I would like to begin my history of Jackson Price Burley High School by giving praise and honor to Almighty God. I thank Jimmy for the high honor and privilege of being able to address the athletes that we grew to know, love and admire, THE MIGHTY BURLEY BEARS!
First, how did Burley come into existence? Initially, the powers that be in our local educational system had a dilemma. That dilemma was substandard schools for the Negro student’s of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Yes, there were three high schools for Negroes: (1) Jefferson High School; (2) Esmont High School and (3) Albemarle Training School.
In 1949, the County School Board decided to unite these three schools. One valid reason for this move was to provide better facilities and more varied programs and instructions. In addition, the school board also made plans for one building to take the place of three buildings. The solution to this problem was the school: JACKSON PRICE BURLEY HIGH SCHOOL It would be the area high school named after a Black man!
Interestingly, Mr. Burley, was a distinguished citizen, teacher, and church worker here in Charlottesville who rendered several years of noticeable service before reaching the age of retirement.
Second, the Burley family, specifically Mrs. Burley, would provide the land for the new high school for $18,000.
In 1950, the J.W. Daniels Construction Company built Jackson P. Burley High School. Once built and occupied, the new Burley High School ended the operation of Albemarle Training School, Jefferson and Esmont High Schools.
The school was opened for classes in 1951 with 542 students enrolled to constitute the first Burley student body. This group of students were served by 26 teachers, a principal (Mr. Shaw); an assistant principal (Mr. Smith), a secretary, two cafeteria employees, four maintenance workers; and six bus operators.
In 1952, Mr. Eugene Mobley became principal of Burley; Mr. Simmons became the assistant principal for the next seven years.
Mr. A.L. Scott would be Burley’s last principal and Mr. Griffin, the last assistant principal until the school closing in 1967.
By: Sherman R. White, Sr..
Class of ’60