At JSAAHC, 2014


Cheick Hamala Diabate

Sammy Shelor

Danny Knicely

From Africa to Appalachia

An Evening with Cheick Hamala Diabate, Sammy Shelor, Danny Knicely and Friends

February 20, 2014 | Doors open 8 pm

General Admission $12, students/seniors $10

For information and Tickets >

This event is produced by the Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, in partnership with the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and WTJU 91.1 FM.


Darryl Littleton

An Evening with Darryl Littleton

March 12, 2014 | Doors open 7:30 pm

General Admission $12.00, students/seniors $10

Join us for an evening with comedian Darryl Littleton D’Militant, author of Black Comedians on Black Comedy, Comediennes: Laugh be a Lady and executive producer of Robert Townsend’s documentary, Why We Laugh.

This event is made possible through the generous support of the Blue Moon Foundation and the Hampton Inn and Suites.

Bill Cole Rehearsal and Lecture

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | 4 pm

Featuring Ras Moshe, Lisa Mezzacappa and Lisette Santiago


Bill Cole


Ras Moche


Liza Mezzacappa

Lecture/Demonstration with Bill Cole Untempered Quartet

March 26 | 4:30 pm


In keeping with the Heritage Center’s desire to trace the movement of black music, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is partnering with the Charlottesville Jazz Society and the University of Virginia Arts Administration program to present a lecture/demonstration with jazz musicians Bill Cole, Lisa Mezzacappa, Lisette Santiago, and Ras Moche. This event is the first time that these artists will rehearse together. For viewers it is a rare opportunity to partake in the most improvisational moment in an artist’s life and should not be missed.

Bill Cole, a talented jazz musician with a penchant for using non-Western instruments such as the didgeridoo, Ghanaian bamboo flute, and Tibetan trumpet, is well known in the music world for his innovative and masterful blending of diverse musical traditions. Cole, a recent emeriti professor of Syracuse University, is also an important figure in the academic world, having authored books about jazz legends Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Lisa Mezzacappa’s music spans the vast terrain between free improvisation, contemporary composition, and creative jazz. She leads many of her own celebrated bands, including her garage jazz quartet Bait & Switch (voted Best Debut, Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll), the electro-acoustic chamber ensemble Nightshade, and a Trio with Brooklynites Chris Welcome and Mike Pride. Lisa is a 1997 graduate of the University of Virginia. Lisette Santiago is a multi-instrumentalist who started singing at the age of four and was accepted into the Children’s Metropolitan Company at age nine. Lisette has recorded and performed with artists such as The Jungle Brothers, Stereo MCs, and Grammy award winning artists Cyro Baptista and Itaal Shur. Santiago is currently working on new projects, experimenting with electronic music, vocals, percussion, and Theremin. Ras Moche began leading his own ensembles in 1987 and enjoys playing as a side man in Reggae groups. To name a few Moshe has performed his compositions at Roulette, The Brecht Forum, The Brooklyn Lyceum, Buffalo’s Hallwalls Gallery, Deep Listening Space, The Vision Festival, and Washington DC’s The Fridge. He is a proud seven-year member of Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble and believes in the positive effect that Jazz will have on social and personal change.

The artist will appear in concert on Thursday, March 27 at 8 pm at the U.Va. Chapel, located at 1619 University Avenue. Doors will open at 7 pm. Tickets for the performance may be purchased at the door only, and will be free for students, $5 for members of the Charlottesville Jazz Society, and $10 for the general public. For information about the concert, contact George Sampson,email >



Carmenita Higginbotham


Christopher Lehman


From Jackson Five to Boondocks

African Americans in Animation in
the Post-Civil Rights Era

March 28–29, 2014


Friday, March 28 | 3:30-6 pm

Self Destruct!
Youth class, ages 12-16

Friday, March 28 | 6 pm


Richard Breaux
Assistant professor, Department of Ethnic Studies, Colorado State University

Carmenita Higginbotham
Assistant professor, American Art, University of Virginia

Saturday, March 29 | 10am – 12:30 pm

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Saturday, March 29 | 10am – 1 pm

Stop That Motion
Adult class

Saturday, March 29 | 1:30 pm


Christopher Lehman
Professor, African American Studies, St. Cloud State University

