Part of Fayetteville Street to be dedicated to NCCU Couple

Posted December 06, 2023, 8:51AM

On Dec. 8, part of Fayetteville Street will be dedicated to a couple with strong ties to North Carolina Central University (NCCU).

Those traveling between Timothy Avenue and Lawson Street will soon see signs designating Dr. Dock J. Jordan and Carrie Thomas Jordan Highway.

Dr. Jordan was born in 1866 in Georgia, the son of slaves. He taught and served as an administrator in secondary schools and colleges.

He also aggressively sought equal opportunities and right for Black people. While in Georgia, he worked with W.E.B. Dubois to defeat proposed legislation in the state legislature that would have closed one half to two-thirds of Black public schools.

Dr. Jordan also wrote an open letter to President Woodrow Wilson, blaming him for causing the East St. Louis race riots in 1917. About 3,000 whites attacked Blacks, killing more than 100 and burning their homes.

The governor of North Carolina at the time did not like Jordan’s remarks and asked prominent Black leaders in North Carolina to denounce him.

“At times, many Black leaders were accommodationist,” said Delaitre Jordan Hollinger, president of the National Association for the Preservation of African American History & Culture and also the great, great nephew of the Jordans. “Professor Jordan was not a gradualist or an accommodationist. He was very much a civil rights leader before it was popular to be one.”

Hollinger began trying to honor Dr. and Mrs. Jordan about ten years. He first reached out to then Chancellor Debra Saunders-White and in more recent years to the Durham city council and mayor.

Dr. Jordan taught at North Carolina College for Negroes (later changed to NCCU) from 1918 to 1939 and established the first department of history here. He lived on campus with his wife, Carrie Thomas Jordan.

Carrie Thomas Jordan served as superintendent of public Black schools in Durham. She solicited private funds to build 12 new schools for Black students in Durham, which were built from 1923 to 1926.

At the time, Black students were instructed in a vocational curriculum of cooking, sewing and farming. Jordan replaced that with a curriculum from white schools that included reading, writing, spelling, geography and other topics. She also raised money for the first African American commencement exercises in Durham County.

“Like her husband, she was not afraid of the white power structure at that time,” said Hollinger.

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