Meeting Archive – 2022 and Beyond

  • “Updates from the Virginia Untold Project at the Library of Virginia” with Lydia Neuroth

    June 6, 2024

    Virginia Untold Project Manager Lydia Neuroth will share updates from the “Free Negro Register” project, as well as new records recently made available through Virginia Untold and current digitization efforts. Virginia Untold is a digital project that provides access to records of enslaved and free Black and Multiracial people in the Library of Virginia’s collection. Thursday, June 6 , at 4 o’clock IN PERSON at Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. There will be no July or August CVHR meetings. Happy 4th of July and August vacationing!

  • Echoes of History: African American Churches and Cemeteries- Why Preservation Matters with Dede Smith

    Thursday, May 2, at 4 o’clock IN PERSON at Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

    Using GIS maps, both old and new, Dede will illustrate the historical significance of rural Black churches and cemeteries in Albemarle County; sites that represent the resilience and endurance of African American communities through periods of emancipation, segregation, and civil rights struggles. She aims to underscore the significance of preserving rural Black churches and their cemeteries as indispensable elements of a local heritage that is rapidly disappearing.

  • Birdwood with Andi Cumbo

    Thursday, April 4 , at 4 o’clock IN PERSON at Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Andi will discuss her research – and that done by the esteemed Brian Sheffey – and present not only the predominant family names with ties to Birdwood and the Garth family but also include information about the plans for the property as well as for how descendants of the enslaved community will be engaged with the interpretation, memorialization, and use of the property going forward.

  • Freedmen’s Bureau: The Assistant Commissioners’ Records with Shelley Murphy

    March 7, 2024

    On Zoom: While the field office records of the Freedmen’s Bureau are the most commonly reviewed and include registers of freedmen, labor contracts, and correspondence, the records of the Assistant Commissioners are less frequently examined yet are equally rich in historical detail. This presentation will highlight the “Assistant Commissioners ” who were responsible for the administration of Bureau activities in each state, and their records contain a wealth of information including reports, letters, and endorsements sent and received, registers of letters received, issuances, and narrative reports from subordinate officers.

  • James Fife’s Oak Lawn by students working on UVA’s Memory Project

    February 1, 2024

    Students working on the Memory Project will present their findings about James Fife’s Oak Lawn on February 1 at 4:00 on zoom for CVHR.

    For over a century, the stories of the enslaved people who lived and labored on the Fife estate, Oak Lawn, have been obscured, despite the fact that they constitute the majority of people to ever reside on the plantation. The purpose of our research is to document the history of those enslaved at Oak Lawn, in the hope of opening up new possibilities for reparative justice for the descendants of the Black men and women enslaved at Oak Lawn.

  • Researching Local Records and the Census

    January 4, 2024

    Virtual – Sam Towler will discuss researching local records that are held locally. Jon Zug, Clerk of the Albemarle Court, will explain the archiving project the County is working on and how this will affect researching the records currently held at the courthouse. Jean Cooper will talk about the Census records and how to get the most out of researching them.

  • December Holiday Gathering

    December 7, 2023

    In December, we will gather to share what we have been working on in an informal exchange and to enjoy tasty treats.

  • Tricia Johnson and Horace Scruggs of the Fluvanna Historical Society: The Words They Left Behind: Legacies of Bremo

    November 2, 2023

    Many of the people enslaved by John Hartwell Cocke of Bremo between1803 and 1865 could read and write. Separated from their families and community by forced migrations, they wrote letters back to Bremo. This exhibit features those letters, alongside artifacts connected to their lives.

    The exhibit is the result of collaboration between descendants of the men, women, and children enslaved at Bremo, a descendant of John Hartwell Cocke, and The Fluvanna Historical Society. Central Virginia’s public history professionals contributed their knowledge, skills, and expertise to the project.

    Horace and Tricia will also share information about ongoing efforts in two historic Black cemeteries in Fluvanna – Oak Hill and Free Hill.

