Search results for: "fort monroe"

Jan 12

Special Exhibitions in Commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial at Hampton University Museum

Hampton University Museum, the oldest African American museum in the United States, welcomes two very special free exhibitions in commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series by Jacob Lawrence, beginning January 27, is a free exhibition highlighting the dramatic biographies of two American abolitionists who lived around the time of the Civil War.  Together, the paintings have an extraordinary conceptual unity and visual eloquence. In the Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman series, Lawrence pursues mythic subjects who both share the will and determination, in the face of all odds, to free their minds and spirits as well as their bodies from bondage.

On February 25, the museum welcomes Civil War Vignette: Paintings and Drawings of Freedom Fighters from the Hampton University Museum Collection, a free exhibition that includes drawings and prints from artists Charles White, Elizabeth Catlett, William H. Johnson, and John Biggers. All excellent artists, they have portrayed Freedom Fighters Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, Sojourner Truth, and Phyllis Wheatley as the true abolitionist and fighters for justice. This exhibition will be on display on the second floor, Hampton History gallery.

Related programming will be held in conjunction with these two dynamic exhibitions. 

For more information on Freedom Fighters: Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series by Jacob Lawrence and Civil War Vignette: Paintings and Drawings of Freedom Fighters from the Hampton University Museum Collection, contact Hampton University Museum at (757) 727-5308 or check out

Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series by Jacob Lawrence: January 27, 2012-September 8, 2012

War Vignette: Paintings and Drawings of Freedom Fighters from the Hampton University Museum Collection: February 25, 2012 – December 2012

Hampton University Museum, 11 Frissell Avenue, Hampton, VA 23669
Monday – Friday- 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Saturday Noon- 4:00 p.m.; Closed Sunday, major holidays, campus holidays

Partially bordered by the Hampton Roads harbor and Chesapeake Bay, Hampton, with the 344,000 sq. ft. Hampton Roads Convention Center, is located in the center of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.  Hampton is the site of America’s first continuous English-speaking settlement and is home to such visitor attractions as the Virginia Air & Space Center and Riverside IMAX ® Theater, Hampton History Museum, harbor tours and cruises, Hampton University Museum, Fort Monroe, award-winning Hampton Coliseum, The American Theatre, among others.

Dec 13

Civil war decision helped turn Fort Monroe into a park

by Robert Powell for Virginia Business, posted on November 30, 2011

In May 1861, the month Virginia voters ratified secession from the United States, three slaves appeared at the gates of Fort Monroe asking for asylum.

They would force the fort’s commander to make a decision that ultimately led to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. That bit of history is a big reason that Fort Monroe is now a national park, a development that could help promote tourism in Virginia.

The masters of Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory contracted with the Confederate Army for the slaves to work on fortifications at Sewell’s Point (now the site of Naval Station Norfolk). They escaped at night, rowing a skiff across Hampton Roads to Union-held-Fort Monroe on a peninsula known as Old Point Comfort.

Their plea for asylum posed a legal dilemma. Although fighting had begun the month before at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, restoration of the union, not the emancipation of slaves, was Washington’s primary aim in the early days of the Civil War.

In fact, the federal fugitive slave law, which required escaped slaves to be returned to their masters, was still in effect.  Lincoln’s administration feared premature talk of abolition would cause the four remaining “loyal” slave states — Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Missouri — to bolt to the Confederacy.

Despite these concerns, Fort Monroe’s commander, Major Gen. Benjamin Butler, took in the slaves and put them to work behind his lines.

Under a flag of truce, Confederate Major John B. Cary, showed up the next day demanding the slaves’ return. Butler refused, saying Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 12

Full steam ahead on school plans

By Danielle Walker for Inside Business, originally posted on November 4, 2011

Leaders in the region are shifting into go-mode to create science, technology, engineering and math-related educational havens.

Hampton officials are discussing plans for a residential public high school at Fort Monroe.

The proposed STEAM Academy, which would focus on science, technology, engineering and applied mathematics, would operate like a boarding school, serving 1,000 high school students throughout the state.

