The Jefferson School Listed On Historical Register

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

December 8, 2005

A piece of Charlottesville's past is now making its way into the community's forefront. The Jefferson School just reached a milestone.

Several former students of the Jefferson School are walking with their head's held high, and are strutting with pride as their school has been added to the Virginia Historical Register.

"It was glorifying when they praised us, and said how happy they were on how our proposal was," said Ida Lewis, a 1949 graduate of the Jefferson School.">

It's clear, all the hard work and dedication to add a piece of Charlottesville history to the Virginia Historical Register, has paid off. Charlottesville's Jefferson School, built in 1926, is now an official piece of Virginia History.

"You know how good that made me feel, being a graduate of the Jefferson School, and fighting to keep the school so we can have a trademark...our children, grand-children, [and] great-grand children can come back to say 'my grandmother graduated form that school,'" added Lewis.

Charlottesville's first black high school, closed in 1951, but it's been the center of discussion since 1997. Ida Lewis, and many others with assistance from the city manager's office, created a proposal to convince Virginia's Historical Register of the school's rich history. Now, there's new history for every Charlottesville resident to learn.

"Yeah, as far as I am concerned, it has been historical all along, but now it is written. What is the word? What do we say? It has been soup? It's soup, the fat lady has sung!" Lewis exclaimed.

The students who fought to get the Jefferson School added to Virginia's Historical Register, expects to hear back from the National Register, announcing they've been recognized nationally as well. The announcement can come within the next 30-45 days.

The students and many others from the community, will meet with the city council Thursday night, to talk about the future of the school. The next step is making the school a museum, and that decision will come from the Charlottesville City Council.

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