The introduction provides an overview of the research and places James Edward Shepard in historical context by analyzing the discourse of race relations in North Carolina. I examine the dialogue of black Durham’s participation in the “race issue” of the early twentieth century and evaluate black higher education throughout the United States during this time period. I discuss the famous Washington versus Du Bois debate. This chapter also presents the main argument of the manuscript--that black college presidents of the early twentieth century were more than academic leaders. They were race leaders, as can be seen in the case of Dr. James Edward Shepard. For these presidents the real debate was not the struggle between liberal arts and vocational education but “what was the most practical way to uplift the Negro Race.”
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