David Wyant headshot

David Wyant

Albemarle High School

David Wyant: They haven’t forgotten my bad calls; I can tell you that.  I hear more about them than my good ones.

George Gilliam: Do have other questions, Annie?

David Wyant: See, Annie, the other thing is did the other school have a principal like Mr. Hurt?  Remember when I said the fish stinks from the head.  When Mr. Hurt set that standard at that school, and the way people were treated and everything, I think that’s why Albemarle High School at the time I was there went easy, smooth.  You never even knew it.  You didn’t see color, but I can’t say that happened at the other schools because I don’t have the experience.  And that’s what I would love to know.

Annie Valentine: Did you hear later on from people who graduated after you that when Burley joined in with Albemarle High School, meaning a lot more people came in after Burley closed, was it still sort of the same feeling and environment?

David Wyant: What limited knowledge I had was -- I’ll be honest I had the confidence that Mr. Hurt would make that transition.  That’s a tough transition for all.  I used to think about Daniel and Madeline, and how uncomfortable they were because they didn’t go down to the lunchroom and eat.  They stayed up there with me at the bookstore to eat, and they weren’t supposed to.  And I thought about myself, suppose I was in that part, would I feel out of place?  And as time goes on, it got better because you take me when I played in that Black baseball league, [Mack Davis?] and them down at Barboursville, man, I mean, they loved me.  I coached their kids, his kids, and then I coached him in senior league ball.  And, now, we’re playing together on Sunday in the league, and I’m the only white guy amongst, I don’t know.  I didn’t care.  They treated me just great.  But, see, how many years later was that?  That was probably -- from the time I was at Albemarle that may have been 20-25 years later.  So we progressed that much.  Now, granted, we got more progression to do, but we – I think people need to do these things and understand history.  If you understand history, you can see where you’re going.  I don’t like us.  I’m afraid we’re going to repeat some stuff.  And I learned through my work in research.  And I just worry about the people that it will hurt.