  • LaToya Gray-Sparks on DHR inclusion initiative ; Reclaiming Landscapes of Erasure: Community Outreach at the Department of Historic Resources

    October 5, 2023

    LaToya Gray-Sparks is the new Community Outreach Coordinator at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR). During this presentation, LaToya will highlight her work on documenting and mapping landscapes of erasure and how this influences her work at DHR. She will also address the challenges and opportunities for community engagement in historic preservation.
  • Esmont: A Tale of Two Communities Becoming One

    September 7, 2023

    Ed Brooks will speak to the truth of the Esmont community existing today as the name of a former plantation that merged into a very prosperous segregated community that boomed from its unique natural resources and equally faded as those resources diminished. Simultaneously, it’s nearby African-American neighbors was becoming noted as one of the more progressive communities in all of Albemarle County. What has that culminated into today as a rural area of the county where the great majority of the rapid population growth is targeted towards the central urban ring?
  • August – No Meeting Held

    There is no meeting August 2023.

  • The Free Union Fire of 1896: Tragedy and Injustices

    July 6, 2023

    Helice Jones, Erik Irtenkauf and Alice Cannon will present the story of the Free Union Fire of 1896

    One White man died in a fire  in Free Union on a cold January night in 1896 and four Black Men fell under suspicion for his death.  One was hanged, one sent to the penitentiary for 18 years, one sentenced to five years in prison and one testified to the untrue story that convicted the others and he went free.

     Helice Jones is a descendant of Taylor Harmon, who was executed.  Alice Cannon has been researching this difficult narrative since Helice told her about it and Erik has mapped the extensive network of people involved as witnesses or suspects in the aftermath of the fire.

  • Horace Scruggs speaks about his film,”Reconstructed: The Rebuilding of African-American Communities Through Faith and Education.”

    June 1, 2023

    The film explores the ten distinct yet overlapping African-American Communities in Fluvanna County, all of which are anchored by Baptist churches that were founded during America’s reconstruction period. As these sacred places provided refuge, they also became the gate keepers of African-American culture.

    The film also offers insight into the history of education in the region, shares stories and experiences of attendees of the schools, shows the value placed on education in the Black community and highlights the role of the Black church in establishing the Washington-Rosenwald schools, which educated African-American students in Fluvanna and elsewhere from 1921 to 1958.

    June 1 CVHR meeting will be IN PERSON at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center !!

    Please Join Us

    Zoom link upon request- Please watch for details.

    We have had trouble with our zoom link for our programs since we have returned to at our home at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Those of you who have attended the December, April and May meetings understand the value of meeting in person, the opportunities for collaboration, questioning and friendship.

  • One Shared Story

    May 4, 2023

    One Shared Story is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 2018 to preserve, protect and promote hidden history. In addition to making resources available to community partners by providing training and through hosted Omeka services, the organization uses the online mapping platform – ArcGIS. These shared best practices and technology resources allow our friends and neighbors to develop and control shared access to precious historic artifacts and to provide tools, like Story Maps, so that those closest to these histories can tell their own stories. Join us for a summary of our work and an introductory training about using ArcGIS Online as a trusted community collaborator. Bring your own device to follow along live as we map history together (laptop or tablet is best but there are also smartphone tips and tricks).

    May 4 CVHR meeting will be IN PERSON ( and on Zoom) at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center !!

  • “To sell at public auction to the highest bidder”: Sales of Enslaved Persons in Charlottesville

    April 6, 2023

    Jalane Schmidt and UVA Graduate Student Researchers

    This presentation investigates the significance of Charlottesville’s Court Square as an Antebellum site of enslavement. Led by Jalane Schmidt, Director of the University of Virginia’s Memory Project and a team of graduate student researchers, the project uncovers the critical role that the Albemarle County Court played as both an arbiter of enslavement and an instrument of dehuminization. By revealing the role this site and and the Court played in trafficking enslaved people, this project aims to investigate the legacy of slavery in Charlottesville, Virginia. In close collaboration with the local descendant community, the project interrogates how historical research can shape public memory and public understanding of the period of enslavement.

    April’s CVHR meeting will be IN PERSON at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center !!

  • Recording Cemeteries

    March 2, 2023

    A Way to Keep from Losing Our History

    Joanna Green, Archeologist – Cemetery Preservation for the Community Services Division of Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources will discuss the debut of the DHR online tool to record Virginia cemeteries and will give a presentation on Virginia Burial Law.

    Robin Patton and Gloria Gilmore will talk about the “cemetery days” that One Shared Story has organized working through African- American churches and local historical societies and how best to use what people know about a cemetery along with mobile resources to be suppliers of location data to DHR.

