City Storiez

Shark City: Look inside 757’s Norfolk, Virginia

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The Norfolk Ghetto:

Look Inside “Shark City Va” Norfolk Housing Projects, more…

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, or 757 for the regions area code, community.

A city with less than 300,000 people and about half being part of Norfolk’s black population, this Tidewater city has many different type of communities throughout the city, from the Norfolk housing projects to the Norfolk neighborhoods.

Norfolk areas 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 Titus Town or the Oakmont / Tanners Creek area.

The Norfolk ghetto of Shoop Park

The Norfolk ghetto of 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.

Before the city’s black population accounted for the majority of Norfolk’s neighborhoods, the Church Street area was a community that was the heart of Norfolk’s African-American society.


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 Church Street community they had become accustomed to.

The relocation was mainly due to the creation of Norfolk’s housing authority, which would lead to the demolishing of the historic Church Street area as urban renewal with the construction of housing projects changed the makeup of the community.

One of the few Norfolk housing projects that was built in replace of Church Street

One of the few Norfolk housing projects that was built in replace of Church Street

These factors, along with white flight after World War II, helped communities like Park Place or areas around Tidewater Drive to become predominantly African-American, between the late 1940s and the beginning of the 1970s.

Many of the older Norfolk neighborhoods were 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

Some of the first communities African-Americans relocated to were along Tidewater Drive.

Eventually, the original black community of Church Street would become replaced by the Norfolk housing projects of Youngs Park and Tidewater Park.

While the neighboring historic community of Atlantic City would later become mostly an area of medical centers and other local businesses, with the area of East Ghent becoming rebuilt into Ghent Square.

Currently, the black community of the city known to some as Shark City Va is once again experiencing a change within their community as the rebuilding in certain urban areas of the Norfolk ghetto may seem to have plans for someone else.

norfolk housing projects

An rebuilt housing complex in the heart of Norfolk.

In some of the inner city neighborhoods, years of vacant properties are now becoming newly rebuilt homes in communities that were once plagued with poverty and insufficient resources.

While gentrification within the Norfolk ghetto of areas like the old Norfolk housing projects of Moton Park, Roberts Park, and Bowling Park has given the idea that many of the communities near Norfolk’s downtown will soon have a similar fate.

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*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.