NCHS History

Tidewater's Institute doors closed in 1935.  Local school officials became concerned about educational opportunities for African American youth.  Conferences were called to discuss the future educational options with parents of the current students and interested citizens.

Of course concern to all was the transportation of children to the school site.  Mrs. Margaret McCune, a Jeanes Teacher's supervisor made the following vow to school officials:  "if you open the doors of the Northampton County High, we'll see that the children get there!"  In 1935 the Northampton County School Board began its financial support of Northampton County High School.

Consequently, public secondary education began for the African American youth in the fall of 1935 in the Old Tidewater building at Chesapeake, formerly referred to as Cobbs Station, was condemned for use as a school building in 1940.  It then became necessary to find a new location for them.

Then the School Board decided to house the school in its building located in Machipongo, VA.  That building which had previously been used by European American students, had stood vacant for several years because their numbers had been too few to maintain a school for them.

Therefore in the fall of 1940, Northampton County High School, comprised of African American faculty and students, moved into the building.  Classes were taught at the site until the Spring of 1953.

In 1952 a grant was approved by the Council to build a high school for African American students.  Constructed in 1953 as the county's first purpose-built African American high school. Northampton County High School reflects the desires of local African Americans to obtain modern educational facilities. The students moved in the building in September 1953 and the first graduation class was the Class of 1954, Mr. William H. Smith was the Principal.

The building contained classrooms, a library, a gymnasium, and a 500-seat auditorium.  Norhampton County High School remained a high school until the Spring of 1970.  In the Fall of 1970 the school became a Junior High and in the Fall of 1979 became a Middle School and subsequently was closed in 2008