A presentation last year to the Albemarle County School Board using a 1956 magazine article, which was interpreted as revealing that Paul Cale was a racist and segregationist, was shocking. That claim was so unlike the Paul Cale I knew. I was his pastor, neighbor, and friend for nine years.

The Paul Cale I knew was no racist or segregationist. In extensive research, I found no evidence that he opposed desegregation or did anything to prevent the integration of public schools.

In fact, I found concrete evidence that Superintendent Cale supported integration:

» He hired the first African American to fill a leadership position in the central office — A.L. Scott, Burley High School’s last principal, who became assistant superintendent of instruction.

» He opposed segregation at Crozet Park.

» He led a completely segregated school system to full integration during what I believe was the most difficult period for public education in our history.

» The Licensed Practical Nurse diploma program at Burley High School began in 1951 while Paul was superintendent. The University of Virginia School of Nursing was segregated at the time, but this joint program between Burley and UVa allowed black students to become credentialed nurses. The graduates were among the first black nurses at the hospital, working first as “hidden nurses” in segregated wards in the dank basement.

Paul H. Cale is the right name for one of our public schools, because he has done so much for Albemarle County schools and students of all races: Head Start, special education, building or expanding at least nine of today’s schools, and more. Paul served Albemarle County schools as a teacher, coach, principal, and superintendent for 38 years.

The school renaming committee’s final decision should not be based on a false narrative, personal agendas, or the loudest voices. Actions speak louder than words. Paul Cale must not become a scapegoat and sacrificial lamb for collective sins or a particular cause.

The Rev. Dr. Roy Thomas

Albemarle County

References:

Albemarle County School Board Minutes, March 10, 1966

Albemarle County School Board Minutes

December 14, 1967

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