At JSAAHC, 2015


Samba on your Feet

Reflections of Africa in Brazilian Culture

Eduardo Montes-Bradley, Director
2007, run time 52 minutes

Thursday, March 12 | 6pm

Conversation following film with Director

This lively film goes behind the scenes of the samba and carnival world in Rio de Janeiro to reveal how the cultural clash of the African/Black and European/White cultures gave birth to a new tradition. The historian Haroldo Costa, an expert in carioca folklore, explains how African slaves’ beliefs, gods and music mixed with Spanish Catholic and Indian influences centuries ago to create the remarkable fusion that is Brazilian culture. The film includes interviews with many active performers and writers of samba such as the composer and singer Xango da Mangueira. He recalls the first days of carnival in Rio de Janeiro when he and his fellow performers sang and danced in the streets but were treated like vagrants and harassed by the police. Mae Helena D’Oxosse, a priestess in the umbanda tradition, incorporates samba in her religious practices and carries on a tradition among her working-class followers that is five hundred years old.

Suggested donation $5



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Day Soiree at the City Center

The Day Soiree at the City Center

Educating the community through the arts, food and fun.
Saturday April 11 | 11-4pm

Join the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center as we partner with the Miller School of Albemarle student interns to bring Charlottesville its first ever Day Soiree. The City Center will open its doors as we celebrate the Jefferson School’s 150th Anniversary year.

On Saturday, April 11, 2015  from 11AM to 4 PM, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center will host The Day Soiree in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the opening of the original Jefferson School in 1865. From its earliest days, the Jefferson School has served as a site of community. It’s tradition of shared purpose continues today at the City Center. The Day Soiree will offer educational elements through arts, entertainment,  food and interactive fun in honor of the rich Jefferson School history. This outdoor event will take place on Jefferson School City Center campus, and admission is free.

The soiree will feature performances by Miller School musicians, Music Resource Center Students, local Djs, dance groups along with interactive booths  games and activities for the whole family.  At the core of the celebration is all city Jefferson School reunion. Those who went to the school at an moment in time will reunite in friendship and shared memory.

If you are a Jefferson School Alumni we invite you back to celebrate and reunite with friends and family at the Day Soiree!

Vendor booths filled. No longer accepting applications.

contact or call 434-260-8722 for more information.

This event is free and open to the public.

Presented in collaboration with the Miller School of Albemarle. Featuring DJ Almighty & DJ B-Easy.


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A Night with White House Correspondent April Ryan

Thursday, April 16, 2015 6pm

Journalist April Ryan will discuss her new book The Presidency in Black and White ( Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, 2015) with Bob Gibson of UVA’s Sorenson Institute.

Ms. Ryan has a unique perch in that she is the only black female reporter covering urban issues from the White House – a position she has held since the Clinton era. Each chapter of The Presidency in Black and White contains interviews with important figures who have been involved in race relations, have been advisors to the White House, or have covered the White House.  These interviews were conducted solely for the book and some of the more notable figures quoted include such people as: President Obama, President Bill Clinton, First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The book concludes with a presidential report card on how each administration did on race issues.

April Ryan, a journalism veteran, has been the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) since January of 1997. She is also the Washington Bureau Chief. Along with daily responsibilities at the White House, Ryan hosts the daily feature, “The White House Report,” which is broadcast to AURN’s nearly 475 affiliated stations nationwide. Over the years, many of her breaking news stories and interviews have found their way to the pages of some of the nation’s top newspapers. Those stories have also been featured in television newscasts on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and FOX. In September 2005 Ryan’s breaking news coverage of First Lady Laura Bush was also highlighted on NBC’s Today Show.





Friday, May 1
May is the Final Slamma Jamma!
Members Free
Non-members $5
Sign up for Membership and Enter Free!

Everyone has a story to share. Each Heritage Center Story Slam is based on a theme and this month is our final Slamma Jamma event.  We invite previous slam winners to return and welcome new storytellers to come share your story. The winner earns the title of the best five minute story teller in all the land—and gets to take home the Slamma Jamma trophy.

Official Rules for the Heritage Center Story Slam are as follows:
• Storytellers register upon arrival—please try to arrive promptly at 6:30 if you want to tell your story. Names are usually drawn at random to decide order of presentation.
• Stories should fit into the theme of the night! (Check Schedule)
• Stories should be true as you remember it!
• Stories should be under five minutes in length! Six minutes and you hear a whistle—eight minutes and you get the hook.
• No Notes, No Props, No Music!

Three judges are selected from the audience.
• Each storyteller is given a score on a scale of 1-10 on the following criteria: sticking to the theme, sticking to the five minutes and audience response. The storyteller with the highest score wins, and is given a spot in the final slam off!

When and how
• doors open at 6:30
• JSAAHC Members Free
• Non-members $5
• Sign up to become a member at the door and get in free!

Theme Schedule

May 1 — theme: tbd
April 3 — Because of ? I Can
March 6 — Cabin Fever (Cancelled due to Weather)
February 6– First Love
No January Slam– Happy New Year!
December 5 — Best and Worst Gift
November 7 — Road Trip
October 3 — Gravy
September 5 — Grits


Aesop's Fables

Join us for Story Time!, the exciting after-school program for children and families. Come and experience lively storytelling, songs, movement and activities as we delve into books that explore and celebrate African-American culture.  These stories will jumpstart and enliven family and community conversation about our local and national history.

The session’s stories, songs, and conversation suitable for 3-6 year old children and their parents/caretakers.

Story Time! at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center promotes:

  • A love of books
  • A glimpse into African-American history and contemporary culture
  • Pre-reading skills and a desire to learn to read
  • Listening and language skills
  • Cooperative behavior as part of a group
  • Critical Thinking
  • Imagination and creativity


Tales of the Night

September 5, 5pm

Director Michel Ocelot, 84 min

A girl, a boy and an old cinema technician tell stories every night in a small theater. Before each story, the boy and the girl decide, in accordance with the old technician, they will play the characters in the story they will interpret, they also choose a time and a country as well as costumes through documentation the technician brings them, and make clothing and accessories with a computer-controlled machine. They then perform the story on stage. The result is six exotic fables each unfolding in a unique locale, from West Africa, to Tibet, to medieval Europe, to the Land of the Dead.
Michel Ocelot’s ravishing animation and magical storytelling is a delight from start to finish!”
– Empire
“Transcends the Boundaries of Animation!
A worthy successor to Ocelot’s first four films.” – Cahiers du cinéma
Suggested donation $5.00