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William Redd

Jefferson Elementary School, Burley High School
Interviewed on October 11, 2021, in his home, by George Gilliam and Annie Valentine.

Full Transcript

[Extraneous material redacted]

GG: [00:00:31] Okay.  It’s October 11th, 2021.  We are in Charlottesville, Virginia at the home of William Redd.  And we are led by our incomparable photographer Lorenzo Dickerson.  It’s Annie Valentine and [00:01:00] me, George Gilliam, representing the library.  And we really appreciate Mr. Redd’s cooperation with this project.  I’d like to get just some background so that we can preserve exactly who you were, where you came from.  Your date of birth?

WR: [00:01:26] June 17, ’39.

[Extraneous material redacted]

GG: [00:02:00] What were the years that you were at Burley?

WR: [00:02:03] From ’53 to ’58.  Five years.  From eighth to twelfth grade.

GG: [00:02:15] And what were the other schools that you went to?

WR: [00:02:17] Jefferson.

GG: [00:02:18] Jefferson.

WR: [00:02:19] Jefferson Elementary, which was a little building that’s no longer there on the lot, and the main building, which they added in ’58 I think or something like that.

GG: [00:02:33] You were an athlete.

WR: [00:02:34] A little bit.  I played basketball and football at Burley.

GG: [00:02:39] And you played at a very high level.

WR: [00:02:43] Well, high school, in fact we were talking about it over at the school the other day.  We were the cream of the crop in Charlottesville because during those years, like in ’56 when we had the big season, [00:03:00] Lane was one and nine.  Virginia was in the midst of their 28-game losing streak.  So that was the place to be.  Albemarle was just being built.  So in fact I’ll just give you one quick example.  They had scheduled two games on Friday.  Charlottesville or Lane and Burley.  Lane had approximately 100 people in the stadium that night and they were circled all round the track over at Burley, because we were the only team in town winning.  So the next time we had to play, we played on a Thursday night and Lane played on a Friday night.  So that way they could get the crowd.  The crowds were [00:04:00] coming to our stadium.

GG: [00:04:03] I heard a wonderful story that you may have heard.  George Coles, who was the judge of the circuit court, was a great fan of Burley football.  I don’t think he was sort of a civil rights type guy but he loved good football.  So he took four of his friends to a Burley game and they got there early so they could get good seats and they went down to the 50-yard line and sat right in first or second row seats.  Made themselves comfortable, and all of a sudden an usher came down and said, “Judge Coles, 50-yard line seats, you can’t sit here, the white seats are the 10-yard line.”  They made him move.

WR: [00:04:52] See, at the time, they had the bleachers on this, the permanent bleachers [00:05:00] which are still there, and then they had the other one.  Now that was for your sides at the time.  But like I said that very well could have happened.  But me not being involved in it, I wouldn’t be able to testify to that one.

GG: [00:05:17] You couldn’t testify in court to that.

WR: [00:05:19] But the thing about it, as far as I know there never was any problem.  Say if there were whites going into the Black section or Blacks going in the white.  People were there to watch a good football game.

GG: [00:05:35] So was it pretty much open to whoever got the seats first, first come, first serve?

WR: [00:05:40] That’s what I’m saying, I can’t say too much because I was occupied trying to win the games.  So as far as I know there never was any problem.  I can’t say for sure.

GG: [00:05:59] So in [00:06:00] 1954 you would have been --

WR: [00:06:06] In eighth grade.

GG: [00:06:07] In the eighth grade.  You went out for football but decided not to continue with football for a while.

WR: [00:06:17] No, what happened is the second night, we started off practicing at night, and the coach would make up -- so they say, “Okay, I want you to play left tackle.”  And this guy played and went, so -– make a line, defense and offense.  Well, I didn’t know, they didn’t know me, this was only my first year, the fellow that’s playing over me on defense was all-state in 1953.  Plus I weighed approximately 170 and he was tipping the scales at [00:07:00] 230.  You can imagine what happened.  First time I’m back in the backfield dancing with them.  So coach say, “Okay on this play, I want you to block [from this?].”  Same thing happened.  So he walks over to me and say, “Uh, fellow, who you supposed to be blocking?”  And I didn’t know who he was.  So I just looked at his jersey, I said, “Number 62.”  He say, “Block the man.”  So rather than say, “Yes, sir,” I say, “Right.”  Now you wouldn’t think that’d be much, would it?  “Right, hell, block the damn man.”  I said, “That son of a bitch, he got a lot of nerves, man done ran over top of me, in front of my so-called friends, in front of all these people, and he got nerve enough to curse at me.”  I wanted to just walk off the field right then but I said, “That’ll really cause a scene.”  So I said, “Man,” I [00:08:00] made it to practice.  Got in at school at the end of it.  Took off my uniform, dropped it in middle of floor, took a shower, and went home.  Had made up my mind no more football.  So the next day I go to school but instead of going to practice I go to Lafayette Theatre downtown.  And right next to it was a little hot dog stand, Pete’s, and right next to that was the Downtown Athletic Store, right?  So I go into Pete’s to get me two hot dogs to stick in my pocket, and come out the door, and he walks out.  “Fellow, you wasn’t at practice today.”  I made up a lie real quick.  “I went to the doctor.”  True story.  So what happened?  They played 11 games.  They tied (inaudible) zero-zero.  Won the next 10 games.  Undefeated.  [00:09:00] State championship.  And I lost out on it.  So I made up my mind I was going to come back the next year, which was ’55.  So I played from ’55 to ’57.

