ENDING THE YEAR
In March, the Burley Varsity Club embarked on a bold vision of making Jackson P. Burley Middle School a historic land mark for the former Jackson P. Burley High School.
Our accomplishments over the years have been nothing less than spectacular. We have set our goals very high for the year. The club has identified future projects to continue to keep the Burley mystique, memory and name alive for future generations..
Friday, November 9th, the Burley Varsity Club ended the year on a positive note with the unveiling of various club projects at Jackson P. Burley Middle (1) the naming of George Tinsley Drive;(2) the unveiling of a special masonry sign for Jackson P. Burley Middle School; (3) the plaques and pictures for naming the Media center for Mrs Alberta Faulkner;and (4) naming the hall way where the graduating classes pictures are hung in the honor and memory for Alicia Lugo were unveiled in the Media center.
At the conclusion of the unveiling, all were served refreshments in the Media center.
PAPA BEAR INDUCTED INTO VHSL HALL OF FAME
SHERMAN R. WHITE, SR
It was a long time in coming, but A CHANGE DID COME as Coach Robert “Bob” Smith became one of the first of his race to be inducted into the previously all-White Virginia High School Hall of Fame (posthumously) last Monday night at an Induction Dinner held at the Doubletree Hotel.
A native of Patterson, New Jersey and graduate of the famed Eastside (NJ) High School – a movie was made about his high school – Smith would acquire CIAA honors as an offensive end of his beloved Morgan State Golden Bears. Upon graduation from Morgan State, Smith would become the head football, basketball and baseball coach at Jefferson High School – Charlottesville’s segregated Black high school – in 1945.
In 1951, the school boards of both the City and County decided to consolidate higher education for Blacks in the two communities by building one school both City and County youth would attend together: J.P Burley High Schpol. Smith would not only be called on to be the coach at the new high school, but athletic director as well.
Before leaving Jefferson, Smith would make a remarkable discovery not on the football field, but in the Jefferson band as he persuaded a Jefferson band member, 6-3, 255 pound, Roosevelt Brown to join the football team. Brown went on to a Hall of Fame career with the New York Giants.
As head coach and athletic director, Coach Smith used his considerable influence to name Burley’s mascot after his own alma mater’s, the Morgan State Golden Bears, to the Burley Bears. The Smith led Burley Bears won four VIA state football championships. His Burley Bears teams compiled an impressive 41-12-5 record; won five district championships and won 28 games between 1955-58.
In 1956, yet another remarkable achievement: a perfect season! That year, the Smith led Bears went undefeated, untied and unscored upon.A record that still stands today some 56 years later!
With five daughters getting ready for college, this community icon left Burley in 1960 to coach football and basketball at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia after compiling an overall high school football record of 114-23-7.
Charlottesville’s Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center was named in honor and memory of Coach Smith. Today the pool is used as a practice and competitive pool for Charlottesville and Albemarle High Schools.
Much credit for this induction must not only go to the VHSL, but to the Burley Varsity Club. President of the club, James “Jimmy” Hollins, summed it up well in this statement: ” Although he passed away in 1997, he remains an icon in the Charlottesville/Albemarle Black community. His positive influence to student-athletes during these times is immeasurable but his memory and powerful impact will always linger.”
Saturday August 4, 2012 The Burley Varsity Club traveled to Lynchburg, Va to the Dunbar High School wall unveiling. It is a beautiful wall and we applaud the efforts of the memorial wall team. The wall team did a great job of fundraising, they raised $81,000 within a year!
On July 13, 2012, the Virginia High School League (VHSL) announced the Hall of Fame inductee(s) for the year 2012.
Burley High School Alumni should be very proud and pleased that Burley’s first coach, Robert Smith, was the first person from our beloved school to be inducted.
The Virginia High School League had never recognized Burley because their doors were closed before the merger of the VIA and VHSL in 1970.
A Banquet will be held on October 15, 2012 at the Double Tree Hotel to celebrate and honor all 2012 inductees.Tickets for the VHSL banquet on October 15, 2012 maybe be purchased from the VHSL for $35.00. To order tickets go to the VSHL.org and click on events and scroll down to hall of fame and the application will appear . Deadline for tickets is October 8th.
Mr. Waters began his career as an English teacher at Burley High School in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1963. Over the years, touched the lives of many in this community through his work as the Director of Upward Bound at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville High School English teacher, and Charlottesville High School Attendance Coordinator. Mr. Waters believed in his students and never compromised on his belief that students will rise to your greatest expectations. Students learned that Mr. Waters expected nothing less than their best.
