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Bacon, Louis
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1967
Bacon, a trumpeter and singer, was born in Louisville, KY, and reared in Chicago. He left Chicago to play with Zinky Cohn in Michigan and moved on to New York in 1928. He performed and recorded with Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, and Louis Armstrong. In 1938, he contracted tuberculosis and was forced to take a break from music. He returned in 1939 and toured Europe and recorded with Willis Lewis and Freddy Johnson. He returned to the United States in 1941. His lung problems returned, so he gave up playing the trumpet around 1947, although he played on occasion in the late 1950s. In his final years, he was an ambulance driver. Bacon's trumpet playing can be heard on a number of recordings, including Bessie Smith: the world's greatest blues singer; Cootie Williams and His Orchestra, 1941-1944; and I'm Shooting High. For more see "Louis Bacon" in the Oxford Music Online Database; and Louis Bacon at Answers.com.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / New York

Bacon, Mamie
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1950
Mamie Bacon was born in Shelbyville, KY, the daughter of John and Belle Howard. She was the organizer and founder of the Independent Sons and Daughters of America. Bacon was extremely active with a number of women's organizations, including the H. H. of Ruth, Good Samaritans, she was Past Grand Worthy Inspectrix and Grand Worthy Lecturer of Ohio Grand Court of Calanthe, and she served as Supreme Representative to the Biennial Session of the Supreme Court of Calanthe in Louisville, KY, in 1925. Mamie Bacon was the wife of H. Leonard Bacon, and the couple is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bailey, Doris
In 1973, Doris Bailey was the first African American and first woman to be hired by the city of Columbia, KY. Bailey was a meter maid with the police department. For more see Human Rights News, July 1973, p. [2]. See online article "Doris Bailey likes her job" at ColumbiaMagazine.com.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky

Bailey, James W., Jr.
In 1985, James W. Bailey, Jr. became the first African American elected to the West District Magistrate of the Simpson County, KY, Fiscal Court. For more see "Kentucky's only black sheriff in Christian County," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 17.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Simpson County, Kentucky

Bailey, John S.
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1892
John S. Bailey, the husband of Julia Frances Bailey, was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Racine, WI. He was born in Kentucky, and moved to Indiana where he married Julia in 1851. By 1857, the couple lived in Racine, where John owned a barber shop. They were two among the 92 African Americans living in Racine, Wisconsin in 1860, and there were several from Kentucky. John's barbering business was a success and he was able to hire others to work for him, including white barbers. Bailey's barber shop was located in the basement of the American Bank in Racine. He had a home built for his family at 1124 Wisconsin Avenue. His daughter Florence (b.1860) is thought to have been the first Colored student and graduate of Racine High School. Bailey's two sons, George S. (b.1865) and William H. (b.1869), were in the barbering business with their father. Julia Bailey's parents were from Kentucky, they had migrated to Indiana where Julia was born in 1833. A few years after John Bailey's death in 1892, his entire family moved to Fulton, Washington and are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census: Julia was a dressmaker, no occupation was listed for Florence, and George and William were barbers. By 1910, Julia and her sons lived in Seattle, WA. George and William owned a barbershop. Julia Bailey is sometimes listed as Mulatto or white in the census records. By 1920, she is no longer listed, and George and William are still single, they live together, and still own their barbershop. It is not known if their father, John Bailey, was ever a slave in Kentucky. For more see "History: the John S. Bailey family," Milwaukee Star, 11/28/1970, p.6.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Racine, Wisconsin / Seattle, Washington

Baker, Bettye F.
The following information comes from Dr. Bettye F. Baker, a native of Louisville, KY, who lived on South Western Parkway; the family home was built by Samuel Plato. Dr. Baker was a member of the first African American Girl Scout Troop in Louisville, Troop 108. The troop leader, Ms. Sarah Bundy, lived in the 27th Street block of Chestnut Street. Dr. Baker was the first African American to represent Kentucky at the Girl Scout National Encampment in Cody, Wyoming, and the first African American president of the Kentucky State Girl Scout Conference. She won 3rd prize in the Lion's Club essay contest, "Why I love America," in 1951, but was denied entry into the Brown Hotel to receive her prize at the Lion's Club luncheon. The luncheon was moved to the Seelbach Hotel so that Dr. Baker could receive her prize [see Time article online]. Dr. Baker was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Louisville (U of L), where she earned her undergraduate degree. She was the first African American voted into the U of L Home Coming Queen's Court in 1958. She earned her doctorate in educational administration at Columbia University, her dissertation title is The Changes in the Elementary Principals' Role as a Result of Implementing the Plan to Revise Special Education in the State of New Jersey. Dr. Baker is the author of What is Black? and has published a number of articles, poems, and two juvenile novels that are currently in-print. Her most recent book, Hattie's Decision, will be published in 2010. Dr. Baker has been a columnist with Vineyard Gazette since 2005, she writes the Oak Bluffs column, opinion, and book reviews, all under the byline Bettye Foster Baker. Dr. Baker lives in Pennsylvania. See "Kentucky: sweet land of liberty," Time, 04/16/1951. For more information contact Dr. Bettye F. Baker.

See photo image of Dr. Bettye F. Baker by Gettysburg College, a flikr site.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cody, Wyoming / Pennsylvania

Baker, Charles
Baker was born in Millersburg, KY. He was the first African American member of the Millersburg City Council, elected in 1975 and re-elected in 1977. For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 21.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Baker, Charles William
Birth Year : 1941
Charles W. Baker was the second African American to serve as a Jefferson County, KY police officer, [the first was William Parker Mitchell]. In 1977, Charles William Baker filed a discrimination lawsuit in the Federal District Court against Chief Edgar Helm, the Jefferson County Police Executive Board, and the Jefferson County Police Merit Board. The lawsuit was in response to the failure to hire and promote African American police officers within the Jefferson County Police Department. The case was handled by attorney Juanita Logan Christian with support from the Urban League [Juanita L. Christian had a private law practice in Louisville and now practices law in Michigan]. The suit was settled with a ten year consent decree that would increase the number of African American police officers hired and promoted, and open the rank for assistant chief. Though Charles W. Baker scored the highest on the exam for the promotion, he was still denied rank, and retired from the Jefferson County Police Department in 1982. Charles W. Baker was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Helen Keeylen Baker and Thomas Baker. He is a graduate of Male High School in Louisville; earned his associate degree and bachelor's degree in business administration while enlisted in the U.S. Marines; and earned his M.S. in political science at Eastern Kentucky University. He was a police officer in Washington D. C., and transferred to the City of Louisville Police Department in 1968. Baker transferred to the Jefferson County Police Department in 1972, he was hired by Chief Russell McDaniel. The lawsuit filed by Baker, and the consent decree signed by County Judge Mitchell McConnell, opened the door for more African American officers to be hired in Kentucky, and other southern states followed Kentucky's lead. In the Jefferson County Police Department, the first African American woman officer was Jackie Dulan, and Carol Hickman was the third woman officer to be hired. Information for this entry was provided by Charles W. Baker during a phone interview on February 14, 2012. For more information see, Charles W. Baker, et al., v. County of Jefferson et al., Case No. C-80-8039(L)(A) and the consent decree at the U.S. District Clerk of Court in Louisville, KY.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police, Urban Leagues, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Baker, David
Birth Year : 1881
Born in Louisville, KY, Baker invented scales that were used in elevators to prevent overloading. He was also co-inventor of the streetcar transom opener in 1913, the high water indicator for bridges in 1915, and a number of other inventions. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and The Pride of African American History: inventors, scientists, physicians, engineers..., by D. Wilson and J. Wilson.
Subjects: Inventors
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Baker, Frederic Lee "Fred"
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2001
Fred L. Baker was the head chef for the U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. He was responsible for all meals served on Air Force One from 1968-1974 [source: S. Thompson, "Fred Baker, who once cooked diners for presidents, now serves meals to his daughter, Shana Marie," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/29/1984, p.E1]. Fred Baker retired in 1974 when President Nixon's term ended. He had been a cook in the Air Force for 23 years prior to cooking for U.S. presidents. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was also a cook at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Leestown Road in Lexington, KY for a decade; a part-time limousine driver; and worked for a produce company [source: S. Thompson, "Pie in the sky: chef catered to presidents," 11/01/1996, p.18]. Fred Baker learned to cook while he was enlisted; he attended cooking school at Fort Knox, KY, and graduated 3rd highest in his class. Frederic L. Baker was born in Lee (Jessamine County), KY, the son of Mary and Henry Baker [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. He died July 17, 2001 and is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Jessamine County.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Military & Veterans, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lee, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Baker, Houston A., Jr.
Birth Year : 1943
Houston Baker, born in Louisville, KY, is a distinguished essayist, poet, and activist-scholar. Baker is a graduate of Howard University and the University of California-Los Angeles. He has received numerous awards, including the 2003 J. B. Hubell Award for lifetime achievement in the study and teaching of American Literature. Author of more than 20 books and many, many more articles, he has been editor of Black Literature in America and editor of the journal American Literature. For more see Houston Baker in the video Roots and First Fruit; The African American Almanac, and Directory of American Scholars.