GG: [00:09:15] So ’55 was a year of transition really.

WR: [00:09:19] We only lost one game.  Do you want me to tell you about that one?

GG: [00:09:22] Yes.

[Extraneous material redacted.]

WR: [00:09:45] Okay. Maggie Walker from Richmond comes up here to play us. It’s raining a little bit, misty, it was just my third game of playing.  Right?  So I don’t remember to this day whether I actually got into the game or not.  But that’s part of the story.  We held them on downs.  [00:10:00] They punted.  Halfback fumble.  They recovered on the seven-yard line.  They went in and scored.  But might have been the third quarter.  Same scene.  We held them on downs.  They punted.  Same halfback fumbled on the six-yard line.  They beat us 12 to 7.  At the end of the game I’m walking off the field going up to -- and I look back and the crowd that was in the stand is attacking the players from Maggie Walker.  Horrible scene.  I mean really attacking them.  The same way we got attacked down in Richmond, that’s the way they were attacked.  So I just kept walking.  So the next day, which -- the Saturday.  He calls a practice, which was unusual.  So first thing he said when they called us all together, [00:11:00] he said, “I taught you how to win, but I never taught you how to lose.”  So in my mind to this day I don’t know if he was saying the players from our team was attacking.  But it wasn’t teams, it was as I said a father with wife and two kids beating up on teenagers.  And that was the only game we lost that year.  We were nine and one.  So from that game we won the next 28 straight games.  That’s how awesome it was.  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 [00:12:00] in the state of Virginia.  Now Maggie Walker had one season down in Richmond, they had two points scored against them the whole year.  Burley had none.  Fantastic story.

GG: [00:12:16] Fantastic team.

WR: [00:12:17] Yeah.  So what happened, we had to go to Richmond, this was the third game.  The ninth game of the year we had to go to Richmond to play Armstrong and we played them on Hovey Field, which is Virginia Union’s field, which is right across the highway from Maggie Walker School.  It was a day game.  So when they get out of school at three o’clock they just come to the game.  So that’s why they anticipated I guess there being a problem, because of what had happened the third game, and here the team of 30 some players coming to Richmond.  So in the midst of the game, I don’t want to hold [00:13:00] y’all up now, but in the midst of the game I played only defense my first year, but I played middle guard. Five-man defense. Over center.  Loved it.  So finally I come out of the game in the third quarter with [Bob Fursten?], the fellow who ran over top of me the year before.  And we’re on assignment now.  All of the stadiums.  We was over at Albemarle another night.  All of the stadium got a fence around it, so it separates.  Then you could just walk up behind the bench.  So we finally -- I’m sitting here, and he’s sitting beside me, and I hear this, “Big boy, big boy.”  He turns to me and say, “Redd, somebody wants you.”  I say, “How they want me?”  He outweighs me by 50 pounds.  And I made the mistake.  I turned around and this fellow is standing right behind us.  [00:14:00] He opens up his coat and he’s got a pistol in his hand.  He, “I’m going to get you, and I’m going to get you.”  “I say, Bob, that man has got a gun.”  And he’s just -- I don’t know whether he didn’t hear me or whether -- I got up and walked towards coach and said, “Coach, I’m ready to go back in.”  I figured if he was going to shoot me not sitting on that bench but he’s going to shoot me out on the field.  This was before the game was even over with.  High school.  A high school football game.  These were people who were going to get back at us about what had happened.  And the thing would have been the people that attacked them wasn’t even the ones.  They were back in Charlottesville.  That was just one example.  And it used to happen all the time.

GG: [00:14:52] How did you put up with it?

WR: [00:14:56] You know how it is, it’s just like why did you put up with [00:15:00] not being able to go to the restaurant.  Now you could maybe go in a restaurant and you could order, Standard Drugstore, you could order hot dog, they give it to you in a bag and you walk.  Five-and-ten-cent store, same thing.  Like that.  There was a little place down there by the bus station which was then on Water Street.  Right next to that was this little shop where was a little restaurant that if you didn’t want to buy something in there you could go in here, but they were trying to be encouraging.  Back in their stockroom, and I went in there once, in the middle of the floor where they keep the extra stock and stuff, there was a little table.  And I don’t know if it was a chair or a bench.  If I wanted to get a meal I could order the meal and I could walk in the back and sit down at that table [00:16:00] in the stockroom and I could eat there.  At least they let you sit there and eat.  The rest of the places you bought your food and you walked.