Saturday, March 29 | 2:30pm, reception to follow


Bruce Smith
Senior Designer, Disney

Symposium Description

From Jackson Five to Boondocks: African American in Animation in the Post Civil Rights Era is the first event in The Heritage Center at the Edge program, a biannual event that brings together practitioners and scholars to consider the latest trends in the artistic production of people of color. Racist animation was commonplace in this country until the advent of the black power movement. The symposium considers the shifts in the representation of black culture in television, feature films and the web over the course of the last forty years. Keynote speaker Bruce Smith, one of the few Black animators working in the industry and supervising animator for Disney’s Princess and the Frog, will discuss his experiences and projects over the course of the last 30 years. Other speakers include Drs. Richard Breaux of Colorado State, Carmenita Higginbotham of UVA, and Christopher Lehman of St. Cloud University.

Keynote Speaker

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith, who studied animation in the Character Animation program at California Institute of the Arts, is an American character animator, film director and television producer, best known as as the creator of Disney’sthe Proud Family. One of the few Black animators working in the industry, Smith got his start as an assistant animator for Bill Meléndez’s 1984 Garfield television special Garfield in the Rough. He went on to animate for Baer Animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and in 1992 directed his first feature, Bébé’s Kids. Other notable work for Smith during the mid-1990s included supervising the animation for The Pagemaster, serving as director and character designer for Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child, designing the characters for a A Goofy Movie and C Bear and Jamal, and co-directing the animated segments of Space Jam. He was also the creator of Da Boom Crew along with John P. White and Stiles White.

In 1988 Smith joined Walt Disney Feature Animation, and served as a supervising animator on four of its films: Tarzanthe Emperor’s New GrooveHome on the Range and the 2009 film, The Princess and the Frog. From 2001-2005 he produced the Proud Family for Disney, through his production company Jambalaya Studios, .


Richard Breaux
Richard Breaux is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic & Racial Studies and History at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse with interest in the history of education, African Americans in film, and African American political, social, and cultural history. Most recently Professor Breaux’s combined interest in race, gender, sexuality, education, history, and film have led to the publication of “I’m a Cartoon! The Jackson 5ive Cartoon as Commodified Civil Rights and Black Power Ideologies,” Journal of Pan-African Studies 3, 7 (March 2010), “After 75 years of Magic…Disney Seeks to Silence Critics, Rewrite African American History and Cash in on its Racist Past,” Journal of African American Studies 14,4 (December 2010), and “Selected Black Animated Fairytales from Coal Black to Happily Ever After, 1943-2000 in Laretta Henderson and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw, ed.Fairy Tales With a Black Consciousness: Essays on Adaptations of Familiar Stories (2013).

Carmenita Higginbotham
Carmenita Higginbotham is an Associate Professor of Art History and American Studies at the University of Virginia. Her main research interests include American art of the late-nineteenth and the early-twentieth centuries, urban culture, race/ethnic representation, and American popular culture. Much of her research has focused on the 1920s and 30s. Her forthcoming book titled The Urban Scene: Race Reginald Marsh and American Art (Penn State University Press) examines urban realist painters of the 1920s and 30s adopt representational strategies to respond to pervasive racial and ethnic influences on American culture.

Christopher Lehman
Christopher P. Lehman is a professor of Ethnic Studies at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. His book THE COLORED CARTOON won a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title award in 2008, and he was a Visiting Fellow of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University in the summer of 2011.


For symposium
Eventbrite - From Jackson 5ive to Boondocks: African Americans in Animation in the Post-Civil Rights Era

 For Saturday morning classes
Eventbrite - Saturday Morning Cartoons

For animation classes
Eventbrite - Animation Classes

This programs is made possible through the generous support of Dominion Resources, the Blue Moon Fund, the Miller School, Tenth Street Bed and Breakfast, Land Power Landscaping and General Maintenance, and WUVA.


Ablemarle County, 1867

Charlottesville Albemarle African American History Charette

April 12, 2014 | 10 am to 2 pm

Refreshments served

The history of African American communities in Albemarle County, though often unknown, dates back to the colonial period. In an effort to make these histories common knowledge, we are holding a day-long charette to gather information on communities and sites related to African American history in the Charlottesville Albemarle region. Our goal is to create the area’s most comprehensive African American Heritage Trail from the colonial period through the civil rights era. At the end of the day, we hope to have amassed a body of information that will enlighten locals, students, and tourists about our rich history.

