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Heritage Center Offers Peek Inside Jefferson School's Past

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Thursday, a Charlottesville historic landmark opened its doors to a peek inside the past and a look at the future.

The Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center will soon be a place the community can come to experience an important piece of the city's past, through its permanent exhibition - "Pride Overcomes Prejudice."  The building has a long history, stretching back to its days as the first high school in the city for African-Americans.

Andrea Douglas, executive director for the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center said, "This school's become very significant, not just for education of African-Americans but the development of public school education in Charlottesville, the development of public school education in Virginia and ultimately it's part of the larger story of how we educate people."

It is the exhibition's mission to honor and preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the African-American community of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

On February 28, the Jefferson School Foundation and the heritage center will have a public presentation of their exhibition at the First Baptist Church at 632 W. Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The heritage center is scheduled to open in late fall.  "Pride Overcomes Prejudice" is scheduled to open to the public January 2013.

 


 

Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center
Press Release

On February 28, 2012 the Jefferson School Foundation and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center invite the community to comment on its ground breaking permanent exhibition, Pride Overcomes Prejudice. Please join us from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., First Baptist Church, 632 W Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Members of the press are welcome.

Pride Overcomes Prejudice describes the changing social, political, and cultural contexts within which African Americans pursued educational opportunities in the five generations after Emancipation and highlights the importance of "place" as a key variable in African American history. The local setting for this regional drama is also a national shrine and world heritage site: Albemarle County, Virginia, home to Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, founder of the University of Virginia, and champion of public education as the key to democratic self-governance and a bulwark against tyranny. Jefferson's ideals loom large, alongside his generation's historic compromises and tragic legacies, in the history of the school and heritage center that bear his name.

"We have been working on the exhibition for the last two years" says Andrea Douglas, Director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. "In that time we have brought together a scholar team led by Dr. Scot French that has worked to frame the six sections of the interactive exhibition which, will occupy approximately 5,000 square feet of the schools interior and extend into the landscape to mark the site of the original graded school. We plan to make full use of mobile application technology through our exhibition walking tour and African American tour, in that way resurrecting parts of Charlottesville's history once thought to be lost." Douglas continues, "As we move into this next phase of program development, we would like to hear from our various constituencies. While this is a story of a single place, it is the story of Charlottesville, and we believe we should hear from our community as we attempt to tell it."

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center plans to open in late fall of 2012. Its intergenerational programs include a genealogy center, temporary exhibitions, performances and film and lecture series. The permanent exhibition is scheduled to open to the public January 2013.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center's (JSAAHC) mission is to honor and preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the African American community of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Virginia and promote a greater appreciation for and understanding of the contributions of peoples of color locally, nationally, and globally.