GG: [00:16:11] You have said that this was your way of life at that time.  How do you defend, how could you defend that way of life?

WR: [00:16:27] You couldn’t, because this is the way to summarize it.  If you got into trouble the first person would be a police officer, they would take you downtown and put you, and then you had the jailer.  Then you had the prosecuting attorney, the judge, and every one of them was --

GG: [00:16:54] White.

WR: [00:16:55] Right.  So was it worth you getting yourself in trouble [00:17:00] and you got -- I’m going to give another example.  I don’t want to hold you all to it because I could keep you here.  Just over the hill right through at the red light there’s a little restaurant.  There’s a window where you could order.  This happened.  Halloween night maybe ’57, I can’t remember the date, these three guys, they walk up to the -- they order food.  Halloween night, three of them, they order the food.  When the women brought the food to the window they say, “Oh, we don’t want to take it with us, we want to come inside and eat.”  She -- I can imagine.  It embarrassed her probably.  “I’m sorry but you can’t.”  “Well, if I can’t then I don’t want it.”  So they turned around and walked.  So they walked from Cherry Avenue at the corner right there.  [00:18:00] When they get to the top of Ridge Street this fellow is coming over from First Street walking, been over at his grandmother’s house, he meets them at the top of the hill, I don’t know even if they had the light up then, two police cars pull up, they jumped out there and grabbed all four of them.  Because I wasn’t with them, and I know this is true because I worked with this guy years later, and he told me what happened.  Took them all four of them down there, so the next morning, I guess the next morning, they brought them into court, so the judge looked at this particular one and say, “Oh, what, you must think you’re a man now.  Sir, if you don’t think you’re a man, what you doing with this stuff round your mouth?”  He had a mustache.  He said when he went back to court the second time, he didn’t have [00:19:00] no mustache, because he cut it off.  Now can you imagine that?  Now that’s intimidating someone.  So the judge said, “I’m going to make an example of you.”  Now I know this is a fact.  So four guys, three who were guilty of whatever you want to call it, the fourth of them was totally innocent, they send them to Camp 12.  You know where Camp 12 was, don’t you?  Right down at Troy.  Remember the little -- send them down there, to teach them a lesson.  Send them down there.  And they stayed seven days or more, I don’t know exact.  But I remember him saying, he said, “When we went out to play ball and exercise,” said, “the guards said, ‘You see that line over here?  If that ball goes over that you got to let me know that you going to get that ball and you don’t have other ideas.’”  That was the punishment.  [00:20:00] Because they didn’t want to pay for their food after they ordered it.  And they send them down to Camp 12 to teach them a lesson.  That was just some example.  Jefferson School.  Just one more point.  If you go by Jefferson School down here, there’s a rail.  We sitting up on the rail.  Scott Dean was this little restaurant where you used to go in, right across the street, well, there was about four guys up in the vestibule, you go up steps and they’ve got an opening.  They up and got this little second group.  So we’re the audience sitting on the rail.  Police car pulls up.  Okay, off the rail.  We were -- why?  Because we were trespassing because the rail was considered city property.  And he says, “I’m sure,” I was with them.  And he said, “I’m sure that as soon as I leave you’re going to get back on the rail.”  And [00:21:00] he was right.  We were going to get back on the rail.  But it was just the idea of intimidating.  And then there was one other time and then I’m going to stop talking.  I was asked to come by the police.  This lady had taken her man’s car and she wasn’t a good driver, in fact she could hardly see.  So she takes it from 11th Street and she comes down through Page Street and she hit two cars at 4th Street.  So I’m running down the street after because I heard the car went and left my aunt’s yard.  I’m running and she driving.  By the time I got there, there’s the police, because I got to walk all the way from.  So the police say, “We’re going to have to put you in jail, ma’am.”  I say, “Well, can I take the car back home?”  “Yeah, take the car, but we need you to come down to court on so-and-so date.”  So I go in there that morning, two days later, I can’t remember exactly.  [00:22:00] And I’m 16 years old maybe, 17.  And I’m sitting in the court.  I was the first one in there because I had to go to school.  So I’m sitting in there.  And you know how you sense somebody behind you.  I look up.  There’s a police officer.  “You can’t sit there.  You got to get up and move.”  “Where do I move to?”  “Right across the hall.”  There was a walkway between.  That’s -- Blacks had to sit over here, the whites sit right there.  Perfect example.  One last one.  Up on Main Street there was this little shop.  The man Ed Jackson that owned it.  Jackson on the poster advertisement.  He was going to do some work in the shop right down on Main Street.  So I was to go down there in the truck.  So I pulled down there and parked in the -- put a nickel in the meter.  But the [00:23:00] people hadn’t come to open the door to the place.  So it had a little stoop up from the sidewalk to go into it.  So I’m just sitting there waiting because it was summertime.  You know how.  I’m just sitting there waiting for him.  And all of a sudden guy pull up, “You can’t sit there, get up.”  So I get up and walked over and get in and sat in the truck.  He says, “Is this your truck?”  I said, “Yeah.”  Then he never said, “Well, I’m sorry,” or anything.  He just turned around and walked away.  Intimidation.  Things like that happened all the time.

