N.C. Highway Historical Marker to Honor Educator Peter Weddick Moore

Raleigh, NC

Although born into slavery in 1859, Peter Weddick Moore used education as a path to success and service. He likely attended a school founded by the Freedman’s Bureau and went on to become the principal of the new State Normal School for the Colored Race in 1891, which is now Elizabeth City State University. A N.C. Highway Historical Marker will be dedicated in his honor Oct. 20 in Elizabeth City at 11 a.m.

Moore worked in a foundry while attending Shaw University and taught for only a year before being named assistant principal of the State Normal School in Plymouth. When a new normal school was established in Elizabeth City in 1891, he was appointed principal.

Although established by the General Assembly with a $900 appropriation in 1891, the new normal school had neither a building nor a site. Moore and his assistant located a site and building and opened in January 1892 with 60 students. The school expanded in 1894 and again in 1912, when it moved to its present location. Moore’s skills as an administrator and educator led to the school’s growth. 

The school had been founded for the specific purpose of "teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina." Moore built upon that ideal and was a founding member and president of the North Carolina Teachers Association, organized for black educators. He also established an industrial education program at the normal school, believing that skilled workers and craftsmen also were needed.

Moore was dedicated to the academic and spiritual preparation of his students and insisted on “right living.” He served as teacher, supervised the practice school, and handled all discipline. His health began to fail around 1921, and in 1928 he was named president emeritus. He died in 1934 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Elizabeth City.

Moore made dramatic contributions to the education and livlihoods of thousands of African Americans in his lifetime and beyond. Today the institution is part of the University of North Carolina system, and offers 27 baccalaureate or professional degrees, and four masters degrees. 

The highway marker dedication will be at 11 a.m. at 606 Roanoke Ave., site of the P.W. Moore Elementary School. A pre-unveiling program will start at 10 a.m. For additional information on the program, call Eddie Davis at (919) 810-5012 For additional information on the highway marker program, call Ansley Wegner at (919) 814-6620. The Highway Marker Program is a collaboration between the N.C. departments of Transportation and Natural and Cultural Resources. 

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