Saint Augustine’s College (Raleigh)

Written By North Carolina History Project

Located in Raleigh, Saint Augustine’s College was founded by the Episcopal Church in 1867.   Saint Augustine’s Normal School and Collegiate Institute was its original name.  Like many institutions of higher learning established during the late 1860s and early 1870s, St. Augustine’s was created to educate freeman yet whites directed its operations.   

Although the Freedmen’s Bureau assisted the formation of historically black college, they, including St. Augustine’s Normal School, depended heavily on denominational and individual charity.  Schools were affiliated with a denomination from which came much financial support.  

The Freedmen’s Bureau, as it did in many efforts, cooperated with religious leaders when starting the normal school—a college to prepare teachers.   In particular, the government agency worked with the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

The College has made many changes since 1867.   The institution’s name has changed three times: Saint Augustine’s School in 1893; Saint Augustine’s Junior College in 1919; and Saint Augustine’s College, a year after it became a four-year college.  In 1947, Harold L. Trigg became the school’s first African American president. According to Charles W. Wadelington in The Encyclopedia of North Carolina, the school is also “the first historically black college to develop on-campus commercial radio (WAUG-AM 750) and television (WAUG-TV 68 stations.”

Saint Augustine’s has students from approximately thirty one states and twenty two countries.  Famous alumni include a former Saint Augustine’s president, Prezell R. Robinson; a Grammy nominated music producer, Travis Cherry, and the first African American elected as North Carolina State Auditor, Ralph Campbell, Jr.