Built circa 1879, the Little England Chapel is Virginia's only-known African American missionary chapel.
The diminutive Little England Chapel is a monument to the role of blacks in helping members of their own race achieve a better quality of life and a stronger sense of community through education and spiritual growth. Completed in 1879 as a missionary chapel, the building first served a variety of uses.
It was used primarily by Hampton Institute students who offered Sunday school lessons to the Newtown youth, continuing this practice until the 1930s.
The Newtown Improvement and Civic Club also held meetings here. Additional programs of worship, singing, and concerts were undertaken, and by 1890 the chapel had become known for its sewing club.
The Newtown Improvement and Civic Club acquired the property in 1954 and restored the building in 1990-93 for a historical, community, and non-denominational religious center celebrating the area’s African American culture.
The Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The Chapel exhibits interpret the religious lives of post-Civil War African Americans in Virginia and include handwritten Sunday school lessons, photographs, a 12-minute video, and 19th-century religious books.