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Jim Blackburn

Albemarle High School
Interviewed on April 20, 2022, by George Gilliam.

Full Transcript

George Gilliam: [00:00:00] Okay.  What’s your date of birth?

JIM BLACKBURN: [00:00:04] July 3, 1948.

GG: [00:00:11] What is your full name?

JB: [00:00:13] James William Blackburn.

GG: [00:00:20] Where do you live?

JB: [00:00:22] I live in Lynchburg, Virginia.

GG: [00:00:30] Could you run through the list of schools that you attended at various stages of your life?

JB: [00:00:40] Well, my dad was a college football coach, so we kind of moved around.  I was in West Point, New York, and Cincinnati, Ohio.  But I moved to Charlottesville from Cincinnati.  My dad was a coach at the University of Cincinnati, and he came to become an assistant football coach at University of Virginia.  [00:01:00] I was at Aiken High School in Cincinnati, and then moved to Charlottesville just prior to my junior year in high school in 1964, and attended Albemarle High School, and then went on to the University of Virginia.

GG: [00:01:16] Okay.  So, you began your time at the Albemarle County High School in ’64.

JB: [00:01:25] Yes.

GG: [00:01:26] Fall of ’64.

JB: [00:01:27] Mm-hmm.

GG: [00:01:28] And then graduated two years later.

JB: [00:01:31] Yeah, I graduated in ’66.  Sixty-four, ’65, ’65 -- yeah, fall of ’64.

GG: [00:01:40] Okay.  And then, you were at University of Virginia.

JB: [00:01:43] Yes.

GG: [00:01:44] For what period?

JB: [00:01:45] From graduation from high school in ’66 to ’71 I got my degree.  I was on the five-year plan.  (laughs)

GG: [00:01:54] I was on the 21-year plan, I think.

JB: [00:01:57] I know what that is.  (laughter) [00:02:00]

GG: [00:02:03] And do I understand correctly that you were a student assistant coach in your fifth year?

JB: [00:02:11] In my fifth year, I was a student assistant coach.

GG: [00:02:14] What does a student assistant coach do?

JB: [00:02:17] Well, it was interesting because we had -- Al Groh was the head coach, and he was full time on staff there.  He was the only full-time coach on the freshman staff.  At that time, freshmen were not eligible for varsity sports.  We had a freshman football team and a varsity.  Al was the head coach, and we had, I think, two or three graduate assistant coaches, who were in law school, other graduate schools.  And they helped in the afternoon practice.  But that was about the extent of it.  They were not [00:03:00] really heavily involved.  They were probably more heavily involved in their academics.  In my situation, I was in my final semester or year of academic work and kind of on autopilot at that point.  Things were going well, and I had plenty of time, and I wanted to go into coaching.  And my father said, “Hey, why don’t you help us out?”  Essentially, Al Groh and I were the only coaches that he could depend on being there at every practice.  So, it was kind of an interesting combination.  Al coached the offensive backs and wide receivers.  I coached the offensive line.  On defensive, I coached the defensive secondary and outside linebackers, and he coached [00:04:00] the defensive line and inside linebackers.  So, it was an interesting kind of mix of coaching responsibilities.  But we did it all.  The other guys came to practice when they could.  I did not get involved, except for just a little bit of recruiting.  Didn’t go on the road recruiting, but did some scouting of varsity opponents.  We played -- who was that?  I forget.  We had to go up to Notre Dame, and then I think they were playing Army or somebody.  And so, we would scout that opponent, and then come back and give a scouting report for the varsity team.  But we did that a few times during that athletic -- that fall semester.

GG: [00:04:59] Did [00:05:00] any of the schools that you scouted have any African American athletics from --

JB: [00:05:07] Oh, yeah.

GG: [00:05:07] -- what you could observe?

JB: [00:05:09] Yeah, I’m sure they did.  Because we played some teams from the Big 10 and some from the Northeast.  I don’t recall, really, a large number, or really paying any attention to it.

GG: [00:05:31] You mentioned several times your father.  Could you tell us a little bit about him?

JB: [00:05:38] Well, he was a career football guy, and he coached at Miami of Ohio, and University of Cincinnati, and at Army at West Point, and at Virginia.  He came to Virginia as assistant coach for Bill Elias.  [00:06:00] I think it was maybe just one season.  He left and went to Navy, and Dad became head coach at the University of Virginia, and was coach at Virginia for I think six years, six or seven years, and left after the season in 1970, and went into professional football as a personnel scout, traveled to colleges, universities around the country, and looked at the talent on college teams, and got pro teams ready for the draft.  He ended his scouting career, really, with the university -- not the university -- the New England Patriots.  Just prior to their first Super Bowl, he was in charge of that draft of college talent that led up to that.  So, that was a exciting.  He has [00:07:00] a Super Bowl ring.

GG: [00:07:04] That’s great.  What did your mother do?

JB: [00:07:08] My mother was a very traditional housewife, mother, jack of all trades, fixed everything, cooked for us because dad was not very handy around the house and couldn’t cook at all, except he eventually became pretty good with a BBQ grill.  Mom took care of the house and the kids while he was off playing football.

GG: [00:07:38] And how about siblings?

JB: [00:07:39] I have a twin brother, John.  He lives in Chesapeake, Virginia.  And he has twin daughters, which is kind of interesting.

GG: [00:07:51] Wow.

JB: [00:07:52] And I have two older sisters, Jan and Judy.  Jan lives in South Carolina near Charlotte, North Carolina.  [00:08:00] And older sister Judy, who lives out in Los Angeles.

GG: [00:08:11] Did you all talk politics at all in the family?  Were you sort of on top of what was going on in the world?

JB: [00:08:23] Not really so much politics.  We did talk some current events.  But I can’t really recall many political right wing, left wing kind of debates or anything like that.  We did discuss treating people correctly and fairly, and the civil rights movement to a certain degree, mainly from a current events kind of perspective.

GG: [00:09:04] So, you entered high school right in the 10-year anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.  

JB: [00:09:14] Mm-hmm.

GG: [00:09:15] What did you know about Brown v. Board?

JB: [00:09:18] Not very much.  Coming from Cincinnati, I had been in integrated high schools and that, but Cincinnati even had schools that were probably 98 percent Black because they were more inner city, even though they were part of the Cincinnati public school system.  I went to a high school, Aiken High School, that was more in the suburbs.  So, it was predominantly white.  But [00:10:00] there wasn’t any sense of segregation.  Although, when you went and played football at the inner city schools, you knew you were going to be playing -- like at Central High, you were going to be playing a team that was all Black.  And I never sensed that as being a problem or anything.  I think that going downtown was an issue, only because downtown was a higher crime area than out in the suburbs.  And out in the suburbs, you’re very safe.  And it wasn’t a question of downtown being Black or White.  It was just that’s where you had to be careful.  I can remember playing little league football for Ludlow Food Shop Indians.  And we won a couple city championships, and our [00:11:00] team was about half Black and half white.  And we were very good.  And some of my friends at that time, good friends, were the Black kids on the team.  And my brother and I had some of those guys come over one time, or a couple times, actually, to our house just to play for the day.  We played ball.  And I don’t know what else we did, but we were running around our neighborhood.  Well, my mother says some neighbors had called concerned because all these Black kids were running around.  It rocked me back on my heels.  These were my friends.  And my mother was -- she wasn’t chiding us at all.  [00:12:00] She was just saying there are people that think differently than we do, and these people are in our neighborhood and they think that the Black kids are somehow thieves or something like that.  But it just -- a real eye-opener for me and my twin brother.

PHYLLIS LEFFLER: [00:12:23] This would’ve been in Cincinnati?

JB: [00:12:26] This is in Cincinnati.

GG: [00:12:29] Where was this?

JB: [00:12:31] This was in Cincinnati during my time in Cincinnati, yeah.

GG: [00:12:35] I’m trying to remember to repeat.  (laughter)

PL: [00:12:37] You’ve done very well.

GG: [00:12:42] So, were you at all interested or concerned by the prospect of desegregation?  Did you think the character of the sort of previously all-white [00:13:00] schools or big majority would change?

