Mount Calvary Cemetery Preservation Project
Calling all Volunteers,
Church Groups, Boy Scouts, Masonic Lodges, Fraternities, Sororities, Civic Leagues, Students, and Teachers!
Wanted: Volunteers and donations for...
The preservation of the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex. Est. circa 1879 by slaves. A burial ground for historical Portsmouth African American citizens: lawyers, doctors, soldiers, preachers, teachers, et. al. It is a city owned cemetery of 4 different cemeteries: Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fisher’s Hill, and Potter’s Field. I. C. Norcom, educator, Jeffrey T. Wilson, Dr. J. J. France, and Ida Barbour are all buried in this cemetery. The cemetery has been neglected for many years and needs preservation. The cemetery has many broken stones, markers and monuments.
We have some starter state funding, a masonry company, and one company who will donate bricks for some of the family plots needing brick material replacement.
Contact: Mae Breckenridge Haywood or Charles Johnson. 757 292-1045, For the months of March, April and May on Saturdays
I.C. Norcom Historic Marker Project
January 26, 2018. The African American Historical Society unveiled the historical marker. New historical marker to honor I.C. Norcom High School’s namesake, Israel Charles Norcom, a local black educator in the late 19th and early 20th centuries .Marker was sponsored by the AAHSP society. Dedication photo-gallery
Colored Community Library Projects
Please support the Portsmouth Colored Library Museum projects with monetary contributions, adopting an artifact (we have several artifacts which were listed on the VA TOP 10 ENDANGERED ARTIFACT LIST and needs to be conserved, i.e. the 1939 Scrapbook of first librarian, Mrs. Bertha W. Edwards, the 1926 Norcomium Yearbook, and the 1878 Love and Charity Ledger, etc.) Funds will be applied to the conservation of each item. Donors may also help with in-kind donations of goods or services as well. The African-American Historical Society is a non-profit 501 C 3 organization and all gifts to the Society for the collection and management of the artifacts are tax-deductible. We have a wonderful collection of artifacts, photos, rare (African American titles), and memorabilia from our historic city of Portsmouth. Come and make discoveries.
African American Tours
Cost $25. Collection of popular projects the Board of
Directors of the Colored Community Library favorite recipes by
board members plus photos of African American historical sites.
Cookbooks are still available.
A Change is Gonna Come 2015/2016. Completed this grant
provided by VFH/UVA of the users to Portsmouth Community Library
as well as the people who changed the library into a museum. Video
is on CH. 48 Portsmouth City Channel, Cox Cable and shown in the
museum. Video can be viewed at the Portsmouth Colored Community
Picture This - Photographs of African American historical sites
Photographs prepared by students of Photography class
at Churchland High School - April, 2016. Funds provided by Beazley
Foundation Inc. Books of Picture This will be available after
(Colored) Community Library Restoration Project
The society is working on restoring
and moving the library to a new site in order to develop the library
into a museum. The museum will store various artifacts pertaining
to Portsmouth's African American culture.
Boy Scouts Project
The society collected the history of the Boy Scouts of
Portsmouth and hosted a Boy Scout Banquet honoring former Gosport
District Scouts. Research on Boy Scouts in Portsmouth to be published
Railroad in Portsmouth
The Underground Railroad was, in reality, neither underground
or a railroad. It was, as its name implies, however, a highly
secretive and complex system of parterships and transportation
routes by which African Americans escaped slavery in the South.
This website explores the partnerships and routes that ran through
Virginia. It examines the wharves, steamships, and schooners on
which fugitives departed. It explores the safe houses that were
used, the conductors who assisted, the routes that were taken,
and the enslaved African Americans who ran away.
A Survey of Black Businesses in Portsmouth, Virginia, 1920-1975
The history of businesses owned by blacks in Olde Towne
are being researched by society members. Some of the businesses
already under consideration are: Chambers Detective Agency and
Portsmouth Branch Journal and Guide, Bailey's Barber Shop, Fuller's
Shoe Repair, Colden Funeral Home, Richard's Barber Shop, Fisher
Funeral Home, Woodard's Grocery, and Nancy Wheeler Funeral Home.
Dr. Hugo Armstrong Owens Photography Project
Challenged by Dr. Owens to be maverick
photographers and follow in the footsteps of reporter Lee F. Rodgers,
society members are photographing Portsmouth's black history for
African American Cemetery Project
Currently the US Gen Web Archives,
Portsmouth, VA, now includes a listing for Mt. Calvary , Mt. Olive
& Fisher's Hill Cemeteries, April 2006—Mae Breckenridge-Haywood
& Dinah Walters. This lists tombstone inscriptions from these
cemeteries. Visit the listing at http://www.rootsweb.com/%7Eusgenweb/va/portsmouth/pcems.htm
Fisher's Hill Cemetery: Restoring an African American Landmark.
The Friends of Fisher's Hill are looking for volunteers to help
bring a forgotten history back to life. This African American
cemetery is in desperate need of donations for repairs and research.
A community service project that is perfect for corporations,
religious institutions, military units, civic groups, and schools.
For additional information visit the website: http://www.fishershillcemtery.com.
Portsmouth African American Museum
The former Portsmouth Community Library will soon be renovated
(01-08-2010). The PCL board has been writing grants, sponsoring
Black History Month programs, and presenting community service
awards to worthy Portsmouth citizens.
The society is collecting obituaries
of prominent people in Portsmouth's African American history
A Tale of Two Churches
A grant project of society member
and Norfolk State University professor, Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander
in partnership with the African American Historical Society of
Portsmouth. The focus of the project is to investigate Underground
Railroad activities in Portsmouth, Virginia. Two sites of particular
interest in the archeological research study are Emanuel A.M.E
Church and Monumental Methodist Church. The society will assist
in the research, study, and collection of artifacts pertaining
to the project.
Anticipated tours of African American
historical sites in Portsmouth.
Press Release pdf
1944, Friends of the Colored Library" donated $1.00
toward building the Colored library. Now we are asking
for a donation of $5.00 or more to continue our "High
Five for History" legacy campaign to continue support
of the Portsmouth African American Museum and Cultural
African Americans in Portsmouth
built a strong, insulated community because they were
cognizant of the need to look inward. Whether assisting
the pre-Civil War escapes through the Underground Railroad,
forming banks, publishing a newspaper, or providing recreational
facilities, Portsmouth's African Americans created one
of the most stable middle-class black communities in America.
Early 20th-century leaders such as Dr. William Reid, Nancy
T. Wheeler, and the Reverend Harvey N. Johnson Sr. were
civic models and guiding forces for a community emerging
from the ravages of slavery, and enduring the hardships
of segregation. Available
from the authors, on the Internet, or through your local