Livingstone College was founded as Zion Wesley Institute by a group of A.M.E. Zion ministers for the purpose of training ministers in the Cabarrus County town of Concord, North Carolina in 1879.
After three brief sessions, directed by principals Bishop C. R. Harris and Professor A.S. Richardson, the Institute ultimately closed in Concord. In 1881, Dr. Joseph Charles Price and Bishop J. W. Hood changed their roles as delegates to the Ecumenical Conference and became fund-raisers with the mission to re-establish Zion Wesley Institute.
The Rowan County town of Salisbury, just 20 miles northeast of Concord, gave the Trustees a generous donation of $1,000 and an invitation to relocate the school in Salisbury. They accepted both gifts, and the College re-opened in Salisbury in 1882 with Dr. Price as President. The new site was J. M. Gray’s farm called Delta Grove, which consisted of one building and 40 acres of land.