Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest

staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

< Entries Beginning With E >

View Entries That Start With
Numbers | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

Earliest Anti-Slavery Efforts in Kentucky [David Rice]
Start Year : 1792
David Rice, also referred to as the father of Presbyterianism in the West, is recognized as the first to take action toward abolition of slavery in Kentucky [source: The Anti-Slavery Movement in Kentucky; prior to 1850 by Asa Earl Martin, Chapter 1 The First Attack Upon Slavery, pp.11-17]. In early 1792, just prior to the convention that was called to frame the first constitution for Kentucky as a state in the Union, David Rice published a pamphlet under the name Philanthropos, titled "Slavery, Inconsistent with Justice and Good Policy." Rice was proposing that the convention should put an end to slavery in Kentucky. Recognition was given to his cause and David Rice was elected a delegate to the upcoming convention. The convention met in Danville, KY, during the month of April. After days of deliberation, the question as to whether Kentucky would be a slave state was put to vote on April 18, 1792.  The count was 26 for and 16 against. David Rice resigned his seat in the convention before the final vote was taken, and he was replaced by Harry Innes. Six of the seven ministers at the convention had voted in support of emancipation. See also the NKAA entry The Kentucky Union for the Moral and Religious Improvement of the Colored Race.
Subjects: Freedom
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Early African American Political Candidates, Bourbon County, KY
Start Year : 1867
End Year : 1873
In 1867, an African American man ran for deputy on the Republican ticket. The man was on the ticket with Allen H. Bashford, who was the great-grandfather of Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Bashford was running for sheriff, and both he and the African American man lost their bids for office, and an effigy of Bashford was hung in front of the courthouse [source: "The Ed Prichard Oral History Interviews," an article by Kenneth H. Williams in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, summer/autumn 2006, v.104, nos.3&4, p.404]. In 1873, Jacob M. Porter ran for constable in Paris, KY [source: "Election for constable - a darkey on the track," Paris True Kentuckian (newspaper), 05/07/1873, p.3, col.1; and Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.55]. In his thesis, C. B. King took from the newspaper article that J. M. Porter was the first African American candidate to run for office in the Paris District. Porter was actually preceded by Bashford's running mate in 1867. J. M. Porter removed his name from the election in 1873, because the white "Radical Democrats," as they were named in the newspaper article, did not support him and had found their own candidate, J. A. Logan. The African American Radical Democrats were in favor of Porter as the candidate and there was a split within the party. J. M. Porter was an active civic leader among African Americans in Paris, KY. He was the son of Jefferson Porter, Sr.; his father had been a slave and inherited property along with his freedom [see Jefferson Porter in NKAA Database, entry 1 and entry 2). J. M. Porter, born in 1848, was an officer within Hiram Lodge, No. 5, Masons; the Knight Templars; and the Knights of Friendship, all in Paris [source: History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky by Perrin and Peter; and the 1870 U.S. Federal Census]. J. M. Porter was also an activist; he was a member of the banking committee within the Bourbon County (KY) Protective Union of Color that was formed in 1880 in reaction to the William Giles case. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Early African American Theaters in Lexington, KY
The Frolic Theater, operated by an African American, opened in 1907 and closed in 1910. In 1910, the Gem Theater opened, closing by 1916; the Gem had films and live entertainment and was part of the vaudeville circuit. The Pekin Theatre at 415 West Main Street, owned by Gray Combs, was also in operation in 1910. Of the six movie theaters in downtown Lexington, four allowed African Americans to sit in the segregated balcony seats. In 1947, the American Theater Corporation in Indianapolis opened the Lyric Theatre at the corner of Third Street and Elm Tree Lane in Lexington. When the theater opened, it was billed as "the nation's finest colored theater." There were movies and live entertainment from greats such as Big Maybelle, the Oreos, Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, and many others. The Lyric Theater closed in 1963, but the building was still standing, though in disrepair. The Lyric theater was restored and opened to the public in 2010. For more see C. T. Dunn's Gaines Fellowship Senior Thesis, Finding Voice for the Lyric Theater: an Oral History; Brazley and Brazley, Inc., the unpublished Research for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Survey and History of the Lyric Theatre; G. A. Waller, Main Street Amusements: movies and commercial entertainment in a Southern city, 1896-1930; articles in the Lexington newspapers: the Herald, the Leader, and the Lexington Herald-Leader; and H. T. Sampson, The Ghost Walks; a chronological history of blacks in show business, 1865-1910.

See photo image of the Lyric Theatre and additional information at the Lyric website.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Early African American Theaters in Louisville, KY
The first African American moving picture theater in Louisville was opened by Edward Lee in 1908, located at 13th and Walnut Streets. Lee also owned the Taft Theatre at 1314 Cedar Street and The New Odd Fellows Theatre that opened in 1908. The New Tick Houston Theatre on Walnut Street between Ninth and Tenth Streets was opened to African Americans in 1910. This information comes from The Ghost Walks; a chronological history of blacks in show business, 1865-1910, by H. T. Sampson.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Early Bowling Associations & Louisville, KY
Prior to the integration of the American Bowling Congress (ABC), the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC), and the National Negro Bowling Association (NNBA), the city of Louisville, KY, served as the southernmost city for tournaments and city leagues. The ABC, founded in 1895, had a "white males only" membership. The WIBC was founded in 1916 for white women. In 1949, the NAACP was considering challenging the membership clauses of both organizations with lawsuits. In addition to the restricted membership, no tournaments were played in southern locations beyond Louisville until after the organizations were integrated in 1950. The NNBA was an African American bowling organization that was established in Detroit, Michigan, in 1939. Initially, the majority of its members were from Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland. By 1942, there were more than 300 teams in city leagues in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Louisville, KY. The membership continued to grow, and in 1944 the name was changed to The National Bowling Association (TNBA), and the membership was opened to all persons. [This was a completely separate organization from the previously named National Bowling Association founded in 1875 and based in New York with a whites only membership.] Today the TNBA is one of the three major associations for amateur bowlers in the United States. For more see J. H. Rigali and J. C. Walter, "The Integration of the American Bowling Congress: the Buffalo experience," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 29, no. 2 (July 2005), pp.7ff.; The Unlevel Playing Field, by D. K. Wiggins and P. B. Miller; Organizing Black America, by N. Mjagkij; and A Hard Road to Glory, by A. Ashe, Jr.

See the National Bowling Association website.
Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Early School in Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1838
End Year : 1838
Jerry Wade, described as a mulatto, was a barber at the Galt House in Louisville, KY. He had purchased his freedom and that of his family. Wade was fairly well off and rented one of his homes to his son and his family. The front of the house was rented to Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm and her husband, both of whom were white. Jane Swisshelm, from Pennsylvania, was an abolitionist and advocate for women's rights. Around 1838 she opened a school for African Americans in the Wade home. Both she and the students were harassed by whites, and Wade was notified that his house would be burned down if the school continued. All of the students withdrew from the school. For more see Half a Century, by Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm, 1815-1880; and Jane Cannon Swisshelm was active against slavery!, an African American Registry website. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Barbers, Education and Educators, Freedom, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pennsylvania

Early Schools for Negro Deaf and Blind Children
Start Year : 1884
In 1884, the Kentucky School for Negro Deaf was established in Danville, KY, as a division of the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf and Dumb. The Colored Department was managed by Morris T. Long, William J. Blount, Frances Barker, and Mabel Maris. The first African American student, admitted in 1885, was 25 year old Owen Alexander from Owenton, KY; he remained at the school for one year. He had become deaf at the age of 3 after having scarlet fever. The Kentucky Institute for the Education of the Negro Blind was located in Louisville, KY, in 1886. Both schools are listed in Adjustment of School Organization to Various Population Groups, by R. A. F. McDonald [full view available via Google Book Search]. For more about the early years of the Danville school, see volume 1 of Histories of American Schools for the Deaf, 1817-1893, edited by E. A. Fay. See also G. Kocher, "Diplomas bring tears of joy - blacks who attended from 1930 to 1955 get overdue awards," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/04/2011, p.A1. See photo image of the Kentucky School for the Blind Colored Department Building at the American Printing House for the Blind website. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.

Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Owenton, Owen County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Early Shelby County School for Free Persons and Slaves
Start Year : 1849
In 1849, C. W. Robinson, a white minister, attempted to establish a Sunday School for free Negroes, and for slaves who were given permission by their masters to attend the school. For his efforts, Rev. Robinson was flogged in the school room by the Shelby County chief patrol officer. The story was printed in the Shelby News, and retold in the Northhampton Herald and The North Star. There were about 150 free Negroes in Shelby County in 1850 [source: U.S. Federal Census]. For more see "A Preacher flogged," The North Star, 07/20/1849, p.3. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Shelby County, Kentucky

East 6th Street / Scott's Rollarena / Foster's Roller Skating (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1868
End Year : 1961
In 1958, Scott's Rollarena for "Whites Only," became Foster's Roller Skating for "Colored Patrons Only." The roller rink was located at 427 E. 6th Street in Lexington, KY, between Shropshire Avenue and Ohio Street. [Today, it is the location of Griffith's Market.] Foster's Roller Skating was a short-lived venture owned by Rowland S. Foster, who was born in 1899 and died in 1975. The previous business, Scott's Rollarena, owned by Gilbert W. Scott, had not always been located on 6th Street. The business opened just prior to 1940 and was located on National Avenue during the early years, then moved to 422 West Main Street and in 1952 moved to the 6th Street location. Negroes who lived in the area were against the rink moving to 6th Street, and a group went before the Board of City Commissioners to denounce the move of a "whites only" skating rink to what was fast becoming a predominately Negro neighborhood. The commissioners offered their sympathy to the Negroes and said they could do nothing about the "whites only" policy. Looking back to the 1860s, East 6th Street had been considered the suburbs of Lexington [source: Prather's Lexington City Directory], and by the late 1890s, there were a few Colored families living on 6th Street [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory]. By 1939, there was a Colored neighborhood on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street, and Thomas Milton was the only Colored person living in the 400 block [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The new neighborhood continued to exist in spite of the racial tension; the determined home owners would not succumb to threats and violence. In October 1930, the Colored families living on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street received threatening letters following the bombing of two homes. The letters warned the families to get out of the neighborhood. The homes of the Charles Jones family on Curry Avenue and of the Rhada Crowe family at 209 East 6th Street had both been blasted with dynamite. The Crowe family had been in their home just a week, and after the bombing they moved. The letters received by their neighbors were turned over to the chief of police, Ernest Thompson, and the families were assured the Lexington Police Department would protect them. The Colored families stayed, and the area continued to change. By 1948 Negro home owners and business owners were buying property in the 400 block of E. 6th Street. [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The businesses were Luella Oldham Beauty Shop-410 (Colored); Irene Keller Beauty Shop-412 (Colored); Sweeney's Confectionery-430; City Radio Service-439; and Blue Grass Market-441. The street address, 427 E. 6th Street, did not exist prior to 1950, but by 1952 there was a building at the address when Scott's Rollarena moved to its new location. The protest against the "whites only" policy at the roller rink was one of the early and lesser known acts of the ongoing Civil Rights Movement in Lexington. In spite of the protests, Scott's Rollarena was at the 6th Street location for six years before the business closed in 1958. In May of that same year, Foster's Roller Skating opened in the same location for "Colored Patrons Only." The building at 427 E. 6th Street was listed as vacant in the 1961 Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky) City Directory. In 1977, there was a grocery store in the building when it was destroyed by fire; arson was suspected. For more see "City fathers give sympathy which fears rink will raise problem," Lexington Leader, 01/10/1952, p. 12; the ad for Foster's Roller Skating in the Lexington Leader, 05/08/1958; "Judge requests jury to probe house bombing," Lexington Leader, 10/06/1930, p. 1; "Family to move following blast," Lexington Leader, 10/03/1930, p. 1; "Police promise protection for Negro families," Lexington Leader, 10/14/1930, p. 1; and "Store gutted; arson suspected," Lexington Leader, 06/17/1977, p. A-1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Skating Rinks, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Eastern Colored Branch Library, Louisville, KY (Jefferson County)
Start Year : 1914
The Eastern Colored Branch Library opened in Louisville on January 28, 1914; it was the second Carnegie Colored Library built in the U.S. At that time, Louisville was the only city in the U.S. with two Colored libraries. There was an earlier library referred to as the East End Branch of the Colored Library. It was established in January of 1907 and was located in Eastern School. Assistant Librarian, Mrs. E. G. Harris [Rachel Davis Harris], was in charge of the collection. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and "Confirmation classes held," Freeman, 01/19/1907, p.1.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Eaves, Jerry Lee
Birth Year : 1959
Born in Louisville, KY, Jerry L. Eaves played high school basketball at Ballard in Louisville and was selected as a McDonalds' All-American in 1978 after his team won the Kentucky state basketball championship. Eaves played college ball at the University of Louisville and was a member of the 1980 NCAA Championship team. The 6'4" guard was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 1982 NBA draft and ended his professional playing career five years later with the Sacramento Kings. He played in a total of 168 games and had 1,132 points and 414 assists. Eaves was head basketball coach at North Carolina A & T University 2003-2012. For more see Jerry Eaves at
Subjects: Basketball, Migration West, Migration East
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Utah / Sacramento, California / North Carolina

Eckstein-Norton Institute Musical Company
The company was comprised of the school's director of the conservatory, Hattie Gibbs, and Lulu Childers, A. L. Smith, and W. B. Hayson. The group gave concerts to secure funds for the replacement of the main building, which had burned in 1892. The school also had the Eckstein-Norton University Singers, a student singing company that performed for public relations and student recruitment events. Eckstein-Norton Institute was located in Cane Springs, KY. The school opened in 1890 and was merged with Lincoln Institute in 1912. For more about the musical company see Out of Sight: the Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895, by L. Abbott and D. Seroff. For more about Eckstein-Norton see the school's Letter Copy Books,1891-1911 by C. H. Parrish.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cane Springs, Bullitt County, Kentucky