GG: [00:23:41] Can you draw a line between this behavior that you described which everybody knows is true?  Was there a difference between what the police and spectators [00:24:00] would do and what football players would do or basketball players?  At the end of the game --

WR: [00:24:10] Yeah, it’d end up, it’s pretty much similar, wasn’t it?  Because all of them were intimidating things.  And some of them could have been serious.  The seriousest one that I know of.  Four of us decided to go swimming when we didn’t have a swimming pool in Charlottesville.  So we end up out in Free Union.  We had never been out there before.  We just pull up on the vacant lot where we figure we could get into the river.  And it was a white family.  It was a man and woman, husband, wife I guess.  Little boy and a little girl, maybe 8 or 9, 10 years old.  Well, the river was [00:25:00] big enough for all of us so we were swimming over here.  The four of us were.  And they swimming over there and having a good time.  And before you know it there was probably 25 people.  And about 8 or 10 cars.  And all the rest of them were white.  So this guy walks up to us and say, “The man that owns the property say you can’t.”  So we say, “Okay.”  We were ready to go.  So we go back to the car and I reach in there and got my shirt to put my shirt on.  I still had my swimming trunks.  One fellow gets in the car.  It was a two-door car.  He gets in it and he takes off his swimming trunks.  And he puts on his undershorts.  My brother comes around.  Oh, the keys, when we get up to the car, the guy had left the key in the switch.  He couldn’t find it.  [00:26:00] So he said, “Oh, I’m going to have to jump it.”  So he’s in the car and he’s upside down with his head up under the dashboard trying to hook these wires up.  Just like this -- so I’m going to see what he’s doing.  So I walk around and I open the driver’s door and I’m standing inside of the door.  My brother is on the other side and he looks, he’s doing the same thing.  So we’re talking, trying to get this car started so we can get out of there.  Boom, something hit the door.  On the outside.  I’m on the inside.  I holler, “Hey, there’s somebody up here.”  By that time the second round, but this time it was a shotgun blast.  It was time to go.  So I started up the -- my brother, he started on the other side.  Right?  The fellow who was in the back pushes the seat to [00:27:00] get out.  And as he goes out, the second shotgun blast.  Pellets hit him all in his back.  And when I heard the shot I ducked my head and I could feel them falling down on the back of my head.  And you know how instinct, I thought about my brother, Mama would kill me if I had let something happen.  And I looked to him.  I turned to my right and he walked by me like I was crawling, I mean he was going.  The guy that was upside down in the car, they didn’t shoot the shotgun but three times.  But they shot the rifle whatever, once.  And that hit the door.  Where I was standing on the inside.  So we run up to the end of the street.  This is the road that goes to White Hall.  Not too far from White Hall, about a mile [00:28:00] from White Hall.  So there’s a big outcropping of rocks.  So we heard this car coming.  And we thought they were coming after.  So then we got a decision to make.  Do we run up in these rocks?  Where I knew was going to be a whole lot of snakes, and I’m scared.  I say, “I’m going to take a chance with the shotgun.”  But it happened to be a Black man in the car by himself.  Man, we jumped out in front of him.  He would have had to run over top of me.  Because -- so he stopped and we jumped in the car and he brought us to Charlottesville.  We go there.  But we went to the police station.  The fellow walks in the police station.  He got on a pair of white Jockey shorts.  That’s it.  It’s about 1:30 Sunday.  Market Street, he walks in there with a pair of white Jockey shorts on because he the one that came out of the car there.  So the police.  First he [00:29:00] doubted us.  “Are you sure?”  Man, I was afraid he was going to arrest me because I broke bad in the place.  I mean I was mad.  So he said -- I said, “Oh, this is the city.  We need to go to,” so he called over to Albemarle County.  Albemarle County sends two officers over.  “Let’s go back.”  “I don’t want to go back.  I’m in Charlottesville.  I’m at home.”  “Yeah, you going have to go back out there.”  So two of us got in each car.  So when we get out there the car which was in the middle of the field is sitting on the side of the road.  The key is in the switch.  The wallet is in the pockets, in the pants pockets in the back seat.  They done taken the car and moved it to the outside where it’s on -- I guess you call that state property.  Everybody’s gone.  [00:30:00] So the police say -- we couldn’t get the car started.  So police say, “Uh, we’ll send a wrecker out here to get you out.”  Say, “Uh-uh.  If you leave we going with you because you not going leave us out here by ourselves again.”  So they called a wrecker, Charlottesville, we had to wait for the wrecker to come.  So they walked down to the edge of the water.  Found the three shotgun shells and the new round of the gun.  Of course nobody know who the people were.  Now that’s personal, that happened to me personally.  And for a long time every time I would hear a shotgun blast I was ready to leave.  Things like that happened all the time.

