Steve Runkle headshot

Steve Runkle

Lane High School


Stephen Runkle spent three years at Lane High School, following his transfer from Appomattox. He was a small—but tough—football, basketball, and baseball player, who agreed to accept a football scholarship from the University of Virginia. In his junior year at Lane (1959), when both federal and state courts struck down “Massive Resistance” and Black students began to enroll in Lane, Runkle was concerned about possibilities for violence. As one of the respected older players he decided “we ought to be protective… if there were things going on that should not be going on we ought to at least do what we could to stop that.” He recalled that he “did a lot of walking around in the school just to make sure it wasn’t getting… to the point where people were beating up on each other or something.” “It was very traumatic” he said “for the poor [African American] kids that were there. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that position, I can tell you that.”

Full Interview