The Newsome House was the home of J. Thomas Newsome and his wife Mary. Mr. Newsome was a prominent black lawyer in the Newport News area from 1906 till his death in 1942.
His prominence includes many accolades which were a true testimony to his humble origins. Beginning life as the 16th of 17 children he was born to parents of share croppers. Showing promise he was able to go to college with the help of his parents employers receiving a teaching degree at what is now the Virginia State University.
Unhappy with the teaching field he returned to college studying and working full time to become a lawyer.
Upon graduation he began his legal career helping those in the community obtain their civil rights through voter registration and the like. Besides this Mr. Newsome was editor of a newspaper, helped to establish the Huntington High School, the only high school for blacks in the area, and ran unsuccessfully for political office. He was also the first black lawyer to ever try a case before the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Mr. and Mrs. Newsome’s home was developed into the Queen Ann style after their purchase. The home is now owned by the City and can be rented out for events. While there an art show was on display with a picture of Pearl Bailey who was a resident of Newport News. There is also an event celebrating the 100th anniversary of Huntington High School with yearbooks from the many classes.
The museum is open Thursday – Saturday with a $2 donation fee.
Interesting tour and well worth the visit.