James Yadkin Joyner23 February 2007
Source: James Yadkin Joyner Papers, East Carolina Manuscript Collection #345
Staff Person: Coleen Allen
The following biography is credited to the website it was taken from. There are also links to more information on Joyner listed, including a link to his papers held here in Special Collections. This photo of the “younger” Joyner came from this collection. The inscription on the back reads “Member of Philanthropic Literary Society, University of North Carolina, ca. 1880.”
J. Y. Joyner became prominent in the field of Public Education in North Carolina as Superintendent of Public Instruction. Dr. Joyner was born August 7, 1862 at Yadkin College in Davidson County and thus acquired his middle name. His parents had fled from their old home in Lenoir County when New Bern fell to Union forces. Eight months after his birth his mother died, and six months later his father died. He was raised by his elderly grandfather, Council Wooten. At the death of his grandfather he lived with the family of an uncle, Shadrack I. Wooten. In 1882-83 Joyner served as the 20-year old superintendent of schools for Lenoir County, the youngest such official until that time. A year later he went to Winston-Salem to teach in a grade school, organized by Calvin H. Bliley, the first State Superintendent of Schools.
He decided to go into the legal profession and studied law with Faircloth and Allen in Goldsboro during 1884-85. While he was studying law, he got a telegram inviting him to teach at Winston-Salem Grade Schools. He dropped his law books to take the offer and spent a year at the school, rooming with Charles McIver, the principal.
He was admitted to the bar in 1886 and practiced in Goldsboro. He was an active figure in Goldsboro and Wayne County, serving as Chairman of the Wayne County Board of Education for two terms. It was there that he first became well acquainted with an up-and-coming lawyer who was to become Governor Aycock. The courtroom did not appeal to him and he became Superintendent of Graded Schools in Goldsboro. After being there for several years, he joined Dr. McIver in Greensboro as teacher of English and dean of the faculty of the State Normal and Industrial Institute (later Woman’s College, and still later the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). He became State Superintendent of Public Schools in 1901,and remained until 1919 when he resigned because of ill health. He was president of the North Carolina Teachers’ Association, president of the National Education Association, president of the Southern Education Association, and held many other offices. The University of North Carolina conferred upon him the L L.D. degree. He died in 1954.
Click on the images shown above to see enlarged versions.
Above Found At UNC-CH Joyner Residence Hall History
Link to Papers: Manuscript Collection 345
James Yadkin Joyner
ECU J.Y. Joyner Building History