Not to be confused with the STEAM Academy plans bubbling at Fort Monroe, the Greater Norfolk Corp. also has plans for a school.

The nonprofit is leading efforts to start a governor’s school for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, much like the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria.

Charles V. McPhillips, a partner at law firm Kaufman & Canoles in Norfolk, is leading GNC’s task force for the establishment of a STEM governor’s school for the Southside.

Norfolk’s School Board has shown initial support by voting that GNC develop a full proposal for other school systems to consider.

Currently, GNC’s task force has educators on board from Old Dominion University’s Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology and Norfolk State University’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

McPhillips shared how achieving educational excellence in math and science is crucial to the region’s workforce – and its ability to compete with metro areas around the country and abroad.

Details of the proposed STEM governor’s school: Read the rest of this entry »

Dec 09

Mark Warner, Fort Monroe and STEAM

From the blog of City of Hampton Mayor Molly Ward

Mark Warner came to Fort Monroe on Friday, November 18 to tour the fort, talk about the National Park Service and explore the possibility a Science, Technology, Engineering and Applied Mathematics (STEAM) academy at the fort.  The Senator was accompanied by an entourage of reporters, and he toured the fort on foot.

The proposed STEAM academy would be a public boarding school for grades 9 through 12 with a 24 hour day learning cycle.  Students would be drawn from all over the Commonwealth, and there would be no fee to apply or attend. The concept is to build future generations who will be prepared to lead and succeed in the 21st century marketplace. There is a similar school in North Carolina that has seen tremendous success both for its graduates, and the state — as the majority of students stay and contribute to the North Carolina economy by both creating jobs and attracting employers looking for the best and the brightest.

I met up with the Senator at one of the TRADOC buildings for a tour.  He greeted me and presented me with the green tie he described as “hideous” that he wore to the Senate hearing on the NPS effort on October 19.  He also gave me a picture of him wearing the tie at the hearing.

After the TRADOC building tour, we presented the Senator with a proclamation from the City of Hampton thanking him for his support of the Fort Monroe National Monument.

More on Mayor Ward’s posting…

Nov 18

Virginia leaders learn about Hampton Roads

By Matt Isner, LEAD VIRGINIA Class of 2011. Matt is a vice president at Charles Ryan Associates, an integrated marketing communications firm located in Shockoe Bottom in Richmond.

The 2011 class of LEAD VIRGINIA visited Hampton Roads in October to take in all of the region we could in a very short time period. LEAD VIRGINIA is a nonprofit and non-partisan organization that educates proven leaders about regional differences, opportunities and challenges across the commonwealth. This was the fifth regional session for the class of 2011. Although the focuses of the session – economic development; importance of the port; reliance on the military; advancements in technology, simulation and modeling – were not so much a surprise for an outsider to the region; the first-hand experiences that took place were invaluable. Learn more at

We started our time in the region with a little rain (and a rainbow), but quickly found it could not dampen the spirits of the class of 2011. After some back and forth over who would share umbrellas and who would wear the ponchos, our class boarded the Hampton Roads Transit ferry to Portsmouth and learned about Hampton Roads from local leaders at the impressive Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Every session has experiences that we, as class members, say we will remember, and the evening’s dinner and port cruise definitely made it onto that list. Seeing the port from that perspective was amazing and sharing it with fellow class members and representatives from the region made it that much better. The next day we talked with representatives from Norfolk Southern and the Virginia Port Authority. We certainly saw first-hand the importance of the port, not only to the region, but to the commonwealth as a whole.

I mentioned before the special experiences, and we had another one with a tour of the USS Enterprise. Being on the carrier and hearing from those who have called it “home” is an experience that is hard to describe appropriately.  Personally, it helped to remind me of the huge sacrifices made by some for the many others of us. At the ODU Virginia Modeling and Analysis Simulation Center, a lot of us were impressed to learn that you can make a living playing video games. We also learned that it would not be a good idea for a fellow classmate to quit his day job as a COO and become a crane operator, showing the important reason these simulations exist.

