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Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), founded in 1891, was created to educate African American teachers. House Bill 383, ratified on March 3, 1891, was sponsored by Hugh Cale, a black legislator from Pasquotank County. Elizabeth City, the county seat, sought such an educational facility to serve the eastern part of the state. With Cale’s advocacy, Elizabeth State Colored Normal School was established with a budget of under $1,000 and rented accommodations.
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The normal school opened in January 1892. The first president, Peter Weddick Moore, served until 1928. Under the leadership of his successor, John Henry Bias, the school changed from a two-year to a four-year teachers college. On March 30, 1939, a few months preceding Bias’s death, the institution officially changed its name to Elizabeth City State Teachers College and soon after substantially expanded its academic offerings. In 1969 Elizabeth City State Teachers College became one of the state’s regional universities and the name was changed to Elizabeth City State University.
Today Elizabeth City State University has a diverse student body of over 3,000 students and the campus occupies 862 acres. Like other constituent campuses of the University of North Carolina, ECSU benefited from the Higher Education Bond Referendum approved by voters in 2000.
William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1970)
Nathan Carter Newbold, Five North Carolina Negro Educators (1939)R. H. Taylor, The Free Negro in North Carolina (1920)
Elizabeth City State University website: http://www.ecsu.edu/