  See Houston A. Baker, Jr. webpage at Vanderbilt Univeristy.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Poets
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Baker, McHouston "Mickey"
Birth Year : 1925
Mickey Baker, born in Louisville, KY, spent his younger years in orphanages and learned to play music in school bands. In 1940, he ran away to New York. Baker is a guitarist who has played on hundreds of recording sessions, including those of Ray Charles and Ivory Joe Hunter. Some of his songs are Animal Farm, Baker's Dozen, Hey Little Girl, and Love is Strange. His album Wildest Guitar was released in 2003. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; and Mickey Baker at the allmusic website. View 1962 video of Mickey Baker, "What'd I Say" at Ina.fr.

Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Ball, Richard
Birth Year : 1874
Richard Ball was an amateur cyclist from Louisville, KY. He was one of the competing African American cyclist in Kentucky, and said to be one of the fastest. In 1899, he went to Indianapolis to compete in a race. Ball was employed as a waiter at the Galt House Hotel [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1898, p.116]. Richard Ball was born in Tennessee, the son of Mary Ellis, and he was the husband of Maggie Ball [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. His past time as a cyclist, then called a wheelman, was not a main source of income for Richard Ball. In Louisville, colored wheelmen belonged to the Union Cycle Club, said to be the largest African American cycling club in the South [source: Ethnicity, Sport, Identity edited by J. A. Mangan and A. Ritchie, p.20]. Colored wheelmen were barred from membership and from participating in events sponsored by the Louisville Wheelmen, and from membership to the League of American Wheelmen (L. A. W.). The color line was an issue that came up at the biannual 1894 L. A. W. Convention held in Louisville, KY; Louisville attorney, Colonel William W. Watts, put forth the motion that would limit L. A. W. membership to whites only. The vote was split 108 for, 101 against, but a two thirds majority was need, so the motion was brought forward the following year and it passed. In June of 1894, the L. A. W. chairman explained that the vote had only denied Colored wheelmen membership, not the right to participate in L. A. W. sponsored races, nor did it impact a cyclist's amateur status. For more see Richard Ball in the column "Spokes from a wheel" on p.2 of the Indianapolis Recorder, 06/17/1899; Highway History: The Road to Civil Rights, The League of American Wheelmen, a Federal Highway Administration website; and "Colored wheelmen may race," The Roanoke Times, 06/15/1894, p.2 [article available online at Chronicling America].
Subjects: Migration North, Bicycles, Cyclist, Cycling, Wheelmen
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ball, William Baton
Birth Year : 1839
Death Year : 1923
Ball, a former slave, was born in Danville, KY, and graduated from Oberlin College. He served in the U.S. Army, 99th Division, 149th Regiment, and later moved to Texas, where in 1871 he formed a reserve militia, 25th Regiment Company K in Seguin, Guadalupe County. That same year, Ball and Leonard Ilsley, a white minister, established Abraham Lincoln School, the first school for African Americans in Guadalupe County. He also helped found the Negro Baptist College. Ball also served as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Seguin. A street and a school in Seguin were named in his honor. For more see William B. Ball, by N. Thompson, at The Handbook of Texas Online website; Ball Early Childhood Center website; and A Sure Foundation, by A. W. Jackson.
See William Baton Ball photo images at Southern Methodist University CUL Digital Collections.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Seguin, Texas

Ballard County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Ballard County, located in western Kentucky, was established in 1842 from parts of Hickman and McCracken Counties. The county was named after Captain Bland Ballard, a District Court Judge and member of the Kentucky Legislature. Wickliffe was voted the county seat of Ballard County in 1882. The first U.S. Federal Census for Ballard County was taken in 1850 when 4,654 persons were counted, excluding slaves. Below are the figures for slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 190 slave owners
  • 646 Black slaves
  • 195 Mulatto slaves
  • 6 free Blacks
  • 19 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 336 slave owners
  • 1,132 Black slaves
  • 585 Mulatto slaves
  • 7 free Blacks
  • 24 free Mulattoes
Note: The 1850 population for Ballard County (given above) is lower than that provided at Ballard County, Kentucky, Free Black and Mulatto Residents. by Kathleen Hill. Additional information about the free Black and Mulatto families can be found at this website.

1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 979 Blacks
  • 483 Mulattoes
  • About 30 U.S. Colored Troops listed Ballard County, KY, as their birth location
For more see the Ballard County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. Kleber; and Ballard and Carlisle Counties History, by Ballard-Carlisle Historical and Genealogical Society.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Ballard County, Kentucky

Ballard, John and Amanda
John (1830-1905) and Amanda Ballard (b. 1840-died before 1900) were the first African Americans to settle in the hills above Malibu; the site, Negrohead Mountain [a refined version of the name], was named in recognition of the Ballards early pioneering presence in the area. There was an effort underway to rename the peak Ballard Mountain. John Ballard, a former slave from Kentucky, was a blacksmith, a teamster, and a firewood salesman. He was a free man when the family arrived in Los Angeles in 1859. John was able to earn enough money to purchase 320 acres near Seminole Hot Springs, and the family later moved near Santa Monica. John helped found the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles; the services were first held in 1872 in the home of co-founder Biddy Mason. Mason, like Ballard, had been a former slave; she won her freedom, along with 13 others, in an 1856 California court case. Mason settled in the city of Los Angeles. It is not known how John Ballard gained his freedom. When the Ballards moved to their mountain home, the family was sometimes harassed; their house was burnt down in an attempt to run them out of the area, but the Ballards refused to leave. John, and Amanda, who was born in Texas, first appear in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. The couple had seven children according to the 1870 Census, all of whom were born in California. By 1900, John Ballard was a widow and his daughter Alice, who was a nurse, and two grandsons, were living with him. For more see Happy Days in Southern California, by F. H. Rindge [John Ballard is not referred to by name but rather as an "old colored neighbor"]; Heads and Tails -- and Odds and Ends, by J. H. Russell; B. Pool, "Negrohead Mountain might get new name," Los Angeles Times, 02/24/2009, Domestic News section; and R. McGrath, "Santa Monica peak renamed Ballard Mountain," Ventura County Star, 10/07/2009, Local section. For more on Biddy Mason see The Power of Place, by D. Hayden.

See video about John Ballard and the naming of Ballard Mountain, "Local activists responsible for 'Negrohead' Mountian name change," a thegriot.com/NBC News website.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Los Angeles, California

