Experience the best of the best with this Top 8 list of things to do and see in Portsmouth.
Walk through history and see Olde Towne’s origins and it’s continued evolution.
Plan for your visit and explore Portsmouth with the Visitor Directory.
Presented by the Portsmouth Museums and the Portsmouth Public Libraries
Black History month can be traced back more than 100 years, thanks to two gentleman scholars, Carter Woodson and Jesse Moreland. African Americans from Portsmouth made significant contributions from early American days to present. These contributions are recorded in history by the city, region, and nation (if you know where to look). Their influences and contributions are traced from the legendary James Armistead Lafayette during the Revolutionary War, the Black Brigades in the Civil War, Tuskegee Airmen in WWII, through segregation, the fight for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr., right up through present day. To continue this tradition and to educate everyone of the accomplishments that they achieved, the hardships some endured, and the continuing contributions they still do for this great nation (and our city); the City of Portsmouth Museums & libraries has organized a special “Black History Now 2022”. These special events have an amazing line up of experience historians, scholars, events, workshops and much more. These events will better educate everyone of the great trail of Africans Americans though the years and their contributions. You can view the full Brochure here Black History NOW 2022
In our seventh annual season, the Portsmouth museums and Portsmouth libraries will commemorate African American heritage with our series of events, programs, lectures, family activities, and more. Topics relate to current museum exhibitions and highlight local people and history. For all the details on dates, times, and places visit www.ChildrensMuseumVirginia.com, www.PortsmouthArtCenter.com, www.PortsmouthNavalShipyardMuseum.com, and www.PortsVaAfricanAmericanHeritage.com , and https://www.portsmouthpubliclibrary.org/. (Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.)
Follow us at #blackhistorynow #portsmouthmuseumsblackhistorynow
Beginning January 15| Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum
904 Elm Ave.
In the post-World War II era, “Baseball was king” in the sports world of Hampton Roads, especially in the African American community. Discover the joy of baseball among Portsmouth’s Black community in the mid-20th century by learning about some of its best known players, teams, and ballparks at this new exhibit at the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum.
Saturday, January 15 | 1:30 pm
Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center Annex
Journey back in time to the era of segregated baseball with Sam Allen, who played left field with Negro League teams Kansas City Monarchs, Raleigh, Tigers, and Memphis Red Sox before serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. Allen, a Norfolk resident, is a national treasure joining us to reminisce about his experiences with our national pastime both on and off the field.
Saturday, January 15 | 10 am to 4pm
Portsmouth Main Library
Drop in the library to make a peace dove in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All ages are welcome.
Saturday, January 22nd | 10:30AM & 2:30PM
Children’s Museum of Virginia
Ms. Martha Razor presents “The Donkey Who Lost His Memory” a children’s story and puppet show written by a Portsmouth student. Guests will have the opportunity to hear and participate in the story and then create their own stick puppet to take home. Included with museum admission.
Saturday, January 29 | 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Enjoy coffees and fine, fair-trade chocolates from growers in Africa, while learning traditional West African percussion rhythms from master musician Kamiruri Kelly of the Day Program. Mr. Kelly is one of the few percussionists to be declared a member of the acclaimed Mammady Keita’s family of percussionists in Guinea, West Africa. Price: $10 per person. Ages 17 and up. To register please go online to www.portsmouthartcenter.com or call 757 393-8543.
February 1 – 28
Participate in our Black History Trivia Contest. Hint: answers are on the bulletin board.
Discover African American scientists and their significant contributions during the month of February. Their profiles will be featured throughout the 2nd floor and experiments related to their work will be highlighted in S.T.E.M. Studio each weekend. Included with museum admission.
Wednesday, February 2 2022| 10:30 am
Explore the world of Caribbean Steel Drums through a historical and musical demonstration and learn how drums were outlawed on many Caribbean islands and how they came to be made from steel. A unique sound and art form was created by these politics. Learn how the people of the Caribbean became independent and at the same time developed an art of their own.
Saturday, February 5 | 1:30 pm
The “Academical Village” of the University of Virginia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, closely associated with the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. It stands as an architectural testament to the enlightened visions at that time, for education in the new democracy. Yet it was also a location where the practice of slavery proliferated in the first half of the 19th century. Dr. Nelson of the University of Virginia will give an illustrated presentation on the uses of architecture and landscape within this national landmark, and the intersection of these two realities. He will explore Thomas Jefferson’s architectural designs and how they may reflect Jefferson’s own views of slavery. Dr. Louis P. Nelson is Professor of Architectural History and the Vice Provost for Academic Outreach in the Office of the Provost at the University of Virginia.
Saturday, February 12 | 1:30 pm
In May of 1949, the US Military was still segregated. The U.S. Air Force held the very first Gunnery Meet at what was then Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas NV, where five “fighter groups” sent their best pilots and crews to compete in this 10-day long competition. The all African American 332nd fighter group was pitted against the best pilots and crews of four all white fighter groups. The Tuskegee Airmen of the 332nd led from start to finish and became known as the first ‘Top Guns’ of the U.S. Air Force. Come hear the details of this little known and fascinating story as told by brothers Howard and Richard Baugh, two sons of decorated WWII fighter pilot Lt. Col. Howard Lee Baugh. Howard and Richard Baugh are founding members of the Howard Lee Baugh Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. based in Petersburg VA.
Saturday, February 19 | 1:30 pm
When Dry Dock #1 at today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard was built in the 1830s, the labor necessary to complete it included enslaved stonecutters who were paid for their expertise. Hiring out skilled slaves caused controversy, but not for the reasons you might think. Discover more about this fascinating piece of Shipyard history when Dr. Linda Upham-Bornstein, Teaching Lecturer in History at Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH, presents her research, first published in the journal Labor in 2007.
Saturday, February 26 | 2 pm – 4 pm
Celebrate African American history and music. We will have displays of handicrafts, music from Porte Towne Magic, and speaker Jack Gary, Director of Archaeology for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Mr. Gary will discuss the excavations at the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg. The First Baptist Church of Williamsburg was organized in 1776 by a group of courageous slaves and free blacks who wanted to worship God in their own way. Come and hear some of the fascinating history of this early African American congregation