where Abraham Lincoln stayed when he visited the post to strategize on how to take Norfolk during the Civil War. Guided tours of the museum and grounds are available to groups of 10 people or more who schedule their visit two weeks in advance. A contribution to the Casemate Museum Foundation is appreciated. (Casemate 20, Bernard Road, Fort Monroe. 757/7883391. Automobiles may enter through one of the stonefort entrances and follow the signs to the Casemate Museum. Motorcoaches may allow passengers to disembark at the footbridge located on Ingalls St. Passengers may easily cross the moat on foot and walk through the passageway in the fort wall to reach the museum’s entrance. Open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s days. Suggested tour time: 1 to 1 ½ hours for exhibits; 1 ½ to 2 hours for exhibits and outside historic sites.) tour site, walking site, handicapped accessible; motorcoach parking outside fort’s stone walls
Hampto n U niv er s i t y M us e um One of America’s most impressive collections of multicultural art is located on the Hampton University campus. Founded in 1868, it is the nation’s oldest African American museum and one of the oldest museums in Virginia. Its holdings represent the first assemblage of African art collected by African American William H. Shepperd, and it is the first institution to establish a collection of African American artists. The museum’s focus turned to the fine arts in 1894 with the acquisition of Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Banjo Lesson. Jacob Lawrence, John Biggers, Samella Lewis, Elizabeth Catlett…these are just a few of the artists whose works make up the Fine Arts Collection. The museum’s art holdings of the Harlem Renaissance period, featuring works by William H. Johnson and Augusta Savage, and several others, are among the nation’s finest. The museum’s collection of more than 9,000 objects and works of art represents cultures and people from around the world. A changing gallery highlights the works of both new and established artists. The museum shop contains an outstanding selection of jewelry, crafts, books and reproduction prints. (The Huntington Building is on Frissell Avenue on the Hampton University campus. Open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4:00 p.m. Closed major and campus holidays. Free admission. Suggested tour time: 1 hour. 757/727-5308) tour site, motorcoach accessible, handicapped accessible
Book er T. Washi n g t o n M e mo ri a l G a r den and S tatu e A commanding statue of one of the school’s most famous graduates stands on the campus of Hampton University. A former slave, Booker T. Washington was a determined student and gifted leader. Washington walked from his home in southwest Virginia to reach Hampton and then worked to pay for his education, initiating a campus work-
Camp Hamilton disbanded in 1865 and in 1880 the area became known as Chesapeake City. The area was incorporated as the town of Phoebus in 1900 and became part of the City of Hampton in 1952. Today, Phoebus is a lively district that serves as the gateway to Fort Monroe. Phoebus presents the visitor with eclectic shopping and dining, as well as performances at the renowned American Theatre.
study program. He graduated among the class of 1875. Washington worked with assimilating Native Americans into the Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute program in 1878. He was the first African American to work at the Institute as a paid member of the staff. He later moved to Alabama to open what would be the prestigious Tuskegee Institute. Surrounded by a memorial garden, the statue is a reminder of his outstanding academic achievements and inspiring accomplishments. (On Marshall Avenue on the Hampton University campus. Open year-round, from dawn to dusk.)
drive-by site, walking site, motorcoach accessible
John B igg er s ’ H a mp t o n M ura l s
A b erdeen Gardens Co m m unit y and
The 20 x 10 foot murals House of the Turtle and Tree House are the work of Dr. John Biggers and can be seen in the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library at Hampton University. Among the most renowned living American artists, Bigger enrolled in Hampton Institute in 1941, where he pursued a career in art. After he received his doctorate in art education from Penn State, he headed the art department at Texas Southern University until 1983. Biggers returned to Hampton in the early 1990s and worked on the murals for 14 months while serving as artist-in-residence. Many buildings on campus are illustrated in the murals, which are, according to Biggers, a metaphor for the human experience of growing, learning and thinking.
