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May 24, 2022 
Beloved Community Charlottesville docent, DeTeasa Gathers, leads a BCC tour of Court Square.

The Racial History of Court Square

The courthouse was first established in 1762 and, over time, was used as a site for corporal punishment, trial hearings, elections, public assemblies, such as KKK meetings; and church services. Confederate Statues were installed in the Square during the 1920s in order to perpetuate the South's Lost Cause mythology: the "Johnny Reb" statue and the Stonewall Jackson statue. It's also the original site of the slave auction block, where local slave holders would come to Court Square on market days to buy or sell enslaved black people. Another important piece of history highlighted in this space is the story of John Henry James, a black man who was lynched before he could be brought to trial in 1898.

To learn more, click HERE and HERE.

View our video about Court Square from our BCCville virtual tour.

Mr. Hollins, one of the founders of the Burley Varsity Club, with his alma mater's marker.

The Burley Varsity Club

The Burley Varsity Club is a nonprofit organization that "aims to keep the sports' history and name of Jackson P. Burley High School alive." The organization was formed in 2009 by a group of athletes, including Mr. Hollins (pictured above), who attended the all-Black school that was open from 1951 to 1967. Their focus is on the preservation of the history; recent projects include: the creation of a trophy case, erecting the Monument Wall, raising money to improve the athletic field, and the recognition of Burley as a national historic landmark. 

For more information, click HEREHERE, and HEREFollow them on FacebookLearn about the Burley Restoration Project and donate!


Swords Into Plowshares Community Survey

In December, the Charlottesville City Council voted to give the city’s recently-removed statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC). [Read the news release.] The JSAAHC plans to melt down the monument to transform its bronze material into a work of public art. The public art project, called “Swords Into Plowshares,” will be informed by a community engagement process. Charlottesville area residents are invited to take this anonymous SURVEY.

If you belong to a group that would be interested in discussing this project further, send a message to with your group’s name and contact information.

Charlottesville Civil Rights Tour
June 16-26, 2022
The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and The Memory Project at UVA Democracy Initiative are partnering to offer (again) a Charlottesville Civil Rights Tour. The tour is open to Charlottesville community members passionate about racial justice who want to learn more about the U.S. civil rights struggle. The cost is $2,750 per person, not including flights. For more information about the tour, click HERE. Click HERE to register, sponsor a participant, and/or apply for a scholarship. 
Sundays on the Yard
Sunday, May 29 | 1:00-4:00 pm | Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

During Spring and Summer, JSAAHC takes over the Yard for a community get-together on Sunday afternoons. The celebration includes a cookout with food from Pearl Island Catering, music from Hurt City DJs, dancing, and fellowship. Register HERE to join the celebration!

Juneteenth Celebration
Friday, June 17 - Sunday, June 19 | Various Times | JSAHC 
JSAAHC and the Juneteenth Planning Committee have planned a celebration like no other for the weekend of Juneteenth. On Friday at 6 pm, local ancestors will be honored in the JSAAHC Auditorium. On Saturday at 10 am, there will be a parade, followed by music and food on the JSAAHC Yard from 11:30 until the sun goes down. On Sunday, CPG will present a staged reading of Suzan Lori Parks Topdog/Underdog. A post-show conversation will follow the reading and will include the cast & director and special guests Sarad Davenport, Chris D. Evans, and Rev. Brenda Brown Grooms. Register HERE.

Make plans to celebrate at JSAAHC!

Picturing Climate - Exhibition
Now - May 28 | Jefferson School African American Heritage Center 

Picturing Climate provides a window into local actions to promote climate justice and aspires to broaden resident engagement in ongoing advocacy work. The exhibit showcases photographs, artwork, and poetry from area youth alongside interactive data to shed light on the nature of climate injustice in our region. The exhibition is a collaboration between UVA’s Equity Center and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Click HERE for more info.

Exhibit: Memory Quilts 
Now - June 4 | Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
The exhibit includes the work of master quilter Deloris Jones Thomas. Thomas researched old patterns associated with the Underground Railroad for her creations and explored the relationship between color and form. The nine quilts in Memory Quilts move beyond mere function to describe Thomas’s sense of her lived and remembered environs. More information HERE
Note: Masks are required when visiting JSAAHC 

Staged Readings with the Charlottesville Players Guild
June 3 & 4 | 7 pm | Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
CPG's commitment to original work continues with two staged readings to showcase the work of two local Black female playwrights. A discussion will follow.

BLACK PANTHER by Zaharra Colla is an autobiographical dramatization of the life of a multiethnic young woman who repeatedly resists the sinister comforts of assimilation.

YOU LOOKIN AT IT by Cathy Ames Turner is born from a dissertation focused on the real-world effects of the prison industrial complex on Black men. A story of triumph born from solidarity and tenacity. 

HERE to attend.

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