In 1935 a seedling from the Emancipation Oak was planted at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.
The Emancipation Oak, also known as the Butler Oak, is located on the campus of Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in Hampton, Virginia. Under this tree the Emancipation Proclamation was read to a gathering of slaves in 1863, telling them of their freedom.
The seedling was obtained by Asa Sims, a horticulturist at Hampton Institute. A ground breaking ceremony was sponsored by the Everblooming Garden Club of Newport News on Thursday, January 17, 1935.
The Clark Oak was named for Norris Berkeley Clark (1856-1940). Mr. Clark was a graduate of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University), where one of his schoolmates was Booker T. Washington. An attorney and educator, Mr. Clark was the first principal of Booker T. Washington Elementary School (1929-37). He also served on the school board in Newport News (1896-1900), being the fist African-American to serve in that capacity.