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Kittrell College

Kittrell College: An Era of Progress and Promise, 1908-1912. Image courtesy of State Library of North Carolina. Kittrell College was established in 1886 in Vance County by the African Methodist Episcopal Church as a normal and industrial school to train African American male youth. Additional support in its early years came from church groups in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The name of the institution changed three times, becoming Kittrell College in 1901. The original wooden buildings of the campus were destroyed by fires, and support to replace the old structures came from Benjamin N. Duke. Duke provided funds for the old buildings of Trinity College (later Duke University's East Campus) in Durham to be dismantled and moved to the Kittrell campus, where they were reassembled.

From its beginning, Kittrell offered work-study programs to enable students of limited financial means to gain a higher education. The college offered a two-year course in either a terminal vocation or in work that could be credited toward a bachelor's degree. In 1975 its enrollment was 396. Soon thereafter, the school experienced severe economic problems and was forced to close.

Educator Resources:

Grades K-8:


William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1970).

Additional Resources:

Government and Heritage Library. "Picture of the Week: Kittrell College, Kittrell, N. C." GHL Blog (blog). State Library of North Carolina. March 24, 2010. (accessed April 19, 2013).

"Kittrell College begins new era." Baltimore Afro-American. March 30, 1971. (accessed April 19, 2013).

Associated Press. "Kittrell College alumni talk about reviving school." The Dispatch [Lexington, N.C.]. July 28, 1997. 4A. (accessed April 19, 2013).

Hartshorn, W. N., and George W. Penniman. 1910. An era of progress and promise, 1863-1910: the religious, moral, and educational development of the American Negro since his emancipation. Boston, Mass: Priscilla Pub. Co. (accessed October 20, 2015).

Image Credit:

Kittrell College: An Era of Progress and Promise, 1908-1912. Image courtesy of State Library of North Carolina. Available from!/geo:36.224525,-78.443009/zoom:15/dialog:6862025/tab:details/ (accessed November 5, 2012).

Origin - location: 



I am a professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College. I heard a story that when Kittrell closed all its students were offered entrance to our college to finish their degrees. Can you confirm this take?


I am actually looking to find out if possible about Zeb Vance Elementary School. Not the one on Raleigh Road but when it was located on Chavis street I believe. I attended from 1978 until 1983. I deive pass the old building whenever I come visit my family. I recently seen a yearbook from my 3rd grade year how can I find out any information or pictures from this time frame of rhe school. Before I attended I was told it were an high school. Just would love any history at all.


Thanks for visiting NCpedia. I have forwarded your request to our reference team.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library


I am doing research on Annie Turnbo Malone, the first self-made black millionaire and the original founder of the black hair industry (before C.J. Walker, who was one of her 75,000 agents). She received an honorary degree from Kitrell College in May, 1922. Where can I find more information about Malone's honorary degree?


Dear Linda,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and for sharing this with us.

I can suggest a few resources and collections that you might want to look at to see if you can locate historical information about the college that may have information about honory degrees given. First, according to the library catalog at UNC-Chapel Hill, the library has some items in its collection related to Kittrell, some in the Wilson Library North Carolina Collection and others available online as well. Here is a link to search results:

The State Archives of NC has the records of Kittrell College in their collection. You may wish to contact them for more information. Here is a link to their website:

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


I attended Kittrell Collrge, 1958-59. Majored in Business Administration. I attended based on being recruited by the Football Coach. a Coach Parker. There were maybe 33 of us recruited from Richmond, play BASKETBALL, FOOTBALL. We did play, Friendship College, Rockhill, S.C, Norfolk State, Virginia, Voorhees, S.C.ETC.
Are there records on Kittrell Collgw from that era/time perqiod?


Hi Horace:
I am an author of a book on team mascots and nicknames. I'm currently working with the administrator of to identify the mascot or team identity at Kittrell. Can you please provide? Thanks.


Hi Horace,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your comment and question.

Is there a specific type of record that you are interested in?  That will help me locate relevant resources for you.

Student records from Kittrell College are now housed at the State Archives of North Carolina. Please visit this page on their website to get more information about requesting academic transcripts --

I am unable to locate a single institution that has a comprehensive collection of the school's historical and administrative records. If there is a specific type of information you would like to locate, please let us know and we can begin there to help you locate information.  Feel free to reply back in this post. 

I hope this helps!  And I look forward to hearing back if you would like to locate additional information.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


My maiden name is Kittrell. My grand father was James Lee Kittrell, an African American who attended Tuskegee College somewhere around 1880's. Would this College have been named for a family founder or just from the name of the City it was in?
Rosa Kittrell Barksdale


Hi Rosa,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your history and question.

That's a very good question.  Kittrell College began as Kittrell Normal and Industrial School in Kittrell and was given its name based on the town.  Leading organizers of the school in the 1880s are believed to be the Reverand R. H. W. Leak (born in North Carolina) and Bishop W. F. Dickerson. 

I have also just added a resource to this entry that you may be interested in -- it includes a brief history of Kittrell College from a 1910 publication on the history of African American Education -- 

W. N. Hartshorn, ed., An Era of Progress and Promise, 1863-1910: The Religious, Moral, and Educational Development of the American Negro Since Emancipation (1910)

I hope this helps!  Please let us know if we can provide any additional information.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


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