Simon Green Atkins
Simon Green Atkins, the founder and first president of Slater Industrial Academy (now Winston-Salem State University) was born June 11, 1863, in the village of Haywood in Chatham County, North Carolina, to Allen and Eliza Atkins. Atkins attended the town school and taught there before enrolling at St. Augustine's Normal Collegiate Institute in 1880. Following graduation, he taught briefly in Chatham County, NC before accepting an invitation from Livingston College President Joseph Charles Price to join the faculty there. While at Livingston College, Atkins served as grammar school department head. During the last two years of his six year tenure at Livingston, he also served as treasurer of the college. In 1881, Atkins helped found the North Carolina Negro Teachers Association. He served the organization as president or secretary until 1927.
In 1897, Simon Green Atkins began service as the corresponding secretary of the American Negro Academy, the first scholarly organization for African-Americans. Atkins held this position until 1915, when the burdens of fundraising, travel, and administering Slater hindered his ability to produce the critical scholarly works called for by the organization. He was also a member of the AME Zion Church for more than fifty years; during twenty of these years he served as the church's secretary. In 1904, Atkins officially resigned his position at Slater to further pursue his ecumenical work with the church. He remained the school's nominal head until 1913, when he officially resumed the presidency of Slater Industrial Academy and State Normal School. Atkins continued in this role until retiring at the end of the spring term in 1934, due to poor health. Following Atkins' death in 1934, his son, Francis L. Atkins, took over the presidency.
Simon G. Atkins Academic and Technology High School is named in honor of this great educator and citizen.