The City of Suffolk has a rich history of diverse leaders and contributors that have all had an important impact in making the city what it is today.
Learn about our legends
James LaRue Avery (November 27, 1945 – December 31, 2013) was an American actor and poet. He was best known for his roles as Philip Banks in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…
Born in Suffolk, Virginia, Barr was a historian, author, and former president of St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, where he, together with Scott Buchanan, instituted the Great Books curriculum.
Charlie Byrd was born in Suffolk and raised in the northern community of Chuckatuck. Inspired by local musicians who congregated at his father’s general store, Byrd began studying the guitar at age 10.
Col. Fred Cherry
Colonel Fred Vann Cherry was a Suffolk-born Air Force fighter pilot, whose plane was downed by enemy fire in 1965 during the Vietnam War. Cherry was the first and highest ranking Black U.S. officer held as a prisoner of war.
Michela English retired in June 2005 after more than 3 terms as a member of Virginia’s Sweet Briar College (SBC) Board of Directors.
Mills E. Godwin
The only Governor elected twice by popular vote, General Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor.
Ryan Speedo Green
Green was born in Suffolk, Virginia. He claimed his middle name was derived from his father: “I was born on April Fools’ Day, and my father, who considers himself quite a funny man, thought he would name me — he’s a bodybuilder — after his favorite sporting brand.
Mike and Ike Matina
The Matina siblings were born in Hungary to a tailor, John Matina, and his wife, Maria. Twins Bela and Matjus, who came to be known as Mike and Ike, respectively, were born on March 15
The story of Amedeo Obici (Ah-may-day-o O-bee-chee) is one born of an Italian immigrant’s hard work and ambition.
LaSallie “Sallie” Corbell Pickett
Chuckatuck native, LaSalle Pickett outlived her husband, General George E. Pickett, by 5 decades, spending much of her widowhood as an author and lecturer on the Civil War.
Lewis Powell, Jr.
An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Powell was known as a master of compromise and consensus building.
Moses A. Riddick
Passionate about serving Suffolk and a tireless advocate for voting rights, Moses A. Riddick served almost five decades in the county, city, and state government. He is credited for opening the door for many who entered the political arena, and was instrumental in bringing Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak at a Freedom Rally in Suffolk in 1963.
Dr. Margaret W. Reid
Dr. Margaret W. Reid was the first Black female doctor in the city of Suffolk. She donated her extensive collection of African art, books, slides, records, and other memorabilia to the Morgan Memorial Library.
Suffolk native Hope Spivey competed in gymnastics on the national and international level for 11 years, capping her career as a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
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