Ecton, George French
Birth Year : 1846
Death Year : 1929
George F. Ecton was a slave born in Winchester, KY, the son of Antonia and Martha George Ecton. He and a friend received forged freedom papers and made their way to Cincinnati in 1865. They were employed as deck hands on the Sherman (ship). Ecton soon returned to Cincinnati, where he was employed at a number of locations. He also came down with small pox there but recuperated and began attending a school taught by Miss Luella Brown. In 1873, he left Cincinnati for Chicago, where he managed the Hotel Woodruff dining room. While in Chicago, Ecton ran for and was elected to a seat in the 35th General Assembly. He was also the owner of property worth $10,000. Ecton married Patti R. Allen (b. 1855) in 1877; she was also from Winchester, KY. George F. Ecton died September 17, 1929 and is buried in the Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago [source: Illinois Death Certificate #rn26889]. For more see "Hon. George French Ecton" in Men of Mark, by W. J. Simmons and H. M. Turner [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Chicago, Illinois

Ecton, Virgil E.
Birth Year : 1940
Virgil E. Ecton was born in Paris, KY. He is a graduate of Indiana University (1962) and Xavier University. For 31 years he was employed at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and served as the Executive Vice President and COO before leaving the organization in 2001 to become Vice President of University Advancement at Howard University. Ecton is known for his exceptional fund raising ability: he raised more than 1.6 billion dollars while employed at UNCF. He is a founding member of the National Society of Fund-Raising Executives' Certification Board. In 2011, Ecton was appointed vice president for federal affairs at Tuskegee University. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Virgil E. Ecton at the Tuskegee University website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Ector, Patricia E.
Birth Year : 1948
Death Year : 2008
Ector had been the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney since 1996. She was born in Hardin County, KY, and grew up in Germany and Seaside, CA; her father was in the Army. Ector spent much of her career specializing in prosecuting sexual assault cases in the juvenile division. She was the assistant district attorney in San Francisco from 1982-1996. She was a founding member of the National Black Prosecutors Association. In 1992 she received the Hon. Justice Clinton W. White Advocacy Award from the Charles Houston Bar Association. Ector was a graduate of San Jose State University and earned her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkley. Prior to her law career, she was a singer who performed in the U.S. and abroad with the group Up With People; she also performed with the group Sing Out. Her performances are included on the album Up With People! III. For more see H. Harris, "Respected Alameda County prosecutor Patricia Ector dies," in Contra Costa Times, 06/21/2008, My Town section.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Lawyers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Hardin County, Kentucky / Germany / California

Edelen, John P.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1960
Edelen was born in Springfield, KY, the son of William and Barbara A. Edelen. He managed the Chicago Mortgage and Credit Company from 1926 to 1935 and was partner in Edelen, Bland and Company from 1935 to 1939, becoming the company's president in 1939. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Edgerton, Walter "Kentucky Rosebud"
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1923
Edgerton, was NOT from Kentucky, but rather was born in Norfolk, VA, and boxed out of Philadelphia. His birth year is also given as 1868. He was a featherweight and lightweight boxer who weighed between 115-128 lbs. and stood 5 ft. 4 in. Edgerton started boxing around 1882 and ended his career in 1916. [Covington, KY, native Howie Camnitz, a white baseball player, also had the nickname "Kentucky Rosebud." The name has been used by several other sport and entertainment figures.] For more see "Walter Edgerton" a Cyber Boxing Zone website; and Ethnicity, Sport, Identity, J. A. Mangan and A. Ritchie.

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Norfolk, Virginia / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Edison, Harry "Sweets"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1999
According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Harry Edison was born in Beaver Dam, KY, and Edison confirms this in his 1993 interview for the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program NEA Jazz Master [transcript available online at]. Harry was the son of Wayne Edison and Katherine Meryl Borah Edison. Wayne Edison left his family when Harry was a small child, and Harry and his mother moved to Columbus, Ohio, where Harry learned to play the trumpet. He played with a number of bands and joined the original Count Basie Band in 1938, the night that the regular trumpeter, Bobby Moore, became ill, so Harry took his place. He remained with the band for 12 years. It was Lester Young who nicknamed him "Sweetie Pie" in appreciation of the way he played music; Count Basie shortened the nickname to "Sweets." Edison left the Basie band in 1950 and went on to play with other bands, including those of Coleman Hawkins and Buddy Rich. He was later signed by Capitol Records and recorded with Frank Sinatra on songs such as "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" and "Songs for Swingin' Lovers." He played in sessions with Sinatra for 14 years, including with the Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra. Edison later recorded with European groups as well as on the Granz's Verve label. Edison received a number of awards: in 1983, he was the first to receive tribute from the Los Angeles Jazz Society, and he received a second tribute in 1992. Edison also received a Duke Ellington fellowship to Yale University. For more see the Edison, Harry "Sweets" entry in the American National Biography Online (subscription database).

See photo image of Harry "Sweets" Edison and additional information at the PBS website.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky / Columbus, Ohio / Los Angeles, California

Edmonds, John Buell
Birth Year : 1945
John Buell Edmonds is a recognized gospel singer from Bowling Green, KY, the son of Addie and Jewel Edmonds. The following information comes from the John Edmonds' website. In 1964, Edmonds' group was named "John Edmonds and the Angelic Specials." Six years later the group relocated to Los Angeles, CA, and their name was changed to "John Edmonds' Gospel Truth." They performed for U.S. soldiers in Vietnam and other overseas locations as affiliates with the Hollywood Overseas Committee and the USO. In 1974, the group signed with Opryland, in Nashville, TN, and was the first African American gospel group to have regular shows in Opryland. They recorded three albums while in Nashville. Edmonds returned to California in 1979, before coming home to Bowling Green, KY, where he is the music director at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.  In 2010, Edmonds celebrated 50 years as a singer and performer.  He started performing when he was 15 years old, singing and playing piano with the teen group "Gospel Ambassadors," in Bowling Green, KY. Today, John Buell Edmonds has 14 albums. He has received a number of awards, including the American Institute for Public Service Jefferson Award, and the Kentucky Governor’s Award for the Arts. In 2013, John Edmonds was a speaker on the six week, documentary program series, "America's Music: A Filmed History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway," sponsored by Western Kentucky University Libraries.  For more see N. Jordan, "A Golden gospel - Bowling Green's Edmonds is celebrating 50 years as a singer and performer, The Daily News, 05/21/2010; Interview with John Buell Edmonds (FA 198) by Michelle Ross, Gospel Musicians (FA 191) by Dale W. Johnson, and the Interview with John Edmonds by LuAnne Beth Cervelli (FA 376), all available at Western Kentucky University, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives; and John Edmonds, Singer/Musician, program #117, a KET Mixed Media program.


  See John Edmonds, Performing Artists, a webpage.


  See John Edmonds' website.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Edmonson County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Edmonson County is located in the Pennyrile and Western Coal Field Regions of Kentucky, and is surrounded by five counties. It was formed in 1825 from portions of Hart, Grayson, and Warren Counties, and was named for John Edmonson, who was from Virginia and was killed during his service in the Battle of River Raisin during the War of 1812. The county seat is Brownsville, established in 1828 and incorporated by the General Assembly in 1860, was named for General Jacob J. Brown, a Quaker from Pennsylvania and an American Army officer in the War of 1812. In 1830, the Edmonson County population was 369 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and that increased to 4,374 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 78 slave owners
  • 297 Black slaves
  • 16 Mulatto slaves
  • 12 free Blacks [most with the last name Cowles]
  • 0 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 68 slave owners
  • 210 Black slaves
  • 63 Mulatto slaves
  • 9 free Blacks
  • 2 free Mulattoes [last name Cowl] 
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 224 Blacks
  • 20 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops gave Edmonson County, KY, as their birth location. 
For more see The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; 1825-1900 Edmonson County by R. Carroll; Pictorial History, Edmonson County, Kentucky, 1825-1998 by Edmonson County Historical Society; and Edmonson County, Kentucky History and Biographies by L. Collins et. al.

Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J]
Geographic Region: Edmonson County, Kentucky

Edrington, Gustavus V.
Birth Year : 1813
Gustavus V. Edrington was an escaped slave from Kentucky. When his owner attempted to take him back to Kentucky, the Brookville, IN, community came to his rescue. Edrington had come to Brookville by way of Butler County, OH, where he married Malinda Jefferson in 1838. Malinda was born in 1823 in Ohio, and Edrington was born in Virginia in 1813; they were both described as Mulattoes. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to Iowa, where their four children were born; Iowa was a free state. In 1850, the year their fourth child was born, the Edringtons moved to Brookville, Franklin County, IN. They are listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Gustavus owned a barbershop. Brookville was a fairly new town: the area had been inhabited by several American Indian tribes before the Moravian missionaries settled there in 1801. Franklin County was incorporated in 1811. Many families were drawn to the area when construction was started on the Whitewater Canal in 1834; it would become a major avenue for waterway transportation. And the population jumped again with the building of the Duck Creek Aqueduct in 1848. There were 2,315 heads-of-households in 1830, and 17,979 persons in 1850, including 115 free Blacks (nine born in KY) and 104 free Mulattoes (five born in KY). Slavery had been prohibited in the Indiana territory by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, but it allowed the reclaiming of fugitive slaves. Settlers from Kentucky and Virginia who owned slaves ignored the ordinance, and the Indiana territorial legislature created laws that circumvented the ordinance, thus allowing for both slavery and indefinitely indentured servants. The abolitionist members of the legislature gained control around 1809 and were able to overturn many of the pro-slavery and indentured servant laws. Gustavus Edrington had been in Brookville about six years when his owner and a posse from Kentucky arrived and identified Edrington as a fugitive slave; he was put in jail and was to be taken back to Kentucky and slavery. News of his capture spread fast, and when night fell, the men of Brookville went to the jail and released Gustavus Edrington. They next found the men from Kentucky and told them to leave town or they would be hanged--the men left town. Edrington continued his barber business in Brookville until some time during the Civil War when he moved to Centerville, IN, and opened a barbershop and a soda fountain. For more see "Slave hunters got rebuff at Brookville," Greensburg Daily News, 11/27/1936, p. 4; "Bury me in a free land: the Abolitionist Movement in Indiana," by Gwen Crenshaw (an website).

Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Virginia / Kentucky / Butler County, Ohio / Iowa / Brookville, Franklin County, Indiana / Centerville, Indiana

Edson, Edward Frank and Mary M.
According to Northwest Black Pioneers: a centennial tribute, Edward (b.1863 in Kentucky) and Mary Duvall Edson (b.1866 in Tennessee) were two of the early African American pioneers in urban Tacoma, Washington. The Edsons had been living in Kentucky and resettled in California before moving to Washington in 1889. Mr. Edson owned a barber shop and Mrs. Edson was a music teacher. The couple, who lived at 1422 K Street, helped establish the Allen A.M.E. Church. For more see "Tacoma" on page 38 of Northwest Black Pioneers: a centennial tribute, by R. Hayes.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / California / Tacoma, Washington

Edwards, Augustus Wilson
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1994
Augustus Wilson Edwards was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Daniel and Carrie Edwards. A. Wilson Edwards became the first African American police officer and lieutenant, and the first Director of Safety in Louisville; he supervised the police and fire departments. Edwards also served as a security officer at the inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson. He was security adviser to William V. S. Tubman, President of Liberia, and Colonel Tran Minh Cong, police chief of Da Nang. Named in his honor is the A. Wilson Edwards Center that houses the 2nd Division and Louisville Fire Department, Engine 19, at 3419 Bohne Avenue, Louisville, KY  40211 [per Robert Bauer and the Louisville Metro Police Department]. For more see Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1975-1995; and The Negro Almanac, 3rd-5th eds.

See photo image of A. Wilson Edwards in "Kentucky policeman is protector of life of President of Liberia," Meriden Journal, 11/18/1959, p.8.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa / Da Nang, Vietnam, Asia

Edwards, Brian C.
Birth Year : 1970
In 2009, Brian C. Edwards was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to serve as Circuit Judge of the 30th Judicial Circuit in the 11th Division.  In 2010, Edwards defeated John J. Vandertoll to remain a Jefferson County Circuit Judge, his term ends in 2019. Judge Edwards was one of three African American appointees to be elected in Jefferson County in 2010. He also serves as a presiding Drug Court Judge. Judge Edwards was the 2004 recipient of the Frank E. Haddad, Jr. Outstanding Lawyer Award given by the Louisville Bar Association. Judge Edwards has practiced law for more than 17 years. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Brandeis School of Law, and as an assistant professor and associate director of the Center for the Study of Crime and Justice in Black Communities, both at the University of Louisville. Judge Edwards, born in Louisville, KY, is a 1992 graduate of Northwestern University (BA) and earned his law degree (JD) at the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1996.


   See photo image and additional information about the Hon. Brian C. Edwards at the Citizens for Better Judges website.
Subjects: Lawyers, Judges
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Edwards, Sallie Nuby
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Beaumont, KY, Sallie N. Edwards participated in the March on Washington Movement of 1941 and the American Council on Human Rights. She was a social worker. She wrote articles that appeared in Southwestern Christian Advocate and other magazines and taught at Stowe Teachers College in St. Louis, MO. She was educated at Ohio State, St. Louis University, and Fisk. She was the associate executive director of the San Francisco YWCA, and executive secretary of the St. Louis County YWCA [source: "Nothern Leader," Los Angeles Tribune, 01/03/1958, p.11]. Sallie N. Edwards was the widow of Leonard Edwards, who was from Jamaica; he died in a car accident in 1954. For more see Supplement to Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Harris Stowe State College, a St. Louis positive..., an African American Registry website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Social Workers, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Beaumont, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri / San Francisco, California

