Celebrating Black Excellence

February is Black History Month and the Library will be drawing special attention to people and resources that remind us of incredible accomplishments from Black individuals and communities.

Below is a small collection of Black History Month happenings local to Charlottesville — and we hope you’ll join us all year long in appreciating Black excellence.

Office of African-American Affairs

Colorful cover of Black Bottom Saints by Alice RandallFor the upcoming Black History Month celebration, the OAAA chose a book, “Black Bottom Saints” by Alice Randall, to serve as the foundation of their programming. The novel follows the lives of powerful “saints” from the Black Bottom neighborhood in Detroit, like Della Reese, Sammy Davis Jr., Joe Louis, and more. Black Bottom is similar to the Vinegar Hill neighborhood here in Charlottesville — a hub of Black prosperity and life that was demolished in the early 1960s for “redevelopment.”

Later in February, the OAAA will host a Q+A with the curator of the Black Bottom Saints Playlist (available for free streaming on Spotify); and Alice Randall will present a keynote about the women Saints in her book.

Read about this programming and more from the Office of African-American Affairs.

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center hosts programming all year round serving our community, and offers local history resources and exhibitions.

From February 27-March 1 they’ll be screening “Black Enough,” an intimate and poetic web series about seeking to thrive in the Black community and beyond. The screening will include talks with the cast and creators. Learn more and see upcoming events through the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library

Our regional Library system makes rich material available on their website, and is hosting several relevant events this month:

Additionally, the Gordon Avenue Library houses the Roland E. Beauford Sr. African-American Collection. The collection includes a selection of the best books and other materials, fiction and non-fiction, by or about African Americans.

Charlottesville City Schools

Black History Month is underway in our local schools, and students are learning through morning announcements, art projects, guest presenters, and more. In highlights on their website from 2020, Jackson-Via presents a video about their celebration of African American Art and Activism, Johnson families celebrate with Kehinde Wiley-inspired art, and Charlottesville High School hosts a series of lunchtime learning events. See photos from these events and more.

By no means is this an exhaustive list — we hope you’ll join us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) to share the wonderful ways you’re honoring Black excellence in this Black History Month and beyond.

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