Elizabeth City, NC: Elizabeth City State University’s Beginnings, 1891

Elizabeth City State University historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1973.

Elizabeth City State University historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1973. Nadia K. Orton, November 2, 2013.

 

Principal Peter W. Moore and students at what’s now Elizabeth City State University in 1899. Image from ECSU Archives. (Source: NC Culture)

“On March 3, 1891, legislation passed creating a Normal and Industrial School in Elizabeth City. The school was founded with the express purpose of ‘teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina.’

The bill began in the House of Representatives and was championed by Hugh Cale, an African American who represented Pasquotank County. Cale, who was a free person of color before the Civil War, had been involved in African American education immediately following the Civil War and served on the Pasquotank County Board of Education.

The campus of what’s now Elizabeth City State University, circa 1938-39. Image from ECSU Archives. (Source NC Culture)

The Normal School extended its mission under the guidance of its first principal, Peter Weddick Moore. In 1937, it expanded from a two-year program to a four-year teacher’s college and received a new name to reflect that change–Elizabeth City Teachers College. The first bachelor’s degree was awarded by the school in 1939 in elementary education.

In 1972, the college became part of the consolidated University of North Carolina system and was renamed Elizabeth City State University. To commemorate the school’s centennial in 1991, the General Assembly honored Cale and the university with a bill setting a special mock session.”

Source: Elizabeth City State University’s Beginnings, 1891


 

I visited Oak Grove Cemetery (est. 1886), on November 2, 2013. Included below are photographs of the gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909), Oak Grove Cemetery’s entrance gate, and the historical marker and street sign placed in honor of Hugh Cale.

Gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909)

Gravestone of Hugh Cale (1829-1909). November 2, 2013, Elizabeth City, North Carolina.

 

Hugh Cale Elizabeth City Orton 2013

“Hugh Cale – Pasquotank County Commissioner and North Carolina Legislator. Introduced legislation to establish Elizabeth City State Teachers College. Bill passed March 3, 1891.”

 

Gravestone of Hugh Cale

Gravestone of Hugh Cale

 

Hugh Cale Historical Marker Orton Elizabeth City NC 2013

Hugh Cale historical marker. North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1994.

 

Street sign in honor of Hugh Cale. Elizabeth City, NC, 2013

Street sign in honor of Hugh Cale. Elizabeth City, North Carolina, 2013

 

Oak Grove Cemetery Elizabeth City, Orton 2013

Oak Grove Cemetery entrance, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. November 2, 2013

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