George Washington Carver College

Written By North Carolina History Project

When North Carolina’s manufacturing sector started growing rapidly during the mid-twentieth century, the state and its counties and individuals started offering educational opportunities to train a more efficient workforce; skilled workers were needed.

African American students lacked opportunities to become marketable in the evolving, modern workforce.  Therefore in 1948, C. A. Barrett, former principal of Asheboro’s black high school, started George Washington Carver College in the town.  Donations and a $40 annual tuition financed the school’s operations.   By 1950, Barrett had purchased land and constructed a building for students.   In this place, students enrolled in courses that prepared them for the mid-1900s workforce.  Courses included business manners, practical nursing, and hotel services—to name only three examples.  

In 1949 the Asheboro Commercial College (ACC) was established for the white community.  More than likely its founders followed Barrett’s lead to meet the growing educational demands not only in Randolph County but also in the Piedmont region.