History

Jackson Price Burley High School has had its impact on the Charlottesville-Albemarle community. What some thought was an act to thwart integration actually had a wonderful impact and effect on the two Black communities: one in the city and the other in the county.

The name “Burley” began to symbolize all that was good in the Black community. Not only did Burley become the pride of Black Charlottesville, its athletic prowess put area high schools and even the famous University of Virginia athletic programs to shame.

Teachers, administrators and students were proud of their schools' accomplishments. Black professionals provided wonderful role models for aspiring graduates and college bound students.

Burley became a symbol of Black unity and pride. If you attended Burley, your origin did not matter, that is, whether or not you were a county or city resident.

The Black high school would cease to exist after 1967. It would later be acquired by Albemarle County in 1967 and become a Middle School in the County’s School System.

I would like to give credit to Coach Bob “Spook” Smith for the school mascot, which is a bear. The Burley Bears became the envy of the Black community with their athletic gallantry on the football field and basketball court. The question remains of why the bear was selected in the first place. The simple answer is that Coach Smith was a graduate of Morgan State University In Baltimore, Maryland. The Morgan State team mascot was also a bear, so Coach Smith would use his influence to establish the team mascot.

Under Smith’s outstanding leadership and example, the Burley Bears would develop a winning tradition in all athletic areas including football, basketball and baseball. Not only did Smith and Jones build winning teams and attitudes, but they also helped young boys become outstanding young men in life.

My early exposure to the Burley sports juggernaut makes me recall such Burley High School football and basketball legends such as quarterbacks Richard Eubanks, Jimmy Douglas, and Richard “The Hawk” Monroe, running backs Lester Washington and Herbert Churchman, lineman Big Bob Ferguson, wide receivers and offensive ends Raymond Bell and Harold Billups. On the basketball court we remember Alfred Martin, Philip Bell, Scott Lowe and Pete Shackelford.

An Unbelievable Year

No alumni of Burley High School will forget the year of 1956. That year marked the football teams first and last undefeated, untied and unscored on season! That same year I.C. Norcom –The Greyhounds– of Portsmouth achieved the same result. Instead of meeting in a tie-breaker for the state football championship, both teams shared the honor as co-champs.


Members of the community gathered this past weekend to celebrate the unveiling of the Jackson P. Burley High School honorary plaque and road sign. Over the past few years, through the efforts of the Burley Varsity Club and club president, Jimmy Hollins, the school was designated as a national and state landmark.

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.


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’ ideals are: Ethan Best, Rickquan Jones, and Jesus Lazo. Jesus Lazo a 8th grader at Burley Middle School received 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.


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 Jackson P. Burley 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.


Daymon Cyr was awarded the Best of Show Trophy by Charlottesville Vice-Mayor Holly Edwards and City Manager Maurice Jones at The First Annual Burley Varsity Club Classic Car Show in the back parking lot of

Burley Middle School on Saturday, April 23. Mr Cyr’s entry, a 1991 Lamborghini, won the top award.

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.


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.