Black History Month Feature: Glenda Morrison-Fair
From her early preschool days at the Mattoon school in the Southernside neighborhood through her college days at Hampton University, Glenda Morrison-Fair’s love of education runs deep. As a teen, she was part of the last graduating class of the legendary all black Sterling High School in 1969 – months before the integration of Greenville County Schools.
She studied mathematics at Hampton, a historically black university in Virginia, and later embarked on a career in education. Inspired to make a difference at the policy level, she ran for and won a seat on the Greenville County School Board of Trustees to represent District 23, a position she still holds today.
In our second Black History Month profile, Morrison-Fair shares her thoughts on the influence of Sterling High, the importance of knowing your history, and which local history-maker’s story is passed down in her family.
Can you describe the impact of Sterling High School on our community? What made it such a special place?
Sterling High School was a bridge builder for this community. Students and families who never dreamed of receiving even a high school diploma were captured and inspired by the faculty, student body and all support personnel connected to the school. May I add the entire community?
How has education influenced your life?
Education is a tool that allows individuals to access their strengths and weaknesses. However, utilizing this tool also gives one the necessary skills to become all their dreams will allow.
Who is one teacher who set you on the path you are on today and how did they do it?
So many of my teachers played a major part in my life. However, my road to education was predesigned by God and my reason for majoring in mathematics was in the person of Ms. A.J. Bates.
What inspired you to run for the Greenville County School Board? And what have you learned from the experience?
Making the decision to represent the children of Greenville County came from the realization that I needed to make a difference in the field of education at the policy level. I have truly shaped and reshaped my thinking that any change anywhere is the results of relationships.
Why is Black History Month important to you?
How do we celebrate history without including all of the events and experiences? This is similar to creating a song and leaving out the melody. Likewise, our country would not be America without the story of all of our heritages.
Tell us about a historical figure or event that you feel a deep connection to that you think people should know more about – especially during Black History Month?
Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, a South Carolinian from Fountain Inn. This story about this gentleman was shared with me by my Mother. I pass this story along to my grandchildren. Mr. Bates is the original “And Still I Rise,” in spite of all of his challenges in life.
What is one piece of advice you share with young people today?
Nothing is impossible, make a plan and do it. The success is in the plan, action and teachable spirit.