Ballard, William H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1954
William Henry Ballard, born in Franklin County, KY, was one of the first African Americans to open a drug store in the state: Ballard's Pharmacy was established in Lexington, KY, in 1893. Ballard was also a historian; he is the author of History of Prince Hall Freemasonry in Kentucky, published in 1950. He came to Lexington when he was 17 years old, having previously lived in Louisville where he graduated from a public school. He was also a graduate of Roger Williams University [in TN]. Ballard was a school teacher in Tennessee and in Kentucky. He earned his B.S. in Pharm., D. in 1892 in Evanston, IL. In addition to owning his own drug store, Ballard was also director of Domestic Realty Company, and president of Greenwood Cemetery Company, both in Lexington. He served as president of the Emancipation and Civic League, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1898. He was the son of Matilda Bartlett Ballard and Dowan Ballard, Sr. He was married to Bessie H. Brady Ballard, and the couple had six children. Their oldest son, William H. Ballard, Jr. was a pharmacist in Chicago, and two of their sons were physicians. William H. Ballard is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY [photo]. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; W. H. Ballard, "Drugs and druggists," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 186-189; and Dr. William Henry Ballard, Sr. in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ballew, Joseph S.
Birth Year : 1857
Joseph S. Ballew was one of the first African American police officers in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a South Omaha patrolman, having joined the Omaha Police Department on June 21, 1915 [source: Omaha Memories, by E. R. Morearty]. Joseph Ballew was born in Pulaski County, KY. The family name is spelled a number of ways in the U.S. Census, and Joseph's last name is spelled "Blew" in the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments and in the book, On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert. The Ballew family was living in Mt. Gilead, KY, in 1870, according to the U.S. Census, and three years later, Joseph Ballew enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served with the 9th Cavalry until his discharge at Camp Bettens, WY, in 1892. He settled in Omaha, NE, and worked as a laborer prior to becoming a patrolman. Ballew was the husband of Dora Ballew, whom he married in 1896. Joseph Ballew's race is listed inconsistently in the census: Black, White, and/or Mulatto. He is listed in the Omaha City Directory as Colored. On September 28, 1919, the Omaha Race Riot occurred. Will Brown, who was Black, was accused of attacking Agnes Loebeck, who was white. Brown was taken from jail by a mob and brutally killed: his body was burned. There were other deaths unrelated to Brown and Loebeck. When calm was restored to the city, the Omaha Police Department was criticized for what was perceived as a lack of effort to prevent the deaths and rioting. Two of the police officers on duty during the rioting were Black [source: see "Omaha" in Race Riots and Resistance, by J. Voogd]. More about the riot can be found online at NebraskaStudies.org.
Subjects: Lynchings, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Mt. Gilead, Pulaski County, Kentucky / Omaha, Nebraska

Banks, Anna B. Simms
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1923
Annie B. Simms Banks was a school teacher in Louisville and later lived in Winchester, KY. In 1920, when women voted in the presidential election for the first time, it was reported that Banks was the first African American female fully-credited delegate at the 7th Congressional District Republican Convention (KY). Part of the delegation from Clark County, Banks was appointed a member of the Rules Committee. According to author Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Banks' political position was a first for African American women in the South because in Kentucky there was not the fear of a voter takeover by African American women. Anna Simms Banks was born near or in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Isabella and Marcus or Marquis Simms who was a barber [source: 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. She was the wife of William Webb Banks. For more see "Kentucky Woman in Political Arena," Cleveland Advocate, 03/20/1920, p. 1; and African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote, 1850-1920, by R. Terborg-Penn [picture on page 149].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Banks, Charles Anthony, Sr. [Kentucky Trojans Basketball Team]
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2004
The Kentucky Trojans were a semi-pro basketball team in Lynch, KY, coached by Charles A. Banks, Sr. in the mid to late 1940s. The trainer was George "Piggy" Smith. Little is known about African American semi-pro basketball teams in Kentucky prior to the 1960s. Charles A. Banks, Sr. was born in Greenville, GA, the son of Flora Martin and Frank Banks. By 1930, the family had moved to Lynch, KY, they lived on Fifth Street, and Frank Banks was a coal loader in the coal mines, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Charles Banks attended school in Lynch and was the valedictorian of his 1937 high school graduating class. He would become a coal miner with U.S. Steel. Charles A. Banks moved to Youngstown, OH, in 1951. He was a foreman with U.S. Steel for 32 years. For more see "Charles Anthony Banks, Sr., 84," The Vindicator, 10/23/2004, p.9; and see the photo image of the Kentucky Trojans basketball team at the Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections.

Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Greenville, Georgia / Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky / Youngstown, Ohio

Banks, Johnella Barksdale
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 1990
Banks was born in Hopkinsville, KY, and reared in Detroit, MI. She was a graduate of Wayne State University (BA), Provident Hospital School of Nursing (Chicago), Boston University (MA), and Catholic University (Ph.D.). Banks was a nursing faculty member at Howard University and lived in Silver Spring, MD. She is considered one of the African American nurses who achieved greatness: her career is included in the written history of Black nurses. Banks was a past president of the National Black Nurses Association of the Greater Washington Area. The Johnella Banks Memorial Scholarship was named in her honor, and the Johnella Banks Member Achievement Award is presented by the Association of Black Nursing Faculty, Inc. For more see "Johnella Banks, 61, Howard professor," The Washington Times, 12/12/1990, Metropolitan section, p. B4; and Johnella B. Banks in The Color of Healing; a history of the achievements of Black nurses, by B. F. Morton.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Nurses
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Silver Spring, Maryland

Banks, Wendell
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 2003
Wendell Banks was born in Ashland, KY, the son of Lawrence and Flora Johnson Banks. In 1984 he was the first African American elected to the Ashland City Commission and thereafter was continuously re-elected until 1991. Banks had been employed as a manager at Armco Steel Corp. He later became president of Ashland Community College. For more see "49 blacks serve on city councils," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 19; "Two Ex-Mayors Win," Lexington Herald Leader, 11/09/1983, p. A1; and "Wendell Banks, 74, Ashland Civic Leader," Lexington Herald Leader, 06/30/2003, Obituaries, p. 4.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky

Banks, William Venoid
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1985
In 1975, William V. Banks, born in Geneva, KY, was the first African American to own and operate a television station in the United States, WGPR-TV in Detroit, MI. He also became the owner, in 1964, of the first black radio station in Detroit, WGPR-FM. Banks was a graduate of Lincoln Institute, Wayne State University (1926), and the Detroit College of Law (1929) [now Michigan State University College of Law]. He also became an ordained minister after completing his studies at the Detroit Baptist Seminary in 1949. Banks founded the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons and Eastern Star, serving as its supreme president. He also founded the Universal Barber College and the International School of Cosmetology in 1957. A biography of Banks' life, A Legacy of Dreams, was written by S. T. Gregory. For more see "Founder of 1st black-owned TV station dies," United Press International, 08/26/1985, Domestic News section.

See photo image of William V. Banks on p.23 of Jet, December 30, 1985-January 6, 1986.
Subjects: Barbers, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Lawyers, Migration North, Radio, Religion & Church Work, Television, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Geneva, Henderson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Banks, William Webb
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1928
William Webb Banks, who was born in Winchester, KY, was a correspondent for both white and African American newspapers. Banks issued the first call for the organization of Negro businesses in Kentucky. He made a formal protest before the Kentucky Legislature on the anti-separate coach movement. Banks was very politically active in Kentucky and beyond; in 1891, he was the Republican Party candidate for recorder in the U.S. Land Office in Washington. He had also been the commissioner to the Emancipation Exhibition held in 1913 in New York, and he was a delegate to the Half-Century Anniversary Celebration of Negro Freedom held in Chicago in 1915. Banks was the son of Patrick and Catherine Banks, and he was the husband of Anna B. Simms Banks. He was a janitor when he died September 14, 1928 in a hospital in Winchester, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No.194]. For more see the William Webb Banks entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915 [available full view at Google Book Search].

 

  See photo image of William Web Banks, botton right, on p.163 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Bannister, Frank T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 1986
Bannister, at one time a schoolteacher in Louisville, KY, later became a pollster with Jet magazine, compiling African American college football and basketball polls. Bannister was also a broadcaster who in 1976 became the first African American closed-circuit announcer for a heavy-weight championship fight: Muhammad Ali vs Ken Norton. He was selected for the job by Top Rank Inc. executives Robert Arum and Butch Lewis. Bannister, who had taught Ali when he was a student in Louisville, was a sportswriter and commentator. He was born in Roanoke, VA, and was a graduate of Tuskegee University, and earned a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts. For more see "Jet pollster Bannister to call Ali-Norton fight," Jet, vol. 51, issue 2 (09/30/1976), p. 52; and "Frank Bannister, 54 dies; sportscaster, educator," Jet, vol. 71, issue 8 (11/10/1986), p. 18.
See photo image of Frank T. Bannister, Jr. in Jet.
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Television
Geographic Region: Roanoke, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Baptist Women's Educational Convention
Start Year : 1883
African American Baptist women in Kentucky gathered in 1883 to develop an organization dedicated to raising funds to support Simmons University in Louisville, KY. Simmons was the first higher education institution in Kentucky specifically for African Americans. The meeting was named the Baptist Women's Educational Convention, and Amanda V. Nelson, a member of the First Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, was elected president. The convention was the first state-wide organization of African American Baptist women in the United States. Most of the members were teachers who came from practically every African American Baptist Church in the state. Following the lead in Kentucky, an Alabama women's Baptist educational organization was formed next, and the trend continued in other states during the last two decades of the century. For more see Righteous Discontent, by E. B. Higginbotham.

