PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has designated I.C. Norcom High School as the location for a historical highway marker. The marker will honor its namesake, Israel Charles Norcom.
The African-American Historical Society of Portsmouth worked with school board clerk Kathy Chambliss to get information on Mr. Norcom.
Norcom, who worked in Portsmouth schools for more than 30 years, was an educator and administrator for the district. The first school named after him was opened in 1920. It was located three quarters of a mile southeast from where today’s I.C. Norcom High School is located. The school retained the name with each new building.
The historic marker will read:
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.