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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

122-5971 J. Eugene Diggs Residence

J. Eugene Diggs Residence
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/18/2020

Built between 1919 and 1923 for esteemed African American attorney J. Eugene Diggs, the Diggs Residence in Norfolk is significant for its owner’s steadfast, forceful civil rights activism and his legal work that secured social justice for people of color throughout the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area during four decades of the Jim Crow era. Among his accomplishments, Diggs was instrumental in efforts that led to the desegregation of southern Virginia’s public beaches and schools. Until Diggs’s death in 1959, his residence also served as a “safe place” in the region for visiting eminent African Americans including Thurgood Marshall and Carter G. Woodson, among other acclaimed black artists, politicians, and public figures. Prominently located along a major boulevard in Norfolk, his Georgian Revival house’s design is attributed to African American architect Harvey N. Johnson, who in addition to other houses and churches of African Americans, designed the Crispus Attucks Theater, a legendary landmark in Norfolk’s historically and predominantly black district known as Huntersville.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated September 28, 2020