Categories: Hampton Roads Community News

Voter Registration Day Planned at the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum

PORTSMOUTH
You can register to vote at the Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum on Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Although it is the same small brick building where longtime librarian Bertha Edwards helped people of color fill out forms and locate information in the segregated facility from 1945-1963, times have changed. Deloris Overton, the general registrar and director of elections will be on hand to help voters sign-up.

“Anybody can come,” Overton said in a recent phone interview. “It is open to any Virginia resident. We will be there from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. We are very excited about it and hope for a great turnout.”

Overton said if you can’t visit the upcoming event, you can still register to vote online or through the Division of Motor Vehicles. Or you can request and receive a voter registration form by mail. To register, you must be 18 years of older before Nov. 6.

The library was built in 1945 at 804 South Street. However, the library closed in 1962 after two local dentists, Dr. James Holley and Dr. Hugo A. Owens, successfully sued the City of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Public Library. Libraries became integrated. The colored library relocated twice and opened as a museum in 2013.

Recently a staff member suggested the voter sign-up project. Specifically, the idea came from Bruce Ebert who worked in the library for many years. Now, he works as a services assistant at the museum.

“It occurred to Mr. Ebert that in this time of heightened political awareness, perhaps the building could again serve a greater purpose in being a historical place for current day residents to sign up to vote,” said Diane L. Cripps, curator of history for Portsmouth Colored Community Library Museum, Portsmouth Museums, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, and Lightship Portsmouth Museum.

“We proposed the idea to the Portsmouth City Registrar of Voters, Deloris Overton Short, and she was delighted to work with us to stage this public event,” Cripps said, in a recent email.

Cripps said, “In a place that was once a segregated library. . .you can declare your intent to vote, and join in the conversation about the future of our country,”

The library is located at 904 Elm Ave., Portsmouth.

By Rosaland Tyler
Associate Editor
New Journal and Guide

Web Staff

Share
Published by
Web Staff
Tags: LibraryMuseumPortsmouth

Recent Posts

Nat’l Police Unions Differ On Nike Ad

The Colin Kaepernick debate was  bolstered last week when Nike enlisted Kaepernick in its  latest “Just Do it” promotion scheme with…

3 days ago

Living Longer, Centennials Growing Older Gracefully

Their lives spanned two world wars;  Jim Crow segregation; the civil rights movement which ended it and  other legal victories;…

4 days ago

Jay Z, Beyoncé Awarding $1M In Scholarships

Hip-hop superstar Jay-Z and his wife, Beyoncé, have announced a new scholarship program that will award 10 scholarships worth $100,000…

4 days ago

Black Political Excellence

Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D_CA) used their time wisely in their questioning of Supreme Court nominee Brett…

4 days ago

Ceremony Dedicates New Mermaid Painted By Teens With A Purpose

NORFOLK Teens With a Purpose artists had the opportunity to design and paint a Norfolk landmark mermaid which was dedicated…

5 days ago

Crump To Represent Family of Man Killed By Police Neighbor

DALLAS The family of Botham Shem Jean, who was shot to death in his own apartment by his neighbor, an…

6 days ago