So great was his impact on his students and this community, the Burley Varsity Club of Charlottesville is offering three scholarships in his honor. The three scholarships recipients most exemplify Mr. Waters’s ideals are: Ethan Best, Rickquan Jones, and Jesus Lazo. Jesus Lazo a 8th grader at Burley Middle School recieved a kindle.
It’s Official !!!
The honorary street signs are up on Rose HIll Drive. For the first time in Charlottesville’s history, a city street has been given a honorary name. Jackson P. Burley, formerly the city’s and county’s only Black High School from 1951 -1967, had its named commemorated by having its name honorarily assigned to a city street.
Rose Hill Drive, became the first street in the history of Charlottesville to have the honorary name of Jackson P. Burley Drive.These new signs depicting the name are now up on each street sign along Rose Hill Drive from Preston Avenue to Madison Avenue. The honorary signs are brown in color.
On September 6, 2011, Charlottesville City Council voted to approve the request made by the Burley Varsity Club to give Rose Hill Drive the honorary name of Jackson P. Burley Drive in honor of Mr Jackson Price Burley, the man that Jackson P. Burley High School was named. Today, the former all-Black Burley High School is now Jackson P. Burley Middle School.
Celebrating, Dedicating, Honoring
On Friday night October 7, 2011, the Burley Varsity Club took another step in preserving the history and name of our beloved Jackson P. Burley High School.
The program hosted by Ms. Andrea Copeland was held at Burley Middle School Auditorium. As the Mistress of Ceremonies, Ms Copeland told the audience of how her father talked about the Burley Pride and Spirit and just how good those Burley Bears were in football .
Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris, told the audience how in such a short time the Burley Varsity Club had done a very good job in the community. While at the coach plaque unveiling,, club president, James “JImmy” Hollins, was able to get Mayor Norris and members of City Council to proclaim the naming of Rose Hill Drive to Jackson P. Burley Drive on October 8th , 9th of each year.
At the program last Friday evening, Mayor Norris surprised those present by announcing the honorary name of Jackspn P. Burlley would be given for 365 days a year, not just the weekend of October 8-9th initially requested.
When the Burley Varsity Club sent the letter to City council requesting a honorary name Jackson P. Burley Drive for Rose Hill Drive, there. was no precedent on the books about giving a street an honorary name. As a result, it took a long time for a vote on the request. Now it is official, Rose Hill Drive has the honorary name of Jackson P. Burley Drive.
James ” Jimmy” Locker was the band room dedication speaker. Mr Locker Jimmy said he met Mr Sampson the summer of 1960 at a band tryout or audition.
L -R (George Lindsay,Philip Jones & William Redd)
Honoring a Legacy
Saturday, June 11, four members of the Burley Varsity Club, James Hollins; Phillip Jones; George Lindsay; and William Redd traveled to Danville, Va. to attend a ceremony honoring former John M. Langston High School Basketball & Baseball Coach Howard ” Hank” Allen.
On this day the Danville School Board would honor Coach Allen by naming the John M Langston Focus School Gymnasium in his honor.
Allen coached the Langston Lions Basketball team from 1952 until 1969. ( Note: Coach Allen would start the baseball team and would first win a State Championship in Baseball. In addition, the Langston Lions basketball teams under his leadership won over 300 games, three district titles.the Runner – Up State Title twice and the State Championship in 1969.
In thirteen years of coaching, Coach Allen had only one student athlete who failed to graduate – a notable achievement.
Coach Allen would end his stellar career by being selected Coach of the Year in the Western District of the V I A in 1969.
The Burley Varsity Club is proud to announce the formation of a scholarship fund in the name of Stephen D. Waters.
Mr Waters began his teaching career at Jackson P. Burley High School in September 1963. An alumnus of Wilberforce University, he encouraged students that excelled in writing to join the Quill & Scroll.
Mr Waters departed Burley in 1966 for Buford Middle School, In 1967, Mr Waters became the first director of the University of Virginia’s Upward Bound program, where he guided many Black students to achieve their goal of a higher education. Mr Waters didn`t invest in the Stock Market like other people , he invested in young people and helped them achieve their goals.
Donations are now being excepted. We hope to award the first scholarship next year. Anyone who wants to make a donation should make their check payable to the Burley Varsity Club. Please put Stephen D. Waters Scholarship Fund in the Memo section of that check
All donations are tax deductible.
We are appointing boardmembers for the scholarshipfund. A announcement of the board members will be made shortly.We are also working on setting goals for the scholarship fund.
The club has set aside funds from the car show and the raffle and we are working on various ways to raise more funds.
If there are any further questions please feel free to call or email Jimmy Hollins at 434-825-6617 or at email@example.com.
