Shepard, James E.

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James Edward Shepard was born in Raleigh, N.C., on 3 November 1875 and died in Durham, N.C., on 6 October 1947. In 1909, he founded and served as president of the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race. In 1925, the School became the North Carolina College for Negroes (later North Carolina Central University), the first state-funded liberal arts college for African Americans in the United States.

From the description of James E. Shepard papers, 1905-1947 (bulk 1940-1947). WorldCat record id: 768331201

James Edward Shepard was born in Raleigh, N.C., on 3 November 1875 to Reverend Augustus Shepard and Harriet E. Whitted Shepard. Reverend Shepard was the pastor of White Rock Baptist Church, a prominent African American congregation in Durham, N.C. James Shepard was the eldest of twelve children. He received his undergraduate education at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., and graduated with a Ph.G. degree in pharmacy in 1894. From 1895 to 1897, he worked as a pharmacist and religious educator in Virginia and North Carolina. Shepard was the owner and pharmacist of the first African American drug store in Durham, N.C., and the field secretary for the International Sunday School Association.

On 7 November 1895, Shepard married Annie Day Robinson, a native of Yanceyville, N.C., the daughter of Thomas Day Jr. and Mary Day of Virginia, and the granddaughter of furniture maker Thomas Day. Shepard and Robinson had two daughters, Annie Day Shepard (who married Isaac H. Smith Jr.) and Marjorie A. Shepard.

In 1909, the Durham Merchants Association together with prominent African American businessmen John Merrick and Charles C. Spaulding, physicians Aaron M. Moore and Charles H. Shepard, and educator William Gaston Pearson raised $25,000 for a school that Shepard planned to open in Durham, N.C., called the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race. The official charter was signed on 28 June 1909, and classes began in 1910. The school provided professional training and development for African American teachers. Twenty of the original twenty-five acres of the campus--located just outside the Durham city limits on the traditionally African American side of Durham known as Hayti--were donated by philanthropist Brodie L. Duke.

By 1912, the campus had ten buildings and approximately 130 students. In 1915, the school was sold and renamed the National Training School. In 1923, the North Carolina General Assembly began to provide annual support of $20,639, and the name was changed to Durham State Normal School. Despite the support, the school faced financial hardships and mounting debt nearing $49,000. When Shepard could not raise the money, he urged the state of North Carolina to take over the school. In the legislative session of 1925, a bill was passed with only one dissenting vote to make it a state institution, and the school was renamed the North Carolina College for Negroes, becoming the first public liberal arts college for African Americans in the United States. The first four-year class graduated in 1929. After Shepard's death in 1947, the name became North Carolina College at Durham. In 1969, the North Carolina General Assembly changed the name to North Carolina Central University (NCCU), and, in 1972, NCCU joined the University of North Carolina (System).

Shepard was actively involved in fraternal, religious, business, and civic organizations in the local Durham community, North Carolina, and the nation. From 1928 to 1933 and again from 1936 to his death in 1947, Shepard served as Grand Master of the Prince Hall Masons of North Carolina. Today, two Mason chapters are named in his honor, including the James E. Shepard Chapter #840 in Durham, N.C. Shepard also served as Grand Patron of the Eastern Star (the world's largest fraternal organization), and as secretary of finances for the Knights of Pythias (an international, non-sectarian fraternal order). Shepard served as president of the State Negro Teachers Association and the Interdenominational Sunday School Convention. He was a member of the board of directors for Mechanics and Farmers Bank, the trustee board for the Oxford Colored Orphanage, the Odd Fellows, the Civic Club, the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs, and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