Hist o ric Museum
(On Tyler Street on the Hampton University campus. Campus open year-round; library hours may vary according to academic year. Call 757/727-5371 for operating hours.) tour site, motorcoach accessible, handicapped accessible
Vi rginia -C l ev el a n d Ha l l As a means for raising funds to support the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, General Samuel Chapman Armstrong organized the Hampton Singers, students who performed at choral concerts in the Northeast. Over a two-and-a-half year period, the Hampton Singers performed in more than 500 concerts. School officials say that these talented singers “sung up” the walls of one of the girls’ dormitories, Virginia Hall, because the funds raised by the group helped offset some of the construction costs. Designed by the renowned architect Richard Morris Hunt, this beautiful Victorian building was completed in 1874; Cleveland Hall was added in 1901. Virginia-Cleveland Hall is listed as one of the university’s six National Historic Landmarks. (From Tyler Street on the Hampton University campus, turn left onto Frissell Avenue. Virginia-Cleveland Hall is located on the circular drive, to the right of Ogden Hall. Campus open-year-round, from dawn to dusk.) drive-by site, walking site, motorcoach accessible
The spirit of the Aberdeen Gardens community, built “by blacks, for blacks,” as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Settlement, is celebrated with the Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum. Dedicated in September 2002, the museum represents original Aberdeen Garden dwellings. Construction of the 440-acre subdivision, begun in 1934 and completed in 1937, consisted of 158-single family homes along with gardens for sustenance, a school, and a commercial center. The Hampton Institute-initiated project was designed as a model other communities of African Americans could emulate. The planning, design, site preparation and construction were completed by an all-African-American work force. Hilyard R. Robinson, an African-American professor at Howard University, was the neighborhood’s architect. Charles S. Duke, a Civil Engineer, designed and managed construction. A typical house was made of handcrafted bricks, one and a half stories high in colonial revere architecture, with an attached garage. House plans were for three, four rooms and five rooms, which had a multipurpose room consisting of a living room, dining room and kitchen, and a bathroom. Plans with three and four rooms had two bedrooms. Plans with five rooms had three bedrooms with a separate living room. Each home had a large fenced-in yard for gardening and fruit trees. A community greenbelt was used for farming. The neighborhood received national attention when Eleanor Roosevelt visited it in 1938. Aberdeen Gardens was named Neighborhood of the Year by Neighborhoods USA in 2002 as a tribute to the spirit of partnership the community and the museum exemplify. The museum may be toured with advance appointment only. (57 N. Mary Peake Boulevard, Hampton. 757/251-2283 or 757/722-2345. From Interstate 64, take exit 263-A, and follow Mercury Blvd. Turn left onto Aberdeen Road and right into Aberdeen Gardens. Follow to Mary Peake Boulevard.) drive-by and tour site, handicap accessible, motorcoach parking
Aberdeen Gardens, “Built by blacks, for blacks.”
Vi rginia exhibit Air &chronicles S pa c e Cthe e n Tuskegee ter Permanent Airmen, the
first black to fly for the U.S. in wartime combat. The centeraviators is the visitor center for NASA Langley and Langley Air Force Base. The center’s programs highlight the contributions of African Americans in the fields of aeronautics and aviation. In 1917, Hampton Institute and other landowners sold acres to the government for construction of the nation’s first aeronautics laboratory. It was known as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), to become the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1958. Between 1941 and 1944, 30 black units of various types resided at Langley.
Permanent exhibit chronicles the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black aviators to fly for the U.S. in wartime combat.
The center features state-of-the-art space and aircraft exhibits, interactive displays and the five-story-high Riverside 3-D IMAX® Theater. A permanent exhibit chronicles the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black aviators to fly for the U.S. in wartime combat. Each February the center presents special programs, displays and films in recognition of Black History Month. (600 Settlers Landing Road, Hampton. 757/727-0900, 800/296-0800, www.vasc.org. From Interstate 64, take exit 267 toward Downtown Hampton. Continue over the Hampton River on Settlers Landing to the Virginia Air & Space Center. Parking is available on opposite side of the street in parking garage. Call for hours of operation and admission fees.) t
tour site, motorcoach accessible, handicap accessible
G r ee nl aw n M em o ri a l Park A ND
Elm ert o n Cem et ery wit h Mary Peake an d
Pleasa nt Shad e C e me t e ry
Ja nie Po rt er Ba rret t Grav e Sit es
Like the segregation laws that made them separate, Greenlawn Memorial Park and Pleasant Shade Cemetery have side-by-side stories to tell. Greenlawn, founded in 1888, was included in the National Register of Historic Places both for its Victorian style landscaping, which created the atmosphere of a public park, and for its association with the Civil War. Confederate prisoners were held at Newport News POW Camp next to what was then Camp Butler, where 163 of them died and were buried. During the economic development of Newport News Point in the 1890s, the bodies were re-interred at Greenlawn. A privately-funded obelisk was erected and, more recently, a tablet listing the names, ranks, and hometowns of the men was installed. Inscribed on the monument by Hampton’s Confederate veterans are the words, “A tribute from the hearts of surviving comrades.”
At Elmerton Cemetery, the diligent history enthusiast will find the gravesite of Mary Peake (1823-1862), an African American teacher who, against Virginia law, taught school to free and enslaved blacks before the Civil War. Her role as a prominent educator was publicly recognized on the 100th anniversary of her death, when a Hampton elementary school was named in her honor. Another grave site to seek is that of Janie Porter Barrett, an 1884 Hampton Institute graduate and activitist who worked on behalf of women and children, founding Locust Street Social Settlement in 1890, the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, and the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls in Hanover County, Virginia.
Three separate cemeteries were established for African American burials along Greenlawn’s eastern property line. The oldest is Mount Zion, begun in 1888 as part of Greenlawn. The others were Pleasant Shade, dating to 1909 and the first black-owned cemetery on the Peninsula, and Holly Grove, founded in 1918. Pleasant Shade is the resting place for many prominent African Americans, including Elder Solomon Lightfoot Micheau, founder of the Gospel Spreading Church and called the “Happy Am I” radio preacher. Others are Joseph T. Newsome, a prominent lawyer; Jessie M. Rattley, the first African American and the first woman to be mayor of Newport News; and John Ridley Sr., a founder of Crown Savings Bank, the first black-owned Newport News bank. (Take I-664, exit 3, turn left onto Aberdeen Rd.; Aberdeen Rd. turns right at Victoria Blvd. and becomes 27th Street; immediately turn right at Parish Avenue; enter Greenlawn Cemetery. Pleasant Shade Cemetery is adjacent to Greenlawn and is separated by the line of trees you will see to the east of the property. There is road access to Pleasant Shade but you may find it easier to exit Greenlawn at the back of the cemetery onto Shell Road/35th Street, turn right and immediately turn right into Pleasant Shade.) walking site; PARKING AVAILABLE
(Take I-64, exit 267, to Settlers Landing Road toward downtown. Turn right onto Eaton Street. Continue to Pembroke Avenue and turn left, turn right onto Wine Street; on-street parking.) walking site; limited perimeter parking
Ruppert L. Sargent Building A downtown Hampton municipal building was named for First Lieutenant Ruppert Leon Sargent. Born in Hampton, January 6, 1938, Sargent attended Phenix High School and completed two years of college at Hampton Institute prior to entering the Army in 1959. Lt. Sargent is the only Medal of Honor recipient to be born and raised in Hampton. He is buried in the Hampton National Cemetery. Lieutenant Sargent was killed on March 15, 1967 in Vietnam when he threw himself over two grenades tossed by a Viet Cong soldier. His gallant effort saved the lives of two comrades. In 1968 the recommendation for Sargent’s posthumous Medal of Honor was approved, making him the first Hamptonian officer to receive this most prestigious of all decorations. A bronze bust of Sargent created by African American artist Steve Prince, Sargent’s medals and a plaque recognizing his contribution to our nation are located in the building’s lobby. (From Interstate 64, take exit 267 to Downtown Hampton. From Settlers landing Road, turn right onto Merchant Lane and left onto Old Hampton Lane.) drive-by site; walking site; motorcoach accessible
The H a m pt o n R o a d s a re a o ffe rs a wealt h o f A frican A m erican heritag e si te s. Wh il e y o u ’ r e v i s i t i n g H a mp t o n , c onsider explo ring so m e o f t he excellent he r i tag e at t ra c t i o n s a n d l a ndm ark s in o ur neighb o ring cit ies. C ol on i a l W i l l i a m sb ur g– W il lia m s bu r g At Virginia’s reconstructed 18th century capital, you can see history through the eyes of the free and enslaved African Americans who made up one-half of the town’s population. Historical interpreters and craftspeople bring to life this remarkable chapter of American history. (800/228-8878 or 800/HISTORY)