See photo image of Baptist Women's Educational Convention Board on p.139 in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Barber, Paul Peter
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1929
Barber was born in Louisville, KY, the child of slaves. His last name was Smith until he was 4 years old, when Barber was sold to Philetus Swift Barber. On the Barber Farm in Bardstown, KY, Paul learned to train, ride, race, and care for the horses. He went to Ottawa, Canada, around 1885, one of the first African Americans to become a permanent resident of Ottawa. In 1892 he married Elizabeth Brown, a white woman twenty years younger than he. Their marriage is thought to have been the first interracial marriage in Ottawa. They had five children: Paul Jr., John (Jack), Joe, Tom, and Mary. Paul Barber, Sr. supported his family with wages from his job as a horse trainer. When the automobile replaced the horse, Barber worked as a laborer for the city of Ottawa. For more see T. Barber, "The Kentucky gentleman was a pioneer black resident," The Ottawa Citizen (newspaper), 02/05/2001, p. D4.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Ottawa, Canada

Barbers (Louisville, KY)
Mention of the following African American barbers in Louisville, KY, can be found in The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. : Washington Spradling, David Straws, Henry Cozzens, John Morris, Alexander Morris, Jr., Alexander Morris, Sr., Shelton Morris, Theodore Sterritt, Nathan B. Rogers, J. C. N. Fowles, and Austin Hubbard.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Barbour, James Bernie
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1936
J. Bernie Barbour was born in Danville, KY, and it was thought that he died in New York. Barbour actually died in Chicago, IL, on April 11, 1936 [his name is misspelled as "Bernie Barfour" on the death certificate ref# rn11543], and his burial is noted with Central Plant Ill. Dem. Assn. Barbour was an 1896 music education graduate of Simmons University (KY), and he graduated from the Schmoll School of Music (Chicago) in 1899. Both he and N. Clark Smith founded a music publishing house in Chicago in 1903; it may have been the first to be owned by African Americans. Barbour also worked with other music publishing companies, including the W. C. Handy Music Company. He was a music director, and he played piano and sang in vaudeville performances and in nightclubs and toured with several groups. He composed operas such as Ethiopia, and spirituals such as Don't Let Satan Git You On De Judgment Day. He assisted in writing music for productions such as I'm Ready To Go and wrote the Broadway production, Arabian Knights Review. Barbour also organized the African American staff of Show Boat. J. Bernie Barbour was the son of Morris and Nicey Snead Barbour. He was the husband of Anna Maria Powers, they married May 29, 1909 in Seattle, WA [source: Washington Marriage Record Return #15629]. According to the marriage record, Anna M. Powers was a white or colored musician from New York. For more see Profiles of African American Stage Performers and Theatre People, 1816-1960, by B. L. Peterson; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-1929; and "J. Berni Barbour" in Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, by E. Southern.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / New York, New York / Chicago, Illinois

Barbourville (KY) Republican County Committee, Colored Members
Start Year : 1908
Before adjourning the August 1908 County Committee meeting, held in the Barbourville courthouse, William B. Dizney offered a resolution to admit two African Americans to the committee with full power to vote and act upon all subjects. Judge T. T. Wyatt opposed the resolution, but since he was not a member of the committee, the resolution was accepted. The two men, William Beard (1849-1945) and Clay Patton (1854-1944) became the first African American members of the Barbourville Republican County Committee. William Beard is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census as a 60 year old mulatto who lived in Poplar Creek, KY. He was a farmer, the husband of Martha Beard, and the son of Tom and Lila Coffman Beard, according to his death certificate. Clay Patton was also a farmer, he lived in Flat Lick, KY, according to his death certificate. He was the son of Arthur Patton and Elizabeth Arthur Patton. For more see "County Committee," Mountain Advocate, 08/07/1908, p.1.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Barbourville, Poplar Creek, Flat Lick, all in Knox County, Kentucky

The Barclays
Arthur Barclay (1854-1938) served as Secretary of State and was the 14th President of Liberia, Africa from 1904-1912. He changed the term of office from two years to four years and was re-elected three times. His nephew, Edwin J. Barclay (1883-1955) completed the term of President C. D. B. King. Edwin was the 17th president of Liberia and had the term of office changed from four years to eight years; he was re-elected twice. Edwin and his successor were the first African heads of states to be invited to the U.S. [by President F. D. Roosevelt]. Edwin Barclay's visit to the White House marked the first time journalists from African American weekly newspapers were assigned to the White House to cover a diplomatic visit. The Barclay family had been politically active in Liberia since the end of the 1800s; Ernest J. Barclay (d. 1894), had served as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Secretary of State, both in Liberia. Ernest and Arthur were the sons and Edwin was the grandson of former Kentucky slaves who left the U.S. during the Civil War. The family stopped in Barbados where Edwin Barclay's father Ernest, and his uncle Arthur, were born. They were two of the many children of Anthony and Sarah Barclay. In 1865, the family moved to Africa. They were among the 300 West Indians migrating to Liberia, most of whom were from the British West Indies. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd ed., by M. R. Lipschutz and R. K. Rasmussen; The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich; "2 Presidents in one family," Baltimore Afro-American, 06/05/1943, p.3; Liberia by H. H. Johnston and O. Stapf [v.2 available online at Google Book Search]; and "Negro guest in White House," The Sunday Morning Star, 04/04/1943, p.24.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Barbados, Caribbean / Liberia, Africa

Bardo, Stephen "Steve"
Birth Year : 1968
Stephen Bardo, born in Henderson, KY, was a noted shooting guard at Carbondale High School (IL) and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Bardo, at 6'5", scored just over 900 points and had 495 assists during his college career, 1986-1990. His team went to the final four in 1989. He was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 1989. He was the 14th pick by the Atlanta Hawks during the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft. Bardo played for the San Antonio Spurs, the Dallas Mavericks, for the Continental Basketball Association, and the Detroit Pistons. He retired from the NBA in 2000, and is a motivational speaker, a sports broadcaster, and also was a sports analyst with CBS Sports and ESPN. For more see Steve Bardo in Basketball-Reference.com; the podcast with Stephen Bardo on The Will Leitch Experience, Episode 2.64, 11/07/2013, at Sports on Earth (SoE); and The Flyin' Illini by Stephen Bardo and Dick Vitale.

 

  See photo image of Steve Bardo and former team members in L. H. Bardo, "Taking Flight," in the Illinois Alumni Magazine, September-October 2004.
Subjects: Authors, Basketball
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois

Bardstown Slaves: Amputation and Louisiana Sugar Plantations
Start Year : 1806
Dr. Walter Brashear, from Kentucky by way of Maryland, was owner of four sugar plantations in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. Brashear was a Kentucky slave owner who had grown up in Bullitt County, KY, practiced medicine in Nelson County, KY, and served one term in the Kentucky Legislature in 1808. He performed the world's first successful amputation at the hip joint in 1806. The procedure was done on a 17 year old mulatto slave of the St. Joseph monks in Bardstown, KY; the boy had a badly fractured leg. In spite of the medical notoriety Brashear received, he found that practicing medicine did not generate the profit he wanted. By 1822, Brashear had left medicine and moved his wife, Margaret Barr, their family, and most of their slaves to Louisiana, where Brashear developed sugar plantations. Eli, a brickmaker and distiller, was one of the 25 or so slaves who had arrived in advance of the Brashear family. Three of the slaves were sold shortly after they arrived in Louisiana; Brashear was short of money. The youngest and most skilled of his slaves in Nelson County had been taken to Louisiana, and added to the group were slaves he bought or bartered from family members and his Nelson County neighbors. The first group of slaves were transported by steamboat, and the remainder arrived by flatboat. Brashear would eventually become a wealthy man, but not before the death of his wife, most of his children, and some of the slaves, who died of fevers and cholera. For more see Sweet Chariot, by A. P. Malone; Brashear and Florence Family Papers at the Library of UNC at Chapel Hill; and a discussion of the hip joint surgery on page 646 of The Medical News, vol. LXIII (July-December 1893) [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration South
Geographic Region: Bullitt County, Kentucky / Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / St. Mary Parish, Louisiana

