After more than a decade as teacher, principal, and school administrator in Wilson, Malcolm D. Williams entered the doctoral program at Columbia University’s Teacher College. His dissertation, “A Suggested Plan to Improve Teaching and Learning in the Negro Schools Located in Wilson, North Carolina, Through Developing a Better Parent and Teacher Common Understanding of More Effective Concepts of Teaching and Learning,” was submitted in 1951.
Most interesting to me, at least initially, is Williams’ lengthy citation to a 1939 Study of Negro Education in Wilson prepared by Atlantic Christian College unit of the North Carolina Unit of Education and Race and sponsored by the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and the North Carolina Department of Education. (Where can I possibly find this document?)
The study asserts that the first school for African-Americans was started in 1869 at Mount Zion Methodist Church [Saint John A.M.E. Zion?], which stood “in the corner of a cemetery near the Stantonsburg highway.” (The predecessor cemetery to Oakdale Cemetery, which was established by the Town of Wilson very close by.) In 1870, Wilson established its first public school for Black children. It operated for four months a year and had no grades until 1880. The study skips to 1920, the year Wilson established a Black high school — only three years after the first in the entire state. (Actually, Wilson Colored High School, later C.H. Darden, did not open until 1923.)
Thanks to J. Robert Boykin III for bringing this document to my attention.