Jam es to w n Se t tl e me n t– W il lia m s bu r g Learn of America’s first permanent English colony (1607) through comprehensive indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor re-creations of Powhatan Indian village, 1607 ships and colonial fort. The museum tells the stories of the cultures that converged in 17th-century Virginia, including the first Africans, who arrived in 1619. (888/593-4682; www.historyisfun.org)
Yor kto w n Vi c t o ry Ce n te r – Yor kto w n Gallery exhibits and outdoor recreated Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm chronicle the American Revolution and explore its impact on the population, including African Americans. (888/593-4682; www.historyisfun.org)
Th e N e w s o m e H o u se Muse um a nd C u ltu r a l C e n t e r – N e w p o rt N e w s This restored 1899 Victorian landmark was once the home of Joseph
Thomas Newsome, a prominent attorney, journalist and civil leader. For years his elegant Queen Anne residence served as the hub of the local black community from which Newsome led the fight for social justice within the Commonwealth. (2803 Oak Avenue, Newport News 757/247-2360 or 757/247-8950)
Jame s A. Fiel ds House– Ne w po rt News Fields (1844-1903) was an AfricanAmerican who became the first black Commonwealth’s Attorney for Warwick County (now Newport News). He was a teacher, lawyer, and member of the Virginia House of Delegates. The house served as Fields’ law office and primary residence from 1897-1903. Today, this restored home gives visitors a glimpse into the life of the African-American community in Newport News during the early 1900s. (617 27th Street, I-664, exit 6. 757/245-1991)
Le e H all Ma nsion– Ne w po rt News Completed in 1859, Lee Hall was home to affluent planter Robert Decauter Lee. One of the last remaining Antebellum homes on the Virginia Peninsula, Lee Hall was used as a headquarters by Confederate generals Joseph E. Johnston and John B. Magruder during April and May of 1862. (163 Yorktown Road, I-64, Exit 247. 757/888-3371)
Virginia Wa r Museum – Newport News Military history unfolds in the galleries of the Virginia War Museum, with more than 50,000 artifacts that document America’s wars from 1775 to the present. A permanent display interprets the role of the black soldier. (9285 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News 757/247-8523)
Bl ack Sol diers Monu m e n t – Norfol k Visit the Civil War Monument to African American Union soldiers and sailors located in Elmwood Cemetery. The soldier depicted represents the first African American Medal of Honor recipient, Sgt. William Carney. (Princess Anne Road, Norfolk)
Crispus At t ucks Cult ur a l Cent er–Norfol k This landmark was the center of entertainment for Norfolk’s African American community when it opened in 1919, featuring such entertainers as Cab Calloway, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters. Named for Crispus Attucks, who was killed in the Boston Massacre of 1770, the Center is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places. Now renovated to its former glory, the theater stands as a shining tribute to Norfolk’s cultural past and boasts a 675-seat theater, plus meeting and banquet facilities. (1010 Church St., Norfolk 757/623-1111)
Hampto n is d i s t i n g ui she d b y a n umb er o f A frican A m erican leaders who have li ve d, vi s ited , w or k e d o r s t ud i e d h e re . Th eir co nt rib ut io ns cleared pat hs fo r m an y that fo l l o we d a n d fo r t ho se who co nt inue t o fo rge ah ead. W il lia m T u c k e r Two of the original Africans to come to Virginia, Anthony and Isabell, became servants of Captain William Tucker commander of the fort at Point Comfort. Their child William became the first recorded baby of African descent to be baptized in English North America. The service was held on January 3, 1624.
C e sa r Ta rr a n t During the Revolutionary War, this Hampton slave successfully piloted an American schooner, the Patriot, into a Royal Navy vessel, rendering the British ship unnavigable. Tarrant, who was owned by Carter Tarrant, was freed from slavery on November 14, 1789, when the Virginia legislature passed an act that gave him freedom for his heroic efforts during the war. Hampton’s Cesar Tarrant Elementary School is named in his honor.
