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Evelyn T. Butts

Forest Lawn Cemetery

 Evelyn T. Butts  photo

Evelyn Butts was born in Norfolk in 1924.  From the age of ten Butts was raised by her aunt from whom she inherited her interest in political activism.  She worked as a seamstress for many years and was married to local disabled World War II veteran.  Butts achieved national prominence when she challenged the Virginia Poll Tax which she claimed violated her right to vote because she was too poor.  Her state suit was overturned but she appealed to the Supreme Court.  Then solicitor-general Thurgood Marshall took her case and the Court voted 6-3 in her favor to eliminate the poll tax in March of 1966.  Over the years she worked tirelessly to register many local African Americans to vote.  She worked closely for many years with the NAACP to bring about the integration of Norfolk Public Schools.  She served as the vice-chair for the Virginia Second Congressional District Democratic Committee.  From the mid-1970s to her retirement in 1987, she worked on a number of different city boards, committees, and councils including the Norfolk Model City Program, Biracial Citizen Advisory Commission, and the Board of Housing Community Development.  She played an important role in the creation of the Martin Luther King Monument.  Butts passed away in 1993.  To this day, Evelyn Butts is considered to be one of the most important political activists and champions of civil rights in Norfolk.

For more information on a book about Evelyn Butts:



Obituary of Evelyn Butts, Virginian Pilot, March 17, 1993.  See also, Virginian Pilot, “In Norfolk, From Plaintiff to Political Force: Evelyn Butts’ Gift to Her City,” Virginian Pilot, March 15, 1993 and Obituary of Evelyn Butts, Washington Post, March 13, 1993.  Photo from Library of Virginia, available from (accessed on July 5, 2012).      

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Sunday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 8100 Granby Street, Norfolk, VA 23505

Official web site for more information:

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: