Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Selected Writings and Speeches of James E. Shepard, 1896-1946: Founder of North Carolina Central University

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Selected Writings and Speeches of James E. Shepard, 1896-1946: Founder of North Carolina Central University

Article excerpt

Selected Writings and Speeches of James E. Shepard, 1896-1946: Founder of North Carolina Central University. Compiled and edited by Lenwood G. Davis with the assistance of Janie Miller. (Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013. Pp. x, 235. $75.00, ISBN 978-1-61147-544-9.)

Born on November 3, 1875, at the demise of southern Reconstruction, James Edward Shepard led a complex life. His story appears in a number of monographs on the Jim Crow era, including works by Leslie Brown and Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore. A lack of available sources has left Shepard's legacy to the elucidation of scholars. Therefore, Lenwood G. Davis and Janie Miller's Selected Writings and Speeches of James E. Shepard, 1896-1946: Founder of North Carolina Central University offers an insightful view of Shepard's approach to racial uplift. This thirteen-chapter collection of Shepard's speeches and writings provides readers with a clearer understanding of his outlook on the race question during the early twentieth century. Divided thematically, with chapters covering topics such as freedom, business, race relations, and politics, the book makes Shepard's voice prevalent in every major moment from 1896 to 1946.

Always mindful that he resided in the South and operated a southern-based public institution that relied on state dollars, Shepard walked a fine line in terms of his critique of race. For example, in a speech he delivered at the Negro State Fair in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1911, he highlighted what he considered the great "possibilities and opportunities" for African Americans if they remained in the South as opposed to migrating to the North (p. 52). He also criticized southerners of both races for immoral behaviors. …

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