Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




American Studies

Committee Chair

Beverly G. Bond

Committee Member

Aram Goudsouzian

Committee Member

Charles W. Crawford


The life of James Edward Shepard, founding president of the National Religious Training Institute and Chautauqua for the Negro Race, predecessor of North Carolina Central University has not received a thorough analysis in African American historical literature. Shepard played a prominent role in the development of North Carolina’s black community through the organizations and institutions that he affiliated with. For example, he was a co-founder of the North Carolina Mutual and Provident Association, a prominent member of the state’s Republican Party, and the founding president of North Carolina’s first African American state supported liberal arts college. James Edward Shepard’s life not only reveals the story of a black leader during the Jim Crow era, but also exposes the complexities that southern black college presidents faced during this period. Such complications as choosing the proper form of education (vocational or liberal arts) best suited for southern black Americans less than thirty years removed from slavery. Shepard also faced racially sensitive issues such as lynchings, and the integration of higher educational institutions that caused him to make many controversial decisions throughout his career. Shepard’s legacy has thus been shaped by a number of choices that he made in the 1930s that went against the will of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Therefore, this dissertation will provide a holistic view of Shepard’s life. This study not only serves as a biography for James Edward Shepard, it also provides analysis of a southern black college president during the age of Jim Crow.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.