Elizabeth City State University was founded on March 3, 1891, when House Bill 383 of the North Carolina General Assembly established a normal school for the specific purpose of "teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina
Under the leadership of the second president, John Henry Bias, the institution was elevated from a two-year normal school to a four-year teachers college (1937).
The college was granted membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December 1961 and maintains its accreditation with that body to the present.
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