William Redd headshot

William Redd

Jefferson Elementary School, Burley High School

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 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.  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 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 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 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.  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.