John H. Ridley Place was built in 1954 as part of the Housing Authority's East End slum clearance program which aimed to accommodate the city's growing population and encourage investment in Downtown Newport News.
DR. JOHN H. RIDLEY
Dr. Ridley was the first African-American graduate from the University of Virginia and dedicated his life to the education of African-American college students. 'Born April 1, 1910, in Newport News, Virginia, to John Hoskins and Mary Washington Ridley, Ridley's parents were prosperous and middle class. His father John was a co-founder of the Crown Savings bank of Newport News.' In 1953, Ridley received his education doctorate from the University's Curry School of Education , becoming the nation's first African-American to receive a doctorate degree from a white southern university.