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Charlottesville baseball team helps preserve history of Burley Middle School field

Updated: Oct. 31, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - An Albemarle County School’s baseball field, once considered the epicenter of black high school sports during the era of segregation, is getting some much needed upkeep.

October 31, was a renovation day at Burley Middle School aimed at keeping the history of the baseball field alive.

“In 1964, we became state runner-ups by playing on this field, the football team,” Burley Varsity Club Member Jimmy Hollins said. “That’s a lot of history right there.”

It’s those kind of moments and memories that are associated with the field at Burley Middle School. Jimmy Hollins was a part of that state runner-up team.

“Jackson P. Burley was the high school for black kids in the city of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Greene county and Nelson County High School,” he said.

What once was epicenter for black football in Charlottesville on Friday Nights is now an Albemarle County middle school. The baseball field which played home to the high school’s football and baseball teams is getting a makeover, and that University of Virginia Athletic Director Carla Williams wanted to see for herself.

“It’s important for me to support it, because I believe in education, sports, and the community,” Williams said.

H3 Baseball is providing most of the labor, helping bring the Burley Varsity Club’s vision to fruition.

“The Burley Varsity Club, we started this, because this field had gotten so bad," Hollins said. "We actually didn’t know it.”

This project is bringing different groups in the Charlottesville community together, all with mission of reviving history on the turf.

“This was historic for Burley High School," Williams said. "A lot of records, a lot of dominant teams and this was the kind of the mecca of the black community, especially on Friday nights for football and so being able to see this restored is really important.”

“It’s a historic field because it’s the only field that blacks played football on in the 50′s, and 60′s,” Hollins added.

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