JB: [00:13:06] Well, we moved from Cincinnati and northern -- although southern Ohio, it was considered a northern city -- to Virginia, which was in the South.  So, we knew we were coming to the South, and there were different rules at play, so to speak.  And kind of had to sort of feel my way through that.  The idea of a Black high school designated as a Black high school was rather novel.  I thought it was novel and strange.  But it didn’t bother me one way or the other at that time.  Okay, I’m going to Albemarle High School.  And that was [00:14:00] just what we were going to do.  And I knew that there were places, restaurants and that sort of thing, where they had signs up, no colored, that sort of thing that was really strange.  Even though there was, I think, some segregation within the society in Cincinnati, there weren’t signs about it.  It didn’t say, “Hey, you can’t come here.”  And in Charlottesville and in Virginia, it was right out there for everybody to see.

     GG: [00:14:41] In 1830, and 1840, and 1850, leading up to the Civil War, Cincinnati was thought to be unusually hospitable to runaway slaves.

JB: [00:14:52] Mm-hmm.

     GG: [00:14:53] And a lot felt that, if they could get to the Ohio River and get to Cincinnati, [00:15:00] they’d be free.

JB: [00:15:01] Yes.

GG: [00:15:02] So, you were coming from that atmosphere, that tradition into something quite different.

JB: [00:15:10] Yes, quite different.  But I can’t think of any incident that I would define as a racial incident during my time in high school that I just chalked up to, well, this is the old South.  I never had that experience.

GG: [00:15:39] Do you remember discussing with your father what handcuffs he had in recruiting?

JB: [00:15:48] Oh, yes.

GG: [00:15:50] And what were his thoughts?

JB: [00:15:52] Well, Dad wanted to build a good football team and he wanted to [00:16:00] have the kind of players that would bring honor to the university in what they did and what they did off the field, what they did after graduation.  And Dad had always coached African American students at every place that he had been.  And he knew that good athletes are where you find them.  Some of them are White and some of them are Black, and he just wanted to get as many good athletes as he could who were good students who could do the work at the university.  We talked often about the academic requirements that he had to recruit under, and he was fine with that.  But he acknowledged that it put the handcuffs on him [00:17:00] to be able to -- he had to work extra hard to beat the bushes to find athletes who could play football and also pass the very strict admissions requirements at the university at the time.

PL: [00:17:18] You (inaudible).  I’m curious as to whether, in that time that he came to VA, whether there were any real restrictions in terms of recruiting African Americans that he might’ve shared with you.  We know the first Black football players came in ’70, and we know there were other Black athletes who were here even earlier but not on the football team.  So, are you aware of any specific things that he would’ve said that (inaudible)?

GG: [00:17:58] Were there any institutional [00:18:00] rules that made it difficult to recruit Blacks?

JB: [00:18:09] I don’t know of any specific rules that anyone would have written down or codified in some way.  Certainly, there were pressures.  There were intimations.  There were suggestions regarding recruitment of African Americans.  I think the university -- and this was my dad’s take on it -- the university wanted to attract African Americans -- didn’t really know how -- and thought that perhaps athletics would be a good way to do that.  So, there was some, I think, [00:19:00] subtle pressure on my dad to get some African American student athletes playing football because that was a very public, open kind of way that the university could say, look, look what we’re doing.  And that was fine with Dad.  He wanted to have them because that opened up another pool of athletic ability for him.  And at the same time, though, there were some sometimes not so subtle pressures from alumni who said, “Don’t you dare start getting Black athletes on our football team.”  So, you got two competing interests, and Dad’s right in the middle of them.  And some of those alums [00:20:00] were heavy contributors to the program.  At that time, all of the athletic scholarships were raised through the Student Aid Foundation, and there were very few.  We had like 21 scholarships, 21, 22, something like that, when the other ACC schools were recruiting 35 a year.  The SEC at the time was at 45 a year.  And so, we were behind the eight ball number-wise, anyway.  With only having 21 scholarships, that was a function of how much money was raised.  It wasn’t a question of the university’s commitment.  [00:21:00] It was how much they were able to raise.  So, you didn’t want to torque those people off who were the heavy givers because we were already behind on the number of scholarships.  And if people started pulling back their support because of this, that, or the other, then you’ve got a real problem.  So, Dad had a real balancing act.  On one hand, the university wanted him to get some Black athletes but really didn’t think about the implications of having a Black athlete, or two, or three, or four.  Small number on a team of 90.  And if those Blacks weren’t playing, if you just had them on the team [00:22:00] because they were Black, then you’ve got another set of problems.  So, he needed to make sure that the Black athletes that he recruited could really play football.  He had to recruit them as starters, not as just team people.  They had to have the ability to start and they had to be really good students.  Because if a Black athlete came in and flunked out, that would be a bad thing to happen and Dad would pay for that.  So, he had to recruit really good athletes plus really good students.  Well, guess what?  The Big Ten was recruiting those same people.  They were cleaning up in Virginia and all through the South because the other ACC teams in the Southeast Conference [00:23:00] were not recruiting Blacks heavily at that time.  So, the Big Ten was just making a living off of some great athletes out of Virginia.  So, we were competing with Purdue, and Ohio State, and Michigan.  How do you do that?  Well, you go and play Purdue.  And that’s what we did in ’68.  And we play well for half, and then their numbers just got to us.  We had a great team in ’68, but their team was probably about half Black.  And we, in ’68, had no Blacks on our team.

