Archive for the ‘Monthly Meetings’ Category

CVHR Meeting (January 3, 2019): A Charlottesville Double Bill

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Jeff Werner , the new Preservation Planner for Charlottesville, filled in for Charlene Greene
who had asked the group for feedback on the West Main Street Interpretation and Signage Program as
prepared by Howard and Revis Design. Jeff asked that the group think about the “top ten” memories
that would represent the area and be reflected in the proposed signage, for which $15,000 has been
allocated. We asked Jeff to come back and talk to the group after the lively CVHR responses were shared

Andrea Douglas spoke about the new Jefferson School African American Heritage Center projects and
particularly the Origin Project which would lay out what the area was like after Emancipation when 52%
of the local population was African American. The 1870 map of Albemarle and the location of its many
plantations would be displayed so the large migration of freed people can be better understood.
Working on this project are Niya Bates and Elizabeth Klacsynski, the education coordinator for JSAAHC.
Jordy Yager is mapping the racial covenants of Charlottesville for an interactive map on racial zoning.
The story of who stayed in the county/city will be illustrated in the story of 6 families who can trace their
lineage from Albemarle plantation times.

CVHR Meeting (December 13, 2018): Seeing Virginia History through Digital Lenses

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Ed Ayers, professor and President Emeritus at the University of Richmond, spoke to us about how digital projects can reveal history in new ways.  Starting at UVA twenty-five years ago with the Valley of the Shadow project and continuing to the present with his work with the Digital Scholarship Lab (DSL) at the University of Richmond, Ed illustrated the ways in which digital projects can not only generate books (in his case, prize-winning ones), but can contribute to “history on a human scale”; everyone can be included in the story.  By getting a grip on the particular, we can learn about larger patterns.

He showed us several projects of the DSL, such as those on Congressional elections and the forced migration of enslaved people, within American Panorama, a digital atlas of US history that embeds local history into national and international patterns.  Ed finished by describing his work in progress, Southern Journey, The Migrations of the American South, 1790-1920, in which digital maps conjure up a region that has been far from static, its people in constant motion.

Here are links to the Valley of the Shadow, American Panorama, and a new connection engine, Bunk: Rewiring American History.

CVHR Meeting (October 4, 2018): Recent Archaeological Research at Monticello

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Bea Arendt, Curator of Archaeological Collections, and Crystal Ptacek, Archaeological Field Research Manager, from the Monticello Archaeology Department, brought us up to date on recent archaeological research on the mountaintop.  They highlighted the excavation of Sites 6 and 8, domestic sites occupied by enslaved field laborers in the early 19th century and late 18th century.  They also told us about recent discoveries in the first Monticello kitchen in the lower level of the South Pavilion, where enslaved cooks Ursula Granger, James Hemings, and Peter Hemings prepared meals between 1770 and 1809.

CVHR Meeting (Sep. 6, 2018): The People Who Stayed: The Enslaved Community of Oakwood Plantation and Their Descendants

Sunday, December 30th, 2018

Andi Cumbo-Floyd spoke about her project to research the enslaved community that had historically lived and worked at Oakwood Plantation in southern Albemarle County.  While the Harrises, the family that originally acquired the land via land grant and bought up surrounding parcels, had no papers, Andi was able to locate – with the help of several people in CVHR – the names of several families who worked and lived on this and surrounding plantations.  She also found, as is often the case, that many of those families had stayed in the immediate vicinity of the plantation and continued to work on the place where their ancestors were enslaved well into the 20th century.  She told of the research waymarkers shared by CVHR members, the trail she then followed, and the findings she made when she met with some of the descendants of the enslaved community at Oakwood Plantation.

