Today in (Basketball with) Rip Payne

14 Mar
by Emma Earnst

Fun fact:  To date, we have not accessioned any Rip Payne images coming from March 14th!

Sooo, I’m going topical on you today.

Today, we are going to travel back with Rip Payne to his coverage of the Lane High School vs. Washington-Lee High School basketball game in 1945.  Lane High School, as you may know, was the exclusively white school in Charlottesville (J.P. Burley being the African American high school), until court-ordered integration in 1959.  The school eventually became too small to accommodate a growing student body, and in 1974, was replaced by Charlottesville High School.  In 1981, the building became the home for the Albemarle County Offices, and it has retained since retained that purpose.

Lane High School, from what I can gather, was not particularly well-known for their basketball team.  This undated Rip Payne photo may shed some light on the situation:

Lane High School Rockhill Academy Basketball Team, undated (see comments section, below)

Now, to his credit, I would not want to enter a brawl with number 44… or the coach, for that matter.  And I’m sure with my skills, they would all beat me in a game of Horse (DAWG?!?).  Nonetheless, the day Rip Payne showed up in 1945 (judging by clothing, much earlier than this team photo), things weren’t looking much better.  There appears to be a fair amount of slapping and body flailing, and just general messiness.  I will say, that judging from these photos alone, Lane looks better than Washington-Lee…  Check it out for yourself!


5 Responses to “Today in (Basketball with) Rip Payne”

  1. Joan McAllister Clapp April 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    THe team picture is from Lane in the early 60’s. I know several in the picture, Barry Harlow, “Fully” Holland and Steve Trader. I have contacted the ones I can and maybe they can give your more info.

  2. Can anyone explain how a Lane High School basketball team is wearing a shorts that have the word “Academy” clearly indicated in the photo? Enlarge the photo and look at the word “Academy” on number 44’s leg, front row, extreme left. “Lane High School” was never an “academy,” was it? This is a real mystery. — jcm.

    • Emma Earnst May 9, 2012 at 9:18 am #

      Great eye, John! You are quite correct—when you zoom in closely, you will find the shorts actually say “Rockhill Academy,” not “Lane High School.” I guess it just goes to show that Rip was human like the rest of us!

  3. If I am correct, Rock Hill Academy was one of several “segregation academies” created in part by Ivey F. Lewis a long-time former dean of the University of Virginia and head of the Charlottesville Education Foundation about 1959. This academy occupied the former 1820s mansion house of the Leitch family called “Rock Hill.” The academy ended almost as fast as it began by a fire in 1963 and was summarily demolished soon thereafter. What is really amazing, is that the school must have been well-organized to field a basketball team during its short five-year existence. John C. Manton of Philadelphia, PA.

    • Emma Earnst May 10, 2012 at 9:04 am #

      Yes, Rock Hill Academy, along with Robert E. Lee Elementary School, opened in response to desegregation efforts (orders) and subsequent school closings in the 1960s. In addition to the fact that they could throw together a basketball team of this size, I’m more amazed at the sheer number of photographs Rip took of the schools over their short existence. We are probably only a tenth of the way through, and there are nearly 300 pictures of the schools and their students so far. And Rip did not work for free- folks were paying not only for their education but for Rip to document this whole process. They were obviously proud of the actions they were taking. If you’d like to read a great article about the integration process in Charlottesville, check out Lisa Provence’s article here:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: