African American News and Genealogy

This site was developed to provide you with news that relates to African American Genealogy, History and News. Please feel free to forward this link to others. I hope you enjoy this site and good luck with your research! Cheers, Kenyatta D. Berry Managing Director

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Virginia highway marker honors black oystermen

UNDATED Virginia's oyster industry is all but dead, making sleepy villages along Chesapeake Bay tributaries even quieter.Like Hobson -- on the banks of the Nansemond River near Newport News. But tomorrow the Virginia Department of Historic Resources will resurrect a bit of the town's history, unveiling a highway marker dedicated to Hobson's black oystermen and the community keeping their story alive. Hobson's founders arrived as early as the 1800s, and were largely freed slaves. Whites avoided the murky marsh areas back then, leaving black communities to flourish at the Nansemond River's edge. The river was rich with oyster beds the men would divide and harvest in long hours of backbreaking work and sons toiled with their fathers. But the industry began to unravel by the 1950s. Oyster hauls dwindled as overfishing and diseases decimated the Chesapeake Bay oyster population. Hobson resident Mary Hill is a leader in the effort to preserve Hobson's history. Her plans include a walking tour, state recognition as a historic district and the marker. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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