This Day in NC History: James Walker Hood died

On October 30, 1918, James Walker Hood died. Hood, as a missionary in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, was sent in 1863 to North Carolina where he served black congregations in New Bern and Beaufort. He established a North Carolina Conference of the AME Zion Church in 1864. He became a church bishop in 1872 and moved to Fayetteville, which would be his home the rest of his life.

As part of his role in the church, Hood helped to establish Zion Wesley Institute, now Livingstone College, as a school to train black students for the ministry and to become good citizens of their state as teachers and artisans. He presided over the school’s board of trustees for over 30 years.

In addition to his role in the church, Hood also sought to become involved in politics as a vocal and successful advocate for the rights of blacks. In 1865, he presided over the statewide freedmen’s convention and later participated in the 1868 state constitutional convention and the national Republican convention of 1872. He also held several government positions including assistant state superintendent of public instruction, magistrate and assistant superintendent of the North Carolina Freedmen’s Bureau.

Hood is the subject of a highway marker in Craven County.

This Day in North Carolina History is a production of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. For more information on North Carolina arts, history and culture, visit Cultural Resources online at

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