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Archives and Special Collections

This LibGuide is published to promote access to the F. D. Bluford Library and Special Collections at North Carolina A&T State University, and research of A&T history remotely.

1890 - 1899

This ad from the December 9, 1893 edition of the Raleigh Chronicle newspaper, is believed to be the oldest known image of the campus in Greensboro. The central image depicts the "Administration Building" later known as the first "Dudley Hall". It was completed in September of 1893, and the doors opened to students the first week of November.

"In September, 1899, I left home to enter school with $1.43. The distance by rail was a hundred miles. I borrowed $5.00 from my brother, who carried me to the station where I took the train for Greensboro. We reached the city about 12:30 P. M. and I was soon on the campus of the A. & T. College. Prof. C. H. Moore was then bursar, and after paying him $3.00 for board, I had fifty cents left for my month's laundry and no books."

- Charles Gaston Davis, '1907 from History of the American Negro and his Institutions, Volume IV North Carolina Edition, by A. B. Caldwell, 1921, pg. 667-668.

Tips for Researching This Time Period

North Carolina A&T State University is an 1890 Second Morrill Land-Grant Act public university located in Greensboro, North Carolina. We were established as the "Agricultural and Mechanical College For The Colored Race", and were so named until 1915. 

NAME CHANGES TO REMEMBER: In our earliest years, sometimes press articles would alter or incorrectly state the names of the college. The correct name is in bold, and alternative phrasings are listed to help with research.

1891 - 1915 - Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Colored Race - ["A. and M. College for the Colored Race", "A&M College For the Colored Race", "Colored A. and M. College of Greensboro", "North Carolina A. and M. College at Greensboro", "The Greensboro A. and M. College".] *PLEASE NOTE: "A. and M. College" was also the name for what is now NC State University in Raleigh; It was also referred to as the "A. and M. College at Raleigh".

1915  - 1957 - Negro Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina - [A. and T. College, A & T. College, A&T College of North Carolina]

FOUNDING DATE: March 9, 1891


Rev. Dr. John Oliver Crosby, Ph.D (1892 - 1896)

Dr. James Benson Dudley (1896 - 1925)


Timeline, 1890 - 1899

The first Morrill Act was passed by the U.S. Congress granting to each state and territory a certain amount of land, the proceeds of which were to be used to establish at least one college. The main purpose of the college was to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes.

The second Morrill Act, which provided funds to support the instructional program in the Land-Grant Colleges, was passed by Congress on August 30th. The Board of Trustees of the A. and M. College in Raleigh was empowered to make temporary arrangements for Negro students so that the College could qualify for funds under the second Morrill Act. Instruction for Negro students was begun at Shaw University in Raleigh in Agriculture, English, Horticulture and Mathematics involving four teachers and 37 students.

The North Carolina General Assembly on March 9th ratified the Act establishing the "A. and M. College for the Colored Race". Its purpose was "to teach practical agriculture and mechanic arts and such branches of learning as relate there to, not excluding academic and classical instruction".

The first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the A. and M. College for the Colored Race was held on June 23rd.

The Board of Trustees voted on March 3rd to locate the college in Greensboro. Durham, Mebane, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston also made applications. The citizens of Greensboro had contributed 14 acres of land and $11,000.

Rev. Dr. John Oliver Crosby Ph.D. was elected the first President of the College by the Board of Trustees on May 25th.

The main building which was called "the college building" was completed. "It was a multi-purpose building that was used for dormitories for men and women, food service, classrooms and offices. It was destroyed by fire in 1930."  - Gibbs, Warmoth T. History of The North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Book Company, 1966. This building was later renamed "Dudley Hall". The current Dudley Memorial Building was dedicated in 1931

The first college catalog was published which showed photographs of the main building, a dormitory, the names of the five teachers, the steward and the nine departments.

The college newspaper, "The A. and M. College Register," was first published.

Margaret Falkener is credited with organizing the Music Department.

Governor Ellis Carr became the first Governor of the state to visit the campus.
The Mechanical Building or the first Crosby Hall, was completed in the summer. The North Dormitory was completed which housed one hundred students in thirty-eight rooms. Both buildings were torn down in the 1960s.


Following Dr. Crosby's resignation, Dr. James B. Dudley, principal of the Peabody School in Wilmington, North Carolina was selected as the second President. He served until his death in 1925.


The earliest confirmed commencement program took place during the week of May 22-27. Since the college was not accredited to award bachelor's degree, The agricultural students at the college completed a research thesis for a “diploma of graduation”.

Board of Trustees gave authorization to the faculty to create curriculum for the bachelor’s degree of science on May 28, 1897


First Lady Susie B. Dudley wrote a play for commencement called "When Shall I Go To My Father". This play and performance is seen as the beginning of drama at A&T. Mrs. Dudley would continue to write plays for "Industrial Night" during commencement over the next few decades.


A photographer is sent to the A&M College to take photos on behalf of W. E. B. DuBois, who would use them in the 1900 Paris World Exhibition.

The first bachelor degrees are conferred by the college. The class motto was "No Steps Backward". The first degree recipients were:

William "Willie" T. C. Cheek, B.S.
Isaac S. Cunningham, B.S.
Austin W. Curtis, B.Agriculture
Epps L. Falkner, B.Agriculture
James M. Joyner, B.Agriculture
Peter E. Robinson, B.Agriculture
Adam Watson, B.S.