PL: [00:23:51] Can I ask just another question here?  You said the university was interested in getting African Americans on the team.  [00:24:00] Would you have any knowledge of who in the university?  Are we talking Edgar Shannon, Bill Elwood, somebody else?

JB: [00:24:11] I would just be making an assumption.  My dad talked about conversations that he had with President Shannon many times, and I’m assuming that President Shannon was urging him to do that, as well as the admissions people.

ANNIE VALENTINE: [00:24:31] So, was your dad the one to find Kent, and Stanley Land, and the other two?

JB: [00:24:36] Yes.  Yes, he did.

AV: [00:24:38] Did he tell you what that was like, that first year that he...

JB: [00:24:42] Oh, he was so excited because he and I and my brother would talk often about how recruiting was going.  He would talk about, because he was recruiting from Cleveland, and how big they were, and fast, and good, and go to high schools and all that.  [00:25:00] He was talking about these Black athletes that he was recruiting.  He was so excited about getting some really good Black athletes who were great students and great people, and to be finally at that point where he was making headway, where he was being welcomed into that recruiting of Black athletes at those high schools and in the Black athletes’ homes.  And he was being well received.  He was very excited about it.  And then, when he signed four really good players and good people, he was really pumped, too, to be able to have them on the team.  And he thought that, now the door’s open and these guys are going to lead the way for a lot more.  And [00:26:00] he could see that things were really shaping up.

GG: [00:26:04] There was apparently a group that felt like just getting a handful of Blacks would do away with all the problems of the team.  Did you hear any of that kind of chatter?

JB: [00:26:19] No, but that doesn’t surprise me.  There’s always those that aren’t quite racist but on the border and say, “Okay, let’s do a token and get that problem off the table.”  But that wasn’t my dad.  My dad wanted to have as many Black athletes as he could, knowing that recruiting for any athlete is difficult -- it was difficult at that time at the university.  [00:27:00] He was not interested in tokens.  That’s why he told the administration that the only ones he’s going to be recruiting, one, they got to be able to get into school, yes, but they’ve got to be able to start and play a lot.  Because if they just came and sat on the bench and were tokens, it would actually do damage to the future recruitment.

AV: [00:27:28] Did your dad stay around through the fall of ’70, or you didn’t hear about things going on in spring ’71?  Because Kent has told us that things were really tough.  Do you remember your dad saying anything about how the Black athletes were adjusting to being (inaudible)?

JB: [00:27:46] Well, the problem was he was fired just after that 1970 season.  He was fired for a record [00:28:00] that they would’ve loved to have had 10 years earlier, and this was on the heels of having a great year in 1968 and almost winning the ACC title.  He left after the football season, sometime late fall, early winter.  The house remained.  We stayed in Charlottesville.  He and Mom stayed in Charlottesville for I forget how long until he got settled in his new job with the professional scouting.  And then he moved -- I forget where he moved.  He might’ve moved down to Houston at that time because he was with the Houston Oilers for a while.  But I’m not sure exactly about that detail.  [00:29:00] At that point in time, that spring, I was finishing up my degree, and then I was heading to University of Florida for a graduate assistant coaching job that I had there.  So, I really wasn’t involved on campus with all the stuff that was going on in that spring of ’71.  So, I don’t recall any conversation with my dad about that spring.

