J. E. K. Aggrey (1875-1927) Rose D. Aggrey (1882-1961) (L-104)

Born in West Africa's Gold Coast (now Ghana), James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey enrolled at Livingstone College in 1898 & later joined the faculty. In 1920 he returned to Africa where he influenced the course of post-colonialism. In 1905 Aggrey married Rose Douglass, teacher long active across the state in groups advocating education, social welfare, & racial harmony. This was their home.

Location: West Monroe Street in Salisbury
County: Rowan
Original Date Cast: 2004

In 1898 Kodwo Kwegyir Aggrey, born in the Gold Coast, West Africa, enrolled at Salisbury’s Livingstone College, affiliated with the A.M.E. Zion Church. He went on to obtain an M. A. from Livingstone and D.D. from Hood Theological Seminary. In 1920 Aggrey became the only black member appointed to the Phelps-Stokes Commission, a group charged with assessing education in Africa. As a result of his work, Aggrey helped found Achimoto College in the Gold Coast. Aggrey resigned from Livingstone and returned to Africa. At Achimota, “Aggrey of Africa” influenced many in the next generation, including the future president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. Aggrey’s words have survived as proverbs in Ghana and elsewhere, including his insistence that blacks and whites need to work together like keys on a piano.

In 1905 James Aggrey married Rosebud Douglass, a 1902 graduate of Shaw University. After marriage, Rose Aggrey taught in the high school operated by Livingstone and served as a Jeanes Fund supervisor in Rowan County. Rose Aggrey in 1940 became the second female president of the N.C. Negro Teachers Association. She served on boards and commissions dedicated to education and race relations. The student union at Livingstone is named in honor of the Aggreys; two buildings at Achimota bear the Aggrey name.

Edwin W. Smith, Aggrey of Africa (orig. publ., 1929, repr. 1971)
Glenda Gilmore, Gender & Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (1996)
James L. Conyers Jr., Black Lives: Essays in African American Biography (1999)
J.E. Kwegyir Aggrey Collection, Howard University
Aggrey collection, Livingstone College
L. H. Ofosu-Appiah, “J. E. K. Aggrey,” in Encyclopaedia Africana: Dictionary of African Biography (1977)
Kwame Nkrumah, “Forward,” in Barbara Ward, Five Ideas That Changed the World (1959)

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