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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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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. 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).

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