I.C. Norcom High to Receive Historical State Marker

I.C. Norcom High to Receive Historical State Marker
Posted on 10/23/2017

I.C.  Norcom High to Receive Historical State Marker for Namesake, Israel Charles Norcom

Portsmouth, Va. – The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has designated I.C. Norcom High School as the location for a historical highway marker honoring its namesake, Israel Charles Norcom. The marker brings additional recognition to the school and its rich heritage. 

Mr. Israel Charles Norcom worked as an educator and administrator in Portsmouth schools for more than 30 years.  A school bearing his name first opened in 1920. The school retained the name with each new building. I.C. Norcom High has been an integral part of the African American community in Portsmouth. I.C. Norcom students conducted sit-ins to desegregate Portsmouth lunch counters in 1960, and many alumni have served as local, state, and national leaders, according to the award details.  

For months, the African American Historical Society of Portsmouth worked with School Board Clerk Kathy Chambliss to research Board archives for information. Read the original story.

The Society is led by Portsmouth historian and community advocate Mae Breckenridge-Haywood, who helped open the Colored Community Library Museum. Herman Weaver, a group member whose grandmother served as the school’s assistant principal in the 1920s, led the research effort. The marker will read:

Israel Charles Norcom High School 
I.C. Norcom (1856-1916) was an African American educator and administrator who served Portsmouth schools for more than 30 years. The first school to bear his name opened in 1920 three quarters of a mile southeast of here. Principal William E. Riddick and vice principal Lavinia M. Weaver led it for decades. The school moved into a new building nearby in 1937 and again relocated to a new facility, about a mile southwest of here, in 1953. The school's academic, athletic, and cultural programs were central to the community. Students conducted sit-ins to desegregate Portsmouth lunch counters in 1960, and alumni became local, state, and national leaders. Norcom High School moved here in 1998. 
Sponsor: African American Historical Society of Portsmouth 

Details about the installation date will be shared at a later time.