Dedication Ceremony Saturday, Oct. 20 at P.W. Moore Elementary
At 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, men and women from across the state and region will gather inside the gymnasium of P.W. Moore Elementary School to honor a man whose life and legacy continues to influence education in North Carolina, Peter Weddick Moore.
Moore was the first president of what is now Elizabeth City State University. His namesake elementary school was the site of the first African-American public high school in Pasquotank County, and the education of young men and women of Northeastern North Carolina today can be credited to his work.
According to Eddie Davis, a 1968 graduate of P.W. Moore High School and 1971 graduate of ECSU, the state of North Carolina has erected the marker along Roanoke Avenue next to the school. The marker will be unveiled in a ceremony that includes remarks by ECSU Interim Chancellor, Dr. Karrie Dixon.
A native of Duplin County, North Carolina, Moore would earn a number of degrees from Shaw University in Raleigh before moving on to Bertie County where he was the assistant principal of the State Normal School in Plymouth. He would eventually be made principal of the new State Normal School for the Colored Race (now ECSU), where he would remain for the rest of his life.
According to a biography on Moore, he was not only concerned with the academic training of his students, but also their spiritual and moral well-being. He stressed “The excellence and dignity of right living.”
Moore believed that industrial education must go hand-in-hand with academic education.
“Industrial education not only increases learning capacity, but promotes fidelity, accuracy, honesty, persistency and intelligence. The capacity to make a living becomes enlarged into the capacity to make a life,” Moore wrote.
Peter W. Moore would serve as the president of the North Carolina Negro Teachers’ Association. He was appointed twice by the governor of North Carolina to represent the state at the National Educational Congress.
While Moore was the first chief officer for ECSU, it was also his contribution to the public school system in the area that had a major impact on the life of many African-Americans in Pasquotank County.
Until the early 1920s, African-American students living in the far-flung rural regions of the county relied upon church-run schools for their education. Even then, however, many would have to walk miles on country roads to reach schools at locations such as the Union Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Weeksville.
When P.W. Moore High School was established, African-Americans living throughout Pasquotank County finally had a central, public school.
On Saturday, Davis says the ceremony leading up to the unveiling of the historic marker will be held in the school gym, the only piece of the original high school left standing. Inside, speakers will make remarks and all will celebrate the life of Moore, who arguably changed the course of history in the region, and across the state.
The official unveiling of the marker will be led by ECSU’s Dr. Dixon, Mrs. Bettie Parker, Mayor of Elizabeth City and ECSU graduate, Mrs. Sharon Warden, Chair, ECPPS School Board, Mr. Cecil Perry, Chair, Pasquotank County Commissioners and former P.W. Moore High School mathematics teacher, Dr. Kermit E. White, Jr. M.D., the earliest graduate of P.W. Moore High School in attendance, and a current student from P.W. Moore Elementary School.