To participate, please email us a one paragraph abstract of your research findings, including individuals related to the site and what makes that site significant to the history of our region. If you wish to make a 5-10 minute presentation of your research in the charette, email information to reserve a time.

We are interested in research related to:

  • Land ownership
  • Politics and civil rights activities
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Education
  • Religion
  • Business and work
  • Recreation
  • Enslaved or free antebellum communities
  • Cemeteries

This event is free and open to the public. It is made possible through the generous support of theBlue Moon Fund and organized by The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, in partnership with the Burke Brown Steppe Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, the Central Virginia History ResearchersPreservation Piedmont, and theVirginia Foundation for the Humanities.


Celebrate Spring with Curtis Morton

Saturday May 3, 2014 | 2 pm

Isabella Gibbons Local History Center

Dahlias were found in Mexico by Spaniards during the 16th century and today are considered to be one of the most spectacular flowers in a garden. Curtis Morton is considered to be our community’s foremost expert on the growing of these beautiful perennials. Join us for a conversation with Morton and learn how to plant, care-for and even eat their flowers, leaves and roots!


Dismantling Jim Crow:

1954 -1974

Monday, May 12, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014


2014 is a significant year as it marks the anniversaries of three important events in America’s history—the settling of the landmark court case Brown vs. Board of Education, the passing of the Civil Rights Act, and the advent of the Boston busing riots. Over the course of three days we will look at these events through three films and a conversation with Mildred W. Robinson, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, about her book Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education.

May 12 | 5:30 PM

Separate But Equal (1991) 193 min

Separate but Equal was first shown as a television mini-series so it is 3 hours long. Based on the groundbreaking Brown vs. the Board of Education case, the film follows a young Thurgood Marshall (Sidney Poitier) as a lawyer who argues the racially charged lawsuit before the Supreme Court. When the black students of Clarendon County, South Carolina are denied their request for a single school bus, a bitter and courageous battle for justice and equality begins. The NAACP lawyer’s desperate fight for the civil rights that didn’t come with the outlaw of slavery nearly a century ago becomes an all-encompassing struggle both in his personal life as well as the courtroom. Marshall’s opponent is John W. Davis (Burt Lancaster) and the two argue passionately and eloquently before a Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren (Richard Kiley). Separate But Equal is a moving and human dramatization of one of the most pivotal court cases in American history.
Suggested donation $5.00

May 13 | 6 PM

Can We Talk? Learning from Boston’s Busing/Desegregation Crisis (2012) 56 min

The Boston busing crisis (1974–1988) was a series of protests and riots that occurred in Boston, Massachusetts in response to the passing of the 1965 Racial Imbalance Act, which ordered public schools in the state to desegregate. The legislation provoked outrage from white Bostonians and led to widespread protests and violent public disturbances. The conflict lasted for over a decade and contributed to a demographic shift in Boston public schools, with dramatically fewer students enrolling in public schools and more white families sending their children to private schools instead. Can We Talk? was produced, written and directed by media producer Scott Mercer and filmed by Justin Shannahan. The film offers powerful stories of the 1970’s busing/desegregation crisis that changed Boston forever. Most of those in the film have never publicly shared their stories.
Suggested donation $5.00

May 13 | 7 PM

Discussion with Mildred W. Robinson,
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia

Mildred Robinson’s book Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education stands alone in presenting, in one source, stories of black and white Americans, men and women, from all parts of the nation, who were public school students during the years immediately after Brown vs. Board of Education. All shared an epiphany. Some became aware of race and the burden of racial separation. Others dared to hope that the yoke of racial oppression would at last be lifted. Robinson and her co-editors surveyed 4750 law professors born between 1936 and 1954, received 1000 responses, and derived forty essays from those willing to write personal accounts of their childhood experiences in the classroom and in their communities. Their moving stories of how Brown affected them say much about race relations then and now. They also provide a picture of how social change can shape the careers of an entire generation in one profession.

May 15 | 6:30 PM

A Class Apart (2009) 49 min

A Class Apart is the first major film to bring to life the heroic post-World War II struggles of Mexican Americans against the Jim Crow-style discrimination targeted against them. A Class Apart is built around the landmark 1951 legal case Hernandez v. Texas, in which an underdog band of Mexican Americans from Texas bring a case all the way to the Supreme Court – and win. The film begins with a murder in a gritty small-town cantina and follows the legal journey of the Hernandez lawyers through the Texas courts and ultimately to the United States Supreme Court.

