From the New Dominion Project:
Rodney Thomas has lived in Charlottesville all his life. He went to Lane High School and as a freshman, was president of the Young Republican Club in 1958, the year Governor Lindsay Almond closed the school rather than integrate it.
“We got along fine,” he says of African-American students. “I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats. Blacks had the best school. We loved to go over there [to Burley].”
In his office at Charlottesville Press, he’s listening to “The Schilling Show” when a reporter arrives. A book he’s reading currently– The Hunt for Confederate Gold by Thomas Moore– is on his desk.
The author, Thomas Moore, also of Charlottesville, is chairman of Southern National Congress. You have to check this one out for yourself. It appears to be Uber-nativist as well as other things. SPLC appears to have nothing on this organization.
What’s so unusual about finding someone who feels like Rodney Thomas does? Nothing other than he is running for Rio Magisterial District Supervisor in Albemarle County against the Democratic incumbent, David Slutzky. (No, I am not kidding.)
Now I am not generally known as a race baiter nor do I usually call people racist but I might have to make an exception here. Why? Because I know the very ground these dudes walk on. Mr. Slutzky lives in my old neighborhood in Northfields, north of Charlottesville. These guys are both vying for supervisor of my old home turf. I know all about ‘separate but equal’ Burley High School. It wasn’t equal, much less better. What they had was a much better football team. When I was a kid, half of Charlottesville, black and whites both, headed on over to Burley if there were no home football games at Albemarle or Lane High School. Sometimes they went to Burley even if there were home teams. People watched football, sometimes greeted each other, then went their separate ways.
I could hear the Burley band from my bedroom window, even though we lived a couple miles away. “Here come the Burley Bears, Burley Bears, Burley Bears….here come the Burley Bears, marching down the field.” They had a fine football team. I was a coach’s kid so I got dragged out to watch the Bears more than a few times. Superior football team, not so superior school. I can only imagine what the drop-out rates were or the condition and publishing dates of the textbooks. What metric is this guy using to evaluate ‘the best schools?’
The Rio Magisterial District is not particularly provincial. There are nice homes and the general population of the area was fairly well educated when I lived there. It makes you wonder why Mr. Thomas thinks his ‘separate but equal’ kind of thinking might appeal to anyone living in the area. You would think he would just be embarrassed to have that kind of discussion.
Perhaps now that Rodney Thomas is living in the county and not the city where Lane High School and Burley High School used to be, he might find things different, some 50 years after Brown vs Board of Education.
Lane High School was the city school for white kids. It integrated in 1959 and later became Charlottesville High School. Burley was a regional high school for blacks in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Burley was a newer school. Perhaps that is what Mr. Thomas meant.
At any rate, Mr. Slutzky seems to have a good reputation amongst the good people of Rio District and Albemarle County in general. Rodney Thomas might think he can ‘carry us back to ole Virginny’ but I am guessing it just isn’t going to fly. I predict Mr. Slutzky will win come November, don’t you?