Sharing Suffolk’s African American heritage

Published 11:05 pm Friday, October 18, 2019

The Suffolk Division of Tourism will partner with the Suffolk Public Library and the Suffolk Nansemond-Historical Society to host another community meet-up to gather information for the Suffolk African-American Heritage Trail initiative.

The session will be on Tuesday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, located at 138 S. Sixth St. This program is free to attend and open to the public, with no reservations required to attend.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate by sharing stories and photographs about area landmarks, people and historic events.

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This will be the fourth such meeting for the project, with previous meetings held at North Suffolk Library, Morgan Memorial Library and Whaleyville Community Center, going back to May, according to Visitor Center Supervisor Kevin Sary.

Notable African Americans from Suffolk history that have been included so far include John Richardson, president of the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond, and Col. Fred V. Cherry, a Suffolk native, former prisoner of war in Vietnam and the namesake of Col. Fred Cherry Middle School.

Churches, cemeteries and schools that played a prominent role in African American history in Suffolk have also been collected into this first phase of the project, as more and more facets are gathered at each session.

“The goal is to create a self-guided tour through Suffolk’s African-American heritage, discovering the people and places that played such a valuable role in the establishment and evolution of the community,” Sary wrote in an email.

Contact the Suffolk Visitor Center by phone at 514-4130 or by email at for more information.