PL: [00:29:37] And is it pretty clear that he was fired because of the team’s performance?  Or I mean, are there (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) or should we ask that question?

GG: [00:29:49] Was he really fired because of the record of the team or was it because he had finally crossed over and gotten some Black players?

JB: [00:29:58] Well, a good case could [00:30:00] be made for the latter, that the reasons given and the reasons that were really at play were probably two different things.  Because the record was not so far off that would indicate that the program was in decline and that he was in charge of bad product there.  But I think, certainly, looking back on it -- and I think some things that he has said over the years but never really specifically charging that, that the alumni pressure in regard to recruiting of Black athletes was probably a factor.

GG: [00:30:54] Some of the Black athletes were very frustrated that they felt like they didn’t really belong [00:31:00] at the University of Virginia, that they didn’t have much of a social life.  They had to kind of hang together.  Did you observe any of that kind of activity?

JB: [00:31:16] I did not.  Of course, with those four that were on that team in the fall of ’70, I saw on the field -- I didn’t take any classes with them or anything.  I really didn’t have any contact with them that would -- where they would have indicated that there were problems on the social side on campus.  I don’t recall any conversations at that time.  But that’s probably not unusual for a young coach not to have [00:32:00] those conversations with some of his players.  I think a coach who was -- knows he’s going to be there a while and these are his players, you get to know the players.  You want to know how they’re doing, and you have meetings in the off season with them to check up on athletics and their social life and anything you can do for them.  But during the season, you’re so busy with football.  And they are, as well.  So probably, the issues of the social stuff probably emerged after the season rather than during the season because we kept them pretty busy.  So, I didn’t hear anything.  But there were very few Blacks on campus at the time, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they felt isolated and alone.

GG: [00:32:58] Have you thought [00:33:00] with the passage of time that things could’ve been done differently, given all the constraints, alumni, barking at two ends of the dog?

JB: [00:33:17] Well I think that, certainly, Virginia alumni have come to appreciate the Black athlete.  That’s not to say that there aren’t issues at the university like there are just about anywhere where you have people congregated.  But I think they -- with the passage of time, people have learned that this is good for the university and it’s good for the University of Virginia athletics to have a well-integrated football squad, basketball, baseball, whatever, [00:34:00] and in the classroom, as well.  I think, certainly, things are a lot better now than they were.  And those four guys, they were pioneers.  There’s no doubt about it.  I think it would’ve been a lot worse for those four young men, had they’d been four, if it’d have been one.

PL: [00:34:33] Are you aware of any sort of kind of work that was done with these first athletes to acclimate them to the university culture?  I don’t know that that would’ve come through the sports program, but was there anything specific that you know of?

JB: [00:34:51] I don’t know what the Dean of Students Office might have done through orientation for the Black [00:35:00] students who were coming on campus.  I can’t imagine that they didn’t have something.  It may’ve been insufficient and just little bits and pieces, but I can’t imagine them not because that was a big deal, having an integrated student body.  And just like when the university went coed, they made a pretty big deal of it.  It was kind of painful at times, but they did address it.  And there were some people that fought against that at that time, and they, I think, lived to regret that.  And I think the same way with the Dean of Students Office with orientation, [00:36:00] they probably had something, but I don’t know of anything.  As far as athletics, I don’t think that there was any particular special orientation for our Black athletes because I think, in regard to my dad, he wanted to make sure that the Black athletes felt as a full-fledged member of the team and not singled out because of X or Y.  And he wanted them to feel like they were -- they belonged there and that they were part of the team.

GG: [00:36:48] There anything else you would like to add to this conversation?

JB: [00:36:54] Looking back on it, I think my dad -- [00:37:00] one of his big regrets in getting fired was that he had worked so hard so many years to integrate and get some good Black athletes -- he finally had them -- but they were on the freshman team.  He never got to actually hand-coach them.  And he was really looking forward to that.  He felt like we had turned the corner and he hadn’t an opportunity to be a part of that.

