Vincent Kinney headshot

Vincent Kinney

Keswick Elementary School, Burley, and Albemarle High School


Born in Cismont in Albemarle County, Vincent Kinney grew up as part of an extended family network with two older brothers and a sister. For the first seven years of school, he attended the all-Black Keswick Elementary, driving past the white school located much closer to home, and never questioning it because “growing up, things are as they are, and you don’t challenge them, and you don’t have any perspective about whether they’re good or bad. They just are.” At Burley (grades 8-11), he played clarinet in the band and sang in the choir. As the civil rights movement was warming up, he joined a protest march at Buddy’s Restaurant in Charlottesville, inspired by several Black pastors. It made him realize that he had to be part of the struggle. It was his decision to go to Albemarle High School in his senior year, one of five Black students to do so. As he described it, it was a lonely year filled with vulnerabilities and loss of what it would have meant to be a senior at Burley. Yet, he does not regret it, because it prepared him for a career in the corporate oil industry, where he was usually the only person of color in the room. In all of his moves and promotions, “it was almost like my first year at Albemarle, my year at Albemarle in terms of proving to people that I deserved to be where I was. It was like starting all over again every time.”

Full Interview