Dear All,

Thank you for your interest in Chautauqua’s African American Heritage House! Those of you who attended one or more of our many discussions during the Season may remember that we promised to keep you apprised of our plans following our October Board retreat.

While we made a number of significant decisions during the October retreat, you may resonate with an issue that many of you raised during our listening sessions-- our name and the acronym that flowed from it. You will be pleased to know that during the retreat, we agreed to change the name from African American Denomination House to African American Heritage House. We believe that this new name reflects both the purpose and the interests of those who support it! But, it is not the most important decision we made during the retreat.


As many of you are aware, during the 2018 Season, we conducted 18 one-hour plus discussions to record Chautauquans’ interests, concerns, opportunities and challenges for the African American Heritage House. We also sponsored and co-sponsored speakers for three weeks on the grounds. These together have informed our Board retreat and many other meetings and discussions since. In fact, you may be among the over 250 people who contributed to our discussions and who signed up to be kept informed!

Our mission is being revised to focus on how we contribute to make Chautauqua a more vibrant community, to help African Americans feel more welcome at CHQ and to facilitate conversations with African Americans to help create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. We also firmly believe that any changes we effect will also inure to the benefit of all Chautauqua communities.

In 2019, with your continued help and support, the African American Heritage House will sponsor a full nine (9) weeks of prominent speakers addressing one overarching theme which we will try to align with the Institution’s weekly theme where possible. Given that we wish to acknowledge that 400 years have passed since the beginning of the African slave trade in the US (in the year 1619), a theme currently under discussion is “400 years: Progress or Not?”

Further, we will again secure a physical, albeit temporary, “House” to become a center for both programming and discussions, not to mention a little fattening food, as well.


To achieve our short term objectives, we are seeking to raise at least $75,000. In short, we need your help and we need it now. Please see the attached sheet to see what your investment in the African American Heritage House will yield. Your investment, at whatever level, will be both welcomed and most appreciated! And, we look forward to your continued support and involvement in 2019!


Please choose an investment level:

$50,000 to sponsor the entire lecture series (to be named in publications)

$25,000 to sponsor transportation and housing for the season (to be announced at each event)

$5,000 to sponsor a single lecture (to be announced at the event)

$1,000 to cover speaker expenses

$500 to cover meals and housing for one speaker

Please make checks payable to African American Heritage House, and mail to:

PO Box 413
Chautauqua, NY 14722.

Thank you and Regards

Erroll Davis (
Ernie Mahaffey (

African-American Heritage House is a non-profit organization, dependent upon your support to fulfill its mission.