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North Carolina's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

Prior to the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, the majority of African Americans in the United States were enslaved persons living in the southern states. Education for African Americans was sparse, especially in the South with laws such as North Carolina's that prohibited teaching enslaved persons to read and write. It was a rare occurrence for an African American to be literate.  While there were a few schools dedicated to African American education in the North prior to the Civil War, the first college available to African Americans in the South was Shaw University, which opened its doors in 1865. A number of institutions dedicated specifically for the education of African Americans were founded in the era immediately following the Civil War and others followed when segregation limited equal access to education. These schools are often known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or "HBCUs". 
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. Eleven of these schools continue to operate today.

Click here for an interactive timeline of the history of North Carolina's HBCUs

Click on the images below for NCpedia articles on North Carolina's HBCUs

Shaw UniversityFayetteville State UniversityBarber-Scotia CollegeJohnson C. SmithSt. Augustine's UniversityBennett CollegeLivingstone CollegeKittrell CollegeNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityElizabeth City State CollegeWinston-Salem State UniversityNorth Carolina Central University


Barber-Scotia College (1867)
Bennett College (1873)
Elizabeth City State University (1891)
Fayetteville State University (1867)
Johnson C. Smith University (1867)
Kittrell College (1886-1975)
Livingstone College (1879)
North Carolina A & T State University (1891)
North Carolina Central University (1910)
St. Augustine’s University (1867)
Shaw University (1865)
Winston-Salem State University (1892)

Educator Resources:

Grades K-8:

Image Credits:

Contemporary photographs taken from university websites. Historic photo of Johnson C. Smith University from Digital Smith, in the Archives of the James B. Duke Library.