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Norfolk Public Library Recognizes 400 Years of African American History in Hampton Roads

Post Date:01/31/2019

Norfolk Public Library Recognizes 400 Years of African American History in Hampton Roads

NORFOLK, VA – This February, Norfolk Public Library recognizes the central role of African Americans in U.S. history and in Norfolk by offering a variety of special events and programs for all ages. 2019 marks the 400th year since the arrival of the first 20 plus Africans who were brought ashore in 1619 at Olde Point Comfort, which is present-day Fort Monroe in Hampton.  Within that journey is a storied and proud history of African Americans who helped make Norfolk the city it is today. 

We invite you to the opening celebration for African American History Month on Saturday, February 2nd at 2:00 p.m. at the Slover Library.  Norfolk State University Archivist Dr. Tommy Bogger will be the guest speaker, and guest performers include the Word Singers and Gordon Banks, Marvin Gaye’s former music director and Grammy winner. On Sunday, February 3rd at 3:00 p.m. at the Slover Library, we honor four distinguished African American trailblazers: George Banks, Geraldine Boone, Maizelle Brown, and Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose.

Throughout the month, Norfolk Public Library programming centers on the 2019 national theme, Black Migrations, which covers the movement of six million African Americans from the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that occurred between 1910 and 1970.  Programs will closely examine the black experience of migration on a local level and its impact on the city of Norfolk.

The Great Migration caused housing tensions, and many blacks ended up creating their own cities within big cities, fostering the growth of a new African American culture. The Library is offering a community series to delve into this topic ─ Norfolk Then and Now: Citizens Tell Their Stories. The series brings together citizens from Norfolk’s historic African American neighborhoods to share their stories and explore the character and fabric of the communities as they remember them.  Programs are scheduled at various locations throughout the city of Norfolk.

Highlights include story times, jazz concerts, theatrical and dance performances, and an African American family day. For a complete list of African American History Month events, go to


About Norfolk Public Library:

The Norfolk Public Library offers access to information, books, programs, and online resources to meet the needs of our diverse community for life-long learning. The library system consists of one main library, ten branch libraries, two anchor branch libraries, and a Bookmobile. All programs are FREE of charge. Visit or call us at (757) 664-READ for more information. NPL- Creating a City of Readers.