Charlottesville High School staff spent an afternoon learning about the ways ethnic and racial discrimination have shaped the city in which their students live.
Friday’s racial and ethnic history tour was a joint effort by Charlottesville City Schools, the city of Charlottesville’s Office of Human Rights, the University of Virginia and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center
“We are doing this because we want to understand the racial history of Charlottesville and its impact on the children and families who attend Charlottesville City Schools,” said Charlene Green, manager of the Office of Human Rights.
CHS principal Eric Irizarry organized the tour for all teachers, counselors and administrative staff after participating in a similar professional development opportunity for city school administrators that Green led.
“I thought the tour would be a great way to share that experience with everyone,” Irizarry said. “You learn so much more from really visiting these places.”
The tour began at Court Square, where participants observed Confederate monuments and the former site of a slave auction block. Later in the day, the CHS staff visited Vinegar Hill, the site of a black neighborhood and business district that Charlottesville residents voted to demolish in 1960.
The tour concluded at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, where participants learned about segregation and massive resistance in Charlottesville-area schools during the 20th century. 
The tour also included a stop at the Rotunda. Louis P. Nelson, UVa’s vice president for academic outreach, spoke about the history of slavery at the university. 
Charlottesville and Albemarle County public schools open for the 2018-2019 academic year on Wednesday.

Josh Mandell graduated from Yale in 2016 and has been recognized by the Virginia Press Association with five awards for education writing, health, science and environmental writing and multimedia reporting.