About Our Center

Located in the Jefferson School City Center, The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center’s mission is to honor and preserve the rich heritage and legacy of the African-American community of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Virginia and to promote a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the contributions of African Americans and peoples of the Diaspora locally, nationally and globally.
The Center features a permanent historical exhibit, a rotating contemporary art gallery, and a robust calendar of events, all of which combine to highlight Charlottesville’s African American history and culture of the African diaspora.

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It’s Saturday 7:23 pm EST — Sorry, we’re closed. Visit us when we’re open!

Contemporary Gallery

Sally Hemings University Connecting Threads

1 July  – 9 September, 2023

Sally Hemings became Thomas Jefferson’s property when she was a toddler and he was a newlywed. Fourteen years later, she would be in Paris, pregnant with his child, and free under French law. Sally Hemings exercised the full extent of her limited agency to craft a legacy of liberation for her descendants. Her son Madison wrote that his mother negotiated “extraordinary privileges” in exchange for returning to Virginia slavery. Taking Hemings’ role as an enslaved seamstress seriously, Sally Hemings University Connecting Threads interrogates the ways in which aesthetic practices (art, craft gestures) can operate within and alongside liberatory strategies.

The Sally Hemings University Connecting Threads exhibition encapsulates the semester-long work of the students of Sally Hemings’ University, a higher-level English course offered at the University of Virginia that interrogates how aesthetic practices can operate within and alongside liberatory strategies. The course is taught by Dr. Lisa Woolfork who is an artist and English professor at UVA and Tobiah Mundt, a local fiber artist and founding member of the Charlottesville Black Artist Collective. SHUCT artists have read several works by phenomenal scholars and artists such as Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, Kevin Quashie’s Black Aliveness, and Jocelyn Johnson’s My Monticello.

Picture Me As I Am | Mirror and Memory in the Age of Black Resistance

11 February  – 29 April, 2024

Of the over 1000 photographs taken at the Holsinger Studio 600 of these were portraits of African Americans. This subset, of which this exhibition presents a small selection, date between the late 1890s and the first two decades of the Twentieth Century. Away from the white gaze, these commissioned portraits suggest the aspirations of people distanced two to three generations away from enslavement. They were instructed by Black teachers who firmly understood the importance of education as a tool of freedom. They were guided by preachers who sermonized Black attainment from their pulpits. They were also exposed to newspapers with coverage and mastheads that delivered a sentiment of Black liberation. Consequently, the environs that inform these images are emulated in the self-consciousness embodied by their subjects.

The title Picture me as I am is taken from Frederick Douglass’s “Lectures on Photography”. It is curated by Andrea Douglas and Jordy Yager. Special thanks is owed to Lauren Broussard, JSAAHC Trailblazer Museum Studies Intern, for her help in researching the exhibition. Picture me as I am is made possible through the generous support of the Jefferson Trust, the UVA Holsinger Studio Project, JSAAHC Board of Directors and the annual fund.

Become a Member

Join today and be apart of our vision for 2023 and beyond!

As a JSAAHC Member you’ll receive:

  • Free admission to exhibits and events.
  • Discounts on workshops, lectures, and programs.
  • Invitations to members-only events.
  • Discounts in Alumni Room Museum Shop and Café
  • And much more.

Spotlight Events & Programs

Covid Policy: Due to limited space in exhibition galleries and our desire to keep us all safe, visitors must now obtain a general admission ticket to visit. Groups are limited to no more than eight people. Groups must obtain a timed group ticket. 


Daily 1.00 pm–6.00 pm


233 4th St NW, Charlottesville, VA 22903

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Upcoming Events

Culture & Heritage, Special Event

2023 Kwanzaa Celebration

Time: Sunday, December 3, 20231:00 PM - 4:00 PM /
JSAHC celebrates Kwanzaa with a market including Black farms and businesses, a performance from our Eko Ise Drummers and a craft table for children to make a gift for their parents. December 3 in the JSAAHC Auditorium from 1-4PM. This event is free and open to the public.
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