CVHR Meeting (July 5, 2018): Hidden in Plain Sight: The Holsinger Photo Archive and New Visions of Charlottesville’s African American History)

Monday, August 6th, 2018

John Mason, UVA professor of history, spoke to us about a project to create a multi-media exhibition of Rufus Holsinger’s late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century portraits of African Americans, which are a striking refutation of the racial stereotypes of that time.  About 500 of Holsinger’s 5,000 portraits are of African Americans, and many of those are currently unidentified.  The project team, representing UVA and the Charlottesville community, is developing a process for identifying the sitters and is particularly interested in stories that can be told about individuals and families.  They will begin seeking public input in early 2019, including hosting a Family Photo Day.  But if you have information to share now, you can contact John at
For the Holsinger Photo Collection, see  and search  “African American.”

CVHR Meeting (June 7, 2018): The Lynching of John Henry James at Wood’s Crossing on July 12, 1898 and the Charlottesville Community Remembrance Project)

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Jalane Schmidt, Jane Smith, and Andrea Douglas brought us up to date on the Community Civil Rights Pilgrimage, July 8 to 13.  Its main goal is to take soil collected from the site of the 1898 lynching of John Henry James to the Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.  There will be stops along the way at important civil rights sites.
Jane told the story of the events of 11 July 1898 and explained the complicated process of discovering the location of the lynching at what was known as Wood’s Crossing, near Farmington.  Here is a link to the PowerPoint presentations, including newspaper accounts of the lynching and useful web links:


CVHR Meeting (May 3, 2018): A New Chapter for the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (ACHS)

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Coy Barefoot, the new Executive Director of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society (ACHS), shared with us a host of plans for the future, from basic issues like bylaws, budget and funding sources, and membership structure, to ideas for expanded programming (a new website, a speaker series, regular exhibitions) and his dream of a regional museum of history and culture here in Charlottesville.  He expressed his eagerness to collaborate with CVHR and other local organizations.  We were excited by the prospects for an educational institution central to our community and chipped in with our ideas.  If you too have suggestions or comments, Coy would like to hear your views (

CVHR Meeting (April 5, 2018): What’s Happening on Monticello Mountain?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Interpreter Aurelia Crawford, Community Engagement Officer Gayle Jessup White, and Niya Bates, Public Historian of Slavery and African American Life, joined us to report on current initiatives at Monticello.  We heard about the ongoing work of the Getting Word oral history project, which preserves the oral traditions of the descendants of Monticello’s enslaved families.  Getting Word’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated in June.  We learned about Black History Month events and the ways Monticello is collaborating with local organizations, such as in sponsoring events like the community history fair, Memories Matter, in February.
Niya Bates described the major restoration project in the South Dependencies, scheduled to open in June.  There will be spaces dedicated to Sally Hemings and the Getting Word project, and the two levels of the South Pavilion will tell the stories of Martha Jefferson and cooks Ursula Granger and James Hemings.  The exhibition, Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty, which first opened in 2012 at the Smithsonian, is being updated and readied for travel to a number of museums around the country.


CVHR Meeting (March 1, 2018): The Art and Mysterie of Colonial Apprenticeships

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Bob Vernon unraveled the “art and mysterie” of colonial legal processes with a Power Point presentation revealing how the courts of Albemarle and adjacent counties managed juvenile apprenticeships.  Children of color were bound to white masters and lived in their families, a contractual relationship overseen by the white Overseers of the Poor.  Apprenticeship records are thus a key source for understanding the lives of free blacks and the changing relations between black and white Virginians in the eighteenth century.

You can see Bob’s PPT program for yourself at

CVHR Meeting (February 1, 2018): Beating the Odds: Janie Porter Barrett Day Nursery to Barrett Early Learning Center: 1935-2018

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

Dede Smith told us about the founding, in 1935, and early years of the Janie Porter Barrett Day Nursery, an important resource for working African American women in Charlottesville.  She showed how it prevailed through funding and location challenges and drew the support of a cross-section of the black and white community, highlighting the roles of founder Daisy Green as well as local leaders like Otelia Jackson and Virginia Edwards.

You can watch a 15-minute video produced in 2016 to celebrate Barrett’s 80th anniversary: