Jul 29

Dispatches from High Point’s Dark Ages - Part VII

Posted on July 29, 2020 at 9:35 AM by TERESA LOFLIN

Early landowning free people of color in High Point (1)

So much focus in typical historical studies is placed on slavery that it is easy to forget that there was a sizeable free black population in North Carolina in the 1850s. And in spite of restrictive laws on movement, gun ownership, marriage opportunities, and civil rights, and the danger of being virtually or actually re-enslaved through judicial sentencing, involuntary apprenticeship or kidnapping, people of color found a way to survive and even to thrive in many Southern places, particularly in towns. Free blacks often acquired important skills they could use to found businesses and gain income. Some families worked as cooks or ran laundries. There were blacksmiths, wheelwrights, and carpenters. Many early barbers were either enslaved men working for their freedom or free people of color working for themselves. High Point was no exception.

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Jul 15

Dispatches from High Point’s Dark Ages - Part VI

Posted on July 15, 2020 at 2:14 PM by TERESA LOFLIN

The dissolution of the Normal School and one of High Point’s earliest slave sales.

(Continued.) But Rev. Langdon’s venture in the Female Normal School very much depended on his own skill, enterprise, and bankroll. When he died unexpectedly in the fall of 1859 at Shelby, less than a year after he had come to High Point, his was among the first funerals conducted out of High Point’s Methodist Church. His body was then removed by train to Lincolnton, where his second wife wished to return to be closer to her own family. But his executor, a brother-in-law and fellow teacher, Samuel Lander, had huge debts to settle, not least to those High Point investors who had advanced money to build the school in the first place. The only option seemed to be to sell the furnishings and all the other movable property.

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Jul 08

Dispatches from High Point’s Dark Ages - Part V

Posted on July 8, 2020 at 3:28 PM by TERESA LOFLIN

High Point Female Normal School and its founder.

One of High Point’s earliest and most important institutions was its Normal School for ladies. It was actually High Point’s counterpart to the exclusively male Normal College (later known as Trinity College) down the road, founded by Brantley York, which subsequently moved to Durham and became Duke University. In fact, the school was so important to High Pointers that they made mention of it in their petition for a city charter to the State Legislature in late 1858. They even enacted a ban on the sale of spirituous liquors within the town limits to protect impressionable students from evil influences, making that provision part of their articles of incorporation. Yet the school enjoyed a relatively short existence. What was this school all about? Who founded it and why? What was it like, and what became of it? Recent research adds to what we knew before.

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