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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Hampton USOs

"Home away from Home"

 

— Explore Hampton 2010: From the Sea to the Stars —

 
Hampton USOs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. Hampton USOs Marker
Inscription.  
During World War II, while in training for the Army, Navy, or Army Air Corps, both men and women found a "home away from home" at two locations in Hampton, one for whites and another for African Americans. These USO (United Service Organizations) clubs were places where service members could take part in "wholesome recreation," as their charters stressed, but what they were mostly remembered for was the entertainment and the dances. On dance night, the USOs were almost always packed.

The USOs sprang up in almost every city in the nation after President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1941, urged several national service groups to form them. They also had presences on military bases and behind the lines at overseas camps where famous performers entertained the troops. In Hampton, the white club on nearby Academy Street was operated by the YMCA. The club for blacks, here on King Street, was run by the National Catholic Community Service. Both centers operated in large, one-story, white-frame buildings.

Hampton citizens supported the USOs by participating in regularly

Hampton USOs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. Hampton USOs Marker
scheduled activities such as letter writing, hobby classes, movies, dances, and Sunday night suppers. Local women and teenage girls volunteered as cooks, hostesses, and dance partners. After the war ended, the King Street USO became the Colored Community Center, later renamed King Street Community Center. The Academy Street USO was utilized by a manufacturing company. Both buildings were razed during the 1970s.
 
Erected 2010 by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCharity & Public WorkEntertainmentWar, World II. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #32 Franklin D. Roosevelt series list.
 
Location. 37° 1.539′ N, 76° 20.76′ W. Marker is in Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is on West Queens Way just east of West Queens Court, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 47 W Queens Way, Hampton VA 23669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. War of 1812 Veterans Interred or Memorialized in this Historic Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Founders And Patriots Buried In This Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); St. John's Church
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(within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named St. John's Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Elizabeth City Parish (within shouting distance of this marker); Hampton Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Laydon (within shouting distance of this marker); Searching for Slabtown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown Hampton.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 8, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 21 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 8, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Feb. 25, 2021