Charles Montgomery EppesCharles Montgomery Eppes was born into slavery on December 25, 1857 in Halifax County. His collegiate education was obtained at Shaw University in Raleigh where he studied to become a teacher. After receiving his degree, he returned to the east and became a principal in Wilson and Wilmington school districts. In 1903, Eppes came to Greenville and became the principal of the Greenville Industrial School located at the time at Nash and Fourth streets in west Greenville. The latter was renamed in honor of Eppes soon after his death on September 30, 1942.
While the original school burned down in 1970, an alumni organization still exists to celebrate Eppes’ efforts. Eppes’ decades of diligent care in teaching in Greenville yielded great rewards for many students who recall their experiences at the segregated school with fondness and pride. As an educational leader, Professor Eppes’ vision fostered a learning environment that required discipline and academic performance. In so many ways, Eppes’ passion raised the quality of living for African Americans in Greenville.
author: Steven A. Hill
Sources: (The Daily Reflector January 15, 2003 by T. Scott Batchelor “Eppes Event Honors Man, Legacy”)