Florence Buford

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Florence Buford at her desk at Clark School

Florence De Launey Buford (1893-1974) was the first principal at Clark Elementary School in Charlottesville, from 1931 until her retirement in 1964. Prior to that, she was a teacher at Lane High, starting there in 1927. In 1966, the Buford Junior High, now Buford Middle School, was named in honor of her service to City of Charlottesville Public Schools.


Buford was born in 1893, in Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, Virginia. She graduated from Farmville College (now Longwood College) in 1913. She then attended Columbia University and UVA, where she earned a Master's degree in Political Science.

She was an advocate to the Virginia General Assembly to establish a school for students with developmental disabilities in Charlottesville.

She participated in numerous community service organizations, including president of the State Department of Elementary Principals, vice chair of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Library Board (which would later merge with the JMRL), a member of the city welfare department advisory board, a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, and the Lynchnos Society, vice president of the Community Chest, president of the Mental Hygiene Society of Charlottesville, a member of the Salvation Army advisory board, and on the board of the Civic League of Charlottesville and Albemarle. She was also a member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in downtown Charlottesville.

From Charlottesville NOW's "herstory (a brief history of the women of Albemarle County)"[1]:

Born on November 5, 1893, in Lawrenceville, Virginia, Florence Buford began her education in a one-room schoolhouse in Brunswick County, Virginia. This beginning in the field of education was culminated in her 33-year principalship of Clark Elementary School in Charlottesville and naming of Buford Junior High in her honor on September 2, 1966. Florence Buford’s concern about the quality of life in Charlottesville was reflected in her wide participation in various civic organizations and her particularly notable achievement of requesting and receiving funds from the Virginia State Legislature to establish a school for the mentally retarded in Charlottesville. Florence Buford was also instrumental in forming the Council for Retarded Children and in obtaining public school facilities for special classes of these children. In a tribute to Florence Buford, which appeared in the Charlottesville Daily Progress on March 31, 1974, it was said that, 'Women’s liberation as we know it is not a new force. Miss Buford faced many staunch male educators over many different issues – she won their respect. [2]

1948 Description of City Schools

Buford addressed the University League on March 24, 1948 and told them that schools were not as overcrowded as many had been lead to believe. She said McGuffey Elementary School had an average of 35 students a class and Venable Elementary School had an average of 32 students a class. She said all elementary schools needed auditorium space but also said that Jefferson School -- set aside for black students-- was much more overcrowded than the white-only schools. [3]


  1. Web. Charlottesville NOW herstory: a history, retrieved Sept 21, 2019.
  2. Web. Belmont - A History of a Neighborhood, James H. Buck Jr., Paper for James Kinard's Local History course, May 1980, retrieved June 30, 2014.
  3. Web. Miss Florence Buford Tells League About City Schools, Staff Reports, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, March 25, 1948, retrieved December 23, 2016 from University of Virginia Library. Print. March 25, 1948 page 5.

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