  • 1875: Born on 3 November 1875 to Reverend Augustus Shepard and Harriet E. Whitted Shepard.
  • 1886 - 1894 : Shepard attended Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C.
  • 1894: Shepard graduated from Shaw University with a degree in pharmacy.
  • 1895: Shepard married Annie Day Robinson and moved to Durham, N.C.
  • 29 July 1897: Shepard's daughter Annie Day Shepard was born.
  • 1989: Shepard helped to establish the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Insurance Company (now North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company).
  • 1898 - 1900 : Shepard served as Comparer of Deeds in the Recorders Office of Washington, D.C.
  • 5 September 1900: Shepard's daughter Marjorie A. Shepard was born.
  • 1899 - 1905 : Shepard served as Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue in Raleigh, N.C.
  • 1902: Shepard's daughter Marion Shepard was born.
  • 25 July 1903: Marion Shepard died.
  • 1905 - 1909 : Shepard served as Field Superintendent of the International Sunday School Association.
  • 1909: Shepard began his 38-year tenure as president of the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race, Inc.
  • 1910: Shepard was the only African American speaker at the Rome, Italy, meeting of the International Sunday School Association
  • 1910: Shepard was awarded an honorary doctorate of divinity by Muskingum College in Ohio.
  • 1912: Shepard was awarded an honorary master of arts degree by Selma University in Alabama.
  • 1915: The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race was sold and repurchased.
  • 1916: The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race was re-chartered as the National Training School.
  • 1923: The General Assembly appropriated funds, making the National Training School a publicly supported institution. The National Training School was renamed Durham State Normal School.
  • 1925: Shepard was awarded an honorary degree in literature by Howard University.
  • 1925: Two disastrous fires struck the Durham State Normal School while students were in chapel, and official files and equipment were lost.
  • 1925: The Durham State Normal School was renamed North Carolina College for Negroes and became the first state-supported liberal arts college for African Americans in the United States.
  • 1925: Shepard's home burned down. Both white and black citizens of Durham, N.C., rallied to raise money for the Shepard House that served as the official residence of Shepard and his wife until their deaths in 1947.
  • 1929: The first four-year college class graduated from the North Carolina College for Negroes.
  • 1931: The North Carolina College for Negroes received its first accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
  • 1935: Shepard and other African American leaders founded the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.
  • 1937: The North Carolina College for Negroes was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools as an A class institution and was admitted to membership later in 1957.
  • 1939: The North Carolina General Assembly authorized graduate programs at the North Carolina College for Negroes.
  • 1940: The School of Law was founded at North Carolina College for Negroes.
  • 1941: The School of Library Science was founded at North Carolina College for Negroes.
  • 1944: Residents in the Wakefield-Zebulon area of North Carolina renamed their public school the James E. Shepard School.
  • 12 March 1944: North Carolina College for Negroes played the Duke Medical School basketball team in the first racially mixed basketball game of the Jim Crow era.
  • 8 February 1947: Shepard's wife Annie Day Shepard died.
  • 15 April 1947: Shepard's mother Hattie Whitted Shepard died.
  • 6 October 1947: James E. Shepard died.
  • 1947: The North Carolina College for Negroes was renamed the North Carolina College at Durham.
  • 1948: Alfonso Elder was elected president of North Carolina College for Negroes succeeding Shepard.
  • 1951: The James E. Shepard Memorial Library was dedicated in honor of Shepard.
  • 1964: The James E. Shepard Middle School was built in Durham, N.C.
  • 1969: The North Carolina General Assembly changed the name of the North Carolina College at Durham to North Carolina Central University and established the university as one of the state's regional institutions.
  • 1972: North Carolina Central University joined the University of North Carolina (System).

From the guide to the James E. Shepard Papers, 1905-1990 (bulk 1940-1947), (North Carolina Central University. James E. Shepard Memorial Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf North Carolina Central University. James E. Shepard records, 1890-1947. North Carolina Central University, James E. Shepard Memorial Library
creatorOf Shepard, James E. James E. Shepard papers, 1905-1947 (bulk 1940-1947). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Durham Fact-Finding Conference records, 1929-1930 and 1942-1945 North Carolina Central University, James E. Shepard Memorial Library
creatorOf Barnett, Claude, 1889-1967. Claude A. Barnett papers, 1918-1967 (bulk 1928-1963). Chicago History Museum
creatorOf Shepard, James E. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1927-1935. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Shepard, James E. Inter-racial progress in North Carolina : speech / delivered by Dr. James E. Shepard ; Saturday evening, Janaury 13, 1945 ; broadcast over Durham station WDNC and associated stations. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn John Johnston Parker Papers (#3464), 1920-1956 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
creatorOf Shepard, James E. Radio address : racial relationships in North Carolina / by James E. Shepard. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Winston-Salem State University. Office of the Chancellor. Francis Logouen Atkins records, 1925-1979 (bulk 1934-1961). Winston Salem State University, C.G. O'Kelly Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Robert Edward Dawson Papers, 1939-1998 David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf James E. Shepard Papers, 1905-1990 (bulk 1940-1947) North Carolina Central University, James E. Shepard Memorial Library
referencedIn Horace Mann Bond Papers, 1830-1979, 1926-1972 Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Barnett, Claude, 1889-1967. person
associatedWith Bond, Horace Mann, 1904-1972 person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
correspondedWith Dawson, Robert Edward, 1918- person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
associatedWith Durham Fact-Finding Conference. corporateBody
associatedWith Ehringhaus, John Christoph Blucher, 1882-1949. person
associatedWith Erwin, Clyde A. (Clyde Atkinson), 1897-1952. person
associatedWith Fisher, Miles Mark, 1899-1970. person
associatedWith Franklin, John Hope, 1915-2009. person
associatedWith Frazier, Edward Franklin, 1894-1962. person
associatedWith Hancock, Gordon Blaine, 1884-1970. person
associatedWith Newbold, N. C. (Nathan Carter), 1871-1957. person
associatedWith North Carolina Central University corporateBody
associatedWith North Carolina College for Negroes. corporateBody
associatedWith Parker, John Johnston, 1885-1958 person
associatedWith Washington, Booker T., 1856-1915. person
associatedWith WDNC (Radio station : Durham, N.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith White, Walter Francis, 1893-1955. person
correspondedWith Winston-Salem State University. Office of the Chancellor. corporateBody
associatedWith Young, Plummer Bernard, d. 1962. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
North Carolina
North Carolina--Social life and customs
North Carolina--Durham
North Carolina
North Carolina
Durham (N.C.)
Subject
African American educators
African American business enterprises--History--20th century
African Americans--Education (Higher)
African Americans--History--20th century
World War, 1939-1945--Participation, African American
African American universities and colleges
African American fraternal organizations
African Americans
African American businesspeople--History--20th century
African American civic leaders--History--20th century
African Americans--Education
Radio addresses, debates, etc
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1875-11-03

Death 1947-10-06

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