Barker, Samuel Lorenzo
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1971
According to the Kentucky Birth Records, Professor S. L. Barker was born in Christian County, KY, the son of Ellin Sumers? and Bob Barker. [Tennessee is also given as his birth location in the Census Records.] Barker is best remembered as an education leader. In Owensboro, KY, he was a school teacher and principal of Dunbar School, and he became principal of Western High School in 1934. He was a long-time member and leader in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA), first serving as assistant secretary in 1916. He was the 2nd District organizer for the Association of Colored Teachers beginning in 1925. He was the KNEA reporter in 1928, served on the Board of Directors 1930-1935, and was president of the board 1939-1940. He chaired the Legislative Committee in 1933, ran unsuccessfully for president of the association in 1935 and 1937, and in 1939 successfully became president of KNEA, serving 1939-1941. He also served on the Kentucky governor's committee for higher education for Negroes in 1940. Professor S. L. Barker served on various KNEA committees until the organization was subsumed by the Kentucky Education Association in 1956. In his political life, Barker served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention from Kentucky in 1952. S. L. Barker was the husband of Callie Coleman Barker (b. 1878 in TN), who was a teacher and seamstress. They were the parents of nine children, one of whom was Roberta L. Barker Woodard, who is listed in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al. For more on Samuel Barker see the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, 1916-1952. For more on the Second District Association of Colored Teachers of Kentucky see "Colored Column" in The Bee, 12/05/1911, p. 2. Both sources are available full-text at the Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Christian County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Barlow, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1940
In 1974, Charles H. Barlow was chosen as Citizen of the Year in Morgantown, KY. He was the first African American to serve in an elected office in Butler County, KY; in 1973 he was elected a Morgantown City Council Member and re-elected in 1975 [source: "Area voting: Keith edges Lamastus in Butler judge race," Daily News, 11/02/1975, p.80]. According to information from the Morgantown Mayor's Office, Barlow served as a city council member until 1990. He also served with the Butler County Jaycees and was on the advisory council of the Green River Boys Camp. Charles H. Barlow was born in Hart County, KY, according to the Kentucky Birth Index, and moved to Butler County in the 1960s. This entry was submitted by Roger Givens.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Hart County, Kentucky / Morgantown, Butler County, Kentucky

Barlow, William D.
Barlow, from Summer Shade, KY, was a caretaker and Baptist minister. In 1970 he became the first African American elected to office in Metcalfe County, serving as a constable. For more see Kentucky Black Elected Officials Directory [1970], p. 3, col. B, published by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Summer Shade, Metcalfe County, Kentucky

Barnes, Margaret Elizabeth Sallee
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1947
Margaret E. S. Barnes, born in Monticello, KY, later moved to Oberlin, OH. She was editor of the Girl's Guide and of the Queens' Gardens, official publication of the Ohio Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. The organization was developed in the early 1930s by Barnes, who also served as the president. Barnes also was in charge of a million dollar drive for funds at Wilberforce University; in 1939 she had been appointed a trustee at Wilberforce by Ohio Governor John Bricker. A building on the campus was named in her honor and Barnes received an honorary doctor of humanties degree. She was a leader among African American women in the Republican Party and was a delegate-at-large for the Republican State Convention in 1940. The Margaret Barnes Welfare Club, established in 1930, was named in her honor. The club belonged to both the national and the Ohio Federation of Colored Women's Clubs. One of the organization's efforts was to provided college scholarships for the outstanding African American student in the graduating class at Elyria [Ohio] High School. The Margaret Barnes Welfare Club was the oldest African American women's club in Elyria and was still functioning in the 1990s. Margaret E. Barnes was a 1900 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], and taught school for four years in Harrodsburg, KY, before marrying James D. Barnes and moving to Oberlin, OH, in 1904. She was the mother of five children, one of whom was Margaret E. Barnes Jones. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1941-44; Records of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1895-1992, part 1, ed. by L. S. Williams (.pdf); and C. Davis, "Barnes club helps black youngsters achieve goals," Chronicle Telegram, 06/05/1990, p.9.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Mothers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky / Oberlin, Ohio

Barnes, Shelby D., "Pike"
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1908
Shelby D. "Pike" Barnes was inducted into the National Museum of Racing's Hall of Fame in 2011. He was born in Beaver Dam, KY, the son of Joseph Barnes and Susan Austin Barnes [source: Ohio County Marriage Record, for Shelby D. Barnes]. Pike Barnes became a jockey when he was 14 years old. Barnes had a number of noted achievements in the racing industry. In 1888, he won the first race of the Futurity aboard Proctor Knott. The win was one of his 206 victories in 1888, a record number of wins by a jockey in the United States for one year. Barnes also had the most wins in 1889 with 170. Barnes would go on to win other big races such as the Belmont Stakes, but he soon gave up racing. In 1891, Barnes owned a farm in Beaver Dam, KY and was contemplating whether he would ride again [source: "Epitome of horsemen," Freeman, 11/14/1891, p. 2]. In 1908, Barnes was part owner of a saloon in Columbus, OH, when he died from consumption (tuberculosis). The Paragraphic News column in the Washington Bee, 01/18/1908, p. 1, noted that "[i]t is reported that Shelby Barnes, better known as "Pike" Barnes, died without any money, not withstanding he won $100,000 as a jockey." He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as "Pike Barnes," the husband of Mary Barnes, a cook, who was born in August of 1873 in Kentucky. Her previous name was Mary C. Pennman; she had been married to James Pennman prior to marrying Shelby Barnes [source: Ohio County Marriage Records]. The couple married in 1897 and lived on E. Elm Street in Columbus, OH, according to the 1900 Census. Their marriage certificate is dated June 16, 1906. For more see T. Genaro, "Shelby Pike Barnes to join the racing Hall of Fame on August 12," The Saratogian, 08/05/2011, Sports section; and "Reported death of Pike Barnes," Daily Racing Form, 01/15/1908, p. 1.

See photo image of Shelby D. "Pike " Barnes and additional information at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Beaver Dam, Ohio County, Kentucky / Columbus, Ohio

Barnes, William
Birth Year : 1856
William Barnes was a career serviceman who was born in Carter County, KY. He was referred to as a "noble soldier" in a 1903 newspaper biography. Barnes enlisted in the U.S. Army 24th Infantry in Indianapolis, IN, on March 5, 1878, according to the Register of Enlistments. He had been working as a blast fireman prior to his enlistment. Barnes earned the rank of corporal and fought in the Victoria Campaign. He received an honorable discharge in 1883, then re-enlisted. During his second term of enlistment, Barnes served in the 10th Regiment of the Cavalry and fought in the Geronimo Campaign. Barnes was promoted to sergeant in 1892 and served in Cuba from 1899 to 1900. He was 1st Sergeant of Troop F of the 10th Cavalry. In 1901, he served in the Philippines on the Island of Samar. First Sergeant William Barnes received the marksman certificate in 1886 and in 1887, and each year from 1890-1893. For more information see "First Sergeant William Barnes. The life story of a typical fighter," Colored American Magazine, 02/01/1903, pp. 56-58.
Subjects: Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Carter County, Kentucky

