Cornell A. (C.A.) Johnson, at left, is presented with gifts by Fairwold Elementary School Principal Norman Pendergrass, right, in a "This is Your Life" ceremony in 1952 honoring Johnson for his role in founding the school. The two men were both leaders in African-American education in Columbia. Johnson, the first principal of Booker T. Washington High School from 1916 until 1931 (see Booker T. Washington High School), was responsible for its early growth and accreditation. In 1931, he was elected to a newly created position, Supervising Principal of Negro Schools in the Columbia Public School System, and it was in that capacity that he helped the community of Fairwold get a new elementary school. Norman Pendergrass was born in Lee County, attended Talladega College in Alabama, and earned an M.S. degree at South Carolina State. He had been at Booker T. Washington High School and in 1950 was made principal at Fairwold Elementary. In 1975, when school boundaries were redrawn in an attempt to create better racial balance in the public school system, Fairwold Elementary became Fairwold Center for special education of physically disabled students.
Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library.