Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Local Veteran, educator turns 100; honored by County Council, Columbia Mayor, and S.C. Governor

St onew all “Stoney” McKinn ey Ric hburg turns 100 an d will be honore d fo r his ser vice as a so ld ier and an ed uc at or.

St onew all “Stoney” McKinn ey Ric hburg turns 100 an d will be honore d fo r his ser vice as a so ld ier and an ed uc at or.

The Richburg family is honored to celebrate the 100th birthday of patriarch Stonewall McKinney Richburg on Saturday, August 14 at Spring Valley High School. Festivities begin with a birthday drive-by at 10 a.m. and conclude with a proclamation from Richland County Council, a presentation of the Centenarian Award from the Office of Governor Henry McMaster, and anticipated remarks from Steve Benjamin, Mayor of the City of Columbia.

Stonewall McKinney Richburg was born in Tuskegee, Alabama on August 14, 1921. Richburg began serving his country upon induction into the United States Army in 1943. His first assignment was to the Columbia (SC) Army Air Base. In 1945, he completed the Army Engineer Officer Candidate School, where he was among the top ten of 91 graduates (and the only African-American) from a class of 334 candidates. He served in the Philippines during World War II from 1945-1946 and in the Korean conflict from 1951-1952. Richburg retired from the military in 1961 as Captain in the Army Reserve Corps of Engineers.

While serving in the Army, Richburg made Columbia his home and began his career as an educator in 1946. While attending church service with his future wife and her family, Richburg was introduced to Mr. C. A. Johnson, then Supervisor of Negro Schools. Shortly thereafter, Johnson offered Richburg a position at Booker T. Washington High School (“BTWHS”), a segregated school in Columbia, as its first teacher of mechanical drawing and blueprint reading. Richburg became principal of BTWHS in 1965. His seven years as principal included the beginning of desegregation and the start of the integration of Richland County schools. Public school desegregation in the state and the expansion of the University of South Carolina led to the closing of BTWHS in 1974. At that time, Richburg began working at the school district office.

Richburg retired from education in 1983, after 37 years of service in Columbia and Richland County School District One. Following his retirement, he continued to work for the district as a substitute for administrators and maintained his membership in the National Education Association, the South Carolina Education Association, the Richland County Education Association, and other professional education organizations including Phi Delta Kappa. In 2011, Richburg was one of six inductees into the district’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor bestowed upon individuals by the district’s Board of School Commissioners.

Richburg maintains membership in several organizations, to include the Booker T. Washington High School Foundation and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated. He is featured in the University of South Carolina Museum of Education’s “So Their Voices Will Never Be Forgotten” exhibition. Richburg visited the university to discuss the struggle for civil rights and the desegregation of schools in Columbia with students pursuing careers in education. Richburg is an alumnus of Columbia’s Alpha Iota Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity— the oldest African-American Greekletter fraternity.

Richburg, who is affectionately called “Stoney,” was blessed with 71 years of marriage to the late Geneva Smith, a Columbia native. Together, they share four children, eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren —many of whom will be participating in the birthday drive-by in Columbia to commemorate this milestone birthday and legacy.

2 responses to “Local Veteran, educator turns 100; honored by County Council, Columbia Mayor, and S.C. Governor”

  1. Marian LaNelle (ML) Kohn says:

    As a member of the class of 1968 (having spent 5 a student) & returning in 1973-74 as a 1st year teacher, I was pleasantly surprised to access this site because of my love & continued adoration for what BTW has meant to me & continues to be an important part of my existence.
    As a member of the BTW High School Foundation Board of Directors from its inception to the present, I continue to have a major role in helping to maintain our history & perpetuate our long & wonderful legacy. It’s been an amazing journey for the past 46 years. “Lest We Forge!

  2. hubert h williams says:

    At Booker T. High School Mr. Richburg taught and inspired me, in the art of mechanical drawing. His classroom was located in the old vocational building over the auto shop where my father taught auto mechanics. My first teaching assignment was at Fairwold Junior High where Mr. Richburg was a extraordinary Principal. I taught math science and mechanical drawing. I also taught mechanical drawing at Booker T. Washington High School , where Mr. Richburg was remarkable Principal. I have great adoration and esteem for Mr. Richburg as a Principal leader and a dear friend.

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