The Martin Luther King Jr. and Hampton Heroes Memorial Plaza is dedicated to the civil rights leader and to the men and women who devoted their lives to building bridges and working for social justice and equal rights in Hampton.
2024 Hero Inductees
The 2024 ceremony was held Monday, Jan. 15, in the lobby of the Hampton Roads Convention Center. After the indoor presentations, guests were invited to view the unveiling of the new names. The free event was open to the public.
This year, some of the people who built and sustained the historic neighborhood of Aberdeen Gardens were named Hampton Heroes. That list includes:
- Arthur Howe, who submitted the proposal for Aberdeen Gardens to the federal government
- Hilyard R. Robinson, the Black architect who designed the neighborhood homes
- William R. Walker, Jr., the community manager of Aberdeen Gardens
- Evelyn D. Chandler, a key leader in obtaining the neighborhood’s historic designation
- Roosevelt Wilson, leader of Aberdeen Gardens groups in the 1980s and ‘90s
- Claude Vann Jr., who assisted in the restoration of the Aberdeen Gardens Museum complex
- Claude Vann III., who continued his father’s and grandfather’s legacy as an Aberdeen leader
- Margaret Wilson, who shares Aberdeen’s stories locally and nationally to keep the history alive
Former Councilman Will Moffett, a neighborhood and city leader who championed the Y.H. Thomas Neighborhood Center and services for young people was honored under the category Modern-Era Trailblazers in Public Service.
Watch the full ceremony
About the memorial plaza
The plaza is meant to be a living monument, with new honorees added periodically. Located in front of the Hampton Roads Convention Center, the plaza includes elements that were already at the site – water, concrete, and earth – and added a fourth, weathering steel.
The steel symbolizes the strength of those who are honored and is meant to stand the test of time. It will react with salt and humidity to create a protective oxide coating that will change from orange to a browner hue over several decades.
You can learn more about Hampton’s rich history by visiting the Hampton History Museum at 120 Old Hampton Lane or going online to Hampton History Museum.