Barnett, Peter W.
Birth Year : 1871
Peter W. Barnett was an author, educator, journalist, publisher, veteran, and musician. He was born in Carrsville, Livingston County, KY, the son of Sarah (b. 1840) and Peter Barnett (1830-1898). [Peter Sr. is listed as white in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.] Peter W. Barnett taught school in Kentucky. He was educated in Kentucky and Indiana, moving in 1891 to Indiana to attend high school. He went on to become a student for two years at Indiana State Normal in Terre Haute [now Indiana State University]. He was employed at Union Publishing Company, the company that published the first labor paper in Indianapolis; the company later moved its headquarters to Chicago. During the winter of 1896, Barnett opened a night school in Indianapolis. Barnett was also a reporter and representative for the African American newspaper, Freeman. Barnett and J. T. V. Hill [James Thomas Vastine Hill] published the Indianapolis Colored Business Chart Directory in 1898, the goal of which was "to promote industry and race patronage and to encourage business enterprise." J. T. V. Hill was an African American lawyer in Indianapolis, opening his office in 1882 [source: Encyclopedia of Black America, by W. A. Low and V. A. Clift]. He was the first African American to be admitted to the Indianapolis Bar. Peter Barnett would become his understudy while in the service. Barnett was 28 years old when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Indianapolis, IN, on March 13, 1899. He was assigned to the 24th Infantry, Company L. In December of 1899, while stationed at Ft. Wrangle, Alaska, Peter Barnett, who had been studying law under J. T. V. Hill, gave it up because there were no resource facilities available to him in Alaska. He began to study music and organized a group of musicians (soldiers) that he named the Symphony Orchestra of Company L, 24th Infantry. Most of the men could not read music. Barnett was discharged from the Indiana Colored Infantry on March 12, 1900, at Fort Wrangle, Alaska [source: U.S. Army Register of Enlistments]. For more see "Peter Barnett..." in the last paragraph of the article "Camp Capron Notes," Freeman, 10/01/1898, p. 8; "Night School," Freeman, 10/24/1896, p. 8; On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier, by F. N. Schubert; quotation from "Local Notes," Freeman, 12/11/1897, p. 4-Supplement; and "From Alaska," Freeman, 12/30/1899, p. 9.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Carrsville, Livingston County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Barr, Henry
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1902
Barr, a barber, was the first African American to build a commercial building in Watertown, NY, prior to 1910 when there 76 African Americans in the community. Barr had arrived in Watertown in 1865; he was an escaped slave from Kentucky and had been living in Montreal before moving to New York. Barr had a chicken farm and owned a dry cleaners and clothes dying shop before building the three story building named Barr Block. He was a successful businessman and leader in the African American community. He was one of the first Board of Trustee members of what is today Thomas Memorial AME Zion Church. The Henry Barr Underground Railroad Community Development, Inc. was named in his honor. For more see L. L. Scharer, "African-Americans in Jefferson County, New York; 1810-1910," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 19, no. 1 (Jan. 31, 1995), pp. 7ff.; and J. Golden, "Blacks have long had faith in Watertown," Watertown Daily Times, 02/26/1995, Lifestyles and Leisure section, p. G1.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Watertown, New York

Barren County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Barren County is located in south-central Kentucky, surrounded by six other counties. The county was established in 1798 from parts of Warren and Green Counties. It was named for the meadowlands known as the barrens. Many of the early white settlers were veterans of the Revolutionary War who had received land grants in Barren County as payment for their military services. The county had a large number of Scottish families, which was a major influence in the naming of the county seat, Glasgow. There was a total of 4,784 persons counted in Barren County in the Second Census of Kentucky 1800: 4,279 whites and 505 slaves. In 1830 there was one African American slave owner in Barren County. By 1850, there was a population of 15,657, excluding slaves, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes in the county from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 944 slave owners
  • 3,921 Black slaves
  • 628 Mulatto slaves
  • 63 free Blacks
  • 1 free Colored [Turnedo Bass born in Mexico]
  • 49 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 729 slave owners
  • 3,649 Black slaves
  • 421 Mulatto slaves
  • 37 free Blacks
  • 10 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 3,152 Blacks
  • 375 Mulattoes
  • About 68 U.S. Colored Troops listed Barren County, KY, as their birth location.

For more see the Barren County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Heart of the Barrens, by C. E. Goode; Barren County, Kentucky: African-American Male Marriage Index Book, by M. B. Gorin; Barren's Black Roots, by M. B. Gorin; and Ralph Bunche National Historic District - Oral History Project (FA 457), at Western Kentucky University, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C], Kentucky Land Grants
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky

Barrens, Esther Maxwell
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1954
Barrens was born in Pulaski, Tennessee and is buried in Nashville, Tennessee. She was the daughter of Fannie and Washington Maxwell, and the wife of Kentucky native Charles Barrens. Esther graduated in the first Nurse Training Class of Meharry Medical College in 1906. She came to Louisville in 1907 and took the job of Head Nurse Supervisor of the Negro Division of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a tuberculosis hospital. Due to the shortage of nurses in the Negro Division, Barrens was often the only nurse on duty; therefore, she began training nurses to work in the hospital. She also pushed for Negro children in the hospital to also receive education and to be included in activities. Barrens worked with the Sunday school groups and the Sunshine Center Tuberculosis Clinic, established in 1927. She was a member of the Executive Board of the Meharry Alumni Association and served on the Kentucky State Board of the Parent-Teacher Association. Barrens was employed at Waverly for 28 years. She had married Charles Barrens in 1908, and by 1910 her parents and one other family member had moved to Louisville, KY, and according to the U.S. Federal Census, they all shared a home. Information submitted by Mr. Shirley J. Foley (Ms. Barrens' nephew). For more information on Esther Barrens' employment at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, contact the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Pulaski, Tennessee / Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bartleson, Truman, Sr.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2000
Bartleson, born in Mercer County, KY, was the first African American elected to the Harrodsburg, KY, Board of Education. Bartleson was employed at the Hall Mack Corp. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 25; and Truman Bartleson, Sr. in "Obituaries," by C. Beaven, Lexington Herald Leader, 11/12/2000, p. B2.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Bate, John W.
Birth Year : 1854
Death Year : 1945
John William Bate was born in Louisville, KY, son of John Bate (slave owner) and Nancy Dickerson (slave). Bate graduated from Berea College in 1881 and again in 1891. His first teaching job took him to Danville's one-room shanty school building, which John Bate transformed into an accredited standard high school with many rooms, including an auditorium that seated 700 persons. Bate was principal and teacher at the school for 59 years; in his honor the school was renamed Bate High School. In 1964, following integration, the school became Bate Middle School. A Kentucky Historical Marker [#2186] has been placed on the Bate High School grounds. John W. Bate was the father of Langston F. Bate, and the husband of Ida Lindsey Bate who died in 1910. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "Rites Held for Prof. John W. Bate, Educator," The K.N.E.A. Journal, vol. 17, no. 1 (Oct-Nov 1945), p. 24.

See photo image and additional information about John W. Bate at "Our alumni are the coolest: the story of John W. Bate" by apeach, 01/15/2013, at Hutchins Library Highlights blog.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Bate, Langston F.
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1977
Langston Fairchild Bate was born in Danville, KY, the son of Ida W. and John W. Bate. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the age of 26 from the University of Chicago, later heading the chemistry departments at Lincoln University in Missouri, Virginia State College, and Miner Teachers College in Washington D. C. [which merged with two other colleges to form the present day University of the District of Columbia]. Bate was chair of the chemistry department at Miners College from 1944-1954. He published several articles in science journals. Langston F. Bate was a normal graduate from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and is believed to be the first to earn a Ph. D. For more see Blacks in Science and Medicine, by V. O. Sammons; "Langston Bate, Division Head at Miners College," Washington Post, 07/17/1977, Obituaries section, p. 49; and see the last paragraph of the article "Two Kentucky State College graduates...," The Crisis, vol.57, no.11, p.736. Additional information provided by Kenneth Bate, son of Langston F. Bate.
Subjects: Chemists, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Bates, Susie Sweat
Birth Year : 1947
Susie Bates was born in Richmond, KY. She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a B.S. in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Bates taught at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, KY, from 1980-1990. She was the first African American at the school to teach daily speech classes in the classroom setting. She also developed a curriculum of basic, everyday living skills for low-functioning deaf students, including teaching the students about the causes of deafness and blindness and providing them with a means of communication. Bates was also the cheerleading coach during football season. For more information contact Susie Bates at bates@insightbb.com.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Bath County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Bath County is located in the north-eastern part of Kentucky, surrounded by five other counties. It was established in 1811 from part of Montgomery County, though white settlers had come to the area as early as 1775. Bath County was named for its medicinal springs. The county seat was originally Catlett's Flats, but it was changed to Owingsville in 1811. In 1820, the population of Bath County was recorded as 1,132 [heads of households] in the U.S. Federal Census; the population had grown to 9,747 in 1850, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 823 slave owners
  • 3,216 Black slaves
  • 50 Colored slaves
  • 567 Mulatto slaves
  • 94 free Blacks
  • 2 free Colored [Caroline Duncan and her daughter Mary Duncan]
  • 34 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 441 slave owners
  • 1,933 Black slaves
  • 562 Mulatto Slaves
  • 90 free Blacks
  • 2 free Colored [Eli Burton and James Burton]
  • 51 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,438 Blacks
  • 283 Mulattoes
  • About 100 U.S. Colored Troops listed Bath County, KY, as their birth location
For more see the Bath County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; and A History of Bath County, Kentucky, by J. A. Richards.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Bath County, Kentucky

