Support Our Work!

In honor of Thomas Jefferson’s 281st birthday, will you help us preserve and protect Monticello for generations to come?

GIVE NOW
Getting Word African American Oral History Project Banner Image

Event Overview

Back for 2024, this three-day Black Family History Lab is the latest edition of “Memories Matter,” reimagined as a weekend-long community history gathering. The Lab invites local residents to connect with family history experts on how to best save family treasures (i.e. photographs, letters, books, quilts, stories, and more), sit for professional family portraits, attend genealogy and oral history workshops, and find out what community groups are doing to tell local stories—all free of charge.

An event by the Getting Word African American Oral History Project in collaboration with The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and over twenty local history organizations and preservation specialists.

The Getting Word African-American Oral History Project and the Black Family History Lab is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Check out our Facebook Event Page for other information and updates.


 

Schedule

6:00pm: Opening Reception
Join us in the JSAAHC Auditorium before the screening for light bites, refreshments, and conversation.

6:30pm: Screening of High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America episode, “Our Founding Chefs”
“Our Founding Chefs,” a locally filmed episode of the acclaimed Netflix series, discusses the impact of James Hemings, a renowned chef enslaved by Thomas Jefferson, on America’s palate.
To reserve tickets, please go to this Eventbrite page, or visit our Facebook Event page.

7:30pm: Panel Discussion with episode guest stars
Join us for a panel discussion with the episode’s guest stars Niya Bates, local public historian and preservationist; Gayle Jessup White, author and descendant; and Leni Sorensen, American chef and culinary historian.

11:00am: Community Preservation Fair
Come by the Jefferson School auditorium between 11:00am and 4:00pm to get expert opinions on how to best save your family treasures, consult with a genealogist, and connect with community groups working to tell local stories. Whether you need advice on preserving your family Bible, converting your old home videos, or safely storing your archive of family photos, the fair will have an expert for you! In collaboration with The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center and over twenty local history organizations and preservation specialists.

11:00am - 4:00pm: Family Portrait Sessions
Family portrait sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning at 11:00am and offered until 4:00pm. Come looking sharp! Each session includes a free print to add to your family’s portrait collection, which will be delivered via mail within two weeks.

1:00pm: Family Oral History Workshop

In this two-hour workshop, participants will learn how to use oral history to preserve their family stories. We’ll discuss common challenges, such as convincing your family to participate, talking about sensitive subjects, and working with family members of all ages. In the last half of the workshop, participants will get hands-on experience recording and interviewing a family member or another participant. This workshop is great for first-timers or for more experienced practitioners looking to learn more about doing oral history within a family unit.

11:00am: Family Portrait Sessions, Round 2
Family portrait sessions are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, beginning again at 11:00am and offered until 4:00pm. Come looking sharp! Each session includes a free print to add to your family’s portrait collection, which will be delivered via mail within two weeks.

2:00pm: Family Oral History Workshop, Round 2
In this two-hour workshop, participants will learn how to use oral history to preserve their family stories. We’ll discuss common challenges, such as convincing your family to participate, talking about sensitive subjects, and working with family members of all ages. In the last half of the workshop, participants will get hands-on experience recording and interviewing a family member or another participant. This workshop is great for first-timers or for more experienced practitioners looking to learn more about doing oral history within a family unit.