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Rev. J. A. Whitehead, D.D., A History of Negro Baptists of North Carolina (1908)


Rev. J. A. Whitehead, D.D., A History of Negro Baptists of North Carolina (1908)


In his book, Rev. J.A.Whitehead describes how the presents of religion had an impact on the public schools. In chapter nine of his book, he describes in detail about how Shaw was the first black university in North Carolina. In this book, Whitehead talks about Rev. Henry Martin Tupper who had a thirst for knowledge of religion as a child. However, his parents did not use Christianity as their main religion. This made it difficult for him. When Henry was eighteen he enrolled at Mason academy, he converted to Christianity and was baptized. Soon Tupper was ordained and placed in battle of Antietam. These events motivated Tupper to help out the troops that were suffering during the war. Whitehead describes in his book the type of acts Tupper would provide for his regiment during the Civil War. He conducted his religious practices for the soldiers while he was a private. This inspired him to become a minister full time and he targeted the youths of the African American race that were greatly thankful for his teaching in the religious faith.
Soon after he would be released from the Union army and focused on a way to bring his influence of religion to different parts of the south. After being discharged from the army, Tupper moved to North Carolina. He would end up in Raleigh North Carolina and founded Shaw University which became the first pediment Baptist school for African Americans. This would prove to be North Carolina’s first major step in providing a good education for the African American youths in North Carolina.


Whitehead, D.D., Rev. J.A.


Whitehead, D.D., Rev. J.A., A History of Negro Baptists of North Carolina (1908), Civil War Era NC, accessed March 30, 2012,




Whitehead, Rev. J. A.




Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format



In North Carolina after the bloodiest war in our nation’s history, the hardest task laid ahead. That task would be reconstructing a country that had been ripped apart by war. One of the key components during the reconstruction era was the challenge of building a solid public school system.

Even though his book is centered on the subject of Negro Baptists in North Carolina, in chapter nine he discusses on how the education in North Carolina was dramatically improved when Rev. Henry Martin Tupper funded Shaw University in Raleigh, NC. The funding of Shaw University help North Carolina come out of an educational depression that it had been in even before the beginning of the Civil War.

When Henry Martin Tupper was fighting for the Union army during the Civil War, he would also pray with the wounded soldiers on the battlefield, especially the African American soldiers that sided with the Union during the war. With the funding of Shaw, new opportunities in education for African Americans would finally be realized after fighting so hard against the Union to end Slavery.

The funding of Shaw University was very quick. To begin with Henry Martin Tupper first established Shaw University in a small log cabin outside of Raleigh North Carolina. This only lasted a few weeks. Realizing that he would need more quarters to teach his students, Tupper asked the North for help, and thus began the expanding of the first true black educational institution in North Carolina.


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Whitehead, D.D., Rev. J.A., Rev. J. A. Whitehead, D.D., A History of Negro Baptists of North Carolina (1908), Civil War Era NC, accessed July 15, 2024,