Born in 1886 in Athens, Georgia, C. R. Richardson graduated from Tuskegee Institute in 1905 and went on to Howard University in Washington, D.C., earning his law degree in 1911. Not wishing to stay in Washington he boarded a train headed west, and reportedly Richmond was as far as his money took him. He settled in 1912 and, with only two interruptions, practiced law in Richmond for the rest of his life.
He served in the military during World War I and later was instrumental in establishing the American Legion in Indiana and was a founder of the Moore-Irwin Post No. 359. In 1924, President Coolidge appointed him U. S. Commissioner to the Virgin Islands charged with investigating the industrial, agricultural, social, financial, and racial conditions of the recent acquisitions of the United States. Politically, he was a lifelong, staunch Republican and worked for the party in many ways over the years. In 1956, he became the first African-American delegate to the Republican National Convention where he served as an honorary convention vice-president.
Richardson was one of the founders of the Townsend Community Center. He also held high state and national offices in the Elks and Masonic lodges.
In 1976, the new elementary school on South J Street was named the C. R. Richardson Elementary School in his honor.