Lloyd Snook headshot

Lloyd Snook

Venable School, Lane High School

Willie Barnett was the, I don’t want to say the cause.  That’s the wrong way to put it.  He was the flashpoint for a lot of the tensions because he was sort of demoted, in a sense, to being assistant principal in charge of discipline.  And that necessarily meant that if there were issues, obviously of discipline or of truancy or being late to class or some white teacher being upset with the lip that she was getting from somebody who was Black, that Willie became the person who had to deal with that sort of stuff.  He was old-line white Charlottesville.  And the old-line white Charlottesville people saw him as their, not just their ally, but as the person they were sending into the jousting match as their champion.  And so I think in many ways, both he was put in a position and he allowed himself to be put in the position of being the champion of, frankly, the bigots.  That’s one of the things that ultimately, as we talked about changes that needed to get made, one of those changes was that Willie Barnett had to get further demoted.  I don’t remember whether he actually got fired after that year, or whether they just said, okay, you can be the athletic director but don’t do anything else.  Around then is when Freddie Murray came in as an assistant principal.  And he wound up being the assistant principal.  If you want to look at it in terms of balance of forces, he was the assistant principal that the Black kids felt was their ally.  Of course, he was Black.  And that made a huge difference right there.  And Mr. Huegle, I think, came to be perceived as much more even-handed in all of this than his predecessor, Mr. Nichols.