     GG: [00:37:34] Phyllis, yeah? 

PL: [00:37:36] I’d like to go back to your high school years for a little bit -- 

JB: [00:37:39] Sure.

PL: [00:37:39] -- if I can.  And I think I have two questions on that.  How was the atmosphere at Albemarle High School different from or the same as your high school years in Cincinnati?

[Extraneous material redacted.]

JB: [00:38:25] Well, again, where I went to high school in Cincinnati was Aiken high school, and we had Blacks in the school but not very many.  I would say 10, 15 percent, something like that.  On my football team there in Cincinnati, we probably had five, eight, 10 [00:39:00] African Americans on our football team.  So, it was not a large number like it would’ve been had I gone to a city school more down in the city itself.  So, it was not, I would say, a fully integrated kind of experience at my high school in Cincinnati because of the low numbers.  And that would certainly be the case in Charlottesville at Albemarle, where there were just a handful in the whole student body.  And I knew that there was a Black high school in town where the county Blacks went.  And I knew that, so it was -- [00:40:00] it wasn’t much of an issue.  I’ve tried since we’ve been talking over these last months -- tried to recall if there were any racial incidents during my time at Albemarle.  And I can’t recall any.  I’ve talked with my brother about it and I’ve talked with buddies who were in my high school class.  There were so few African Americans.  Myrtle White was the most visible of all of them, and mainly because she was a great athlete.  [00:41:00] Everybody knew Myrtle from her exploits on the track and on the field.  The other African Americans were guys, I think.  I don’t know if there were any other girls.  And they were not athletes.  They were very meek and mild, and I don’t recall any really interactions, either positive or negative, in a regard to the rest of them.  So, I don’t know what my expectations were as far as whether there would be rancor in the halls of Albemarle High School when I came to Albemarle from Cincinnati.  But there was never any.  I never [00:42:00] experienced that.  There may have been.  I didn’t see it.

PL: [00:42:07] Did you and your family, brothers, parents, ever attend any of the Lane or Burley football games while you were -- before college?

JB: [00:42:20] I never did because -- I don’t know if my dad did because of his recruiting and checking on athletes.  Of course, Lane had a great football team during those years.  And I don’t know about Burley, whether he went there.  I never did because I was involved in football myself.  I was playing, so I wouldn’t have gone to -- I know that my teammates at Albemarle -- we often said, “Boy, it would be nice if we were able to play Lane.”  I don’t recall that conversation [00:43:00] about it would be nice to play Burley.  I just don’t.  But I know specifically conversation because we would bump into Lane guys all the time and they’d brag about their football, and we wanted to have a chance to play them and prove it.  Officials at both schools thought that that was not a very good idea, given the possibility of extracurriculars happening at such a game.  But we didn’t have that conversation about Burley.

GG: [00:43:42] That’s interesting.

AV: [00:43:44] You came to Albemarle in a really interesting year.  It was the first year that sports teams were integrated.  And I know, as you just said, it was really a small, small number of individuals.  Also, in our research, we have discovered in the school board archives [00:44:00] that people on the school board, and just one year prior in ’63 -- in the summer of ’63 -- had said that several of them were uncomfortable about continuing extracurricular activities whatsoever now --

JB: [00:44:14] Really?

AV: [00:44:14] -- that you were integrating the school because they thought this is just an invitation for trouble.  There wasn’t peace.  There was never really any final decision that, oh, it will be good to keep up sports and keep up school dances.  It was kind of just kept that way, but a lot of people were worried.  Even among the white community, or the administration, or white students, Black students that you talked with, do you remember anybody commenting on any of this or anything whatsoever?

JB: [00:44:51] I don’t remember any officials that were saying anything.  And I think the response [00:45:00] that I would’ve had, or the friends that I knew, they would’ve said, “Well, that’s ridiculous to stop having sports, or dances, or anything else because the possibility of having some racial conflict occur.”  I mean, we would’ve dismissed that out of hand.  And in fact, I can remember -- it just came to my mind when you mentioned dances -- I can remember some Black students at dances.  And I loved to dance.  They were the best dancers, and I was always over there dancing with them.  So, the idea of not having dances or not having anything extracurricular because of the potential for problems is just -- that rocks [00:46:00] me back.  If they had made that rule, I think the students would’ve been up in arms.  I really do.