GG: [00:30:51] So it was indeed a way of life.

WR: [00:30:53] No, and it could have happened, they could have shot us [00:31:00] and said we threatened them or we refused to leave.  Or you know something.  And it would have been the testimony of three young -- I was probably 16 maybe.  My brother was 15.  The other fellow who was driving, he was a little older than us.  He might have been 21, 22.  That’s the way it was.

GG: [00:31:24] So I’ve got to get this straight in my head.  Fans, spectators would act out at the end of the game.

WR: [00:31:37] Yeah.

GG: [00:31:39] Did players after the game was over ever get into it with spectators?

WR: [00:31:49] We were always outnumbered.  And I don’t know if it was the [00:32:00] mentality of the people.  And it happened afterwards because I talked to some of my friends that played in the ’60s at Burley.  Like I said, police wouldn’t let them leave from then and Rustburg.  I think it was Rustburg.  They went up to Culpeper to play at -- I guess this had to be some inside people.  Stole all their clothes.  They had to come back to Charlottesville with their uniforms because they had stole all their clothes.  I had one other incident when we went to Roanoke to play.  Now this was more of a personal thing.  The captain of our basketball team for the year got a little upset with the referee and he actually threatened him [00:33:00] on the floor.  And half of the people in the stands came out on the floor on us.  It was just nine of us.  And just imagine you look and now all these people, and you don’t know if they’re going to hit you or not.  And what had happened, one of the fellows that was on the floor at that time had lived in Charlottesville and had transferred to Roanoke.  And he was the peacemaker.  He got things calmed down.  And that could have turned.  It was only nine of us.  That could have turned out very -- but it would happen.  It happened at different places.  Now it’s a whole lot more serious.  If you get involved in something like that you can’t play for the next game and all that.  But I don’t know what the penalty would have been, something like that.

GG: [00:33:57] So 1954 was Brown v. [00:34:00] Board of Education, where the Supreme Court says racial segregation is unconstitutional.  When that came out was there any different behavior from the fans?

WR: [00:34:21] Well, see, I only took part in the games till ’56.  Once I left Burley, I hate to say it, until later, I just didn’t go back to Burley, to any games or anything, for a pretty -- now I can’t wait for a game so I can go.  But as you get older you got to go somewhere.  So rather than go to the bar I go to high school football.  And so far all the games we’ve gone to I’ve never seen a minute’s problem.  Now when we went down to Louisa two weeks ago [00:35:00] there was -- man, when we pulled up there there was police everywhere.  And they had these six or eight teenage kids.  They were putting them.  I don’t know.  Something must have happened earlier before we got -- they were handcuffing and locking them up.  But I never seen any problem.

GG: [00:35:29] Yeah, I’m trying to get a picture in my mind whether it was white-on-Black or Black-on-Black.

WR: [00:35:38] The one scene here, as far as I know, because like I said, I had actually gotten out of the stadium fence and was starting towards going up the -- so I don’t know what really happened out on the field.  Now [00:36:00] there was the incident in Richmond.  That was Black.

GG: [00:36:05] Black spectators and Black players.

WR: [00:36:07] Black.  And some of them probably weren’t -- well, they probably were just -- sometimes people will go and just hang around the place.  But they don’t really -- happened in Crestwood.  They went down there in ’54, that’s the year that I quit, so I didn’t see it.  But the guys I played with later, at the end of the game.  It was a new school.  They had a new -- so they had just built the track.  So they had all this construction lumber.  When Burley won 12 to 6, they were picking up pieces of lumber and attacking us.  [00:37:00] High school.

GG: [00:37:04] But that was again, it was Black kids.

WR: [00:37:06] That was Black kids being attacked by Black grown-ups.  That’s what it amounted to.  Grown-up, Black grown-up.  That man with the gun that was going to shoot us was Black.  And the fellow, when the guys had to stay there till police let them loose at three o’clock in the morning, they were Black.  It was Black-on-Black.  Because everything on the field was Black.  Everything on the field was Black.  So they didn’t have no reason to attack if there were whites involved.

LORENZO DICKERSON: [00:37:48] And you’re playing against all-Black schools as well.

WR: [00:37:53] Yeah.  Some of the schools had a reputation.  [00:38:00] And I guess if you got caught they may not let you play in the next game.  Something like that, I don’t know.

GG: [00:38:13] Do you have some other questions?

LD: [00:38:17] Mr. Redd, you once told me about a game, a specific game, where someone got shot in the backside.

WR: [00:38:24] Yeah, I got that in a report.  In ’56 it’s halftime and I told coach, “Coach, I got to go to the restroom.”  We’re at Burley.  Randall Bell say, “Well, I got to go too.”  So I didn’t want to go all the way up to the school, that’s pretty -- I decided to go to the bathroom, [00:39:00] I’m on the second step going up.  I see this man laying there on the side like this.  On the concrete.  Well, I paid no attention, I just kept walking.  I heard this bang.  And I thought it was the band out on the field.  I take one more step and something hit me in the back.  I turn and there’s this fellow.  He’s there in a crawling position like this.  He’s gotten shot by that old man.  To this day I don’t know why he pushed him down, what he was trying to -- take his money or what.  All the people is at the game.  [00:40:00] If I hadn’t have give her I can show it to you. Daily Progress.  Hit him right about here.  Ooh, with a .25 automatic.