Mary P e a k e In 1861, Mary Peake began in Hampton what is believed to be the first organized effort to teach African Americans to read and write. A freeborn black, Peake rejected the laws that prohibited such teaching. Her role as a prominent educator was publicly recognized on the 100th anniversary of her death, when a Hampton elementary school was named in her honor. Her grave can be found at Elmerton Cemetery on Wine Street, north of Pembroke Avenue.
S he pard Ma l l ory, Frank Ba ker an d Ja mes Townsend Shortly after the onset of the Civil War, three enslaved men escaped and sought refuge at Fort Monroe, setting in motion a series of events that would have far-reaching consequences for African Americans. Arriving in May 1861, the three men purported to have been Shepard Mallory, Frank Baker and James Townsend, were given refuge by Major General Benjamin F. Butler under the declaration that they were “contraband of war.” Soon thousands of runaways journeyed to the Union post that had earned the nickname “Freedom’s Fortress.”
Bo o k e r Tal iaferro Washingt on One of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute’s most famous graduates and a former slave, Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington traveled to the Hampton school from southwest Virginia on foot and then worked as a janitor to pay for his education. He graduated in 1875. Washington helped integrate Native Americans into the Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute program in 1878. He later founded Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute.
Harriet Tubman Harriet Tubman’s efforts as one of the daring “conductors” of the Underground Railroad resulted in her guiding more than 300 slaves to safety, including her own parents, and earned her the nickname “Black Moses.” Following the war, she arrived in Hampton in 1865 to serve as a nurse to the former slaves who had made their way to Fort Monroe. Soon after, she was appointed to the position “Matron,” or nurse, of Hampton’s Colored Hospital by the Surgeon of the United States Army.
Wil l iam Roscoe Davis Born in the 1830s, Davis was raised in Norfolk and taught by his master to read and write. An original contraband, Davis escaped to Freedom’s Fortress. An eloquent speaker, Davis became a minister and progressive Hampton leader, speaking on tour nationally in effort to raise funds to benefit the American Missionary Association. Davis married Nancy Davis, sister of Thomas Peake, the husband of Mary Peake.
S a r ah C o l l i n s F e r n an di s A member of the Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute class of 1882, Collins Fernandis founded the first black social settlement house in the United States in Washington, D.C. She became the first black female social worker in the state of Maryland and established the Women’s Cooperative Civic League in Baltimore.
D r . W i l l i a m H . Sh e ppar d Hampton University’s distinguished museum, the oldest African American Museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in Virginia, has more than 9,000 artifacts and objects of art in its African American and Native-American collections. The strength and diversity of its African displays are largely due to Dr. William H. Sheppard, a black missionaryexplorer, Hampton Institute alumnus and internationally-known advocate for the rights of Africans. While he lived in the Congo Free State (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) between 1890 and 1910, he assembled a remarkable collection of African art from the Kuba people, 400 pieces of which were purchased from him by Hampton Institute in 1911.
W il lia m T r u s t y A respected businessman at the turn of the century, William Trusty served as a councilman in the Black Fifth Ward of Phoebus (an independent city that became part of Hampton in 1952). He was one of the first African Americans to be so elected.
Kat h e r i n e J o h n s o n An African American NASA Langley mathematician, Johnson chartered the courses of Alan Shepard, America’s first astronaut, in 1961, John Glenn in 1962 and Neil Armstrong in 1969.
