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History of African American Education in N.C.: HBCUs and K-12 Schools

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

North Carolina has twelve historically black colleges and universities, including the oldest in the South, Raleigh's Shaw University, founded in 1865, and North Carolina's newest HBCU, North Carolina Central University, founded in 1910 in Durham. 

This list contains some basic information about the location and founding of each of the eleven schools.  

For more information, including histories, additional resources, images and interactive exhibits, visit:

North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities collection in NCpedia

North Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities Interactive Timeline in NCpedia

African Americans in North Carolina, a collection of histories and resources in NCpedia

In the following list, note that the link for each school will take you to an brief history in NCpedia:

Barber-Scotia College, Concord, North Carolina (Scotia Seminary, 1867)

Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina (Bennett Seminary, 1873)

Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina (Normal & Industrial School, 1891)

Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, North Carolina (Howard School, 1867)

Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina (The Freedmen's College of North Carolina, 1867)

Kittrell College, Kittrell, North Carolina (Kittrell Normal & Industrial School, 1886)

Livingstone College, Salisbury, North Carolina (Zion Wesley Institute, 1879)

North Carolina A & T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina (Agricultural & Mechanical College for the Colored Race, 1891)

North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina (National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race, 1910)

St. Augustine's University, Raleigh, North Carolina (St. Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute, 1867)

Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Raleigh Institute, 1865)

Winston-Salem State University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Slater Industrial Academy, 1892)

Historically Black Secondary/High Schools

This section presents a listing of historically black secondary and high schools in North Carolina. Each school listing includes a resource for more information.  The list is a work in progress and will continue to be added to. 

Durham County

Hillside (Park) High School (Hornets, 1922-Present) (Park was dropped in 1943).

Source: National Register of Historic Places, Hillside Park High School,

Edgecombe County

Princeville School (1935-1960). 

Source: National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form,

Gaston County

Lincoln Academy (1888-1955).

Source:Gaston County Public Library 2012. 

Granville County

Mary Potter Academy, Oxford (founded 1889, George Clayton Shaw, Principal).

Source: Davis, Owena Hunter. 1944. A history of Mary Potter School, Oxford, North Carolina. Oxford, N.C.: [publisher not identified].

Guilford County

James B. Dudley High School (Panthers, 1929-2016).

Source: Dudley Alumni Association, Inc, Dudley HS History, 2007.

Vance County

Henderson Institute, (1887-1970).


National Register of Historic Places, Registration Form,

Henderson Institute Alumni Association,

Wake County

Berry O’Kelly High (Hornets, 1923-1965)
Washington High (Little Blues, 1923-1953)
J. W. Ligon High (Little Blues, 1953-1971)
James E. Shepard High (Lions, 1933-1970)
DuBois High (Lions, 1928-1969)
Garner Consolidated (Tigers, 1935-1968)
Lockhart High (Tigers, 1960-1968)
Fuquay Consolidated (Bisons, 1938-1970)
West Cary High (Hornets, 1965-1967)
Apex Consolidated (Tigers, 1951-1970)

Source: The North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. “A Lost Legacy: Our Historically Black High Schools Conference Exhibit,” Saint Augustine’s College, Raleigh, N.C., February 22, 1992.

Rosenwald Fund Schools

The Rosenwald School Building Program began in North Carolina in 1915 and continued until 1932. Sears & Roebuck president Julius Rosenwald turned his philanthropic attention to building primary and secondary schools for African Americans. The program built more 817 buildings in 93 of North Carolina's 100 counties.

Online resources (including school listings, histories, documentation, images, and maps):

Listing of Rosenwald Schools in NC, NC Office of Historic Preservation

Rosenwald Fund Schools manuscript collection, State Archives of NC

Rosenwald Fund Schools photographic collection, State Archives of NC

History and documentation of NC's Rosenwald Schools  National Park Service

Map of Rosenwald Schools in NC, NC Office of Historic Preservation

Johnson, K. Todd. 2006. "Rosenwald Fund". Encyclopedia of North Carolina (University of North Carolina Press).

Hanchett, Thomas W. "The Rosenwald Schools and Black Education in North Carolina". The North Carolina Historical Review
 Vol. 65, No. 4 (OCTOBER 1988), pp. 387-444.

Resources in the collection of the State Library of North Carolina (click on this blue linked text to view search results)