Eilers v Eilers [Anna F. Anderson]
Start Year : 1964
In September 1964, eight months after Anna F. Eilers married Marshall C. Anderson, the courts took her five children away. Anna, who was white, was from New Haven, KY. She had divorced her previous husband and father of the children, George Eilers, in 1963. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Lyndon R. Schmid awarded custody of the children to Anna. In January 1964, Anna and Marshall C. Anderson, an African American musician and restaurant employee, were married in Chicago, IL. [Marriage between the races was still illegal in Kentucky and 17 other states.] When they returned to Louisville, KY, the couple lost their jobs in retaliation for their marriage. George Eilers sued to have the children taken away from Anna, and Judge Schmid had the children placed in a children's institutional home. Anna and Marshall moved to Indianapolis, IN, in 1964, by which time the two oldest children had been placed in foster homes. Prior to their move, the Andersons had retained Attorney James Crumlin of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. to help regain custody of the children. The custody case took place during the same time period that the Virginia Supreme Court had upheld the state's anti-miscegenation law in the Richard and Mildred Loving case [NY Times article]. The Andersons' custody case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1966, where the Appellate Court upheld the ruling of the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The case was next taken to the federal court where it became national news; it was the first appeal to the federal courts on constitutional grounds for child custody. The Andersons' case was temporarily linked to the Lovings' case, which was pending in the federal courts, and the results were expected to be landmark decisions. The link was broken when District Judge Henry L. Brooks declined to take jurisdiction over the Andersons' case because it was determined that the mother had not exhausted her appeals in the Kentucky courts, and the indirectness of the attack on the Kentucky miscegenation laws was a weakness of the case; therefore, there was no federal question. For a third time, the Anderson case was brought before the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The court reversed the judgment for proceedings consistent with the opinion. "No reason appears which would warrant interference with the custody order from which this appeal was taken. That order shall remain in effect until further order of the trial court or any court of competent jurisdiction." For more see F. Ward, "Mixed couple suffers ordeal," Jet, 04/07/1966, pp. 46-49, and "Mixed couple losses custody bid," Jet, 10/27/1966, p. 15 [both articles available full-text at Google Book Search]; B. A. Franklin's articles in the New York Times: "Kentucky facing race custody suit," 03/25/1966, p. 29, and "Judge bars case of miscegenation," 06/26/1966, p. 30; "N.A.A.C.P. to fight ruling on custody," New York Times, 07/08/1966, p. 12; and Anna Frances Eilers (now Anna Anderson), Appellant, v. George F. Eilers, Appellee, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 412 S.W.2d 871: 1967 Ky, March 17, 1967.
Subjects: Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases, Interracial Marriage and State Laws
Geographic Region: New Haven, Nelson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Election Day Riot (Frankfort, KY)
Start Year : 1871
On the evening of August 7, 1871, the election polls had just closed when a race riot developed between African American and white voters in Frankfort, KY, at the market-house precinct. It was the second year of voting for African American men in Kentucky, and tension was high. After a scuffle, whites and African Americans took cover on separate sides of Broadway and began shooting and throwing rocks and boulders at each other across the railroad tracks that ran down the center of the street. Police Captain William Gillmore and Officers Jerry Lee and Dick Leonard rushed to the scene; Gillmore was killed and Lee and Leonard were injured. Other police arrived, but they were driven back. A Mr. Bishop, who was also white, was killed, and several others on both sides were injured. State Troops were ordered into downtown Frankfort to bring the rioting under control. An African American, Henry Washington, who supposedly fired the first shot, was apprehended for the murder of Captain Gillmore. Frankfort Mayor E. H. Taylor, Jr. had appointed the state militia to guard the jailhouse. After the State Troops had gone, the militia dispersed when about 250 armed and masked white men stormed the jailhouse at mid-morning and removed Washington and another African American man, Harry Johnson, who was accused of the rape of a Mrs. Pfeifer. Both men were hanged. For more see "Kentucky Elections. Rioting reported in various places - Two whites killed in Frankfort - Negro prisoners lynched," New York Times, 08/09/1871, p. 1; and "A Democratic riot," printed in the New York Times, 08/15/1871, p.6, from the Louisville Commercial, August 10, 1871.
Subjects: Voting Rights, Lynchings, Corrections and Police, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Elizabethtown (KY) Emancipation Day
Start Year : 1882
The 1882 celebration held in Elizabethtown, KY, was joined by African Americans from southern Illinois. The event is noted as the first recorded Emancipation celebration for southern Illinois. For more see S. K. Cha-Jua, America's first Black town: Brooklyn, Illinois, 1830-1915, p. 104.
Subjects: Freedom, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky

Elliott County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900
Start Year : 1870
End Year : 1900
Elliott County is located in northeastern Kentucky, and was formed in 1869 from portions of Morgan, Lawrence, and Carter Counties. The county is named for either John L. Elliott, a Kentucky Senator and House Member, or his son Judge John M. Elliott who was assassinated. The county seat is Sandy Hook. The county population in 1870 was 4,433, and it increased to 10,448 in 1900. Elliott County was formed in 1869, which was after the emancipation of slaves in Kentucky with the Ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. Below are the population numbers for African Americans in the county 1870, 1880, and 1900.

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 21 Blacks [with the last names Collins or Howard, and one named Watson]
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 3 Blacks [Collins, Howard, Watson]
  • 1 Mulatto [Watson]
1900 U.S. Federal Census
  • 2 Blacks [Watson]
  • 10 Mulattoes [most with the last name Leadenham, one Roe, one Whitt]
For more see the Elliott County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J]
Geographic Region: Elliott County, Kentucky

Elliott, Cynthia E.
From Jackson, KY, Elliott is a lawyer who in 1997 was appointed by Gov. Paul Patton to serve as Special Justice to the Kentucky Supreme Court, the first African American woman appointed to the post. She is a two-time graduate of Wayne State University in Michigan, where she received her undergraduate and law degrees. For more information see the Kentucky government press release, "Governor Patton Appoints First African-American Woman as Special Justice to Kentucky Supreme Court," 09/14/97.
Subjects: Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky

Elliott, Noah
Birth Year : 1826
Death Year : 1918
Elliott, born in Greenup County, KY, was the first African American doctor to practice in Athens County, Ohio. His physician's training was by way of an apprenticeship. He had been a hospital steward in the 26th U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War. Elliott's second wife was Mary A. Davidson, sister of Olivia Davidson, the wife of Booker T. Washington. The Washingtons were married in Elliott's home in 1886. For more see Noah Elliott at; and chapter 9 of Stories of Medicine in Athens County, Ohio, by G. E. Cordingly.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Greenup County, Kentucky / Athens County, Ohio

Ellis, Betty Marie
Birth Year : 1925
In June of 1948, the student admission application for Betty Marie Ellis, who was white, was rejected by Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] because the Day Law forbid black and white students from attending the same school in Kentucky. Ellis was furious about the law. "Had I the financial and legal backing, I would like very much to contest the law as it stands." Betty Marie Ellis was a civil rights activist who was not working with any particular organization. She was the first white student to apply for admission to Kentucky State College. Ellis was a 25 year old college graduate from Peru, IN, and was studying for a master's degree in religious education at the College of the Bible [now Lexington Theological Seminary] in Lexington, KY. She was also the director of religious education at the First Christian Church in Shelbyville, KY. She had attended school with Negro children in Peru, IN, where the schools were integrated and so was Manchester College in North Manchester, IN, where Ellis earned her bachelor's degree. In response to being denied admission to Kentucky State College, Ellis wrote letters of protest to Dr. Atwood, President of Kentucky State College; Kentucky Governor Earl Clements; and Boswell B. Hodgkin, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Kentucky. Betty Marie Ellis was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Ellis. For more see the document "Kentucky State College rejects white girl; she blasts governor, Jim Crow laws," Monday, June 14, 1948, p.44 [second page missing] within the file Kentucky State College (Frankfort), Louisville Municipal College, & West KY Vocational Training School (Paducah), part of The Claude A. Burnett Papers: The Associated Negro Press, 1918-1967, Part 3: Subject Files on Black Americans, 1918-1967, Series A, Agriculture, 1923-1966 -- Proquest History Vault; and see Betty Marie Ellis on p.65 in Tracks: Chesapeake & Ohio, Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette, vol. 29, issue 7. See also the NKAA entry for Mrs. Geraldine Cox Ogden, the first white student admitted to Kentucky State College. See also Barry Coleman Moore, the first white football player at Kentucky State College.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration South, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Peru, Indiana / Manchester, Indiana / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