GG: [00:46:11] Was it Kent that said that the principal got word that he was bringing a certain girl to the dance at...

AV: [00:46:20] In middle school, yes.

GG: [00:46:21] Yeah, and the principal said, “Uh-uh.”

PL: [00:46:28] I think he asked that Kent not dance with her, right?

GG: [00:46:33] Was it?  Or not (overlapping dialogue; inaudible)?

PL: [00:46:34] (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).  In middle school, the principal suggested that it would be good if he didn’t dance with this white girl.  But that wasn’t in high school.

JB: [00:46:47] That was part of the times.  It really was.

PL: [00:46:54] I have a sort of broad question.  Maybe Lorenzo and Annie will have some other questions.  [00:47:00] But what do you think the impact of sports was, both on the high school and college level, on desegregation in general?

JB: [00:47:13] I could be proven wrong by some experts, but given my observation from my time playing sports and coaching sports, that sports can be really on the vanguard of positive racial relations.  It can also be used for ill.  We know that.  But my experience was, like at Randolph-Macon, most all of the African American males at Randolph-Macon College when I was coaching football there were recruited by me.  [00:48:00] The admissions office had a difficult time recruiting African American males who were not athletes because the rest of the culture there was a Southern, rather elite, private liberal arts college culture and wasn’t very inviting.  But if you add basketball, football to the mix, okay, that tips it over and can be the start of a cultural change where you can get nonathletes to come to school because they see people that kind of look like them and maybe come from the same backgrounds, had the same issues and problems.  [00:49:00] The first ones there, having been athletes, paved the way and make it easier for the people to follow.  So, I think, in my experience, that intercollegiate athletics certainly has paved the way for the University of Virginia and for Randolph-Macon College, the two places that I knew very closely -- it paved the way for African Americans who were not athletes, who were women.  And I think it was sort of the crowbar that got the thing moving.  But I’m an athlete.  I’m a former coach.  [00:50:00] And I’m going to think about the positive aspects of the athletics side.  That will be my default position.

GG: [00:50:11] Well, thank you very much.

JB: [00:50:12] Thank you.  Thank you for doing this project.  This is great.

PL: [00:50:16] Ask, Lorenzo, if he wants to add anything.

LD: [00:50:19] I asked already.

PL: [00:50:21] Annie?

AV: [00:50:21] I’m good.

PL: [00:50:22] You’re good?  Okay.  This is wonderful.  Before we turn off the camera, how long were you at Randolph-Macon as a coach?

JB: [00:50:33] As a coach, 18 years.

PL: [00:50:35] Oh, wow.

JB: [00:50:36] Nine years as an assistant coach, nine years as head coach.  Then, I finished up my doctorate and went into administration, became assistant dean of students.  Was there for seven more years as an assistant dean, and then became dean of students at Hampden-Sydney, [00:51:00] and then VP at Keuka College up in New York.

PL: [00:51:05] And just a final, quick question, do you stay in touch with any of the local people who went on to be coaches, like George Foussekis or Garwin DeBerry?

JB: [00:51:17] I have not had any contact with George Foussekis, Don Thacker, those folks, for years.  Garwin DeBerry was head coach at Charlottesville High School for a number of years, and I recruited Charlottesville, so I knew Garwin through that.  But I haven’t seen Garwin in years.

PL: [00:51:45] Well, they’re around.  We might (overlapping dialogue; inaudible).

GG: [00:51:47] Yeah, we had a nice hour with Garwin.

JB: [00:51:50] Pardon me?

GG: [00:51:51] We had a nice hour with Garwin.

JB: [00:51:53] I bet you did.  He’s a great guy.

GG: [00:51:54] Oh, and good story-teller.

JB: [00:51:58] Yeah, I always enjoyed [00:52:00] going to Charlottesville High and visiting with Garwin, and we got some good football players out of there too.  (laughter)

GG: [00:52:09] Well, thank you very much.

JB: [00:52:10] Thank you.  This has been fun, and I’m anxious to see your final products.

GG: [00:52:16] Yeah, just wait about two years.  (laughter)