New Online Archive of the Papers of the Founder of North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University, the historically Black educational institution in Durham, has announced that it will make its entire collection of documents relating to its founder, James E. Shepard, available online.

Shepard was born in Raleigh in 1875. He was the eldest of 12 children of a Baptist minister. He earned a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree in pharmacy at Shaw University. In 1909 he established the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race. The first classes were held in 1910. In 1925, the state took over the school and it was renamed the North Carolina College for Negroes. Shepard died in 1947. In 1969 the school was renamed North Carolina Central University.

The new collection includes Shepard’s correspondence with W.E.B. Du Bois, John Hope Franklin, and other leading Black scholars of the first half of the 20th century.

“The papers of Dr. Shepard reflect institution-building by African-Americans as they confronted a multiplicity of racial barriers in the Jim Crow South,” states André D. Vann, coordinator of university archives and instructor of public history at NCCU. “These historical documents also demonstrate Dr. Shepard’s significance as a leader in higher education and as a spokesman and advocate for African-Americans in Durham, the state and the country. The online availability of these materials will help historians craft new narratives and will open new avenues of inquiry on North Carolina’s African-American leaders and higher education for African-Americans in the early 20th century.”

Not all of the collection is available online at this time. But many documents can now be accessed here.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Virginia Smalls Hawkins says:

    Good work, Andre! I love history and this is a great way to know what our Founder, Dr. Shepared did for the state and country as he educated African Americans. During my days at NCCU, this history and the life of Dr. Shepared was not made available. Continue to educate us on our great University with the use of technology.

    Your Aunt

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