2123 Barhamville Road
Charles and Ethel Bolden
A Columbia native, Charles Bolden, Sr. was an important role model for the city’s young people. He served as a guidance counselor with the University of South Carolina’s Upward Bound Program, where he assisted Richland County students prepare for college. Bolden Sr. was also head football coach and athletic director at C.A. Johnson High School from 1949 to 1972, and led the team to five state championships. His sons, Charles, Jr. and Warren, were successful athletes at C.A. Johnson during the 1960s. His wife, Ethel (sister of T.S. Martin), was also a vibrant force in the local education system. She served as a longtime librarian at W.A. Perry Jr. Middle School and Dreher High School and established libraries in African American elementary schools throughout the city of Columbia. Ethel received her master’s degree in Library Science from Atlanta University, and in 1966 was named to Who’s Who in American Women.
Charles Bolden, Junior
Charles Bolden, Jr. graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1964 and attended the United States Naval Academy. As a Marine pilot, he flew hundreds of wartime missions over Vietnam during the 1970s. In 1980, he was selected by NASA to be an astronaut candidate. During his tenure with NASA, Bolden piloted multiple space shuttles, including the Columbia in 1986, the Discovery in 1990, and the Atlantis in 1992. He returned to the Marines in 1994, serving as commanding general for Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait in 1998. He,retired from the military as a major general in August 2004. In 2009, President Obama appointed Bolden administrator of NASA, a position he held until his retirement in 2017. Though now living in Houston, Texas, Bolden credits his beginnings in Columbia—his parents, his community, and his schooling—for much of his success. In a 2004 interview, he told The State, “I still have a sense of representing C.A. Johnson High School because when you get to the bottom line, I'm a product of that environment."