Black History Tours
Take a road trip to Hampton, Virginia and experience historic museums, fort, and sites that illustrate the perseverance of the human spirit. In 2019, Hampton, Virginia commemorated the 400th anniversary of the first African landing in English North America. Now, you can experience Hampton’s rich African American heritage sites on the 400 Years Forward tour.
Hampton History Museum
120 Old Hampton Lane
Hampton, VA 23669
At the Hampton History Museum, their mission is to build a better future by exploring and preserving our past.
The vision of the Museum is to be a catalyst for change and a powerful tool in building community as “history is who we are and why we are the way we are…” With a full roster of programs, the goal is to illustrate the past’s influence on the world today.
1619: Virginia’s First Africans, a 14-page report prepared by the Hampton History Museum. The report explores the events leading up to the arrival, the history of early Africans in Virginia, slavery, christianity and indentured servitude.
20 Bernard Road
Fort Monroe, VA 23651
Located on the site known as Old Point Comfort, site of the first African arrival in English North America in 1619, and completed in 1834, Fort Monroe was originally designed to protect the Hampton Roads waterway from an enemy attack and is the largest stone fort in America. Within the fort is the Casemate Museum, which chronicles the military history of Fort Monroe from the construction of Fort Algernourne, the first defensive fortification at the site in 1609, through the last major command to be headquartered at Fort Monroe, the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command. The museum features the room where Jefferson Davis was held briefly as prisoner following the American Civil War, highlights Major General Benjamin Butler’s Contraband of War decision that granted refuge to three enslaved men, and tells the history of the US Army Coast Artillery Corps.
Hampton University Museum
Hampton University campus, Huntington Building
Founded in 1868, the Museum is the oldest African American museum in the United States and one of the oldest museums in the state of Virginia. The collections feature over 9,000 objects including African American fine arts, traditional African, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Asian art; and objects relating to the history of the University. Within its fine arts collection is the largest existing collection of works in any museum by the artists John Biggers, Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Richmond Barthe and Samella Lewis.
Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center
30 Ingalls Rd.
Fort Monroe, VA
The Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center project involves the renovation of the former Coast Artillery School Library at Fort Monroe and the addition of two wings. The galleries will tell the profound stories of Captain John Smith, the arrival of the first enslaved Africans and the culmination of 242 years of slavery as the first contrabands came to Fort Monroe to receive their emancipation. Additional activities at Fort Monroe during the weekend will include a remembrance ceremony, historical tours, cultural demonstrations, and a concert.
Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum
55 and 57 N. Mary Peake Boulevard
The museum celebrates the history, heritage and future of historic Aberdeen Gardens. Built for and by African-Americans in 1935 as part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, the neighborhood provided modern homes to African-American workers. The museum, dedicated in 2002, represents an original Aberdeen Gardens dwelling. The 440-acre subdivision 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 African-American communities could emulate.
For tours, call for an appointment.
Tucker Family Cemetery
1 Sharon Court.
One of the oldest black cemeteries in Hampton, it is the resting place for generations of the William Tucker Family.
William Tucker, the first recorded baby of African descent born to be baptized in English North America. He was the son of Anthony and Isabella who were among the first “twenty and odd” Africans to arrive at Point Comfort aboard the White Lion in 1619.
100 E Queen St
The Emancipation Oak stands near the entrance of the Hampton University campus and is a lasting symbol of the university’s rich heritage and perseverance. In 1863, the members of the Virginia Peninsula’s black community gathered to hear a prayer answered. The Emancipation Oak was the site of the first Southern reading of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. With limbs sprawling over a hundred feet in diameter, the Emancipation oak is designated as one of the 10 Great Trees of the World by the National Geographic Society.