Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Clark Oak
The Emancipation Oak, also known as the Butler Oak, is located on the campus of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia. Under this tree the Emancipation Proclamation was read to a gathering of slaves in 1863, telling them of their freedom.
The seedling was obtained by Asa Sims, a horticulturist at Hampton Institute. A ground breaking ceremony was sponsored by the Everblooming Garden Club of Newport News on Thursday, January 17, 1935.
The Clark Oak was named for Norris Berkeley Clark (1856-1940). Mr. Clark was a graduate of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University), where one of his schoolmates was Booker T. Washington. An attorney and educator, Mr. Clark was the first principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School (1929-37). He also served on the school board in Newport News (1896-1900), being the fist African-American to serve in that capacity.
Erected 1999 by Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center.
Topics and series. African Americans • Horticulture & Forestry. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities series list. A significant historical date for this entry is January 17, 1935.
Location. 36° 59.689′ N, 76° 24.651′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is on Chestnut Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Marker is in front of Booker T Washington Middle School, under the oak tree. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3700 Chestnut Ave, Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Newport News POW Camp (approx. 0.3 miles away); Confederate Dead (approx. 0.3 miles away); Annie Belle Daniels (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pearl Bailey (approx. 0.4 miles away); Newsome House (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Brown Center (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Winfield-Jones House (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named The Newsome House (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
Regarding The Clark Oak. In 1902, Clark was hired as principal of Colored School No. 2. In 1929, the school was renamed after Booker T. Washington.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 30, 2016, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 445 times since then and 100 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 30, 2016, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.