Bather, Paul C.
Birth Year : 1947
Death Year : 2009
Bather was a community and civic leader and an extremely capable manager in various capacities, including his role as treasurer of the Jefferson County, KY, government. His policies earned the county $10 million in investment income. He was also U. S. representative in an American-Soviet leadership exchange program. From 1986-2000, Bather was a member of the Louisville, KY, Board of Aldermen. In 2000, he was elected to the 43rd District House Seat of the Kentucky Legislature, completing the term of Porter Hatcher who had resigned. Bather was re-elected in 2002; he retired after one term in office. Bather was born in New York. He was a graduate of Fairfield University, City University of New York, and the University of Louisville. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; HR291; and P. Burba and S. S. Shafer, "Paul Bather dies in Houston," Louisville Courier-Journal, 02/12/2009, News section, p.1B.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: New York / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Batson v Kentucky
James Kirkland Batson, of Jefferson County, KY, was charged with second-degree burglary and receipt of stolen goods. In jury selection for his trial, all African American candidates were excused. Batson insisted that the entire jury be removed because all of the African Americans had been removed, a violation of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The judge denied the motion, and Batson was convicted on both counts in 1984. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied Batson's appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in 1986. For more see Peter W. Sperlich, "Batson v. Kentucky," in The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions, Kermit L. Hall, Oxford University Press, 1999; Oxford Reference Online; U.S. Supreme Court Batson v. Kentucky 476 U.S. 79 (1986); and Epstein and Swickard, "Court forbids rejection of jurors on basis of race," Detroit Free Press, 05/01/1986.
Subjects: Freedom, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

BBC's Kentucky Minstrels
The BBC's Kentucky Minstrels was a popular radio show, a blackface minstrel series produced by Harry S. Pepper and broadcast by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) from 1933-1950. The show was an exaggerated depiction of African Americans in the "good ole days" of plantation life in the U. S. South (Kentucky), accentuated with the use of stereotyped racist and sexist humor. The main characters were played for many years by three African Americans who had left the United States for the entertainment business in England: Isaac "Ike" F. Hatch (c. 1891-1961), Harry Scott (1879-1947), and Eddie Whaley (1886-1961). Hatch was a trained vocalist and songwriter who had been a member of the W. C. Handy Orchestra. He moved to England in 1925. Scott and Whaley had worked together as a comic act touring the United States; they went to England in 1909. In 1934, Scott and Whaley became the first black performers to star in a British film, Kentucky Minstrels, which was directed by John Baxter and written by Harry S. Pepper and C. Denier Warren (who was also an American). A less distorted version of blackface minstrels continued to be broadcast on BBC television during the 1950s and 1960s. A favorite was the Black and White Minstrel Show, which ran from 1958-1978; the show did well in the ratings, drawing an audience of nearly 17 million. For a more detailed analysis and history, see M. Pickering, "The BBC's Kentucky Minstrels, 1933-1950: blackface entertainment on British radio," Historical Journal of Film, Radio, & Television, vol. 16, issue  2 (1996), pp. 161-194; and "Race, Gender and Broadcast Comedy: the case of the BBC's Kentucky Minstrels," European Journal of Communication, vol. 9 (1994), pp. 311-333.

See photo image of Harry Clifford Scott 1915 at the flickr site by puzzlemaster.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: England, Europe

Beam, Augustus G.
Birth Year : 1891
Death Year : 1935
Beam was a physician and surgeon. He was born in Nelson County, KY, the son of Hines, Sr. (b. 1844) and Mariah E. Porter Beam (b. 1845), both Kentucky natives. Dr. Beam's practice was located in Henderson, KY, in 1915, and in 1919 moved to Covington, KY, where Beam died in 1935. He had practiced with his brother, U.S. Beam, in Lima, Ohio in 1906; their business was named Beam & Beam. He practiced in Springfield, KY, from 1907-1914. Beam was a graduate of Curry's College, Louisville Normal School, and both he and his brother received their M.D.s from Louisville National Medical College, Augustus graduating in 1906. Beam was the husband of Ida Grace Reed Beam (b. 1882 in Ohio). The family lived on East 11th Street in Covington. For more see the Augustus Godfrey Beam entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, by F. L. Mather [full-text at Google Book Search]; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Nelson County, Kentucky / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Lima, Ohio / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Beam, Ulysses S. and John W. Beam
Dr. U. S. Beam (1868-1942) was the first African American physician to practice in Lima, OH. Born in Kentucky, he was an older brother of Dr. Augustus G. Beam. Both were graduates of the Louisville National Medical College and maintained a medical practice together in Lima, OH, for a brief period in 1906. Dr. U. S. Beam had previously practiced in Muncie, IN, moving to Lima in 1892. He was a wealthy doctor in Lima, where he spent the remainder of his life except for a brief period when he was forced to returned to Kentucky in 1909. Dr. Beam left Lima after his brother, John W. Beam (born in KY -d.1909), a lawyer and real estate agent, was arrested for the murder of widow Estella Maude Diltz, who was white. There were rumors of a lynching party being formed, and Dr. Beam, whose wife was white, feared there would be retaliation towards him. Also, the U.S. Marshall had a subpoena for Dr. Beam pertaining to another matter. Dr. Beam closed his medical practice and fled to Kentucky with his father, Hines Beam, who had come to Lima to secure an attorney for his son, John. In November 1909, John W. Beam was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the Ohio Penitentiary; it was reported that he committed suicide while in prison, December 1909. Dr. Ulysses Beam returned to his practice in Lima, where he is listed in the U.S. Federal Census for 1910, 1920, and 1930. He died at his home in 1942 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, OH. For more see "Dr. Beam Gone," Lima Times Democrat (05/26/1909), p. 8; and "Dr. Beam dies in home after long illness," The Lima News (10/12/1942), p. 4. For more on John W. Beam's case, see "Suicide faked by slayer to avoid possible lynching," Chicago Tribune (05/25/1909), p. 2; "Declare Beam sane in every single particular," The Lima Daily News (10/25/1909), p. 1; "Beam sentenced by Judge Bailey," The Lima Daily news (11/05/1909), p. 5; and "Thomas Dillion helped Beam pave way to eternity," The Lima Daily News (12/14/1909), p. 1.
Subjects: Lawyers, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases, Suicide
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Muncie, Indiana / Lima, Ohio

Bean, Walter Dempsey
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2007
Bean was born in Midway, KY, to James Ennis and Lula G. Rollins Bean. He was a 1935 graduate of Kentucky State University and earned his MS at Butler University in 1954. He was a teacher, principal, and supervisor with the Indianapolis Public Schools, and the first African American administrator and recruiter for African American teachers. He helped integrate the Phi Delta Kappa Fraternity at Butler University In 1956 when he became the first African American chartered member. He was also the second African American member of the USA American Association of School Personnel Administrators. In 1986, the Kentucky State Alumni Association voted Walter D. Bean one of 100 outstanding alumni. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans 1985-2006; and Walter D. Bean in The Indianapolis Star "Obituaries," 04/12/2007, p. B04.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Beard, Alfred, Jr. "Butch"
Birth Year : 1947
Born in Hardinsburg, KY, Alfred "Butch" Beard, Jr. played basketball at Breckinridge County High School and the University of Louisville, where he roomed with Wes Unseld. He was drafted in 1969 by the Atlanta Hawks, then drafted by the U.S. Army. After his military service, Beard returned to the NBA and played for several different teams. While with the San Francisco Golden State Warriors he scored the last seven points of the team's 1975 NBA Championship win. Beard retired as a NBA player in 1979, last playing for the New York Knicks. Since retiring, Beard has been an assistant coach in the NBA and a head coach of college basketball teams. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and Butch Beard at Basketball-Reference.com.

See Al "Butch" Beard at cavhistory.com.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Beason, Tyrone
Birth Year : 1972
Tyrone Beason was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1972. He is a graduate of Bowling Green High School, where he started his journalism career as an editorial page editor and cartoonist for the school newspaper, Purple Gem. He was also a teen columnist for the Daily News (Bowling Green). In 1993, Tyrone Beason was a student at the University of Kentucky when he became the first African American editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel. Beason is presently a reporter with the Seattle Times. He is also doing research for his book on African American life in 1960s Paris. In 2010, Tyrone Beason won the Darrell Sifford Memorial Prize in Journalism. For more see "A sense we were future players," The Kentucky Kernel, 02/18/98; and contact Tyrone Beason.