We visited An Achievable Dream Academy and heard from its director, Lee Vreeland, and two of her students. What has been done there, and the spirit and pride that it exudes, is more than impressive. Many class members were overheard saying they would like to take just a piece of what the academy offers back to their various regions. That evening we traveled to Fort Monroe where we received a lively history lesson about the region and a discussion about plans for the future.

We ended the next day at the Sandler Center for Performing Arts in the Town Center of Virginia Beach with discussions about economic development and the impact of the military. 

Yes, our schedule was full, but we always take time to wrap up each session by discussing our thoughts about the region. Many of us mentioned that we would like to have the water and the range of activities that are available, the strength of the port, military and local leaders. And, although taking the ferry seems very attractive, the evident transportation challenges did make it somewhat difficult to leave. Thank you for the hospitality shown in Hampton Roads. You have built a region and I promise, I will never utter  the “T” word in describing it. 

Pictured:  “The Region’s Reliance on the Military” panel, including Capt. (ret.) Casey Collins, ’05 & Hampton Roads session Co-Chair; The Hon. Terrie L. Suit, Secretary of Veteran Affairs & Homeland Security, Commonwealth of Virginia; The Hon. Scott Rigell, United States House of Representatives, Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District; and Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, USN (ret.), Executive Director, Hampton Roads Military & Federal Facilities Alliance.

Photos courtesy of LEAD Virginia

Nov 02

White House Video: Hampton Roads gets its national monument

Direct Video Link

From the White House YouTube Channel:  President Obama signs a declaration to declare Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, as a national monument on November 1, 2011.

More on Fort Monroe

Nov 02

President confirms Fort Monroe’s park designation

From left, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va.; Mayor Molly Ward, Hampton, Va.; Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; watch President Barack Obama sign a Proclamation to designate Fort Monroe, in Hampton, Va., a National Monument under the Antiquities Act, in the Oval Office, Nov. 1, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

From Wil LaVeist  of The Wil LaVeist Show:  Hampton is Black America’s Ellis Island

In a ceremony at the White House yesterday, President Barack Obama confirmed Fort Monroe as a national monument, saying it was all about “preserving our nation’s treasures.” It is the first time he has used the Antiquities Act to create a national monument.

Now the site ought to be the location for the proposed National Slavery Museum, if the museum is going to be built at all. The museum, the vision of former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first elected black governor, is in bankruptcy court. Old Point Comfort, the site of Fort Monroe, is where the first African indentured servants arrived in English speaking America in 1619. It’s also the location where slaves began to gain their freedom in mass during the Civil War in 1861, becoming known as the Contraband Slaves

Read more by the Daily Press:  It’s official – President Obama confirms Fort Monroe park designation 

The Wil LaVeist Show can be heard every Wednesday @ noon to 1 p.m. EST live via the Web on or in Hampton Roads on 88.1FM WHOV. 

More on Fort Monroe

Nov 02

Fort Monroe and the antiquities act, deep roots in Hampton Roads

National Monument move at Fort Monroe is welcomed

Posted October 30, 2011, by David Macaulay for the Daily Press

News that President Barack Obama is poised to declare Fort Monroe a national monument was welcomed by local decision makers.

“Overall, we are hopeful that Tuesday will culminate in a park being established to preserve and tell the American story that unfolded at Fort Monroe. This has been a huge unified effort and we are all holding our breath for Tuesday,” said Terrie Suit, chairman of the board of the Fort Monroe Authority.

Senator Mark Warner, (D-Virginia) the co-sponsor of a Senate bill to bring a national park to Fort Monroe, said: “A National Park Service presence at Fort Monroe will go a long way in preserving and highlighting the remarkable role of ‘Freedom’s Fortress’ in our nation’s history.

Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 15

STEM picks up STEAM

In 1980, when North Carolina was moving away from textiles and tobacco as the state’s economic engines, the first public residential high school focused on science and math in the world was opened. As Hampton Roads, Virginia, faces the critical need to move away from an economy dominated by defense, there is a movement afoot to replicate our southern neighbor’s success, focusing education on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Applied Math).

