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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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Mar 16

Women’s History Series- Flora Davis Crittenden

Posted on March 16, 2017 at 8:31 AM by Communications Department

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are highlighting women who have changed and impacted the City of Newport News. 

Flora Lonette Davis Crittenden is a retired Virginia school teacher and civil rights activist who served a term on Newport News City Council and as member Flora Crittenden_SCof the Virginia House of Delegates from Newport News for 11 years. Born in Brooklyn, New York, as a child, she spent summers with relatives in the Hampton Roads area and later moved to Newport News to live with her grandmother and aunts. She attended and graduated from the former Huntington High School in Newport News in 1941, then attended Virginia State University, receiving a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1945.

Upon receiving her bachelor's degree, Crittenden taught physical education, English and social studies at the Carver High School for seven years. In 1956, she earned a Master of Science degree in physical education, health sciences and counseling from Indiana University. In 1971 Flora Crittenden studied advanced guidance theory at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, which helped her to establish a career counseling program at Carver High School. Crittenden worked in the Newport News public schools for 32 years—as a teacher and department head for 15 years, and as a guidance counselor and guidance director for another 17 years.

Her political career began in 1986, when she won the election to a four-year term on the Newport News City Council, and she served there until 1990. Crittenden ran and won the election as a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly in January 1993. She won re-election in 1995, ran unopposed in 1997 and 1999, and again won easily in 2001.

She was the first black woman to be chairperson on the board for Christopher Newport University. The former George Washington Carver High School in Newport News was renamed the Flora D. Crittenden Middle School in 1995, and now serves as a magnet school for science and mathematics. The Daily Press named her one of the top ten most influential women on the Peninsula. In 2015, the Library of Virginia honored her service as one of its Virginia Women in History.