Ellis, Cassius M. C., III
Birth Year : 1936
Death Year : 1997
Cassius M. C. Ellis III was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Anna Shannon Ellis. He was a surgeon at North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN, where he was director of the residency program. He was the first assistant dean for minority students at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where the Cassius Ellis Award is named in his honor. He had been the chief of staff at Mount Sinai Hospital in Minneapolis. Ellis was a member of a number of medical-related organizations, and he also belonged to the NAACP. He served as president of the Minnesota State Board of Medical Examiners in 1990 and was appointed to the board for a four year term by Minnesota Governor Ruby Perpich. Ellis graduated from Mayo-Underwood High School in 1954 and from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1958, both in Frankfort, KY, and from Meharry Medical College in 1962. Ellis was a captain in the U.S. Army. He was the husband of Phyllis Hannah Ellis, with whom he had four children. For more see P. Miller, "Dr. Cassius Ellis, minority mentor, dies at age 60," Star Tribune, 05/18/1997, p. 11B; "Cassius M. C. Ellis III, M.D., F.A.C.S." on pp. 918-919 in A Century of Black Surgeons, by C. H. Organ and M. M. Kosiba; and "Dr. Cassius Ellis" in Jet, 04/01/1985, p. 24.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, Military & Veterans, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ellis, James A. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1940
Death Year : 2014
Born in Louisville, KY, Jimmy Ellis trained with Mohammad Ali, he was World Heavyweight Boxing Champion from 1968-1970, but lost the title to Joe Frazier. One of the lightest heavyweight fighters, Ellis was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2004. He was inducted into the Kentucky Hall of Fame in 1989. His career began in 1961 in Louisville; he retired from boxing in 1975. James "Jimmy" Ellis died May 5, 2014. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; and B. Brianstaff, "Louisville's forgotten champ," The Courier-Journal, 10/05/2004, Sports section, p. 01C. See photo image of Jimmy Ellis at See R. Goldstein, "Jimmy Ellis, a boxer long in Ali's shadow, dies at 74," The New York Times, 05/06/2014 [online].

Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ellison, Fanny McConnell
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2005
Fanny M. Ellison was born in Louisville, KY, to Ulysses and Willie Mae Brock McConnell; her parents divorced before Fanny was a year old and she and her mother moved to Colorado, then to Chicago. Fanny Ellison was the wife of Ralph Ellison (1913-1994), author of the 1953 National Book Award title, Invisible Man. Both were divorced when they met in 1944; they married in 1946. Fanny Ellison had attended Fisk University and graduated from the University of Iowa; she was involved in the theater, politics, and civil rights. In 1938, she founded the Negro People's Theater in Chicago, and in 1943 she moved to New York, where she was an assistant to George Granger, Director of the National Urban League. She supported her husband, Ralph, while he was writing what would become his only published novel. Fanny Ellison edited and typed the book manuscript that her husband had written in longhand, and she did the same for the second manuscript that he was unable to finish before his death. The second novel, Juneteenth, was published in 1999 with the permission of Fanny Ellison. For more see "Fanny McConnell Ellison dies at 93," an MSNBC website; and D. Martin, "Fanny Ellison, 93; helped husband edit 'Invisible Man'," The New York Times, 12/01/2005, Metropolitan Desk section, p. 9.

See photo image of Fanny M. Ellison and Ralph Ellison at the Library of Congress website.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Authors, Migration North, Migration West, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Colorado / Chicago, Illinois / New York

Elm Tree Lane and Kinkeadtown (Lexington, KY)
The west side of Elm Tree Lane was part of the Templeton Subdivision in 1889. Around 1914, the east side of the street became Elm Tree Heights. Kinkeadtown was bottomland that included more recently Illinois, Kinkead, and Mosby Streets; it was around the area where Elm Tree Lane intersects with Fourth and Fifth Streets. The land had been subdivided by abolitionist George B. Kinkead in 1870 and sold exclusively to African Americans. Populated by about 20 families in 1880, it grew to include over 300 residents. The section of Elm Tree Lane and the remainder of Kinkeadtown, between Fourth and Fifth Streets, were purchased by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government in the 1990s. The shotgun and T-plan houses were demolished in preparation for the extension of Rose Street. For more see J. Kellogg, "The Formation of Black Residential Areas in Lexington, Kentucky, 1865-1887," The Journal of Southern History, vol. 48, issue 1 (Feb. 1982), pp. 21-52.; "Kinkeadtown: Archaeological Investigation of an African-American Neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky," Archaeological Report 377 by Nancy O'Malley, University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology; Martin Luther King Neighborhood Association; and N. O'Malley, "The pursuit of freedom: the evolution of Kinkeadtown, an African American post-Civil War neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky," Winterthur Portfolio-A Journal of American Material Culture, vol. 37, issue 4 (Winter 2002), pp. 187-217.
Subjects: Communities
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Elmore, Ronn
Birth Year : 1957
Born in Louisville, KY, Ronn Elmore left Kentucky at the age of 16 and became an actor and dancer in Europe before becoming a minister and marriage counselor. He is a graduate of Antioch University (B.A.), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.A.) in California, and Ryokan College (Ph.D.), also in California. In 1989, Elmore developed the Relationship Center and the Relationship Enrichment Programs in Los Angeles. In the 1990s he also started a radio show and was a guest on television and other media, where he spoke on love, marriage, and family. Elmore has published several books, including How to Love a Black Man in 1996 and How to Love a Black Woman in 1998. Elmore is also the founder of Kingdom Shelter, which provides housing for homeless men. For more see African-American Religious Leaders, by N. Aaseng; and the Dr. Ronn Elmore website.

