History of the school

“I do not care how dark the night; I believe in the coming of the morning.”
— Dr. Joseph Charles Price

Sketch of J.C. Price. Date unknown.
Courtesy of the Greensboro Historical Museum
Sketch of J.C. Price. Date unknown.

Joseph Charles Price was born on Feb. 10, 1854, in Elizabeth City, N.C. As a child, he gained an education through church schools. In 1873, he began attending Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C. He later transferred to Lincoln University, from which he graduated as the class valedictorian in 1879. In 1881, he was elected to travel to London to represent the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at a religious conference. He spoke only briefly while there, but was soon called “The World’s Orator” by the London Times. He raised far more money than was expected, and he used those funds to help establish in 1882 what is now known as Livingston College in Salisbury, N.C.
J.C. Price School was named after Joseph Charles Price, a world-renowned black religious speaker and educator from North Carolina.

J.C. Price died in 1893, at the all-too-young age of 39, from Bright’s disease.

J.C. Price School – History of the School
1870s Greensboro was the first school district in North Carolina to provide public funds for a black school.
1910s There were a few black schools in the area, including the McAdoo School, the Lutheran School, the Jacksonville School, David D. Jones School, and Old Ashe Street School, which J.C. Price School replaced.
1922 J.C. Price School was established. At that time, the school had only the basic classrooms needed for it to be called a school. Lorcey Henderson was the first principal. Grades 1-9 were offered. Price school became the only black school in Warnersville.
1929 Dudley High School, the Greensboro’s first and only black high school, opened.
1930s Two other black junior high schools, Lincoln and Gillespie, opened in Greensboro.
1932 Abraham H. Peeler became principal. Grades 3-9 were offered.
1940 The auditorium was added.
1942 A school radio broadcast in 1942 under the guidance of Principal Peeler. This made J.C. Price one of only two schools in Greensboro to have a radio station at that time.
1946 In 1946, the Educational Policies Commission of the National Education Association from Washington, D.C. was touring elementary schools across the nation, looking for innovative and effective teaching methods. J.C. Price was the only school in North Carolina at which they stopped.
1949 The school library and shop were constructed.
1951 A cafeteria and clinic were created for the school.
1954 Brown v. the Board of Education ordered the integration of public schools. While the Greensboro School Board was one of the first in North Carolina to publically accept the decision in May 1954, it was one of the last in the South to actually desegregate under federal court order in 1971.
1959 Only grades 5-9 were offered.
1969 Principal Peeler retired, and Melvin Swann became principal.
1971 Greensboro’s public schools desegregated under federal court order, and many of the black students were bused to other schools in the city. J.C. Price School became a magnet elementary school. The Peeler-Swann Family Association, a group of Price alumni and former teachers which meets annually, was formed to keep memories of Price School alive.
(To learn about the effects of desegregation on J.C. Price School and the Warnersville community, please see the Desegregation page.)
1983 The Greensboro City Schools system closed J.C. Price School. The district sold the property to Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) which used the facility for a number of years as one of its campuses.
1998 Greensboro College began leasing the property from GTCC and making use of the property’s athletic fields.
2002 News reports were published regarding Greensboro College’s interest in purchasing the property and utilizing it as a sports park.
2003 The Zoning Commission and the City Council approved Greensboro College’s zoning requests, and the college purchased the property. Some Warnersville residents attended the zoning hearing and expressed concerns about the impact of the rezoning on the neighborhood.
2005 Greensboro College presented its conceptual plans, which included demolishing the school and building a football stadium in its place, to the Warnersville Community Coalition and the Peeler-Swann Family Association. The Warnersville Community Coalition began to protest the college’s planned use of the site.
2008 Greensboro College announced its intent to preserve the J.C. Price School. Once funding is secured for renovations, the proposed use of the former school (to be renamed the J.C. Price Lyceum) and property is to house educational and athletic activities, in addition to a community museum for Warnersville. The football stadium was removed from the plans.