Tuskegee Airmen The controversial Tuskegee Airmen Experiment, which cleared the way for African Americans to join ranks of the Army Air Force, was implemented in 1941 to prove blacks could fly combat missions. Dozens of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) students were recruited for their flight training at Tuskegee Army Airfield (TAAF) in Alabama. The first aviation cadet class completed training in March 1942. They were Captain Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., and Lieutenants Mac Ross, Lemeul R. Custis, Charles DeBow, Jr., and George S. Roberts. Nearly 1,000 black pilots were trained at TAAF but only 450 of the pilots served overseas in either the 99th Pursuit Squadron (later the 99th Fighter Squadron) or the 332nd Fighter Group. The remainder comprised the 477th Bomber Group and were either assigned as Instructor or Bomber Pilots. Throughout World War II, the Tuskegee Fighter Pilots participated in campaigns in North Africa, Sicily and Italy and earned one of two Distinguished Presidential Unit Citations for “extraordinary heroism” and “outstanding tactical air support” while flying the longest WW II escort mission to Berlin, Germany on March 24, 1945. The Tuskegee Fighter Pilots never lost a single aircraft during this escort mission; a record unmatched by white fighter pilots that averaged 25 bomber losses per day at the time. The Tuskegee Airmen Experiment was deemed a great success as the Airmen flew over 15,000 sorties and more than 1,500 missions. It has been said these Airmen claimed a double victory as they fought two wars - one against a Nazi military force overseas and the other against racism at home and abroad. Many Tuskegee Airmen retired in Hampton after serving in WW II. Seven were on-hand in Washington, D.C. to receive the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 and four were present in the viewing of George Lucas’ Red Tails 2012 film. Harry Truman’s Executive Order 9981 in 1948 integrated the military. To continue the famed legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen through today’s adults and youths, there is an exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen on display at the Virginia Air & Space Center and there is a chartered organization called the Tidewater Chapter – Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
Janie P o rt e r Ba rr e tt
Br uc e Robinson
Dr. Wil l iam H. Harvey
An 1884 Hampton Institute graduate, Barrett formed the Locust Street Social Settlement in 1890. The settlement’s child welfare department provided young mothers and children with guidance. Barrett was a founding member of the of the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, an organization that remains today. In 1915, Barrett opened the Virginia Industrial School for Colored Girls in Hanover County, Virginia. It is now named in her honor. She is buried in Elmerton Cemetery.
Stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Robinson was the installation’s first African American to be appointed command chief master sergeant.
Serving as university president from 1978 to present, Dr. Harvey has served the longest of any of the institution’s principals and presidents and is one of the longest serving sitting University presidents in the United States. In 1984, under his leadership, the school’s named changed to Hampton University. In 2010, Hampton University opened the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, located at 40 Enterprise Parkway Hampton, VA 23666.
D r . Ge o r g e P e r l e y Ph e n i x In 1930, as Hampton Institute achieved formal accreditation, Phenix was the first person to hold the title of president of Hampton Institute. Initially located on the Hampton Institute campus, the George P. Phenix Training School, named in Phenix’s honor, operated from 1932 to 1968 providing education for elementary and secondary students. The school’s final location was on LaSalle Avenue. During integration, the Phenix High School was renamed Pembroke High School. The building currently is home to the Hampton location of the YMCA of Hampton Roads.
Al onz o G . M o r o n The eighth Hampton Institute president and the first African American president, Moron was a 1927 graduate of the school. He served as president from 1948 to 1959, and is credited with a distinguished tenure that included the phasing out of agricultural studies and trade skills and establishing the Institute’s academic program. Moron died in the Virgin Islands in 1971.
Dr . Je rome Hol l and Dr. Holland’s presidency is credited for Hampton Institute’s phenomenal growth from 1961 to 1971. New programs, including internships, exchange programs, accreditations, and nationally esteemed faculty, garnered national attention. In 1971, Holland was appointed ambassador to Sweden by President Richard Nixon.
Jo hn Ma l l ory Ph il l ips (I) In the late 1800s, the seafood industry became vital to Elizabeth City County and Hampton’s economic success. John Mallory Phillips was a successful African American who owned oyster grounds during a time when many other African Americans in the industry were employed by seafood processing plants.
Jo hn Ma l l ory Ph il l ips (II ) Grandson of his namesake, John Mallory Phillips served on Hampton City Council from 1974 to 1986 and became the first African American vice mayor, serving from 1982 to 1986.
Br e n da Whart on-Tayl or Serving two four-year terms beginning in 1984, Ms. Wharton-Taylor was the first African American woman to serve on Hampton City Council.
Dr. Ma ry T. Christ ian A Hampton University professor, in 1975 Dr. Christian was the first African American woman to serve on the Hampton school board and, in 1986, became Hampton’s first African American to become a state representative in post-Reconstruction.
Dr. Ma mie Locke Serving on Hampton City Council from 1996 to 2004, Dr. Locke was the first African American mayor of the City of Hampton. In 2004, Dr. Locke became Virginia’s first African American female state senator.
Congress man Robert C . “Bobby” Scot t Bobby Scott was the first African American congressional representative to be elected to office since Reconstruction. A Newport News native, Scott served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1979 to 1983, in the Virginia State Senate from 1983 to 1992, and has served as a member of Congress since 1992. He represents Virginia’s 3rd District, which includes portions of Hampton and portions of other cities from Richmond to Norfolk, Virginia.
One-Day Itinerary A fr ic a n A m e r i c a n H e r i tage
Arrive in Hampton and start with the Hampton University Museum, one of the most outstanding multicultural museums in the country. Founded in 1868, the same year as the university, it is among the oldest museums in Virginia. The collection of more than 9,000 objects and works of art is representative of cultures and nations from around the world and is the largest of its kind in southeastern United States.
10:00 a.m. Continue your Hampton University experience with a walking or driving tour of the waterfront campus. The campus contains six National Historic Landmarks. Among the campus sites included in the walking tour are Memorial Chapel, the Booker T. Washington Memorial Garden & Statue and Emancipation Oak, where Hampton residents gathered in 1863 to hear President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation read. 11:00 a.m.
Visit the Hampton History Museum. A tour through its galleries reveal stories of courageous African Americans in Hampton. From the Seventeenth Century Gallery with its commentary on the coming of the first Africans to Virginia in 1619, through the descriptions of black sailors on merchant ships and the bravery of the slave Cesar Tarrant in Virginia’s Revolutionary War Navy, each gallery addresses the contributions of African Americans to Hampton history. The Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction galleries highlight events impacted by African American presence in the Hampton area.
Enjoy lunch on your own in Hampton’s historic community of Phoebus. You’ll find quaint neighborhood restaurants from which to choose. Phoebus became part of the City of Hampton in 1952. The town was named for entrepreneur Harrison Phoebus in 1900. The area’s population surged during the Civil War. The Union encampment Camp Hamilton was located on the grounds of present-day Phoebus, as was Slabtown, a settlement of “contraband,” or slaves seeking shelter and freedom at the Fort Monroe.
Tour Historic Fort Monroe and the Casemate Museum. It was on this site in 1619 at Point Comfort that “twenty and odd” Africans first arrived on Virginia soil. More than two centuries later in May 1861, Major General Benjamin Butler accepted three runaway slaves under the declaration that they were “contraband of war” and would, therefore, not be returned to their owners. As news of this extraordinary development spread, Fort Monroe quickly earned the nickname “Freedom’s Fortress.”
2:00 p.m. Visit the Virginia Air & Space Center. An exhibit salutes the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black aviators to fly for the U.S. in wartime combat missions and chronicles the African American role in the Army Air Corps. Include an IMAX® film for a truly spectacular visit. 3:30 p.m.
Enjoy the history and a “hymn sing” at Little England Chapel. Built in 1879, the chapel is both a State and National Historic Landmark. It is the only known African missionary chapel in the state of Virginia. Original artifacts convey the history of the Newtown community, including the chapel’s original organ.
Discover Aberdeen Gardens, a historic neighborhood built for and by African Americans between 1934 and 1937 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal Settlement. The Aberdeen Gardens Museum preserves the neighborhood’s rich heritage and honors the original residents. The neighborhood was established to provide African American shipyard workers with improved housing and served as a model that other communities nationwide could emulate. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
5:45 p.m. Enjoy dinner at a Hampton restaurant before departing or checking into a Hampton hotel. Enhance your day tour experience by utilizing the services of a step-on guide. VMW Tours: 757/224-6361 www.vmwguidedtours.com Hidden Heritage Education: 757/570-4463
In Summary W e h o pe y o ur H ampto n j o ur n e y w i ll move you, enrich your l ife and, whil e inspirin g y o u t o r e a c h fo r the hi ghe st b r an ches, wil l remind you t o refl ect on t hose who have pr e vi o usly j ourneyed and creat ed t he pat h. For visitor and accommodation assistance, please contact the Hampton Visitor Center at 800/800-2202 or 757/727-1102. Visit Hampton online at www.VisitHampton.com.