Some 30 or more classic cars were entered in the fund raising event for the Burley Varsity Club. Pictures attached were taken by Ralph Dixon. For more details, contact James (Jimmy) Hollins at 434-825-6617.
The coaches donor plaques arrived on Wednesday morning; upon arrival the plaques were taken to Burley Middle School. A work order was put in with Albemarle County building services for installation. The plaques are beautiful walnut gain wood, with black plates and gold lettering, one plaque has one hundred and twenty names and the other has fourteen names making a grand total one hundred and thirty four donors. The Burley varsity club did not want to leave anyone out we went back to the beginning and listed the names of anyone who made a donation of $25.00 on these plaques.
When they are installed, the plaques will be on the right side of the trophy case. The Burley Varsity Club wishes to thank everyone for their financial help and we hope that you will continue to support the Burley Varsity Club.
THE CLUB’S GOALS ARE SET FOR 2011
Since the Burley Varsity Club was formed in February 2007, The club’s goals have remained the same—to keep the spirit and name of Jackson P. Burley High School alive.
As we usher in a brand new year 2011, The Burley Varsity Club is enjoying reflecting back upon the list of many accomplishments from last year.
In keeping with that great old Burley Bear tradition, We are poised to take another step toward keeping our great High School name and spirit alive. We feel with everyone’s help and support volunteer service, publicity, prayers and advice, we can take another step in achieving our goals for the new year.
( 1) Once again we will ask Dr. Pam Moran and the Albemarle County School Board to place the name of former Burley band director Elmer F. (Sonny) Sampson’s name on the old band room in his honor. Burley band under his leadership won many awards, and the Burley marching band was considered to be the best in the state of Virginia
( 2) We will work to have the Jackson P. Burley High School sports program recognized by the Virginia High School League ( V H S L ).
Burley High School and other black high schools in the state played in the Virginia Interscholastic Association ( V I A ). The V H S L merged with the V I A in 1968 a year after Burley had closed but most of the V I A schools merged in to the VHSL before its closing in the 1970s. We are hoping to have some of our former players and coaches enshrined into their hall of fame.
( 3 ) In keeping the name Jackson P. Burley High School alive, The club will try to have Rose Hill Dr renamed to Burley Dr. from Preston Ave to Ruby Ave. The first step is to talk with the businesses on Rose Hill Dr. to create buy-in for the name change.
STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
On January 19, 2011 George Lindsay and Phillip Jones were invited to Sutherland Middle School in Albemarle County. The request was made by sixth grade teacher Ms.Bergin, and the topic was segregation. George and Phillip both went to Burley High School during segregation when whites and blacks could not go to the same schools or socialize together. The club feels the request starts off on a positive note.
Bringing the year 2010 to an end.
As the year 2010 draws to a close the Burley Varsity Club wishes to thank everyone who has supported us through donations, volunteer service, publicity, prayers, and advice. The fact is without each and every one of you the accomplishments listed below would not have been possible.
Addition to the trophy case Celebration/ Dedication Ceremony honoring our former coaches:Robert Smith, Clarence Jones, Walter Green and Albert MooreInstallation and unveiling of plaques at Burley on October 8, 2010 notification of annual proclamation on October 8 and 9 renaming Rose Hill Drive as Burley Bear Drive
In appreciation for the very positive support received from the community, the Club made a decision to give back to the community. The following contributions were were made to the City Of Charlottesville & Albemarle County Public Schools.
To send kids to the HBCU fair.Donation of coats to several City schools Monetary donation to the Thomas Jefferson Area Food Bank.Adopted Rose Hill Drive, we pick up trash quarterly.Mentor and provide a positive model for students at the Burley Middle School
We thank you and wish each of you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Burley Varsity Club Honors :
The 1956 Undefeated & Unscored On Burley Bears
On Saturday, October 9, 2010, the Burley Varsity Club honored Burley`s 1956 football team with a luncheon at Wood Grill in Charlottesville, Va. This team went undefeated and unscored on for the entire 1956 football season. Fifty four year later Burley`s 1956 team’s record still stands in the State of Virginia.
The sole purpose of this luncheon was to reunite these players and to get their stories in their own words how they felt about playing that football season and what it meant to each one of them today. The Varsity Club wants to capture that season and put it in a book about the Mighty Burley Bears.of 1956.
Present at the luncheon was the teams co- captain Richard ” Hawk” Monroe, Robert ” Bob” Ferguson, Herbert Churchman, Bernard Nelson, Lewis “Fat Daddy” Woods, Franklin Jackson and William Redd.
