Princeville in Edgecombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
From Slavery to Freedom Hill
Freedman Turner Prince, a carpenter born into slavery in 1843, acquired a lot here in 1873, built a house, and constructed other permanent dwellings for the residents. By 1880, the population was 379; occupational categories included laborer, laundress, washerwoman, carpenter, blacksmith, grocer, seamstress, and brick mason. In 1885, the North Carolina legislature incorporated the town, which its occupants named Princeville in their carpenter's honor. Princeville was the first all-black town and independently governed African American community incorporated in the United States.
The town struggled to survive during the Jim Crow era, defeating efforts early in the twentieth century to annex it to Tarboro. Princeville's population increased to 636 by 1910, then declined as black Southerners migrated north. The population later rose to 2,100 in the 1990s.
Erected by Civil War Trails North Carolina.
Location. 35° 53.422′ N, 77° 31.582′ W. Marker is in Princeville, North Carolina, in Edgecombe County. Marker is on Mutual Boulevard (U.S. 258) west of South Main Street (Business U.S. 64), on the right. Touch for map. It is at the parking lot of the Museum / Welcome Center. Marker is in this post office area: Tarboro NC 27886, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Freedom Hill (approx. ¼ mile away); St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church (approx. half a mile away); George H. White (approx. half a mile away); Civil War Cemeteries (approx. 0.6 miles away); W.D. Pender (approx. 0.7 miles away); W.L. Saunders (approx. 0.7 miles away); John C. Dancy (approx. 0.7 miles away); Henry T. Clark (approx. 0.7 miles away).
More about this marker. There are four images reproduced on
Regarding Historic Princeville. Princeville is the oldest town incorporated by African-Americans in the United States.
Categories. • African Americans • Wars, Non-US •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 31, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 383 times since then and 30 times this year. Last updated on June 1, 2014, by Keith S Smith of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 31, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.