Lincoln Academy, named after President Abraham Lincoln, was opened as a boarding school for African-American girls in the fall of 1888 by Emily Catherine Prudden. On the 23rd of January, 1888, Miss Prudden, an educator and missionary, obtained land for the academy when she paid 141 dollars for 14 and 1/10 acres near Crowder’s Mountain in Gaston County, North Carolina.
In 1890, after two school years, the Lincoln Academy property in the King's Mountain area was deeded to the American Missionary Association by Miss Prudden. The AMA took over the operation of the school and Miss Lillian S. Cathcart served as Principal until 1910. Reverend Walter E. Ricks became the first African-American Principal of Lincoln Academy in 1922.
When the Lincoln Academy high school department closed in 1955, faculty and students transferred entirely to the newly constructed Lincoln High School in Bessemer City, N.C.