GG: [00:40:13] One shot.

WR: [00:40:15] One shot.  Just imagine if he had kept shooting.  He could have hit me.  All the people round.  I mean the place was packed.  They were having a special, they were raising money for uniforms.  And were raising money to do a tribute for the coach.  So they had these buckets at each gate where people were donating money and the band was performing because they were -- think that they I guess get more money.  For the uniforms that they wanted.  [00:41:00] And he interrupted the thing (inaudible) so the article in the paper says he was shot.  The man was put in jail.  That happened right over in Burley Field.

GG: [00:41:18] Well, at least they did something.  They did something, they put the guy in jail.

[Extraneous material redacted.]

ANNIE VALENTINE: [00:42:02] When there was so much violence at the games and people you knew were getting harassed and you were getting harassed, did you ever wonder if it was worth it or did you always want to play no matter what?

WR: [00:42:15] Number one, you never expect it.  So when you go to a game you don’t expect it.  If I didn’t go to the game, what else would I be doing?  So mostly I would say it just occurred because of certain people.  Whether the other schools, districts, or whatever.  But I never see any incidents since we go to Western Albemarle, [00:43:00] Monticello, Louisa, Fluvanna.  All them high school games.  And we go during (inaudible) sometime we had to choose if Monticello play, they’re south so we try to space them.  I never seen it.  Everybody seemed to get along real good.  Half of them never even see the game. 

[Extraneous material redacted.]

LD: [00:46:07] Did sports when you were playing at Burley, do you think it built community, sports in the area, people going to games, to see each other?

WR: [00:46:16] Yeah.  Yeah.  Well, it’s just like people because I’ll be watching the games now and see a grown man, 50 years, and he’s got on all of the stuff, but he’s just there having a -- I mean they’ll travel hundreds of miles, come up here with campers, and stay four days before the game.  That’s the way it is.  That’s the way it is.  And in fact there’s a article in the paper I was reading yesterday morning over at Virginia Tech, there’s evidently some property, it’s like a forest thing, that people cutting through [00:47:00] to get to the game, they have a problem.  They’re leaving it all a mess.  So they don’t know what to do about it.  But it’s a lot of fun.

GG: [00:47:19] Yeah.  My friends ask why I never go to watch the Final Four for that weekend.  I say, “I just can’t drink that much.”

WR: [00:47:29] Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I haven’t been going to Virginia games in much, I remember we used to go to the game free.  Everyone -- it’s -- the capacity was 22,000.  And we got up there on Saturday morning in that gate, and we’d be up there 11:30, twelve o’clock, let us in the gate.  So Virginia is playing North Carolina.  [00:48:00] And Virginia scored, I can’t remember how he scored because it didn’t seem important.  But they kicked off and this guy brought it back about 85 yards.  And you know we had just played last night, so we stand up cheering like this down in the bleachers, down in the -- and all of a sudden the sky is raining Coca-Cola bottles.  Throwing them at us.  Because then they just had them metal things with the Cokes and the guy who’s (inaudible).

GG: [00:48:44] Yeah.  Right.

WR: [00:48:45] So they must just commandeer somebody’s thing with 25.  And look up and the bottles are coming through the air at me.  So ducking the bottles.  So [00:49:00] I said, “This is not worth me getting hit by a Coca-Cola bottle.”

GG: [00:49:05] That would have been when?  That would have been --

WR: [00:49:08] In the midst of that 28 game losing streak.  So I get up and the bleachers on this side, on the end, I go up there and stand beside that.  But I want to see the game.  And then I said, “Wait a minute.  They might arrest me for being over here.”  So the next move was for me to leave.  I mean because I was afraid that I’d get arrested for -- see, I wasn’t supposed be over there.  I was supposed to be down here.  That’s where -- see, I was there when they had the first four players to play at UVA, [00:50:00] two of them lived right around the corner from me.  First four players.  First four Black players that played for the football team.  Two of them that, you know...  So we were going to the game free.  So brother, they won or lost there, it didn’t matter because -- and now I look up there and it’s 60 percent.  Probably some of the teams I have counted during the game, they set up for defense, I count 9 Black players of the 11 on defense.  Eight of them.  Not the  quarterback.  But now they’re in the quarterbacks now.  [00:51:00]   I was just reading this morning.  My boy got beat at Alabama.  Alabama got beat last night.

GG: [00:51:10] Oh, did they?

WR: [00:51:12] They had won 19 straight.  And you used to figure that the quarterback was white because he was smartest, but now they got a whole lot of Black quarterbacks that’s good.  But it’s just evolution.  They’re getting the opportunity.

