Grammy Award-winning singer Pharrell Williams and newly elected State Senator Aaron Rouse were among those who attended the recent Seatack meeting in Virginia Beach that convened in an effort to obtain a historic district designation for the neighborhood that dates back to the end of the Civil War.
The historic Black community has already been nominated for a historic district designation by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources. The next step will be to present the nomination to the Virginia Board of Historic Resources on Dec. 14.
“This community wasn’t a plan or a laid out community, but it was hued out. Street by street, home by home, road by road, and we evolved,” said Sharon Felton, a fifth generation Seatack resident.
Seatack resident Barbara Olds said, “As a community, we’re excited. I’m excited. I think it’s a great idea and opportunity.”
Seatack launched the nation’s first Black volunteer fire department, the Seatack Fire Station after World War II, because the Black neighborhood was not serviced by the Princess Anne County fire and rescue department at the time. In 2012, the site of the old Seatack Fire Station became the Joseph V. Grimstead, Sr. Seatack Community Recreation Center, the city’s first city building named after an African-American man.
Black Americans who settled in the area developed it into a highly populated and economically strong neighborhood. They made many historical accomplishments in the segregated county of Princess Anne, that included raising money to build schools for their children (namely, the Princess Anne County Training School – 1938, among other schools).
The Seatack Civic League held its 200th Annual Birthday Celebration in 2011 and in 2019, Seatack received its official Historic Landmark placard, recognizing that Seatack has been a model for growth within the African-American community.
This historic recognition led to the honor of Seatack being showcased in the construction of the African-American Cultural Center of Virginia Beach, where 14 historic African-American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach, Virginia will be recognized and experienced.