Hampton University Professor Gives Back to the Community

Natalie S. Robertson, an associate professor of history at Hampton University in Virginia, has launched a job training center in a low-income neighborhood of Newport News. Using $150,000 of her own money, Professor Robertson bought a boarded-up building that once housed a nightclub and a printing business. She formed the non-profit Community Empowerment Network and is seeking to raise funds from government and private organizations.

Once renovations to the building are complete Professor Robertson plans to open the Micro Enterprise Institute, where aspiring entrepreneurs can learn how to run a small business. The other part of the building will be used as a job training center with an emphasis on the construction industry.

Professor Robertson is a graduate of the University of Detroit. She holds a master’s degree in museum studies from Hampton University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Iowa. She is the author of The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Making of AfricaTown, USA: Spirit of Our Ancestors.