Norfolk, VA

norfolk black history

The Norfolk Ghetto Story

One of the largest cities in the state of Virginia, with the alias of Shark City, the Norfolk ghetto is in the heart of the Hampton Roads community.

A city with less than 300,000 people and about half being part of the Norfolk black population, this Tidewater city has many different types of neighborhoods throughout Norfolk.

Neighborhoods like the housing projects of Youngs Park, Diggs Park, or Curry Park are some of the biggest communities in Norfolk, along with sections of apartment complexes like the Titus Town area or the Oakmont / Tanners Creek area.

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Shoop Park

Outside of the housing complexes, large communities of Park Place or Shoop Park, with some being historic, may soon replace the housing projects as the national trend of gentrification is out with the old and in with the new.


The Norfolk black history can not be told without mentioning the Church Street area, which before the housing projects were built in the community was an area that was the heart of the black business district and the Norfolk black population.

As most neighborhoods of Norfolk officially became part of the city during the early 1900s, the era between the 1940s and the 1960s helped the Norfolk black population to move and live in other parts of the city, other than the downtown sections.

This was due to the creation of Norfolk’s housing authority, which the construction of housing projects demolished many African-American neighborhoods like Church Street.

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Park Place

These factors, along with white flight, helped communities like Park Place or areas around Tidewater Drive to become predominantly black.

Many of the older neighborhoods were being abandoned by white families who relocated into other sections of Norfolk as the city demolished a few of the original black communities of Norfolk.

norfolk ghetto

The original black communities of the Church Street area was replaced by housing projects of Youngs Park and Tidewater Park, the Atlantic City community is now mostly made up of medical centers and other businesses, and the area of East Ghent was demolished and eventually became Ghent Square.

Currently, the Norfolk black population is once again experiencing the tearing down and demolishing of some the communities of the Norfolk ghetto.

The gentrification of the Norfolk ghetto in areas like housing projects of Moton Park, Roberts Park, or Bowling Park is given the idea that many of the communities near Norfolk’s downtown area will soon have the same fate in the coming years.


Check out more on communities in the Hampton Roads and Virginia.

*Note: All information of Norfolk black history is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.