The Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center
The Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center is dedicated to J. Thomas Newsome and his lifelong achievements as an attorney, civil rights activist, and prominent leader. The Museum located in Newport News, Virginia is a reminder of his hard work and dedication. His impact on the community is what helped to shape the area and make it what it is today. As a result of the museum many are able to walk through the life of a great and influential person that touched the lives of many.
Backstory and Context
J. Thomas Newsome was born in 1869 in Sussex County, Virginia. attended Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institution. The college is now Virginia State University. Newsome graduated in 1899 from Howard University's law school. He graduated with honors as the Valedictorian.
Soon, J. Thomas Newsome opened up his own law practice. J. Thomas Newsome was the first Attorney in Newport News, Virginia after the Civil War. His work as an attorney opened doors for many African Americans. He then gave opportunities to other African Americans to be able to practice law as well. Segregation and discrimination was very prevalent during this time and J. Thomas Newsome worked to end the mistreatment of those in the area. He became one of the first African American attorneys to go before the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in 1913. This event is an impactful one in history. Also, his achievements with the establishment of the Huntington High School, Trinity Baptist Church, and the Colored Voters league of Warwick county are also recognized. Furthermore, J. Thomas Newsome became an editor of Newport News Star which was a black newspaper in Newport News, Virginia. Also, before J. Thomas Newsome was a lawyer, he was a school teacher. After becoming bored with his, he pursued Howard University's Law School and then became an attorney.
J. Thomas Newsome's death was in 1946. After his death Newport News, Virginia held a tribute service in his honor. He served the city of Newport News, Virginia for about forty years and his endeavors were not forgotten. During the service, many of his friends and colleagues attended in remembrance of him. There were about three thousand people at his funeral in the city. Many voted to shut down the courthouse in the city on the day of his funeral.Due to his great work as an attorney he gained the respect of many both African American and white. His legacy continues and this special memorial service is known in the history of Newport News, VA.
The Newsome House is located in Newport News, Virginia. J. Thomas Newsome purchased his house in 1906. One interesting fact about it is that is was owned by an African American physician before he purchased his home.It was restored and became a museum and cultural center. The life of Newsome continues to influence those in the community and the state of Virginia. The museum is centered on the life of J. Thomas Newsome and the African American history of the town of Newport News, Virginia.
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"J. Thomas Newsome House | African American Historic Sites Database." African American Historic Sites Database. Web. 4 July 2015.