Jimmy HollinsJefferson Elementary School, Burley High School
Jimmy H. Hollins, born in 1947 in Charlottesville, grew up in an integrated neighborhood on West Street, but the law required that Black and White children attend segregated schools. He had no choice but to go to Jefferson Elementary School. By the time of his high school years, he wanted to attend Jackson P. Burley High School rather than Lane High School, in part because his mother didn’t want other kids “messing” with him. As a child, he participated in Jackie Robinson Little League baseball and other sports at local parks. At Jefferson, he played the clarinet in the band; at Burley, he was on the winning Burley Bears football team between 1961 and 1965, playing defensive tackle. His story focuses on the strengths of his largely segregated community and the power of teachers and mentors at the segregated Burley High School. About Burley High School, he commented: “Nothing like it. It was great spirit. It was like a family atmosphere.” The importance of neighborhood and community led him to create and serve as chair of the non-profit Burley Varsity Club. In part because of his efforts, Jackson P. Burley is now listed both on the Virginia Landmarks and National Register of Historic Places.
“And it was an integrated neighborhood.”
“It was done completely wrong, I think.”
“To some people, they were different.”
“At Burley, there never was an empty seat.”