Livingstone College historical marker

Livingstone College (L-85)

Founded as Zion Wesley Institute, 1879. Became College in 1885. Rev. J. C. Price president 1882-93. Named for British missionary. 5 blocks west.

Location: US 29/70 (Main Street) at Monroe Street in Salisbury
County: Rowan
Original Date Cast: 1975

Livingstone College, located in Salisbury, was incorporated in 1879 as a result of a conference of African American ministers who sought to educate students in both academic and real-world situations. The ministers, mostly from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, believed that a college was needed to prepare students to serve the black community. The first sessions at the new school, initially called Zion Wesley Institute, were held in Concord. The first classes were held in the parsonage of Bishop C. R. Harris, minister and educator. After the first tries at establishing the college in Concord, founders Dr. Joseph C. Price and Bishop James Walker Hood began to raise funds to acquire property and erect school buildings. The town of Salisbury donated $1,000 to the effort and invited the school to relocate closer to the town.

The school then relocated to a farm called Delta Grove just outside of Salisbury. The new forty-acre site had a single building in which to begin classes in 1882. Dr. Price, a native of Elizabeth City, was the college’s first president and established the school’s philosophy of educating the whole student: hands, head and heart. As a result, students received training in religious studies as well as hands-on skills such as brick masonry and construction. An example of the abilities of the students and staff in construction can be seen in the Andrew Carnegie Library, constructed by students who made the bricks and laid the walls under the instruction of teachers at the school.

In 1887 the General Assembly granted the school its charter and authorized changing its name to Livingstone College, in honor of David Livingstone, well known philanthropist, Christian missionary, and explorer. In 1892 the school created a theological department, later upgraded to a school in 1904. Construction on seminary buildings commenced in 1906 and the theological program was named in honor of founder, Bishop Hood. The seminary was separated from the college in 2002. The sister institutions still receive funding and support from the A.M.E. Zion Church.

William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1964)
Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Piedmont Newsletter (October 1982)
Paul Griffen, Black Theology as the Foundation of Three Methodist Colleges: The Educational Views and Labors of Daniel Payne, Joseph Price, Isaac Lane (1984)
Livingstone College website:
Hood Theological Seminary website:

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