We see them forge a daring legal strategy that called their own racial identities into question by arguing that Mexican Americans were “a class apart” who did not neatly fit into a legal structure that only recognized blacks and whites.


Using Genealogy Resources

Jean Cooper
Genealogical Resources Specialist,
University of Virginia Library

May 24, 2014 | 10 am – 2 pm
Isabella Gibbons Local History Center

Genealogy is one of the most popular pastimes in the United States. Led by Jean Cooper, Genealogical Resources Specialist at the University of Virginia library, this 4 hour course seeks to introduce the beginner in genealogy to concepts such as what genealogy is, why people enjoy it, basic research guidelines, what resources to use, and gives some general advice for the genealogist. These presentations will also discuss how to use the U.S. Census in genealogical research, how newspapers can be useful in historical research, and what useful online resources are available for the genealogist.

Taught in the Heritage Center’s Isabella Gibbons Local History Research Center, the course will also familiarize participants with the research resources available at the African American Heritage Center.

Christian J. Cotz    

George Gilmore, former Montpelier slave, built this cabin in the early 1870s from the remains of the deserted Confederate camp just to the north.

The African American Experience at Montpelier

Making the Invisible Visible

Thursday, June 19 | 6 pm – 9 pm

From sites of 18th century enslavement through Jim Crow segregation, few historic sites boast the ability to interpret the arc of African American history as comprehensively as James Madison’s Montpelier.

Join Christian Cotz as he explores the story of African American history at Montpelier, reveals individuals from the historical record, and discusses Montpelier’s research and interpretive efforts.

Christian J. Cotz is the Director of Education and Visitor Engagement at James Madison’s Montpelier. Since 2000, he has been instrumental in designing school programs, experiential learning venues, exhibits and interpretive programs at the home of the Father of the Constitution.

This event is the first in a series of collaborations between Montpelier and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Reception proceeds the talk.

Eventbrite - The African American Experience at Montpelier:  Making the Invisible Visible


2nd annual Freedom Read-athon

One Mic, One voice

July 18, 2014 | 10 am – 8 pm

In recognition of Nelson Mandela International Day and to mark what would have been Madiba’s 96th birthday, we will hold our second Freedom Read-athon. Ten hours of words for freedom–67 minutes of which will be devoted to words by Nelson Mandela to honor his years as an ardent fighter for human rights. Read your words or the words of others. We invite all who believe in freedom to step up to the mic!



Saturday, July 19 | 10 am – 12 pm
Isabella Gibbons Local History Center

Stuck with a genealogy problem? Come by from 10 am- 12 pm and receive expert advise from a member of the Burke, Brown, Steppe chapter of the Afro-American Genealogy Society.


Children's Summer Film Series

Khumba (2012)
run time 1h 25min

Saturday, July 19, 2014 | 3pm & 5:30 pm
Suggested donation $5.00

Tickets available at the door

A young zebra, born with only half his stripes is rejected by his superstitious herd and blamed for a sudden drought affecting the land. Teaming up with a sassy wildebeest and a flamboyant ostrich, Khumba sets out on a daring mission across the Karoo desert to find the legendary waterhole where the first zebras got their stripes. Along the way he meets a host of colorful characters, but before he can reunite with his herd, Khumba will have to come face to face with a menacing leopard to take part in an epic battle.

Wine Tasting

Wine tasting
with wine importer Simon n Cellars
and a tour of the new exhibition
Frank Walker: Black Stories with curator Andrea Douglas

Aug. 5, 2014 | 6-8 pm
Suggested donation $5 Tickets can be purchased here >

We will be tasting four wines:

Soft but with good body, characterized by the typical lightly bitterish aftertaste. It goes well with savory and structured hors d’oeuvre, as well as first dishes, or simple and light white meat, and lightly savory cheese.

Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin and Mauzac, this crémant or sparkling wine is the product of grapes carefully selected at each step of production.

This wine is made using the same methods as Moscato d’Asti, except not so fast! The wine is then aged on lees until it is deemed to be ready, very much like the process used in some high end Prosecco.

The tiny French town of Cerdon is very close to the Swiss border in a little-known VDQS called Bugey. The wine is sparkling rosé, but not just any sparkling rosé.