William Redd headshot

William Redd

Jefferson Elementary School, Burley High School


Born in Charlottesville in 1939, attended Jefferson Elementary School  and Burley High School at a time when all schools were segregated.  He was at Burley from 1953-1958 -- 8th through 12 grades.  He started to play sports as early as 8th grade, and excelled in both football and basketball.  He describes the power of Burley teams and the pride they created for the community:  “We were the cream of the crop in Charlottesville because during those years, like in ’56 when we had the big season, Lane was one and nine.  Virginia was in the midst of their 28-game losing streak,” he recalled  as he described the excitement of Burley’s sports prowess.  “From the fourth game in ’55 to the first two games in ’58 we won them all.  In ’56 we were undefeated.  Untied.  And un-scored-on.  A record that has now stood for 63 years in the state of Virginia.”  But in the midst of his memories filled with pride and excitement, he also describes the gun-based violence at games, the angry reactions by spectators, and in one case the violence after one of the team’s games in Richmond when the Trailways bus transporting team members was attacked with windows broken.  He recalls vividly the racial intimidation he experienced growing up in Charlottesville:  where he could sit;  how he could get food; the constant police harassment.  One of his stories relates to a chilling experience of race-based violence when swimming with friends in a lake in Free Union, Va.

Full Interview