STEAM-related workers account for more than 50% of our nation’s sustained growth, according to the Department of Labor (2007). Less than 17% of post secondary degrees in the U.S. are STEAM-related, compared to Japan at 64%, China at 52%, South Korea at 41%, Russia at 33% and the United Kingdom at 26%.  A large segment of this workforce is fast approaching retirement. U.S. students are not performing well in math and science and exhibit little interest in pursuing careers in these fields.

School of science, math, engineering gets a push

By Elisabeth Hulette for The Virginian-Pilot, October 14, 2011

Imagine a boarding school where bright students from across the state could get a top-notch science and math education for free.

Sound like a pipe dream? Maybe, but this week, it took a step closer to reality.

Organizers trying to build a STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Applied Math – academy in Hampton Roads presented their idea to local business and education leaders gathered in Norfolk. They are trying to figure out whether there’s sufficient interest in the school, and whether that interest could produce the money needed to make it happen.

“We’ve invested a lot of time and energy in preparation,” said E. Dana Dickens III, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Partnership, one of the organizations involved in the effort. “Now we have to put together a team.”

The school would be a Virginia version of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, the first public boarding school to focus on science and math. It opened in 1980 and has been replicated 18 times in other states.

According to the North Carolina school’s chancellor, J. Todd Roberts, it receives about 93 percent of its funding – about $18.6 million – from the state. A school foundation donates the rest, about $1.4 million.

Roughly 680 students in grades 11 and 12 live on campus. They apply to get in, and the school takes an equal number from each of the state’s 13 congressional districts.

Like that school, which is in Durham, an academy in Hampton Roads could draw on the many local universities, businesses and science organizations for research collaboration and apprenticeships for students.

Organizers envision the Virginia STEAM Academy having 1,000 students from ninth through 12th grades, plus a summer program for middle-school students, online courses and teacher training.

Science-focused academies are nothing new in public education. One Norfolk group, for example, is trying to start a governor’s school for science and math. But the STEAM committee’s founders say this school would offer something different.

For one thing, it would not only use the state’s standards, but also ones from international science education organizations, said co-founder Judy Stewart. For another, making the school free and statewide would open doors to bright students trapped in lower-level programs offered by their local schools.

“We wanted to even the playing field so ZIP codes, socioeconomic status and gender don’t play a role in the kind of education they can have,” said M. Caroline Martin, also a co-founder.

Martin and Stewart are leading the effort to bring the necessary public and private forces together to make the school materialize.

Fort Monroe in Hampton, which was recently vacated by the Army, has been identified by the organizers as a potential site for the school, and fall 2014 as the prospective opening time. But much more needs to be done.

Funding needs to be found for the estimated $65 million in start-up costs and the $19 million annual budget, and administrative details still need to be worked through with the state education department. But if it works, organizers say, the school could be a major economic boon for Virginia.

If the state invests now in growing its own high-level scientists and innovators, the eventual payoff will be great, they said.

“We mean to make this happen,” Martin told the group assembled Wednesday. “If not now, when? And if not us, who?”

Resources for Virginia STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Applied Math):

  • STEM Educational Resources in Hampton Roads via Innovate!HamptonRoads
  • North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics, October 2011 (25 pages, <1MB)
  • Virginia STEAM Academy Fact Sheet (1 page)
  • Virginia STEAM Academy Presentation, October 2011 (13 pages, <1MB)
  • Virginia STEAM Academy Steering Committee
    • Jim Batterson, retired NASA engineer and former special assistant on loan from NASA to the Secretary of Education 
    • Gilbert Bland, vice-chair, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
    • E. Dana Dickens, III, president and CEO, Hampton Roads Partnership
    • Jack Ezzell, president, Zel Technologies
    • Danielle Hinton, consultant, Boston Consulting Group; MIT Presidential Fellow
    • Wayne Lett, retired superintendent, Newport News  
    • M. Caroline Martin, retired Executive Riverside Health System/ CEO, Riverside Regional Medical Center (co-founder) CONTACT
    • Colleen Seremet, retired and immediate past Maryland Assistant State Superintendent for Instruction, Maryland
    • Judy Stewart, president, Taylor Education Consulting, Inc. (co-founder) CONTACT
    • Advisory Capacity: Elizabeth Taraski, Planning/Marketing Strategic Planning Consultant