Varsity Club member in attendance were Donald Byers, James Hollins and George Lindsay. Scrimmage play magazine creative editor Ryan Yemen was their and held interviews gathering information from each of the former player for a book .
Burley High School Historical Markers Unveiled.
Friday’s ceremony was long awaited and well deserved as the Burley Varsity Club, Charlottesville Historical Resource Committee unveiled their plaques.The first plaque was for the naming of football field after Robert ” Bob” Smith and Clarence ” Butch” Jones. The other plaques honored the two former basketball Coaches at the high school, Walter “Rock” Greene and Albert “A. P.” Moore. Mayor Dave Norris was on hand to witness the ceremony, say , ” This day is long over due that we don`t do a good job of telling the history of places like Burley. We tell the story about the University of Virginia and Monticello.”. Ms Beverly Woolfolk, Coach Smith’s daughter, gave her remarks about the days her father coached at Burley, Mrs Betty Jones and Mr Tony Jones, Coach Jones’ wife & son, gave their remarks about Coach Jones’ time at Burley.
Burley Varsity Club Chairman, James “Jimmy” Hollins, asked Mayor Dave Norris for a proclamation every October 8,- 9 of each year that Rose Hill Dr be known as Burley Bear Drive.. Mayor Norris step up to the plate and ask if there were four City Council in the audience if so to raise there hands, We had four members of City Council present. Mayor Norris put the question before them and asked for a vote of “yes” to raise there hands; the proclamation passed.
The ceremony was transferred to the front of the school where the Charlottesville Historical Resource Committee unveiled it plaque with remarks by Winston Churchill Gooding (Class of 1967).. The plaques signaled the significant role Jackson P. Burley played in the history of Charlottesville`s schools during Segregation. Unveiling of the last plaque for Walter ” Rock” Greene & Albert ” A.P.” Moore for the naming of the Gymnasium in their honor and memory.
Coach Greene was overjoyed and after a few minutes of reflection, he was able to give his remarks and thanks for being remembered after an absece of fifty years.. Mr Jeffrey Moore and his Cousin Simone Holloway – Warren made their remarks about what it meant to Coach Moore to be at Burley.
Coach Smith won four VIA State Championships four District Championships, In the fall of 1956, the Burley Bears set a High School record that continues to stand to this day as the Burley Bears football team went undefeated and unscored on in 1956.
Coach Smith departed Burley in the summer of 1960 to coaching duties at St.Paul`s College in Lawrenceville,Va
Succeding Coach Smith was Coach Clarence ” Butch” Jones who continued the Bears’ winning tradition. Under three years of his leadership, the Bears won three Western District Championships, and one VIA State Championship Runner Up. In 1966,
The final year of Jackson P. Burley High School football,saw Coach Jones voted the Western District Coach of the Year. “We were training men not super athletes!”said Coach Jones.
Walter ” Rock” Greene & Albert ” A.P”. Moore
Washington DC native Walter Greene began his coaching career in 1957 as an assistant football and basketball coach under the legendary Coach ” Bob” Smith. Greene became head coach of the Burley Bears basketball team in 1960. In that year the team became Western District Runner-up followed by Western District Champion in 1961 and In 1963. Coach Greene received an invitation from his Alma Mater – Phelps High School in Washington DC,- to become head coach thus ending his career at Burley
Coach Albert Moore arrived at Jackson P. Burley High School for the 1963 Football Season. Coach Moore assumed the head basketball coach role during his first season, Moore led the Bears to the regular season Western District Championship. That same year the Burley Bears went on to become the District Tournament Runner-up as well as the State Tournament Runner-up. Under Coach Moore`s leadership the baseball team won the 1965 VIA western Distric Championship.. During Burley`s final year of Basketball in 1967, Coach Moore was named Western District Coach of the Year.
Jimmy Hollins of B.V.C & Mary Scala of Charlottesville Historical Resource Committee joined together.
A GREAT WEEKEND
The weekend of October 8, 2010 will be a big one for Burley High School Alumni, it is the fifth All Burley Class Reunion Starting at 5:00 pm that Friday. The Charlottesville Historic Resources Committee and the Burley Varsity Club will kick off the activities a few hours earlier with the unveiling of three plaques.
A few months ago the Burley Varsity Club held a Celebration/ Dedication Ceremony where we honored our former Coaches. At 11:00 Am we will meet on the old football/ baseball field where we will unveil Coaches Smith and Jones’ plaque. The group will then move to the front of Burley where the Historic Resources Committee will unveil its plaque on the Burley building.
Once they complete their unveiling, we will move to the front of the Gymnasium for Coaches Greene and Moore`s plaque unveiling. The event will then move to the Media Center for refreshments. All Alumni are invited to attend this ceremony.
