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James A. Fields
The birth of James A. Fields, a Black teacher and lawyer, in 1844 is celebrated on this date.
Born a slave in Hanover County, VA, James Apostles Fields cared for the horses of white lawyers in Hanover County when they arrived for work. In 1862, during the American Civil War, Fields and his brother George ran away from slavery. After the war ended, he entered Hampton Institute in Virginia and was a member of its first class of graduates in 1871 and became a teacher.
Fields later enrolled at Howard University Law School and graduated in 1881. In 1893, Fields purchased the Whittaker Building in Newport News, VA, and started the first Black hospital in the Hampton area in the building.
From 1887 to 1890, Fields practiced law in Elizabeth City and James City and was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1889 to 1890. In 1897, the building became his law office. James A. Fields died in 1903.
The James A. Fields house is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. Gregory Cherry purchased it in 2003. The restored building is located at 617 27th St, Newport News.