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Historical Perspectives from Central High: Carver College (1949-1961)

A digital exhibition highlighting the history of the Central High Building, on the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and Kings Drive.

Carver College

In 1949, Carver College was established under the direction of the Charlotte City School Board, offering evening classes for African American veterans returning from the Second World War. Classes were taught in Second Ward High School, located on the corner of Alexander and First Streets. “Second Ward High School was opened in 1923 as the city's first high school for African American children.  Closed in 1969 the school and surrounding neighborhood were bulldozed during urban renewal.” (A plaque, supported by the Second Ward High School National Alumni Foundation, stands in place of the original building)

Carver College served a three-fold purpose in the community. First, it provided a well-balanced general education program for young students, preparing them for future educational opportunities in a senior college or university, for entrance into a professional trade school, and for the completion of the Associate in Arts degree. Secondly, it provided an accelerated high school program for community members in need of a high school diploma. Lastly, Carver College provided a vocational department which trained students with specific requirements for obtaining employment - interoffice skills, hands-on trades, etc.

While mostly veterans attended night classes in the early years of its existence, Carver College eventually saw an increase in the enrollment of non-veteran students seeking greater educational opportunities. By May of 1958, the control of Carver College was transferred to the newly established Charlotte Community College System (which would come to form Central Piedmont less than 10 years later). Under this system, Carver College became locally controlled by Mecklenburg County and received its support from three sources; a tax levy voted by citizens of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, grant-in-aid from the state for operating costs, and tuition from students.

History of Carver College - Administrative File

Carver College Commencement Program