Subjects: Authors, Migration West, Radio, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Television, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California

Elster, Jesse
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1950
Jesse Elster was a prominent baseball player and manager of the Grand Rapids Colored Athletics Team. He was born in Kentucky and moved to Grand Rapids in 1904. In 1914, Elster and Stanley Barnett formed the Colored Athletic Businesses Association (CABA). The organization supported the baseball team. Elster was still team manager in 1949 when the last articles about the team appeared in Michigan newspapers. Jesse was the husband of Mamie E. Bellis Elster (b.1887 in MO - died 1920), and he later married Emma V. Young, b.1883 in VA. The family of five is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, and they lived at 439 James Avenue in Grand Rapids, according to Polk's Grand Rapids (Kent County, Mich) City Directory. Jess Elster and his son Russell were truck drivers for a furniture shop. His son Eugene was a shoe shiner. Elster's first name has been spelled different ways, he signed as "Jesse Elster" on his WWI draft registration card. For more see African Americans in the Furniture City by R. M. Jelks; The Negro Leagues Revisited by B. P. Kelley; and "Face Muskegon Club Sunday," Record-Eagle, 07/01/1949, p.15.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Businesses, Migration North, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Grand Rapids, Michigan

Elzy, Robert James
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1972
Born in Lexington, KY, Elzy was a 1909 graduate of Fisk University and completed his graduate work at Columbia University and New York University. He was assistant principal and a teacher at Joseph K. Brick School in North Carolina, then taught for a year at State Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]. Elzy left Kentucky to practice social work in Brooklyn, New York. He was the founder and executive secretary of the Brooklyn Urban League, chaired the Colored Case Committee of the Bedford and Ft. Green districts of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities, and was treasurer of the Brooklyn Social Service League. Robert J. Elzy was the husband of Louise Voorhees Elzy. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29 and 1950; and "Robert Elzy of Urban League, champion of Black welfare, dies," New York Times, 02/20/1972, p. 68.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers, Migration East, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina / Brooklyn, New York

Embry, Jordan A.
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1972
Jordan Embry was a jazz musician and the leader of the Jordan Embry Band. He was born in Richmond, KY, and for a while lived in Richmond, IN, where he owned a shoe shining parlor at 911 Main Street [source: World War I Draft Registration Card]. Jordan Embry was the son of July Embry, and in 1900, the family of three was listed in the U.S. Federal Census as living on B Street in Richmond, KY. His sister, Cordelia Embry, was a teacher at the Rosenwald School in Richmond, KY [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. Jordan Embry returned to Kentucky after World War I, and in the 1940s Clarence "Duke" Madison joined his band. The band, referred to as an orchestra, had been named Jordan Embry and His Big Blue Entertainers in 1930 when they played at the Rose Garden on Russell Cave Pike in Lexington, KY [source: "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 07/09/1930, p. 11]. The following year, the Lexington city authorities gave permission for a 'Battle of Music' dance from 9p.m.-2a.m. or later at Purcell's Garage on West Main Street [source: "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 01/23/1931, p. 22]; the battling bands were the Masked Marvels Band and Jordan Embry's Band. Jordan Embry's Blue Bird Entertainers are listed in Jazz and Ragtime Records (1897-1942): A-K, by B. A. L. Rust and M. Shaw, p. 554. The band recorded the song "Wotta Life" in Richmond, IN, on March 20, 1929, a Gannett record that was not issued. Jordan Embry was the husband of Ruby Embry (b. 1898 in KY).
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Richmond, Indiana / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Emery, Andrew J.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1919
Andrew J. Emery served as the librarian at Fort Davis, TX, for more than a year before his discharge from the Army. It was extremely rare for there to be a Colored librarian in the military due to the limited occupations available to Buffalo Soldiers and their high illiteracy rate. Many of the entries for soldiers from Kentucky who are listed in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert, are noted as "cannot read or write." Andrew J. Emery had enlisted in the U.S. Army in Cincinnati, OH, on January 9, 1882, and according to the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, Emery was born in Richmond, KY, was 21 years old, and was a plumber. Emery served in Company H of the 10th Cavalry for five years and was discharged January 8, 1887. He settled in Otter Tail, Minnesota. He was the husband of Dora M. Packard Emery, whom he married in 1898. According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, and in contradiction to his Army enlistment information, Andrew J. Emery was born in Ohio, February 1866, and his father was born in Kentucky. Also the 1900 Census indicates Dora Emery was born in Iowa and her mother was born in Kentucky. Andrew, Dora, and their first three children are listed in the 1905 Census of Minnesota. For more about the family of Andrew and Dora Emery, see G. Claxton, "Twists and turns intriguing stories emerge when piecing together a family's past," Amherst Bulletin, 08/15/2008; and see present day Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Plumbers
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Ohio / Otter Tail, Minnesota

Engine Co. #8 (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1872
The #8 firehouse was located at 725 S. 13th and Maple Streets in Louisville. The house had been built in 1872 and was used by an all-white fire company until December, 1923, when ten African Americans were hired for Louisville's first African American fire department. In 1937 a second African American firehouse was established at Roseland and Jackson Streets. Roy Stanley was the first African American to ride out of an integrated fire house in Louisville. For more see M. Young, "Exhibit features Black firefighters," The Louisville Defender, 03/12/1992, p. 2.
Subjects: Firefighters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

English, Sam
Birth Year : 1937
Death Year : 2005
Louisville, KY, native Sam English was not African American, but he helped integrate the game of tennis in Kentucky. English won many tennis championships, including state singles and doubles titles, over a more than 30-year playing career. He was captain of the Yale Eastern Championship tennis team, graduating from Yale in 1955. Before becoming director of Kentucky's state tennis tournaments in 1961, English agreed to accept the position only if African Americans were also allowed to enter the tournaments; the tournaments had been for whites only. In 2002 Sam English was inducted into the United States Tennis Association Southern Hall of Fame. For more see R. Pagliaro, "Popular Kentucky Tennis Contributor Sam English Has Passed Away At 68," Tennis Week, 11/04/2005. For information concerning the Louisville court surfaces, see "Remodeling Clay," Louisville Magazine, 8/1995, vol. 46, issue 8, p. 10.
Subjects: Tennis
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Estill County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Estill County was formed in 1808 from portions of Clark and Madison Counties. The county is located in eastern Kentucky, surrounded by five counties, and named for James Estill who was killed during the Revolutionary War. [Monk Estill was the slave of James Estill, before becoming the first freed slave in Kentucky.] The county seat of Irvine was established in 1812, and is named for William Irvine who was wounded in 1782 during Estill's Defeat, also known as the Battle of Little Mountain. The county population in 1810 was 295 [heads of households], and it increased to 6,378 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 119 slave owners
  • 359 Black slaves
  • 52 Mulatto slaves
  • 1 free Black [Judy Wages]
  • 1 free Mulatto [Lucy Jones]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 132 slave owners
  • 379 Black slaves
  • 128 Mulatto slaves
  • 9 free Blacks [5 children with the last name Corner]
  • 7 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 446 Blacks
  • 152 Mulattoes
  • About 3 U.S. Colored Troops listed Estill County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Estill County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; History of Irvine and Estill County, Kentucky by E. C. Park; and Estill County, Kentucky: a pictorial history by Citizen Voice and Times.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county D-J]
Geographic Region: Estill County, Kentucky

Estill, Monk
Death Year : 1835
Monk Estill arrived in Kentucky in the 1770s as a slave and was later freed, the first freed slave in Kentucky. He made gunpowder at Boonesborough, KY. His son, Jerry, was the first African American born in Kentucky. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000 [electronic version available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server], and The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.