Burley Varsity Club Announces the Celebration/Dedication DVD For Sale.
Truly A great Day in the History of Jackson P. Burley High School is now recorded on DVD. This DVD ofthe event is on sale if you are interested in having one.Cost is $20. Please contact the Burley Varsity Club or call Jimmy Hollins -email firstname.lastname@example.org - or call 434 825 – 6617.
On March 17, 2010Bama works fund of the Dave Matthews Band committed a $1,500 challenge grant to the Burley Varsity Club . Under the terms of the grant the Burley Varsity Club must provide information to the foundation that it has raised $1,500 for the plaques to honor Burley High School former Coaches. On May 17,2010, the Burley Varsity Club provided information to the foundation that it had raised $1,500 toward the purchase of the coaches plaque. On June 14, 2010 the Burley Varsity Club received the $1,500 matching grant check from Bama Works Fund of the Dave Matthews Band. According to Jimmy Hollins, Chairman of the club, the grant was a shot in the arm and the club is very close to placing the order for both of the plaques.
Please help the Burley Varisty Club meet this and other goals with a generous tax deductible contribution for this and other worthwhile projects commemorating the contributions of Burley High School to the greater Charlottesville community and Albemarle County. Make checks payable to the Burley Varsity Club. Mail to the Club at 819 Henry Avenue – Charlottesville, VA 22903.
If you have any questions please feel free to call Jimmy Hollins at 434-825-6617
Honoring a forgotten past
By Scott Ratcliffe
Published: May 1, 2010
Sherman White used five words to describe four legendary area high school coaches at Friday afternoon’s celebration of Jackson P. Burley High School’s dedication of the now-middle school’s athletic fields and gymnasium, sponsored by the Burley Youth Leadership Initiative and the Burley Varsity Club.
The words used were: coach, architect, success, treasure and family.
The foursome — Robert W. “Bob” Smith, Clarence Jones, Walter “Rock” Greene and Walter Albert “A.P.” Moore — were honored along with other former Burley High students, coaches, teachers and administrators during Friday’s ceremony, which included performances by the Burley Middle jazz band, cheerleaders and step team, along with the singing of the alma mater and a reading of a poem remembering the old days.
“It’s an important day in the history of Burley High School,” said James Hollins (Burley class of ’65), president of the Burley Varsity Club. “Not only were they our coaches, but they were our mentors.
“As they say, you carry on the roots of someone else, so this is a part of their roots that we are carrying on for the younger kids to see.”
The Varsity Club was formed when Hollins noticed that some of the school’s championship trophies were missing from their case, and decided that the story and legacy of the success of the “Mighty Bears” is one that needed to be revisited and celebrated for those in the community that had never heard it.
Now, says Hollins, all one needs to do is pay a visit to Rose Hill Drive and see it for themselves. The athletic fields will be named for Smith and Jones, while the gymnasium will honor Greene and Moore.
Several guest speakers, including Burley alum and former longtime Charlottesville football coach Garwin DeBerry, spoke Friday of the “sports juggernaut” created by Smith and passed on to his successors and peers during their respective coaching tenures at the school.
Smith, referred to as an icon, architect, master motivator and father of the school by his former players and students, was chosen to be not only the first Burley head football coach, but the head basketball and baseball coach as well, in 1951.
For the remainder of the decade, Smith’s teams were nothing short of dominant in all three sports. One example is the record-setting 1956 football team that went unbeaten and un-scored upon.
Smith also discovered and launched the career of future NFL Hall of Famer Roosevelt “Rosey” Brown.
Jones took over as football head man for Smith, who went on to take the helm at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville in 1960. Jones, a Charlottesville native who passed away in 2006, made his own statement with a seven-year record of 102-8-7, including four Western District championships and two trips to the VIA state final.
Greene graduated from Washington, D.C.’s Phelps Vocational High School in 1953 and went on to letter in four sports at Delaware State (he was inducted into each school’s hall of fame) before serving as an assistant under Smith. He took over as basketball coach in ’57 and translated the same success on the hardwood until 1963, when he was beckoned to return to Phelps.
Greene, who referred to Friday’s gathering as one of the best things that has ever happened to him, is the only living member of the group, and explained how it was a chance for him to return to Burley to do something he’d been wanting to do for nearly 50 years.
“I left here 47 years ago… I hated to leave Burley, but I went back to my alma mater,” Greene explained, adding that he felt that the move was something he may not have wanted to do, but almost had to.
“One reason why I was thankful that I was given the chance today was to thank my co-workers and the students, and officially say, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t say goodbye.’”
