National Commentary

2019 Hall of Fame Welcomes 12 Star Athletes Under Segregation


Twelve individuals who made outstanding contributions through high school, college and professional careers were officially inducted into the 2019 class of the Virginia Interscholastic Association Heritage Association (VIAHA) Hall of Fame on Friday, June 28, 2019. The fourth annual Hall of Fame Banquet was held in Charlottesville, being to 62 the total membership.

The Hall is dedicated to recognizing and preserving the rich heritage and legacy of African-American students and adults who participated in the Virginia Interscholastic Association from 1954-70 and its predecessor organization, the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic League (VIAL).

The VIAL/VIA’s original home was at Virginia State College (now Virginia State University) from 1954–1970. After merging with the Virginia High School League (VHSL), all VIA records are now stored at Virginia StateUniversity.

The 2019 class features six athletes (Charles Bonaparte – Armstrong HS, Richmond; Benjamin “Benny” Brown – Carter G. Woodson HS, Hopewell; Warren Canada – Dunbar HS, Lynchburg; Robert “Bobby” Dandridge – Maggie L. Walker HS, Richmond; Fred Harold “Doc” Sawyer – Booker T. Washington HS, Norfolk; and Louis Richard Harris – Parker- Gray HS, Alexandria); three coaches (William Bailey – Booker T. Washington HS, Suffolk; James “Blue” Earley –Phenix HS, Hampton; and Carl Peal, Peabody/Petersburg, Petersburg) and three contributors (William Albert “W. A.” Brown, Principal, Carver HS, Chesterfield County; Cheryl Anthony Epps – Southside HS, Dinwiddie County; and Roger Gregory – Peabody/Petersburg HS, Petersburg).

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