Celebrating African-American History in Norfolk

The history of Greater Norfolk coincides with the birth and growth of our nation. And here in our city the lives, culture and historic contributions of African-Americans are celebrated year round, as well as during Black History Month. Here is a snapshot of what there is to see and do if you are traveling to Norfolk:

Happenings in Norfolk, February 2016

Film Viewing: "42"
Tidewater Community College
Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th Floor
February 3, 2016 at Noon

The story of Jackie Robinson from his signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1945 to his historic 1947 rookie season when he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Visit>>

African-American Art and Influences in the Chrysler Collection
Chrysler Museum of Art
February 7, 2016 at 1:00 PM

The Chrysler presents a special docent-led tour in honor of Black History Month that focuses on great works of art from African-American artists. Visit>>

Dancing Feet and Talking Drums
Chrysler Museum of Art
February 13, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Celebrate Black History Month with a free rhythmic performance by Atumpan: The Talking Drums. It's a theatrical, 21st-century version of the West African griot, suitable for the entire family. Visit>>

The Annual Black History Month Keynote Address: The Hip Hop & Obama Reader
Ted Constant Center, Big Blue Room
February 17, 2016 at 6:00 PM

In the annual Black History Month Keynote address, “The Hip Hop & Obama Reader,” authors Erik Nelson, Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond and Travis L. Gosa, Assistant Professor at Cornell University, will present an interactive discussion of hip hop and politics in the Obama era. Visit>>

“Norfolk 17”
Tidewater Community College
Norfolk Campus Student Center, 5th Floor
February 17, 2016 at Noon

Join the discussion with the “Norfolk 17,” the group of African-American teenagers who attended formerly all-white high schools in Norfolk, after a well-publicized standoff between the city and new federal desegregation laws in 1959. Learn about African-American heritage and its impact on today’s generation. Refreshments will be provided for active participants. Visit>>

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Chrysler Hall
February 26-27, 2016 at 8:00 PM
February 28, 2016 at 3:00 PM

In 2008, a U.S. Congressional resolution designated the Company as “a vital American cultural ambassador to the world” that celebrates the uniqueness of the African-American cultural experience and the preservation and enrichment of the American modern dance heritage.

Beauford Delaney, James Baldwin and the Civil Rights Movement in 1965
Chrysler Museum of Art
February 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

A special gallery talk celebrating Black History Month with the Chrysler's Brock Curator of American Art, Alex Mann, focusing on one of the museum's newest acquisitions. Mann will examine the portrait of James Baldwin created by Beauford Delaney, an American modernist painter remembered for his work with the Harlem Renaissance in the 1930s and 1940s. Visit>>

Norfolk Public Library
This February, Norfolk Public Library (NPL) has planned a variety of events in recognition of Black History Month. Events include an opening celebration honoring prominent African-Americans in the Hampton Roads community, a lecture by Dr. E. Curtis Alexander, an art exhibit highlighting the work of local artists, a variety of concerts, and more!  Visit>>

Sites to See Honoring African-American History in Norfolk

Cannonball TrailJourney to Freedom / Cannonball Trail
Follow the Cannonball Trail through 400 years of Norfolk and American History through this walk-it-yourself tour of heritage sites woven among featured attractions in downtown Norfolk, including the cities vital connection to Virginia’s Underground Railroad. Read more about this “story-telling” adventure and the history that is Norfolk.

Waterways to FreedomWaterways to Freedom
Experience the amazing story of Virginia's Underground Railroad Network through an online, interactive visual and audio tour, told through photographs and illustrations of wharves, steamships, and schooners on which fugitives departed, safe houses (especially churches and neighborhoods) that were used, conductors who assisted, and enslaved African-Americans who attempted the journey to freedom.

The Attucks TheatreThe Attucks Theatre
Built in 1919, the Attucks Theatre is the nation's oldest theatre designed, developed, financed and operated entirely by African-Americans. Once known as the "Apollo of the South," it has been restored to its original glory as a performing arts theatre.  CLICK HERE.

First Baptist Church of NorfolkFirst Baptist Church of Norfolk
The congregation of this historic church was established in 1800 as an interracial congregation including whites, free blacks and slaves. A registered national landmark, the church also includes a small museum of artifacts.

Civil War Trail at Freemason
Norfolk is a participant in the Virginia Civil War Trails program that links over 250 sites located throughout the Commonwealth. Visitors can trace Norfolk's Civil War heritage by visiting sites including Fort Norfolk, the historic Freemason District and the West Point Monument at Elmwood Cemetery that honors African-Americans who served during the Civil War.

West Point Monument at Elmwood Cemetery
Recognized as the South's only known tribute to African-American veterans of the Civil and Spanish American Wars, this Virginia Civil War Trail site is marked by a statue of Norfolk native and first African-American Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant William Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The Martin Luther King Jr. MemorialNorfolk State University
NSU is the 10th largest historically black university in the nation. The school is home to the Harrison B. Wilson Archives and African Art Gallery and a display of African-American history, folklore, and culture can be found at the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Towering over the corner of Brambleton Avenue and Church Street, the 83-foot granite monument stands as a lasting tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other slain civil rights leaders.