Undergraduate historcial research conducted on Wilson's column in the Portsmouth Star.
The organization is dedicated to collecting local African history and promoting, encouraging, and coordinating original historical activities, relating to African Americans in the Portsmouth area through oral and written interviews and other research activities. The organization is also interested in identifying locations and owners of African American artifacts, pictures and/or photographs and other objects.
In 2003, Norfolk State University professors Cassandra Newby Alexander, William Alexander, and Jeffrey Littlejohn launched a study of the Underground Railroad (URR) in Portsmouth, Virginia. With a supporting crew of local historians, including Mae Breckenridge-Haywood, Margaret Windley, and Sheldon Collins, the Norfolk State team focused its attention on the historical area in downtown Portsmouth. Two churches -- Emanuel A.M.E. and Monumental Methodist -- were the initial sites of investigation. Portsmouth's oral-history tradition held that members of these churches aided enslaved African Americans, who were "secreted out" of the city on ships bound for the North.