GG: [00:51:34] Well, they’re judging on ability and contributions to the team.  Annie?  Any more?

AV: [00:51:46] Did you ever have a sense of what was causing or if there was anything in particular causing anger at the games?  What was driving the violence at games when it was Black-on-Black or white-on-Black?

WR: [00:52:00] What I think drove them?

GG: [00:52:05] Yeah, what drove the violence?

WR: [00:52:06] I think people just -- now that’s a hard answer.  You know, if you were to ask some of them I bet they wouldn’t have no idea as to why they do it.  It was just a reaction.  They wanted the team to win so bad, when they don’t they just react.  Now here you going attack somebody you’ve never even seen before, and you’ll never see again.  And all those hundreds of people that was after us.  I mean they were serious.  That Trailway where we pulled back  say about in [00:53:00] November or whatever it was, well, that Trailway had about two windows, we had come from Richmond in November with bus. Cold with two windows.  And they broke (inaudible) but just lucky didn’t nobody really get hurt.  But if the police had -- if that driver hadn’t have been there, I don’t know what they would have done.  Because the driver who was white, he wasn’t there.  First we couldn’t get on the bus.  But the bus had a knob about this big on the front of it.  You push the knob and the door would open.  And another thing that helped us was the Trailway had curtains then.  I don’t know if you remember.  There were little curtains, had little silver things.  You press the [00:54:00] two together, pull the shades down.  They were breaking the windows but it was (inaudible) fall down on the side.  Yeah.  But so then once we got on the bus we still were just trapped.  Until man, all of a sudden, man, the Black Marias is what they called the paddy wagons then.  When they pull up, I mean they were -- they had to be parked up the street out of sight.  About five minutes after we got on the bus that they were in the -- and I don’t know what happened to the people.  Because we didn’t care.  And then when we finally get ready to leave we got on the bus.  And what was something) stood out in my mind, calm down a little bit, [00:55:00] the door opened, and the driver walks up on the bus, brush all the glass off his seat.  Put his hat on.  Started on off, just like nothing happened.  Just the cool, I thought that was impressive, man.  And we get down to the first corner, and they’re waiting there at the corner.  Still throwing rocks, things at -- all over a high school game.  Yeah.

GG: [00:55:37] That’s just bad boys.

WR: [00:55:38] Huh?

GG: [00:55:38] That’s just bad boys being bad boys.

WR: [00:55:41] Yeah, bad stuff.

GG: [00:55:44] You got any more --

LD: [00:55:45] I had two more.  I was curious.  Growing up did you aspire to play at Burley, just growing up and knowing that those guys are playing (inaudible).

WR: [00:55:55] I was telling over at Jimmy’s house, I say we had our [00:56:00] own little -- I lived on Cox’s Row.  It was nine houses if I can remember.  All of them were exactly alike.  The Cox family, some Cox family, I know who they were, I think rented them.  Was about $10 or maybe $20 a month.  None of them had running water, outdoor toilet, the whole works.  But it was that little community.  Page and 10th.  Main Street.  So we were right there together.  So part of the property was kind of rough.  We cleared the field.  And marked the field, had our own little football.  And my stepfather worked for city hall.  And he used to clean up (inaudible) what [00:57:00] the new building for the city.  It used to be like a rec center.  And they evidently had some uniforms that they were going to throw away.  And they gave them to him.  And we became the Cox’s Row Red Devils.  We had our own team.  So  we learned the principles of the game right there.  And then as we got into -- just like when I went to Burley, before I went to Burley, when Burley had a girls’ basketball team for a while, so when they played sometimes the eighth grade boys would play.  So we would come over from Jefferson and we would play the eighth graders.  [00:58:00] So we learned how to play before the crowd and everything.  So then when I went into Burley I played for JV for one year and then I played varsity for the next four years.  And was captain of the team in ’58.  So yeah.  I mean we just made up our own team.  We didn’t play nobody but we’d play among ourselves.  And of that group maybe 8 of the 12 guys in there already played football.  A couple of them played basketball.

LD: [00:58:44] Just to confirm you lived on Cox’s Row.

WR: [00:58:48] I lived on Cox’s Row, 205.

LD: [00:58:50] And that’s the precursor to Westhaven?.

WR: [00:58:53] It’s where the Westhaven -- it’s right there where the Westhaven.  It went from the branch [00:59:00] –Schenks Branch up to the back of Safeway.  Yeah.  Right off of 10th Street.  In order to get to it you came in either from Eighth Street at the tunnel, Run Street is in between Wertland Street and Page Street.  Right there.  Yeah.

GG: [00:59:34] Anything else?  We’ve taken enough of your morning.  The stories are great.

WR: [00:59:41] I could sit here and talk to y’all for the next four hours.

GG: [00:59:45] I was hoping we could coax something out of you.

WR: [00:59:48] Oh, sometimes you have to tell me to stop talking.  Because I got a whole lot of memories.