Oct 11

Hampton Roads: the word for the day (decade) is Diversify

Vision Hampton Roads, creating the new innovation economy

Dr. James Koch just released his 12th Annual State of the Region report, telling us that – in the short term – we cannot affect our economy very much.

The long term is a different story, and the Hampton Roads Partnership has a very good plan in place, according to Koch who says, “the region would be wise to support this regional approach to economic development and real job growth,” i.e., Vision Hampton Roads*.

Koch further said that the region’s best bet is to deal with its econumdrum** – ours is an economy dependent on military spending (close to 46%) – and we must adjust our job creation philosophies for the long term and “grow our way out of it.”

published in the Daily Press, October 8, 2011

By E. Dana Dickens, III, president and CEO, Hampton Roads Partnership (HRP) and Dr. Deborah M. DiCroce, president of Tidewater Community College and HRP board chair

Vision, the first region-wide economic development strategy, brought community, business and political leaders together to focus on how the economy works in Hampton Roads, identifying: Strengths – an educated and skilled workforce, healthcare access, the port/harbor, a central East Coast location and a stable level of federal employment; Weaknesses – brain drain and decision-making rarely at the regional level; Opportunities – modeling and simulation, alternative energy, leveraging research into commercially applied technology, attraction of more advanced manufacturing and the re-use of Fort Monroe; and Threats – flat/slow port growth forecasts, decrease in defense spending and competition from other states for military forces based in the region.

Evident during Vision‘s development is that regions thriving globally will cultivate innovation, educate their workforce for jobs of the future, invest in infrastructure and create quality places to live.

The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (PDC)’s July 2011 report on Regional Competitiveness substantiated Vision. For example, PDC research found that success is rooted in identifying and supporting industry clusters, while the Vision plan focuses efforts on the region’s industry clusters of ModSim, Unmanned Systems and Robotics, Sensors, Aerospace, BioScience and Energy. Human capital drives regional growth according to the PDC report, and Vision clearly promotes STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and workforce development. The Vision plan includes efforts to connect the region’s seven (7) current incubators virtually, validated by the PDC report that incubators must be supported. Regional cooperation increases efficiencies according to the PDC’s research, and the Vision plan includes projects such as shared services among localities.

Entrepreneurism and support for high-growth technology-based business especially start up and existing business within industry sectors where the region already has strengths is a common theme found throughout Vision.

The PDC study said, “95% of job gains come from the expansion of existing businesses and the birth of new establishments, rather than relocation by other companies,” emphasizing that business attraction alone cannot drive regional economic growth.

Building the road to diversification in Hampton Roads means developing an innovation economy. We can do that by adapting our culture to a changing world to include transitioning our region’s risk-averse culture to one supportive of entrepreneurs; incorporating key Hampton Roads technologies in the curriculum of all K-12 school divisions to grow our 21st century workforce; and nurturing our technology clusters by supporting Hampton Roads’ research universities as focal points of knowledge-led economic development.

Entrepreneurs breed innovation. Trading our region’s historical military dependence for a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is the solution to Hampton Roads’ econumdrum.

In the last 25 years, Hampton Roads ranked 66 out of 102 U.S. metro areas in economic growth. Seventy five percent of our regional growth in the last 10 years was from military spending. Would we have ranked even lower without those Department of Defense expenditures? What will Hampton Roads look like after defense cuts happen?

The region has a short window of time to create a new “innovation economy” – defense cuts might  not happen tomorrow, but they will happen. The time is now to diversify our economy.


** An econumdrum is an intricate and difficult problem of the highest economic importance.

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