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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Feb 05

City to Unveil Mural Honoring Civil Rights Leader W. Hale Thompson

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 1:04 PM by Daniel Kvaternik

W. Hale Thompson
Photo courtesy of W. Hale Thompson, Jr.
In recognition of Black History Month and in support of the City’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, Mayor McKinley L. Price and City Council are unveiling a mural honoring local civil rights leader and attorney W. Hale Thompson on Saturday, February 10, at 11:00 a.m. The mural is being installed on the side of the Esquire Barber Shop – the former home of Thompson’s Law Office – at 611 25th Street, and the ceremony takes place in the adjacent lot. Barber shop owner Vernard Lynch purchased the building from Mrs. Thompson following the death of Attorney Thompson, and Mr. Lynch has generously offered his building to host the mural. The event is free and open to the public. 

W. Hale Thompson (1914-1966), a local African American attorney, pushed to integrate the Newport News Public Library System. He filed suit against the City and the Library Board, and before the trial was to begin in 1952, the Library System announced that its facilities were open to “all adult inhabitants of the City of Newport News.” 

The mural is being created by Newport News native and artist Asa Jackson. Jackson, who grew up in the Southeast Community, also designed the Ella Fitzgerald mural which adorns the Jefferson Brookville Apartment building located at Jefferson Avenue & 26th Street. The W. Hale Thompson mural, commissioned by the Newport News Economic Development Authority, will serve as a gateway into the Southeast Community and complement other public art in the area and throughout the City.