Conway man recognized for being first black student in Horry Cou - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Conway man recognized for being first black student in Horry County school system

Tony Fairwell was recognized by the city of Conway for desegregating Horry County Schools in 1966. (Source: WMBF News) Tony Fairwell was recognized by the city of Conway for desegregating Horry County Schools in 1966. (Source: WMBF News)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Conway City Council recognized the man who said he was the first black student to attend Horry County Schools.

Council members approved a proclamation declaring May 17 as Tony D. Fairwell Day. The Conway man received the honor for desegregating the former Jamestown Elementary School – now known as South Conway – in 1966, when he was just in the third grade.

“Well, I wanted everything to be fair to mankind, no matter what race, creed or color,” Fairwell said on his efforts.

Those efforts, however, weren’t easy. Fairwell noted that people did the unthinkable to him.

"You name it, there’s some things that I don't even like thinking about that my wife didn't even know about until later," he said.

Fairwell found inspiration in his mother, his teacher and a man who will forever be remembered for his contributions to the civil rights movement.

"Mr. (Martin) Luther King was my inspiration, as we all know that he was for humanity worldwide, not just nationwide, not just countywide, not citywide,” he said. “He was for mankind to be equal.”

Even though Fairwell was the first area student to make this happen, he wants others to be recognized for their work.

Now, after 51 years, he's glad to see his efforts continue, but notes there is still a problem with segregation in the U.S.

"Segregation is a bad word to me,” Fairwell said. "Desegregration is a word … that means unity."

In thinking about his day on Wednesday, Fairwell said he is thankful May 17 is dedicated to him and wishes his mother was here to see his recognition.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved. 

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