Resour c es & B ib l i o g ra p hy
Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau gratefully acknowledges the assistance and contributions of the following people in producing this publication: Deborah Lee Bryant, Researcher and Historian; Michael Cobb and Luci Talbot Cochran, Hampton History Museum; Fritz Malval; Mary Lou Hultgren; Lillie Mae Jones; Dennis Mroczkowski; Kathy Rothrock; Jim Hollomon; Terri Toepke; Laurine Press; Yuri Milligan, Hampton University; Vanessa Thaxton-Ward, Hampton University Museum; Aberdeen Gardens Historic Foundation; John Quarstein; Calvin Pearson; Dr. Kanata Jackson; Moses L. Meadows, Farmington Civic Association; Dr. Mary T. Christian; Mary Johnson; Marsha Williams; Shawn Halifax, Fort Monroe Authority; National Park Service; Casemate Museum; Hugh Bassette; Chauncey Brown, Queen Street Baptist Church; Gaynell Drummond; Dr. Daniel L. Haulman, Organizational History Branch, Air Force Historical Research Agency, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, 36112-6424; John K. Thornton and Linda M. Heywood, Boston University; Dr. Colita Fairfax and Dr. Tommy Bogger, Norfolk State University; Nancy Egloff, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation; Dr. Bill Wiggins; Paul Clancy; Tidewater Chapter â€“ Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. and President T.J. Spann, P.O. Box 65605, Langley AFB, VA, 23665.
The following publications were utilized as historical references: The Negro in Virginia Compiled by Workers of the Writerâ€™ Program of the Work Projects Administration of Virginia with a foreward by Charles L. Perdue, Jr.,Blair, 1994. pp. 1-17. Virginia Landmarks in Black History Prepared by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, edited by Calder Loth. University Press of London, 1995. Fairfax, Colita N. Black America Series: Hampton Virginia Arcadia Publishing, 2005. Family Tree: A Guide to African American Heritage Sites in Hampton, VA Written by Elizabeth Evans, edited by Amy Jonak. Hampton Conventions & Tourism, 1996. The King of England requested that a muster be completed when he dissolved the Virginia Company in 1623. The muster was taken in January 1624.The 1624 Muster of the Virginia colony is housed at the Public Records Office, London, England. Along with the Records of the Virginia Company, a copy of the muster is also available at the Library of Virginia.
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O. St. John’s Episcopal Church and St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church P. Zion Baptist Church Q. Queen Street Baptist Church R. Little England Chapel S. Greenlawn & Pleasant Shade Cemeteries T. Elmerton Cemetery and Mary Peake Grave Site U. Bay Shore Beach V. Ruppert L. Sargent Building Accommodations 1. Arrow Inn 2. Candlewood Suites 3. Clarion Inn & Suites with Quality Inn
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Attractions A. Old Point Comfort, Fort Monroe B. Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe C. Hampton History Museum D. Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum E. Virginia Air & Space Center F. Memorial Church G. Hampton University Museum H. Booker T. Washington Memorial Garden and Statue I. Emancipation Oak J. John Biggers’ Hampton Murals K. Virginia-Cleveland Hall L. Site of Dixie Hospital M. Trusty House N. First Baptist Church
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Heritage Sites Map
64 Hampton Roads Tunnel to Norfolk & Va. Beach
4. Comfort Inn 5. Country Inn & Suites 6. Courtyard by Marriot 7. Days Inn Hampton 8. Relax Inn 9. Embassy Suites 10. Extended Stay America 11. Hampton Bay Plaza & Suites 12. Hampton Inn 13. Springhill Suites 14. Lady Neptune B&B 15. La Quinta Inn 16. Hilton Garden Inn 17. Magnolia House B&B Inn 18. Holiday Inn Express 19. Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel 20. Red Roof Inn
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21. Rodeway Inn & Suites 22. Savannah Suites 23. Super 8 Motel 24. Suburban Extended Stay 25. San Souci Motel 26. Travelodge Campgrounds 1. Gosnold’s Hope Park 2. Sandy Bottom Nature Park 3. The Colonies RV Park Golf 1. The Woodlands Golf Course 2. The Hamptons Golf Course
Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau 800/800.2202 â€˘ visithampton.com
A guide to African American heritage sites in Hampton Virginia.