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Black History Month: Aberdeen Gardens

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

Another African American New Deal community in the mid-Atlantic region is Aberdeen Gardens in Hampton, VA. It was originally named Newport News Homesteads. Arthur Howe, president of the Hampton Institute, wrote the initial proposal for the community and asked for $280,000 for its construction. Planning began in 1934 and it was completed in 1937, the same year as Greenbelt.

Aberdeen Gardens (photo: Library of Congress)

Aberdeen Gardens was designed by Hilyard Robinson, architect of DC’s Langston Terrace Dwellings. Staff and laborers were all African Americans. It was built "by Blacks for Blacks."

A young couple moves into Aberdeen Gardens 1937

Like Greenbelt, Aberdeen Gardens also had a Co-operative market. As a Subsistence Homestead community, members could sell produce and other goods there that they grew or made themselves.

1937 Aberdeen Gardens homesteader. photo Library of Congress

Still vibrant, Aberdeen Gardens maintains a historic house museum that offers tours of the house and neighborhood. For more information about this unique community, please visit the Aberdeen Gardens Museum site and watch this video:

Please note: we have recently learned through conversation with members of the community, that the photos above are likely NOT original residents but models.

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