Newport News Pays Tribute
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On April 9, a crowd of 5,000 persons walked from Huntington High School over the 25th Street Bridge to the Victory Arch at West Avenue. The marchers included Hampton Institute students, pupils from Carver and Huntington high schools, members of the Longshoremen’s Association and other citizens wishing to recognize Dr. King.
The planned peace march was conducted with quiet dignity, although over 130 policemen were on duty in case of disturbance. As told by Rev. Fauntleroy, “Machine gun units were stationed on the roof of the post office and army helicopters flew overhead” to monitor the crowd. The Daily Press account stated that many of the policemen had worked 48
Several speakers addressed the crowd, including Mayor Hyatt, who urged the listeners to “work together to build this community…in mutual respect.” The tenor of the other speeches was also conciliatory and exhorted the black community to continue to strive for freedom and civil rights and to be true to their fallen leader’s counsel of nonviolence. Tributes were given in honor of the slain leader, and citizens reflected on his life and what he stood for. Afterwards, the program participants linked arm-in-arm marched back to East End signing We Shall Overcome.
When asked afterwards why the Victory Arch had been selected for the rally, Rev. Fauntleroy replied, “It was a chance to let the people know blacks could be anywhere in the city they wanted to be; it would be an open city. The arch was built as a monument for everyone in the community. It was put there to memorialize servicemen from all of Newport News…we went to the arch because it was the place where we
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Mourners march over the 25th Street Bridge to the Victory Arch. (Inscription under the image in the upper center) The four-block stream of marchers progressing from Huntington High School on Orcutt Avenue towards the 25th Street Bridge.
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April 1968 memorial service in St. Augustine Episcopal Church, 2525 Marshall Avenue.
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Addressing the assembly from the podium, Rev. Jerry Cornelius Fauntleroy, president of the Newport News Chapter of the NAACP. On the stage at right, Jessie M. Rattley, Peninsula Cooperative Association representative.
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Participants return from the Victory Arch rally. Right to left: Mayor Donald M. Hyatt (white man), Peninsula Cooperative Association representative Jessie M. Rattley (two-tone hat) and Newport News NAACP president Rev. J.C. Fauntleroy.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Charity & Public Work • Education. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities 🎓, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is April 4, 1968.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Memorial Design & Concept (a few steps from this marker); King Comes to Newport News (within shouting distance of this marker); Crusader for Legal Justice (within shouting distance of this marker); James A. Fields House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named James A. Fields House (about 700 feet away); Gregory Cherry (about 700 feet away); Ella Fitzgerald (about 700 feet away); Jessie Menifield Rattley (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 290 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 1, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.