GG: [00:59:54] But you got good stories.  They’re good stories.

WR: [00:59:57] Sometimes I’ll be laying in bed and I’ll be thinking.  [01:00:00] Some of the things.  I’ve gone on a beer truck three times, all the way to Newark, New Jersey.  Riding on a beer truck just because I like to go.  And the first time we went we were down on Vinegar Hill.  You know how Vinegar Hill was.  [Curls routine?].  Well, and we walked in there on Sunday and this guy, friend of mine, we were together.  And he see his brother.  “Hey, Herbert, what you doing?”  “I’m getting ready to go to Newark.  Get some beer.”  He say, “Can we go?”  He say, “Yeah.”  So I see another guy.  I say, “Hey, man.”  I say, “If you see my mother tell her I’m going to New Jersey.”

GG: [01:00:56] To get some beer.

WR: [01:01:00] It was Ballentine.  So he had a 10-wheel tractor trailer and he go all the way up there and get a load of beer, bring to Charlottesville, store it here, and then distribute.  So once we got up there, once he backed up to the dock, we had to get on union.  So when we get back the next day there’s a guy who when we were gone his mother had got called the police.  And they had a statewide -- they didn’t know where we were.  They had a statewide alert, took two teenagers across three state lines.  Oh, man.  And the third time we went, and after that one I said, “I’m not going no more.”  [01:02:00] Because a fourth guy wanted to go.  The third guy plus driver.  But the cab was really only built for maybe two.  So in order for -- three was bad enough.  But then nobody wanted to stay in Charlottesville.  So we all decided to go and cramped up.  I had to ride on the front of the seat like this.

GG: [01:02:30] All those miles.

WR: [01:02:32] And we get up to Bull Run and it had snowed on Saturday so they still had some snow on the road.  And we driving up there and I see these headlights coming.  And I’m saying to myself, “Get over, man, get over, get over.”  All of a sudden boom.  Road was wet from the [01:03:00] snow.  So we can’t stop right away.  To ease along the slope so we was probably from here to the street.  A little further.  And we get out.  Walk back (inaudible) it was a jackknifed truck and it ripped the whole side off (inaudible) broke his mirror on that side.  So it’s Sunday, Bull Run it’s 6:30 in the evening so when we get to Washington there ain’t no service station.  Going to have a big truck [barrel?] on Saturday no service station.  So we had to go all the way to Newark from Bull Run.  All the way to Newark and all the way back Charlottesville.  So we had to take the mirror that was on this side to put it on this side so he could tell once he got ready to pull up, pass somebody.  The problem is he [01:04:00] couldn’t tell when somebody was coming up beside him.  So I had to roll the window down.  If I’m sitting on.  And look.  Oh, man.  I could tell you something, some stories just outrageous.

GG: [01:04:13] I bet you could.

WR: [01:04:14] Oh, man.  But so I never got in any trouble though.  Went over Williamsburg, had to sleep on the sidewalk.  Went to the police station, three of us.  Went to the police station.  The police officer on duty that night, I know he weighed 280 or more, great big fellow, “Can I help you?”  “I’d like to know if you’ll let us stay in jail tonight.”  He said, “I can’t lock you.”  I said, “Oh, you don’t have to lock the door, leave it open.”  [01:05:00] He said, “No, I can’t.”  So I had to have a parting shot, so I say, “I bet if I go out here and steal something.”  So we go back to the bus station.  So he tells us, “Go down there to the corner at the bank.  Maybe y’all can thumb a ride.”  Here’s three of us.  I guess I was 16, 17 then.  We’re standing on the corner at 11:30 at night.  Trying to thumb a ride.  So the other buddy, he gets on the pay phone and calls his daddy.  He in Charlottesville.  “Daddy, I like to know when you can come and get me.”  He said, “Where are you?”  He said, “I’m in Williamsburg.”  He said, “How you get over there?”  “We went over on the Pepsi-Cola truck.”  Because we used to work at Pepsi-Cola Company, ride [01:06:00] on the truck.  So they were opening a new plant.  So we took a whole truckload.  Carry it over there.  And once we got over he went on somewhere else.  And having a little get-together out in the Black neighborhood so we walked out.  I said, “Look, man, we got to be back here to the bus station by eleven o’clock.”  Because when that bus comes from Staunton they close it and the bus come south here.  So he paid.  I think he paid us $2 apiece for helping him unload.  So we stopped at liquor store and he got some man over, buy us some liquor.  We shouldn’t have been drinking.  And got up there, and they didn’t want to leave.  I kept telling, “Man, we got to get, we got to walk back to the station.”  When we got there the [01:07:00] bus was gone.  So we end up going back to the bus station and slept on the sidewalk.  Concrete.  Laying on the concrete all, the hardest.  Now you think a bed can be hard.  Concrete.  If you try to sleep on concrete all night, man, but then the first bus was coming through about nine o’clock into Charlottesville.  Man, we were so glad to see that bus.  Had the money but no ride.  [01:07:33]