Biddle University 

Category
African American
Address
100 Beatties Ford Rd.
Tags
Institution
Biddle University (originally Biddle Institute) helped nurture Charlotte’s sizable African American middle-class. In the 1910s, the University had four departments: Normal and Preparatory, Arts and Sciences, Industrial, and Theological. Today Johnson C. Smith University, its hilltop campus on Beatties Ford Road still includes the commanding Victorian tower of Biddle Hall.


Courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Postcard from 1910, featuring Biddle Hall on the right, which served as a
beacon to the African American community and the neighboring residents
of Biddleville, a primarily African American suburb that grew around the University.

For a time, trades were emphasized alongside traditional collegiate pursuits such as English literature and classical studies. Pictured below are students working in the blacksmith shop (date unknown) and the print shop (circa 1914):

Courtesy of the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room – Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.


Please be patient while the contemporary Google Street View loads below:

View Larger Map

Works Cited:

"The Blacksmith and Print Shops, Biddle University." The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story. The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 27 Nov. 2010. http://www.cmstory.org/african/album/volume1/educat18.htm

"Schools: Biddle University." The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Story. The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. 9 Nov. 2010.  http://www.cmstory.org/1900/default.asp?heading=6&page=54

Miller, Ernest H. Charlotte, North Carolina City Directory. Asheville, NC: Piedmont Directory Co., 1911. Web. http://www.archive.org/details/charlottenorthca1911pied