The Descendants

The “Descendants” of Hampton’s rich history preserve the stories of their ancestors and historic landmarks. The stories of Tucker Family Cemetery, Contrabands, Aberdeen Gardens, and Bay Shore Beach continue to be cherished and told. These stories and many more are the fabric of Hampton’s more than 400-year Black history and heritage. As we remember the past, our focus now shifts moving forward.

Tucker Family Cemetery

Wanda Tucker stands tall in the Tucker Family Cemetery and tells her family’s rich history. One of the oldest black cemeteries in Hampton, it is the resting place for generations of the Tucker Family, dating back to the 1800s.

William Tucker was the first recorded baby of African descent baptized in English North America. He was the son of Anthony and Isabella who were among the first Africans to arrive at Point Comfort aboard the White Lion in 1619.

Through meticulous research, programming and advocacy the Tucker Family continue to educate the community and tell their story via The William Tucker 1624 Society.

Contraband Historical Society

Pamela Holley’s great great grandfather Robert Langley Brooks escaped to Fort Monroe. He and many others followed three enslaved men, Frank Baker, Shepard Mallory and James Townsend, who 1861 sought refuge at Fort Monroe and were declared “contrabands of war” by Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler.

The Contraband Historical Society is dedicated to educating, elevating, and celebrating the stories of the contrabands, and Black history. Learn the stories of these freedom seekers by visiting Fort Monroe.

Aberdeen Gardens

Margaret Wilson is proud to say that her grandparents were the first family to move into Aberdeen Gardens. Constructed in 1935 under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, Aberdeen Gardens was purposefully built for and by African Americans to offer modern homes to Black families. This neighborhood is the only New Deal resettlement community of its kind that is still intact.

Margaret Wilson and family friend Jayda Hughes carry on the Aberdeen legacy by sharing the rich tales about growing up in this charming community. To learn more, plan a visit to the Aberdeen Gardens Historic Museum.

Bay Shore Beach

Helen Phillips Pitts doesn’t shy away from telling stories about her grandfather John Mallory Phillips. Phillips was one of several businessmen who formed Bay Shore Beach in the late 1890s, a resort for African Americans who were denied access to the public beaches.

Bay Shore Beach, located next to Buckroe Beach for 75 years, was a cherished Black-owned haven for events, family gatherings, and leisure. It played a pivotal role, providing a dedicated space for Black residents, Hampton Institute students and visitors alike.

Learn more about African American history with a free copy of our Family Tree brochure or when you visit Black heritage sites during your trip to Hampton.

Family Tree Brochure: A guide to African American heritage sites in Hampton.