Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

Log Number: MH-252116-OMS-22

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center will identify, map, and interpret the history of African American land ownership and residential life in central Virginia from 1744 through 2020. Staff and volunteers will analyze more than 400,000 pages of property, land, and public records using tools developed for citizen-science crowdsourcing projects. Records will then be mapped, and the project team will incorporate this documentation of the geographic history of the region’s Black community into exhibitions as well as the K–12 curricula of two local school systems. The project will examine the mechanisms that allowed for the large-scale legalized displacement through eminent domain, urban renewal, and racial covenants of African Americans, as well as how this history connects to contemporary life outcomes and social inequities. This historical analysis will then be combined with oral histories, deepening the community’s understanding of its foundation and the legacy of African American landscapes and spaces.