Moore was an assistant football coach under Jones, his old coaching colleague from Campbell County, and succeeded Greene as basketball coach. Like Smith before him, Moore also assumed the head role on the baseball team. In his first year under Moore, the Bears went on to claim the district regular-season title in basketball, and in ’65, the baseball team won the league championship as well.
All four coaches were also described as tough disciplinarians who could get under your skin on the field or on the court. However, as DeBerry explained, if you looked beneath the surface, you’d see what a great person lies beneath.
Thanks to Hollins and the Burley family, the legend of these four outstanding men and their guidance both on and off the playing field will be recognized for generations to come.
Greene praised the Varsity Club for its efforts.
“My hat’s off to them, because they really put in a lot of work, a lot of sweat and tears and total dedication,” he said, adding that he agreed with Hollins that Smith, Jones and Moore were looking down from above at Friday’s ceremony and smiling. “They would have been overwhelmed like I am.”
Architects of success: Burley Varsity Club pays tribute to the school’s coaches
By Chip Knighton
Published: January 30, 2010
Updated: January 30, 2010
The case is built and the trophies are in place. Now the Burley Varsity Club is honoring the leaders that brought glory to their school.
Last month, the Albemarle County school board approved a plan to name the football field and basketball court at what is now Burley Middle School after four coaches that led state powers at Jackson P. Burley High School in the 1950s and 60s. The football field will be named after coaches Robert Smith and Clarence Jones, while the basketball court will honor hoops coaches A.P. Moore and Walter Greene — a group of leaders who influenced everything from athletic decisions to the school’s mascot.
“Those coaches played a very vital role in the whole history of Burley High School,” said Sherman White, a 1960 Burley graduate in charge of public relations for the Varsity Club. “Coach Smith originally was the basketball coach and the football coach. He came down from Morgan State University, where the mascot was the Bears. He used his influence to make the Burley mascot the Bears.”
The Varsity Club formed in 2007 with the purpose of replacing the school’s athletic trophies, some of which were lost after Burley closed in 1967. With that task completed, the club transitioned to a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c) organization and shifted its focus to the coaches that brought the school so much success.
Unbeaten and unbowed
As the area’s black high school in the days of segregation, Burley was a Western District power, winning several district football championships and completing a remarkable season in 1956. The Bears were one of two Virginia Interscholastic Association schools to go undefeated and unscored upon that year, along with I.C. Norcom from Portsmouth.
Smith, who coached that team, left Burley in 1960 to coach football and basketball at St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville. He handed the reins to Jones, one of his assistants, who kept the winning tradition alive, leading the Bears to a state runner-up finish in 1964.
“When I was a kid growing up, I couldn’t wait to be a Bear,” said Varsity Club president Jimmy Hollins, who graduated from Burley in 1965 and played football under Jones. “I think every kid in the city felt that way.”
Burley’s influence extended past the city borders, taking students from several counties as the result of the 1949 merger of Jefferson and Esmont high schools and the Albemarle Training School.
“When Burley existed, the powers that be in this community were right in the throes of segregation,” White said. “They wanted to keep the status quo.
“There were three black high schools and they saw integration looming, so they built this beautiful black high school and named it after a black man. But something they didn’t intend happened — it became a prize in the black community.”
The school closed in 1967 but re-opened as the Jack Jouett Junior Annex before going back to its original name. Former principal Bernard Hairston advocated for the school during the transition, fighting to keep it in Albemarle County’s plans.
“The county had considered building a middle school to take its place,” Hollins said. “He told them that that building was so well-constructed that they could save money by adding on.”
Burley wasn’t alone in its new role — only a few former VIA schools remained open as high schools after merging with the Virginia High School League in 1969. I.C. Norcom, Armstrong in Richmond and Booker T. Washington in Norfolk are still in use, while Maggie Walker in Richmond reopened as a Governor’s School in the late 1990s. Others, such as Lucy Addison in Roanoke and Carter G. Woodson in Hopewell, followed Burley’s path and became middle schools.
Honoring the past
With Burley’s future secure, the Varsity Club is now doing everything it can to honor its past. The field and court will be dedicated on April 30, when Burley alumni will make their biennial return to the school.
To raise money, the Varsity Club is holding a Valentine’s Day dance on Feb. 13 and a golf tournament on April 22 at Old Trail Golf Course. Greene, the only living coach of the four being honored, will be on hand at the tournament to present the trophy.
Proceeds from both events will go to the cost of the plaques at the field and gym at Burley, helping to maintain the memories of the students, teachers and coaches that made the school so successful during its brief run.
“The Burley Varsity Club has led to a rebirth of the spirit that existed 42 years ago,” White said.
Bears Seen Loose on Rose Hill Drive…
By Sherman R. White, Sr.
Reports have reached this writer that Bears have been seen loose on Rose Hill Drive near Burley School. Chairman of the Burley Varsity Club, James Hollins, announced that some of the Burley Varsity Club members were cleaning up that area of the Drive near the school as assigned by the City of Charlottesville for clean up, 2009 – 2010.
Although all of the Club members were not in the work detail, all members agreed that this was a worthy task whose purpose is to keep the area surrounding the old alma mater from becoming an eye-sore. The clean up assignment entails four clean ups a year.
The lateness of the assignment this resulted in just two clean ups as opposed to the normal four assigned. Once this most recent clean up assignment was complete, those present adjourned to the Red Lobster restaurant to celebrate the birthday of varsity member, Nelson Jones, at a birthday luncheon. A good time was had by all…
The first stop on the trip was breakfast at the Golden Corral in Richmond. The event was a football game between Hampton University Pirates and the Norfolk State Spartans. All in attendance at the football game had a great time as Norfolk State was victorious. (Those who did not attend went shopping at MacArthur Mall).
After the game, participants boarded the Spirit of Norfolk for a sumptious dinner cruise . Gene and Katherine Burton were crowned King & Queen of the cruise. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful buffet dinner. Three additional persons joined the group for the cruise making a total of 33 persons in attenfance for the event.
Earlier this year the Burley Barsity Club traveled to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Other activities are planned for the next year . For further information , please contact James “Jimmy” Hollins at : 434.984.9659 or 434.825.6617 or just check back for more updates.
Three Trophies Replaced
By Sherman R. White, Sr.
Three members of the Burley Varsity Club, project leader William Redd, Chairman James “Jimmy” Hollins and Treasurer George Lindsay traveled to Bunkie Trinite Trophies in Richmond on September 11, 2009 . The Purpose of the trip was to replace three of the seven missing trophies from the glory years of Jackson Price Burley High School (1951-1967).
Those trophies replaced were: (1) 1954 State Championship football trophy; (2) 1957 Northern District Basketball Trophy and (3) 1955 Northern District Football Championship Trophy.
The four missing trophies will be replaced as more funds are raised from friends and alumni. All trophies may be viewed on the scrapbook section of the website: www.burleyvarsityclub.com
Please contact the chairman, James “Jimmy” Hollins for further information: 434-984-9659 or 434-825-6617.
Jimmy Hollins was one of the founders of the Burley Varsity Club and has been instrumental in a restoration project for the school.
Published: August 4, 2009
For 16 years the Burley Bears were the pride of Charlottesville’s black community. Before it was relegated to the middle school that most are familiar with today, Burley was the proud home of some of the best high school football teams in the state of Virginia. In a time before integration, the Bears gathered a slew of awards from Western District titles to state championships.
But over the years, those trophies were moved from one place to another, some going missing along the way. They wound up collecting dust in a storage closet at Charlottesville High until just a few years ago after being found and sent back to Burley.
As a defensive lineman for the Bears between 1961 and 1965, when Jimmy Hollins saw the awards on display, he was inspired to give them a proper home.
“These trophies were found at Charlottesville High School and sadly, they were about to be thrown away,” Hollins said. “Looking at them, I knew some were missing. So I wanted to try and get those replaced and get a cabinet to store them in.”
And so began the first major
calling of the Burley Varsity Club.
In 2007, Hollins started the Burley Varsity Club by throwing together a cookout for former Bears.
The response was strong, and in chatting with some of the alumni, Hollins was encouraged to tackle the task of finding a permanent home for the Bears’ accomplishments while refurbishing those awards that were damaged, and finding replicas to
replace those that were missing.
“It was about restoring the history and pride of Burley High School after a 42-year snooze,” Hollins said.
There is no shortage of history or pride for the Bears. In 1956, Burley went undefeated and did not have a single point scored on them — a record that still stands today — en route to a share of the state championship with I.C. Norcom. No title games were held at that time.
The strength of the program continued to the point where Burley and the University of Virginia were rumored to be putting together a scrimmage.
“There was a time back in the fifties where word was circulated throughout the community that the Bears were going to play Virginia,” said Sherman White, who graduated from Burley in 1960 and photographed and catalogued the football team’s success. “But the story goes that the Cavaliers didnt want any part of the Bears.”
Getting the trophies back and putting them on formal display is now a means of connecting generations, and those attended Burley when it was a high school from 1951 to 1967 have a strong sense of community.
