Abraham H. Peeler was born in Warnersville on May 23, 1904. His father was the pastor of St. Matthews United Methodist Church in Warnersville, and his mother was a school teacher in the community.
Mr. Peeler received his Master’s degree from Columbia University and furthered his education at Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin.
In 1932, Mr. Peeler became the principal of the J.C. Price School. He remained the principal of the school for the next 37 years, until his retirement in 1969.
Mr. Peeler was an inspiration to those around him. He led by example and expected only the best from the teachers and the students. Anything less was unacceptable.
Theresa Pinnix – 1 minute, 57 seconds
Keeping the school up to date with advancements in technology was a personal focus of Mr. Peeler. He was able to establish a school radio broadcast in 1942. This made J.C. Price one of only two schools in Greensboro to have a radio station at that time. In 1964, he helped the school receive $3,000 towards the purchase of projectors to help further the education of his students. This grant came from the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company and was only offered to 500 schools nationwide. Mr. Peeler’s focus on keeping the school up to date with technology helped set the school apart. In 1946, the Educational Policies Commission of the National Education Association from Washington, D.C. toured the country visiting schools that displayed innovative teaching techniques, and J.C. Price was the only school in North Carolina to be honored with a visit.
Courtesy of the Greensboro Historical Museum
Inaugural broadcast of the J.C. Price station in 1942.
Mr. Price’s widow is standing with the students.
In addition to focusing on educational advancements, Mr. Peeler also focused on promoting extracurricular activities such as football and music. J.C. Price School did not have a real sports program for many years due to discrimination. However, as former principal Mel Swann explains, Mr. Peeler found a way to beat the system in order to get Price’s football team off the ground.
Melvin Swann – 1 minute 35 seconds
Mr. Peeler also believed that respect, communication, and common sense were key to both educational and personal success. He encouraged older students to tutor the younger kids. This not only helped the younger students in their studies, but it also created friendships between the older and younger students. Teachers were not immune to Mr. Peeler’s lessons either. One key lesson that Mr. Peeler taught his teachers was that if someone had an idea, the idea needed to pass a written test. What that meant was that a teacher would write down their idea, in detail, and if it still seemed like a good idea, then it probably was a good idea. If not, the teacher probably needed to spend more time thinking about the idea before they brought it to him.
Mr. Peeler’s good deeds extended far beyond his involvement with the J.C. Price School. He helped create the first city park in Greensboro for African Americans, Nocho Park, and was named Chairman of Publicity in 1940. While Chairman of Publicity, he strongly promoted Camp Carlson, a black camp in North Carolina. Mr. Peeler’s lifelong work was recognized by the NAACP in 1976 when he was awarded their “Man of the Year” title.
Over the years, Mr. Peeler was recognized many times not only for his personal accomplishments, but also for his devotion to helping his community.