The First HBCU Established in the Southern United States

Last Updated on May 26, 2023

Shaw Hall, Shaw University circa the 1880s.
Shaw Hall, Shaw University circa the 1880s. Photo credit: State Archives of North Carolina.

Shaw University, the first HBCU of higher education in the southern United States has a rich history steeped in tradition, service, leadership, and activism. Founded in 1865 by Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, the university celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary in 2015.

The mission of Shaw University is to advance knowledge, facilitate student learning and achievement, to enhance the spiritual and ethical values of its students and to transform a diverse community of learners into future global leaders. The University currently enrolls more than 1,900 students and offers more than 30 degree programs, including accredited programs in athletic training; kinesiotherapy; social work; divinity; religious education and teacher education.

Shaw – a private liberal arts institution is affiliated with the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and is a member of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Moreover, it is one of the co-founding institutions of the NCAA Division II's Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Conference which is the oldest African American athletic association in the United States.

At present, it offers various undergraduate degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, or Bachelor of Social Work. In addition, graduate level degrees are also offered leading to numerous disciplines. Due to their conducive to learning environment, Shaw has proudly produced outstanding professionals who have contributed to the advancement of the society.

The University has been rightly called the mother of African-American colleges in North Carolina, as Fayetteville State University, Elizabeth City State University, and North Carolina Central University all had founding presidents who were Shaw alumni. Even the Livingstone College founder spent his first two years of schooling at Shaw before transferring to Lincoln University. What today has become the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) was located on Shaw's campus during its first year.

Source: Shaw University

1 thought on “The First HBCU Established in the Southern United States”

  1. North Carolina has many first. The hbcu for black women only was barber-scotia in Concord like, NC.

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