Norfolk’s Church Street

Cover Art - Norfolk's Church Street, Between Memory and Reality by Amy Waters Yarsinske

Church Street, one of Norfolk’s original streets laid in 1680, served for many years as the gateway to the city. Originally called “The Road That Leadeth Out of Town,” its name was changed to Church Street following the completion of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1739. Eastern European immigrants who settled the area between 1890 and 1914 established successful, small businesses along this main street, but by the late 1920s, many of the business owners had moved to outlying suburbs. African Americans soon began to settle the area, and as the black population increased, Church Street became the local center for African-American family life, religion, entertainment, education, and the manifestation of political power that would later give birth to several leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement. With informative captions narrating your visual tour, Norfolk’s Church Street: Between Memory and Reality provides an intimate look at the Church Street of yesteryear and pays tribute to the faces and places of The Road That Leadeth Out of Town. This rare collection of over 200 photographs illuminates the progress of a district that was once the lifeblood of the region’s black community–an area that is presently undergoing a spirited renaissance.