“When it came to Burley, you had the black communities coming from Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Greene County, Nelson County, all over,” White said. “You had everyone coming together. The magic of that was there was such a bond, a fraternity, a sorority — that it didn’t matter where you were from, all you had to do was say Burley and nothing else mattered.”
Of course, there was another motivating factor for the restoration project — if it wasn’t done soon, the old alumni might never see it.
“When you’re young you don’t think about that kind of thing,” Hollins said. “You only think about that when you’re older. Once a certain group of people die out, that history is gone unless there is something there where people can see it and think about it. The last year at Burley [as a high school] was 1967, so those kids are now between 59 and 60 years old. That legacy —Burley’s legacy — is dying out real fast.”
So after forming the club, Hollins worked quickly collecting donations and this past May the Burley Varsity Club unveiled the new display case in lobby in front of the auditorium at Burley.
Now that the trophies have a safe new home, there are just five missing trophies, but the club is very close to finding replicas that best match what the lost trophies should have looked like.
“Hopefully this will show the young kids what we did in our time,” Hollins said.
In meeting and working with the current Burley classes, the nine current Burley Varsity Club members have been pleased to see the manner with which the students are taking an interest in the school’s history.
“The pride that we
exuded here at the high school, now the kids at the middle seem to have that same passion,” White said. “It’s great to see.”
Though it’s been just two years, the Burley Varsity Club, now a non-profit charitable trust, has come a long way from a community cookout.
For its next project, the club wants to help the current students put together a museum that will require removing a set of lockers inside the school.
For more information about the Burley Varsity Club, or to make a donation visit the web site http://www.burleyvarsityclub.com.
FACETIME- 42-year snooze: Burley Bears wake from hibernation
By LISA PROVENCE
Published May 21, 2009 in issue 0820 of the Hook
As an African-American kid growing up in the 1950s, Jimmy Hollins couldn’t wait to attend Jackson P. Burley High School. Sure it was segregated, and sure it was built by the Albemarle School Board to prevent integration, and sure by 1961, the year he started, Charlottesville’s Lane High School, had already been integrated.
So what was the big appeal?
“When I was a young kid, Burley football games were on the radio,” says Hollins, 61, recalling that the Bears were undefeated in 1956. “Guys playing pick up games imagined they were a Burley player. I couldn’t wait to get here to be on the football team.”
Play football he did. His 1964 team was state runner-up.
Students from Charlottesville and Albemarle’s three separate Negro schools, as they were then called, plus Greene and Nelson county students came to Burley, some traveling over an hour to get to the school.
“The minute you became a member, it was like being in a fraternity or sorority,” says Sherman White, class of ’60. “It didn’t matter where you were from. You’d just say ‘Burley,’ and there was a spirit of community.”
In the course of remembering 50th anniversaries of Brown v. Board and other civil rights landmarks, it’s easy to overlook how a school like Burley was the center of a community and the pride of its students then and today, more than 50 years later.
It wasn’t all smiles. Hollins recalls the odd feeling of knowing he might not be welcome at Lane. And two years after he graduated as a proud member of the class of ’65, Burley closed. Today, it’s an Albemarle County middle school, despite its location on Rose Hill Drive in the middle of Charlottesville.
Hollins went to trade school in SouthCarolina, got drafted, and worked for Amtrak for 30 years before retiring with a permanent disability. After a long hibernation, a few of the mighty BurleyBearsfootball players got together last summer and toyed with an idea.
“Why don’t we get all the athletes together?” recounts Hollins. Thus was born the nonprofit, Burley Varsity Clubwith Hollins as president and White as publicist.
Currently, the club has nine members, but Hollins says it’s open to anyone who was a Burley athlete. That includes the women’s basketball and tennis teams– and the cheerleaders.
The Club’s first initiative is donating a trophy case to the school. They’ll conduct a small ceremony May 28, and all Burley alums are invited. Next they want to replace the trophies won by the champion Bears. “Anyone can contribute,” reminds Hollins. “It’s tax deductible.”
One thing he won’t be able to replace: the Burley Bears kelly green and old gold colors. “They’re the Henley colors now,” Hollins notes.
New Trophy Case for Burley High School
Posted:May 28, 2009 04:08 PM EDT Updated:May 28, 2009 04:53 PM EDT
A new trophy case is helping keep alive the legacy of Burley High School.
Alumni and Varsity Club members from the once all-black school presented the now middle school with a new trophy case Thursday. The awards had been sitting on a shelf in the school, but needed to be protected to be preserved.
The Varsity Club plans to continue fundraising to help restore the trophies.
Reported by Jenn McDaniel