This is the first structure owned by an African American that was awarded the National Historic Preservation Award.
J. Thomas Newsome was a lawyer, a churchman, and a newspaper editor. He spent his life helping others. The home was built in 1899, but Newsome (1869 - 1942) bought the home and moved in after the birth of their only child, Maurice Ethelred (daughter). Originally, it was a salt box structure, but it soon became an elegant Queen Ann residence after many changes. Newsome advocated for Huntington High School and also formed a colored voters league. He was the first black lawyer to practice before the Virginia Supreme Court.
The residence served as a hub for the local black community from which he led the fight for social justice within Virginia. Maurice was the last of the family to live at the home and it was sold in 1977 to Newsome House Incorporation, a foundation comprised of private citizens. It sat vacant for more than 10 years while looking for funding. Eventually, it was restored from 1987 - 1990. Funds came from the Federal, State, and City government, plus private citizens to make it happen. On February 17, 1991, the home became known as The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center. It also stands as a memorial to J. Thomas Newsome because of his many contributions to the community. Tours are about 30 minutes long and are offered between 10 am and 5 pm Thursday through Saturday. It is closed on Sundays and available by appointment only from Monday - Wednesday. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.