Studio portrait of James Dudley.
James Benson Dudley (1859-1925)was born in Wilmington, NC, to John Bishop and Annie Hatch Dudley, who were slaves of Edward B. Dudley, Governor of North Carolina. He majored in elementary education at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC and received a Master of Arts degree from Livingstone College and Doctor of Letters from Wilberforce University. Dr. Dudley started as a first grade teacher in Sampson County, and the next year became Principal of Peabody School in Wilmington, where he taught for 15 years. He married Susan Wright Sampson, a teacher at Peabody, in 1882.
While teaching he was also the editor of an African American weekly newspaper, the Wilmington Chronicle, and Master of Giblem Masonic Lodge. He was active in Republican politics, Register of Deeds for New Hanover County in 1891, and a delegate to the 1896 Republican Convention. Dr. Dudley was also involved in the beginnings of the African-American owned Wilmington, Wrightsville & Onslow Railroad. In 1896, he became the second president of A & M College in Greensboro, where he served until his death in 1925. He is buried in Pine Forest Cemetery.
Cornelius Harnett school, 920 N. 6th Street, was renamed the James B. Dudley elementary in 1952 in his honor. The school later closed in 1983.
African American educators; African American newspaper editors; African American freemasonry; Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- )
Lola James Collection
New Hanover County Public Library
Donated to the New Hanover County Public Library by Lola James in 2005
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