The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is pleased to announce receipt of  $10,000 from BamaWorks Fund of Dave Matthews Band in the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Funds will be used to develop a database of students who attended Jefferson High School.

“The BamaWorks Fund has been instrumental in helping us develop our local history program; a 2012 grant from them allowed us to develop the Isabella Gibbons Local History Center. This is yet another step in making our history available to the broadest range of researchers possible,” says executive director Andrea Douglas. The project proposes to create a database from Jefferson High School yearbooks from the 1940-1951 that will allow lay and professional scholars alike to understand the culture of what was once Charlottesville’s only African American High School. These yearbooks are rare and in some instances in compromised condition and therefore unavailable for extensive use. According to Douglas, when complete, a user will be able to look up a student and pull up information about their activities in and out of school. In this way we create a compendium of information about African American life in our community in this period. We hope to expand the information that is available beyond the scope of these initial yearbooks as we move forward. This is an ongoing project for which funds are still being raised, however we are happy to be able to begin the work now.”

Students who are members of the Trailblazer program, a partnership between the Heritage Center and the City of Promise, will be developing the database throughout the summer. The goal is to have it available this fall in concert with the opening of the second phase of the Heritage Center’s permanent exhibition Pride Overcomes Prejudice.