John E. Baker Legacy Dinner
African American Teaching Fellows hosts this annual event to celebrate the legacy of Lt. Col. John Edward Baker, a community leader and champion of education. In addition to serving numerous civic organizations, John was a strong advocate for diversity, the public school system, and our local teachers. In 1995, he became the first African American to be elected to the Albemarle County School Board and later served as the chair. During his time in Albemarle County, John actively recruited African American teachers to serve the local schools.
African American Teaching Fellows honors his memory and strives to continue his legacy throughout the Charlottesville and Albemarle community by awarding Fellowships to African American college students with the ambition of improving and diversifying our local education system.
Each year, the John E. Baker Legacy Dinner features a keynote address on a pressing issue facing our community and celebrates local citizens who emulate the legacy of John E. Baker. In the first two years of the event, we have given awards to individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of others and to the support of education and we have recognized young professionals who have shown the potential to become leaders in the community.
The event also raises funds to support AATF’s effort to increase the number of African American teachers in our local public schools. In two years, we have raised over $50,000 through the John E. Baker Legacy Dinner, enough funds to support the annual tuition payments we will make on behalf of ten Fellows.