Greensboro's "The Hawk" inducted into bail agents hall of fame
CHARLOTTE, NC -- In an illustrious ceremony attended by hundreds from across the nation and honored by the United States Marine Corps color guard, a prominent Greensboro native was inducted posthumously into the North Carolina Bail Agents Association's Hall of Fame.
Conrad L. Raiford, known affectionately as "The Hawk," was a prominent player during the turbulent civil rights movement of the 1960s by becoming one of Greensboro's two African-American bail bondsmen.
It was Raiford who freed then North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (A&T) student body president Jesse Jackson after Jackson's first arrest following a protest march in 1963.
When targeted freedom fighters and civil rights activists began facing higher bail fines and stiffer sentences, the former police officer and champion athlete often donated his services to get peaceful protestors out of jail in order to continue the South's expanding Freedom Movement.
Accepting Raiford's commendation on July 15 at Hilton Charlotte University Place were his widow, Myrtle W. Raiford and daughter, Janice Raiford Shaw, who currently reside in Hillcrest, New York.
The North Carolina Bail Agents Association (NCBAA) established a Bail Agents Hall of Fame in 2011 to pay tribute to those bondsmen who have demonstrated a level of excellence in the bonding profession while presenting a commendable standard of dedication to community and civic duty.
In addition to serving two decades as a bail bondsman, Raiford was a Greensboro City Council member, Commissioner of the Greensboro Parks and Recreation Department and the North Carolina Goodwill Ambassador for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany.
Raiford attended A & T, where he lettered and earned medals in football, track, baseball and swimming. He graduated in 1936 with a bachelor of science degree in biology and was inducted into A&T's Sports Hall of Fame in 1972.
Raiford departed his life on May 20, 2002.