A Sedalia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Blog
By L.C. Melton
For a change it is nice to drive into a state and find an actual Sedalia again. North Carolina’s version isn’t very large but after chasing down phantoms in Kentucky and Tennessee its nice to actually see a city limit sign and find a city website on the Internet. So let’s take a look…
Today Sedalia is a suburb of Greensboro about 10 miles away to the west and about the same distance to Durham on the east. It boasts a population of about 623 and as we drive through town we find it well spread out with houses spread thinly through the Piedmont woods of eastern Guilford County in the central part of the state.
Though people have been living in this area for centuries, Sedalia as an actual town was only incorporated in 1997. However, it had been Robert B. Andrew’s general store and Sedalia post office since 1901. Mr. Andrews chose the name but we aren’t told why and so we assume it evidently went back to an origin in Missouri. Someone in the Andrews family ran the post office for the first 50 years.1
In 1901, 18 year old Charlotte Hawkins began an African American boarding school that became the Palmer Institute. It was modeled after Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The school closed in 1961 but is now the first historical site in the state memorializing an African-American woman, Dr. Hawkins Brown. Dr. Brown headed up the school for 50 years until 1951 2
Sedalia’s population is today 80% African-American owing to the Palmer Institute’s educational role there. There are 7 institutions of higher learning within 15 miles of town center.
1 N.C. Postal History, Guillford County; http://ncpostalhistory.com/pdfs/counties_Guilford.pdf
2 The Town of Sedalia, Missouri; http://www.sedalianc.org/About.html