  • Morven Summer Institute with Scot French

    February 2, 2023

    Scot French, a longtime member of the UVA-Charlottesville research community, will discuss his collaboration with Lenora McQueen on their Morven Summer Institute class, ARH 4500/AAS 4559 Morven’s Enslaved and Descendant Communities. The place-based course, to be offered again this summer, includes guided student research, field trips, and collaboration on a final digital project. French is a digital public historian specializing in the study of cultural landscapes associated with 19th and 20th century African American history. His research and teaching at Morven dates to 2010, when he directed a small research seminar and began delving into the correspondence of Thomas Jefferson and William Short on the subject of race, slavery, and emancipation. McQueen is an educator, researcher, and advocate for the preservation and interpretation of African American historic sites in Virginia. Her public advocacy on behalf of Richmond’s Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground led to a 2022 National Register of Historic Places listing and the erecting of an historic marker on the site.

  • CVHR Website and Member Projects

    January 5, 2023

    For our first meeting of 2023, we will hear from three of our members: 

    Erik Irtenkauf about the updated CVHR website,

    Jane Smith about her Daily Progress article and obituary website,

    Edwina St. Rose about the Daughters of Zion website.

  • IATH AND COLLABORATIONS IN LOCAL HISTORY

    December 1, 2022 – IN PERSON @ the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center

    Worthy Martin will discuss IATH and its collaborations in local history.

    The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) was founded in 1992 with the primary mission of transforming faculty scholarship through collaborations to make effective use of computationally mediated methods. Most often, this mission is accomplished through the IATH Fellows Program in which faculty propose scholarly investigations important to their own interests. In addition, IATH undertakes to obtain external funding for similar projects.

    Following President Ryan’s mission for the University, IATH also engages with the broader community beyond the University and this talk will give a sample of such projects, including:

    Virginia Emigrants to Liberia

    http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Home

    The Architecture of the Negro Travelers’ Green Book

    http://community.village.virginia.edu/greenbooks

    Social Networks and Archival Context

    https://snaccooperative.org

    The Countryside Transformed: The railroad and the eastern shore of Virginia 1870-1935

    http://eshore.iath.virginia.edu

  • An Overview and Pictorial History of the Covesville Historic District

    November 3, 2022

    Lucille Stout Smith will give an Overview and Pictorial History of the Covesville Historic District

    The Covesville Historic District is a village that developed in response to a religious settlement, transportation routes, and a successful apple-growing climate. It became a village in 1828 and was initially settled in the 1740’s by Scotch-Irish and German immigrants from the Shenandoah Valley. In 2005, the community was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, as the Covesville Historic District. Covesville also has three individual historic listings. Covesville is famous for its apples and by 1995, it dominated the apple industry in the state of Virginia.

  • RESCHEDULED – IATH and Collaborations in Local History

    October 6, 2022

    Our October topic was rescheduled to December. Instead a group discussion was held where members shared updates on their various research projects.


    Worthy Martin will discuss IATH and its collaborations in local history.

    The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) was founded in 1992 with the primary mission of transforming faculty scholarship through collaborations to make effective use of computationally mediated methods. Most often, this mission is accomplished through the IATH Fellows Program in which faculty propose scholarly investigations important to their own interests. In addition, IATH undertakes to obtain external funding for similar projects.

    Following President Ryan’s mission for the University, IATH also engages with the broader community beyond the University and this talk will give a sample of such projects, including:

    Virginia Emigrants to Liberia: http://www.vcdh.virginia.edu/liberia/index.php?page=Home

    The Architecture of the Negro Travelers’ Green Book: http://community.village.virginia.edu/greenbooks

    Social Networks and Archival Context: https://snaccooperative.org

    The Countryside Transformed: The railroad and the eastern shore of Virginia 1870-1935: http://eshore.iath.virginia.edu

  • Indian Phoebe – 30 Years to Freedom with Bob Vernon

    September 1, 2022

    Bob Vernon will present the story of Phoebe, an Indian, and her struggle to regain her freedom

    In 1752 12-year old Phoebe, an Indian, was sold as a slave in Albemarle County. She petitioned for her freedom and in 1760 an Albemarle jury restored her liberty. However, probably through appeals, she and her children remained enslaved and she petitioned again in 1780 and 1783. The presentation will detail her life as a slave, her release in 1790, and the fate of her children. Documents discovered reveal her surname, the tribe of which she was a member, and the date and location of her death. This documentation will be used to request a state historical marker honoring her long struggle for freedom.

