Events 2014

January through March


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.