See depicted image and additional information about Monk Estill at Madison County Historical Society website.
Subjects: Businesses, Early Settlers, Freedom
Geographic Region: Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky

Eubanks, Charles Lamont [Eubanks v University of Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1924
In the fall of 1941, Eubanks, a 17-year old from Louisville, KY, was the plaintiff in the first Kentucky case the NAACP brought against a university. Eubanks had volunteered to be the subject in an attempt to integrate the University of Kentucky (UK); Eubanks was an honor student who had graduated from Central High School and applied for admission to the UK College of Engineering. His application was denied because Eubanks was an African American and the Kentucky Day Law did not permit African Americans and whites to attend the same schools. While the Eubanks' case was pending, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to establish a two year engineering course at the HCBU Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] for African American students seeking an engineering degree. Eubanks' counsel, Charles H. Houston and Thurgood Marshall, objected to the two-year makeshift engineering program and an amended complaint was filed with the Federal District Court in Lexington, with a request for $5,000 in damages. As the case dragged on, Eubanks suffered with depression, he was criticized for creating tension between Kentucky African Americans and whites, he was rejected from joining the Army, and his wife divorced him. Eubanks signed an affidavit asking that the case not be continued and the case was dismissed in 1945. Thurgood Marshall was disappointed at the outcome of the case. Charles W. Anderson blamed Kentucky State College President Atwood for weakening the case when he allowed the two-year engineering course to be created at the school. But in spite of all that happened, the Charles Eubanks v University of Kentucky case is still considered a landmark in the struggle for equal rights in higher education. For more see Making Civil Rights Law by M. V. Tushnet; Fifty Years of Segregation by J. Hardin; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright. See also Lyman T. Johnson, the case that desegregated the University of Kentucky.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Eubanks, Henry T.
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1913
Henry T. Eubanks, born in Stanford, KY, was elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 1903 and 1908. Prior to his election, he had worked as a waiter in Louisville, and several other cities, and he had a barber shop in Cleveland. He was the first African American vice president of the Ohio League of Republican Clubs. For more see H. T. Eubanks in The Biographical Annals of Ohio. 1902- by W. A. Taylor et al. [available full view at Google Book Search]; and A Ghetto Takes Shape by K. L. Kusmer.

See photo image of H. T. Eubanks on p.420 in The Biographical Annals of Ohio. 1902- by W. A. Taylor, at Google Books.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Waiters, Waitresses
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Evans, W. Leonard, Jr.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2007
Evans, born in Louisville, KY, was the son of William L., Sr. and Beatrice Evans. Evans Jr. was raised in Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1935. He was president and senior partner of the New York ad agency Evans and Durham, Inc., which specialized in the Negro market. Beginning in 1948, he was an account executive and supervisor for the Chicago advertising agency Arthur Meyerhoff Associates, Inc. He was president of the marketing consult firm, Leonard Evans Associates of Chicago, from 1951-1961. He was an advertising executive with Ebony and later helped co-found the National Negro Network (a radio network) in 1953. He was president of Chicago-based Tuesday Publications, Inc., publishers of Tuesday Magazine, founded in 1961, it is an insert in 22 major newspapers. The magazine focused on the positive contributions of African Americans. Evans retired in the 1970s and lived the remainder of his life in Arizona. For more, see "Tuesday publisher is Ad Club speaker," Milwaukee Star, 11/22/1969, p.7; The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; "William Leonard Evans, Jr." in The Negro Almanac; vol. 3 of the African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham; and T. Jensen, "W. Leonard Evans, Jr.: 1914-2007 - founded Tuesday Magazine, National Negro Network," Chicago Tribune, 06/27/2007, Metro section, p. 9.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Migration West, Radio
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Arizona

Evans, William D., II
Birth Year : 1899
Born in Louisville, KY, Evans was also known as Bill, Happy, and Gray Ghost. A versatile baseball player, he played center, right and left fields; shortstop; and third base. Tall and skinny, he was an outstanding defensive player. Evans had been a star on his high school football and baseball teams in Louisville. His baseball playing career began in 1924 and ended in 1934, after which Evans went on to manage the Chattanooga Black Lookouts and the North American Aviation teams. He was also a sportswriter for the Louisville News and founder of the Midwest Association of Coaches. For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Evans, William L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1886
Born in Louisville, KY, Evans received an A.B. from Fisk University in 1909, took advanced study at Columbia University, from 1910 to 1911, and earned his M.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1930. He was Industrial Secretary of the Chicago Urban League, 1919-1923, worked with Plato and Evans Architectural Firm, 1923-1927, and was executive secretary of the Buffalo Urban League, beginning in 1927. Evans had also been a teacher before moving to Buffalo. He was a member of the Buffalo Commission in the New York State Commission Against Discrimination. Evans was the author of three articles: "Federal Housing Brings Racial Segregation to Buffalo," "Race, Fear and Housing," and "The Negro Community in 1948." He was the father of W. Leonard Evans, Jr. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37 & 1950; and Strangers in the Land of Paradise, by L. S. Williams.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Architects, Education and Educators, Fathers, Migration North, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Urban Leagues, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Buffalo, New York

Ewing, Thomas H.
Birth Year : 1856
Death Year : 1930
Reverend Ewing was born in Kentucky just prior to the Civil War. He left Paducah, KY, and walked to Kansas City, MO, then moved on to Nebraska, where he earned his medical degree, graduating with honors. Ewing had a private medical practice and later returned to Kansas City in 1887 to become pastor of the Vine Street Baptist Church. The church had a small, poor, divided congregation, and the church property was indebted. Ewing helped get the church back in good standing and built a larger building. He directed his congregation toward savings plans; he organized an economics club and financial clubs to help members get their own homes and to invest in real estate. Vine Street Baptist Church became one of the largest African American Baptist churches in Kansas City, and more than 100 members owned their own homes. Ewing had also followed his own advice: he owned farms and other properties in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. He was the husband of Fannie Ewing, born 1857 in Kentucky, according to the 1855 Kansas State Census Collection, when the couple was living in Leavenworth with their 3 year old son. T. H. Ewing was referred to as the wealthiest Colored Baptist minister in the entire West. For more see Take Up the Black Man's Burden, by C. E. Coulter; and "T. H. Ewing" in Who's Who Among the Colored Baptists of the United States by S. W. Bacote.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri

Exum, William
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1988
William Exum, born in Illinois, was the first African American varsity football player at the University of Wisconsin. He was both an outstanding track star and student at Wisconsin, completing his bachelor's, master's, and doctorate. His father's family had originally come from Mississippi and Tennessee, and his maternal grandmother was from Kentucky, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. William Exum's family settled in Gary, Indiana; after he graduated from high school, he left Indiana to attend school in Wisconsin. In 1949 Exum was hired as head of the Kentucky State University (KSU) Physical Education Department and later was made head of the Athletics Department, sometimes coaching various sports teams. In 1964 he coached the KSU men's cross country team to an NCAA Division II championship. He was the manager of the United States Track and Field teams at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. In 1978 the National Association of College Directors of Athletics inducted him into the Hall of Fame. Exum retired from KSU in 1980. The William Exum Athletic Center at KSU was named in his honor in 1994. William Exum was the son of William (b.1868 in MS) and Ruth Exum (b.1876 in IL). For more see N. C. Bates, "Exum a great athlete and coach," Post-Tribune (IN), 02/06/2003, Neighbors section, p. B2.

See photo images and additional information at the website.

Access Interview Read about the William Exum oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Migration North, Track & Field, Migration East, Migration South, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Illinois / Mississippi / Tennessee / Gary, Indiana / Wisconsin / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky


[-- Return to search page --]