J. Thomas Newsome (1869-1942), raised in Sussex County, was one of Newport News' most respected black civic leaders. Newsome attended Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institution (now Virginia State University), graduating in 1899 from Howard University's law school as class valedictorian. Newsome began his own law practice in Newport News, becoming one of the first black lawyers to practice before the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in 1913. Newsome was key to the establishment of Trinity Baptist Church, Huntington High School, and the Colored Voters League of Warwick County, and served as editor of Newport News' black newspaper, the "Newport News Star". The city courts closed in tribute to Newsome on the day of his funeral in 1942.
J. Thomas Newsome purchased his Oak Avenue home in 1906, moving in with his wife, Mary Winfield Newsome, and their only child, Maurice Ethelred. The house was originally the home of Dr. William R. Granger, one of Newport News' black physicians. The home is now operated by the Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center, formed to restore the structure for use as a community center and museum focusing on the black history of Newport News and the life of J. Thomas Newsome.
Restored 1899 Victorian house dedicated to the black history of Newport News.
Geographical and Contact Information
2803 Oak Avenue
Newport News, Virginia