  • Robert Pleasants, Early Abolitionist with Bill Hardin

    July 7, 2022

    Dr. Bill Hardin will discuss Robert Pleasants of Curles (Henrico County) who was a Virginia abolitionist during the Revolutionary period. Pleasants was the plaintiff in the case of Pleasants v. Pleasants (1799), a decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia that recognized a legal right to freedom for hundreds of enslaved persons retained in bondage by members of the Pleasants family. Robert Pleasants also founded a short-lived abolition society as well as corresponding with contemporary notable Virgininians such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Bill will offer some theories on how Pleasants came to abolition and what his example might mean to us today.

  • Library of Virginia’s Virginia Untold with Lydia Neuroth
    June 2, 2022 Lydia Neuroth serves as the project manager for Virginia Untold at the Library of Virginia. She will provide an overview of the two-year NHPRC grant from the National Archives that the Library received in February 2020 which currently funds her position and the processing of free Black registers from 19 Virginia localities and loose records from the City of Richmond, 1794-1865. She will describe recent finds documenting the lived experience of free Black and enslaved people in the City of Richmond. She will also provide relevant project updates and outreach initiatives including the recent addition of free registers to the Library’s crowd-sourced transcription platform. She will describe recent finds documenting the lived experience of Free Black and enslaved people in the City of Richmond. She will also provide relevant project updates, demonstrating new ways to access various records.
  • Heirs’ Property Ownership with Kajsa Foskey
    May 5th, 2022
    Kajsa Foskey will discuss heirs’ property, a form of property ownership that is prevalent in African American communities across the rural south. The Department of Agriculture has identified heirs’ property as the leading form of involuntary Black land loss amongst African American landowners. She will use her own family history in Louisa County, Virginia to illustrate the many challenges that arise from this form of ownership and detail how our current property law doesn’t effectively protect Black landowners. Robin Patton, of One Shared Story, who works with Kajsa, will briefly discuss carrying out cemetery recordation for the state Dept. of Historic Resources database.
  • The People of Pen Park with Sam Towler

    April 7, 2022

    Pen Park is a Charlottesville City Park. Many years ago Lynn Rainville noted there were likely enslaved graves outside the Gilmer, Craven, and Hotopp cemetery. Recently the City of Charlottesville hired a firm which found there are likely 43 or so enslaved graves there. The City asked the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society if they would investigate and try to determine the surnames of the families that lived there during the Gilmer, Craven, and Hotopp ownership and also try to find living descendants. Sam Towler volunteered to do the research and he presents a summary of his findings as of April 2022.

  • Secret Charlottesville with Marijean Oldham

    March 3, 2022

    Join us this Thursday – March 3 – to hear Marijean Oldham explore the secrets of Charlottesville, the weird, wonderful, and obscure.

  • The Original Communities of Free State, Dunlora, and Belvedere

    February 3, 2022

    Join us this Thursday to hear Dr. Angela Anderson discuss the Original Communities of Free State, Belvedere & Dunlora, specifically where she grew up in Freestate. her research over the past 20 plus years has provided her with some rich historical information and when she came home to visit last year, she was amazed at the progress and changes that have been made since she left and went into the military. She will provide as much historical information on Freestate, and as much as she can on Dunlora, and Belvedere. She will provide as much information on the people that lived there from the research that she has gathered, so she is praying that it will be informative and helpful.

  • Robert Pleasants and Abolition with Bill Hardin

    January 5, 2022

    POSTPONED — Bill Hardin will discuss Robert Pleasants of Curles (Henrico County) who was a Virginia abolitionist during the Revolutionary period. Pleasants was the plaintiff in the case of Pleasants v. Pleasants (1799), a decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia that recognized a legal right to freedom for hundreds of enslaved persons retained in bondage by members of the Pleasants family. Robert Pleasants also founded a short-lived abolition society as well as corresponding with contemporary notable Virgininians such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Bill will offer some theories on how Pleasants came to abolition and what his example might mean to us today.