A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Related Story: Tales from the Archives at Shaw University Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem • 1892 The first Black institution in the country to grant degrees in elementary education, Winston-Salem State

Madison County Championship Rodeo

Related Story: Tales from the Archives at Shaw University Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem • 1892 The first Black institution in the country to grant degrees in elementary education, Winston-Salem State

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Related Story: Tales from the Archives at Shaw University Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem • 1892 The first Black institution in the country to grant degrees in elementary education, Winston-Salem State

The State of North Carolina’s HBCUs

Related Story: Tales from the Archives at Shaw University


Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem • 1892

The first Black institution in the country to grant degrees in elementary education, Winston-Salem State University later, in 1967, became the first HBCU to win an NCAA basketball championship with the help of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. The school’s Diggs Gallery is one of the most prominent galleries dedicated to African and African American art in the region.

Shaw University

Raleigh • 1865

Shaw University in Raleigh set the template for historically Black colleges and universities across the South — and helped establish the nation’s largest HBCU, North Carolina A&T State University.

Barber-Scotia College

Concord • 1867

Barber-Scotia College was established as a Presbyterian school to educate young Black women in teaching and social work. Alumna Mary McLeod Bethune served as an educator, civil rights advocate, and advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

North Carolina Central University

Durham • 1910

Chartered in 1909, North Carolina Central University became the first state-supported liberal arts college for Black students in the nation. Eagles learn to soar with programs in the sciences, arts, business, and law — just ask notable alumna Tressie McMillan Cottom, a writer, sociologist, professor, and 2020 MacArthur Fellow.

Bennett College

Greensboro • 1873

Bennett Belles took part in the Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins of 1960, a movement that inspired social change here and beyond. Bennett is one of two women’s-only HBCUs in the United States, and in 1955, the school’s president, Dr. Willa B. Player, became the first Black woman in the nation to serve as a college president.

In Greensboro, students at the women’s-only Bennett College took a break from classes in the 1920s. photograph by the Bennett College Archives at Thomas F. Holgate Library

Johnson C. Smith University

Charlotte • 1867

Since the school was founded by two Presbyterian ministers in 1867, the Golden Bulls have fostered strong relationships with other North Carolina HBCUs, including a past partnership with then-all-women’s Barber-Scotia College and a friendly rivalry with Livingstone College, which began with the first Black intercollegiate football game in 1892.

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville • 1867

One of the first state-supported teacher-training schools in the South for Black students, Fayetteville State University now maintains top national rankings for nursing, criminal justice, and MBA programs.

Saint Augustine’s University

Raleigh • 1867

Saint Augustine’s was founded by The Episcopal Church, an affiliation that the university maintains to this day. The school educated Anna J. Cooper, the “Mother of Black Feminism,” launched the first HBCU on-campus radio and TV stations, and recently started the first HBCU cycling team.

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Greensboro • 1891

Now the nation’s largest HBCU, North Carolina A&T State was established to teach agriculture and mechanical arts. Today, the home of Aggie Pride and the Greatest Homecoming on Earth is nationally recognized for its STEM programs, which produced the late NASA astronaut Ronald McNair, a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger.

A student drummer warms up for A&T’s Greatest Homecoming On Earth. photograph by Joey Seawell

Livingstone College

Salisbury • 1879

The home of the Blue Bears was established by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church as a school for newly freed enslaved people. The first president of the college, Dr. Joseph Charles Price, believed in the education of the hands, the head, and the heart — evidenced by Livingstone’s focus on liberal arts, education, and “STEAM” programs.

Kittrell College

Kittrell • 1886-1975

Kittrell College was founded by the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a vocational school to train teachers and tradesmen. The college shut its doors in 1975, but a North Carolina educator has plans to revive it.

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City • 1891

From a modest 23 students when it began to graduating more than 20,000 students over the course of nearly 130 years, Elizabeth City State University has evolved from a school for teachers to one offering more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, including aviation. Among ECSU’s notable alumni: ’60s- and ’70s-era Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jethro Pugh.

This story was published on Dec 29, 2020

Caroline Farrell

Caroline Farrell is an editorial intern at Our State