See photo image of Tyrone Beason and more about his 2010 Darrell Sifford Memorial Prize in Journalism.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Seattle, Washington

Beason, William E. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1988
Bill Beason was born in Louisville, KY, on March 6, 1908 [source: New York Passenger List, No.13, 1937]. Beason was a drummer and played in the Sunday School band that was formed by Bessie Allen. He attended Louisville Central High School along with Helen Humes, Jonah Jones, and Dicky Wells, all of whom had also been members of the Sunday School band. As an adult, Beason played with Teddy Hill, which led to his first European tour. He recorded with Jelly Roll Morton, played for Ella Fitzgerald (replacing Chick Webb), and rejoined Horace Henderson in the 1940s. Bill Beason was a WWII veteran, he enlisted December 14, 1943 at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana [source: U.S. WWII Army Enlistment Record]. In 1945, Beason was living in Orlando, FL [source: Florida State Census]. He died in Bronx, NY, on August 15, 1988 [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index]. For more see The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., edited by B. Kernfeld; and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd ed., edited by C. Larkin.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bronx, New York

Beatty, Anthany, Sr.
Birth Year : 1951
In 2001, at the age of 50, Anthany Beatty became the first African American Chief of Police in Lexington, KY. Beatty, a Lexington native, had been with the department for 27 years, having joined the force in 1973. He earned his master's degree in public administration from Kentucky State University and his bachelor's degree in police administration from Eastern Kentucky University. In 2007, Beatty retired from the Lexington Police Department and became Assistant Vice President for Public Safety at the University of Kentucky. For more see T. Tagami, "Beatty to be new chief - council expected to confirm first black in job," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/15/2001, Main News section, p. A1; and "Farewell to the chief - Beatty a good addition to UK Administration," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/14/2007, Commentary section, p. A8.

Access Interview Read about the Anthany Beatty, Sr. oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Beaumont, James T.
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2007
In 1969, James Beaumont was the first African American councilman in La Grange, KY. He attended Kentucky State University and is a graduate of Watterson College with an associate's degree in business. The James T. Beaumont Community Center in LaGrange is named in his honor. For more see Kentucky Black Elected Officials Directory [1970], p. 3, col. B, published by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and "Meet the La Grange council candidates," The Courier-Journal, 09/27/2006, Neighborhoods section, p. 1G.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky

Beauty Shops (Louisville, KY)
In 1968 the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights conducted a study on the nature and extent of Negro ownership of business in Louisville. The commission found that beauty shops were a leading business: Of the 490 Negro-owned businesses, 42.2% were beauty shops, 19.3% barber shops. Within Louisville as a whole, Negro-owned beauty shops were 42.74% of the total number of beauty shops in the city and 32.14% in the entire county. For more see Black Business in Louisville, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. For earlier information on African American beauty shops and other occupations, see A study of business and employment among Negroes in Louisville, by Associates of Louisville Municipal College, University of Louisville, Louisville Urban League, and Central Colored High School (1944).
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Beck, Thomas
Birth Year : 1819
Thomas Beck was born in Kentucky, and one of his parents was white, the other African American. [Kentucky is given as his birth location in the 1850 U.S. Census.] Beck served in the Texas House of Representatives, beginning in 1874. One of the bills he sponsored was to prevent the employment of children without the permission of the parents. He was the husband of Martha Jordan Beck from Tennessee [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census], and the couple had several children. For more see Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868-1900, by M. Pitre; Forever Free: The Biographies web page, by the Texas State Library & Archives Commission.


Subjects: Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Texas

Beckwith, Anna M. Logan
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1964
Mrs. Anna M. Logan Beckwith was a pharmacist in Cincinnati, OH. In 1928, she purchased the Peerless Pharmacy, located on Alms and Chapel Streets. Beckwith was considered a leading member of the Colored citizens in Cincinnati and is mentioned in Negro Employment in Retail Trade: a study of racial policies in the department store, drugstore, and supermarket industries, by Bloom, Fletcher, and Perry. Beckwith is also included in The Negro in the Drugstore Industry, by F. M. Fletcher. Anna Beckwith was born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Elijah and Amanda Logan. The family of six is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census; Elijah Logan was a widower. Anna Logan moved to Cincinnati in 1903. She was the wife of Carl Beckwith, a mail carrier (1881-1971) from West Virginia. In 1910 the Beckwith family lived at 5304 Central Avenue in Madisonville, OH, [source: William's Hamilton County Directory for 1909-10]. The household included Anna, Carl, their daughter, and Anna's brother, Phocia [or Foshen] Logan (b. 1882 in KY), a barber who owned his own shop [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. By 1920, the Beckwiths had a second daughter and the family lived in Cincinnati, OH. Anna Beckwith was still managing her drugstore in 1930 [source: U.S. Federal Census], and the family had moved to Wyoming, OH. Anna and Carl Beckwith are listed in William's Hamilton County (Ohio) Directory for the years 1939-1944, but there is no mention of the pharmacy. Anna Beckwith was a graduate of Berea College. For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Barbers, Migration North, Postal Service, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Beckwith, John
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1956
John Beckwith was born in Louisville, KY. He played shortstop, third base, and centerfield in the Negro Baseball Leagues, where he was a powerful and consistent hitter. In Cincinnati, Ohio in 1921, he was the first player to hit a ball over the roof and completely out of Redland Field. In Washington, D.C., he hit a ball that struck an advertisement sign 460 feet away from home plate and 40 feet above the ground. Beckwith helped the Chicago American Giants win three pennants. He also had a temper and was once suspended from play after severely beating an umpire. For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley; and John Beckwith at the Negro League Baseball Museum.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bell, Charles W.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1910
Charles W. Bell, who may have been a slave, was born in Kentucky on August 12, 1848 [source: Ohio Death Certificate, File #44018]. Bell was an educator, a newspaper man, and a pen artist in Cincinnati, OH. He was the husband of Ophelia Hall Nesbit Bell (b.1847 in Jackson, MS), who was a school teacher in Cincinnati. The couple lived at 1112 Sherman Avenue after they were married. By 1870, the family of four lived in the northern section of the 7th Ward in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Charles Bell was a graduate of the Cincinnati School of Design. He was employed by the Cincinnati School System from 1868-1889; he was the superintendent of writing in the Colored public schools beginning in 1874 with an annual salary of $1,000, and was later also the special teacher of writing for some of the schools attended by white children. Bell also served as president of the Garnet Loan and Building Association. He was one of the editors of the Colored Citizen newspaper in Cincinnati, and he published a newspaper titled Declaration in the 1870s when it was the only African American newspaper in Cincinnati. He was also a columnist for the Commercial Gazette, the column was an early version of the Colored Notes. Charles Bell was also a politician, and had put forth the name of George W. Williams for the Ohio Legislature, but was one of many African Americans who turned against Williams when he pushed through the bill to close the Colored American Cemetery in Avondale, OH. In 1892, while Charles W. Bell was serving as treasurer of the Colored Orphan Asylum, it came to light that more than $4,000 were missing. Charles and Ophelia Bell mortgaged their home at 76 Pleasant Street for $3,000, and Charles Bell was to make restitution for the remaining $1,623.87. Also in 1892, Charles Bell established a newspaper publication called Ohio Republican. According to the Census, by 1910, the Bells were living on Park Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio with their daughters Alma and Maggie. Charles Bell was employed as a clerk in an office. Ten years later, Ophelia was a widow living with Alma and her husband James Bryant, along with Maggie and two of James Bryant's nieces. Charles W. Bell died August 22, 1910 in Cincinnati, OH, and is buried in the Union Baptist Cemetery [source: Ohio Death Certificate, File #44018]. For more see Ophelia Hall Nesbit in The Geneva Book by W. M. Glasgow [available online at Google Book Search]; see Charles W. Bell in George Washington Williams: a biography by J. H. Franklin; Charles W. Bell in Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900 by M. S. Haverstock et. al.; see "At a meeting of the Columbus, O., Board of Education...," Cleveland Gazette, 08/10/1889, p.2; "Disbanded," Freeman, 06/20/1891, p.4; "Burned $1,623.87," Cleveland Gazette, 03/19/1892, p.1; "The Ohio Republican...," Plaindealer [Michigan], 09/23/1892, p.3; and G. B. Agee, "A Cry for Justice" [dissertation] [available online at ETDS].
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bell County (KY) Free Blacks and Free Mulattoes, 1870-1900
Start Year : 1870
End Year : 1900
Bell County, originally known as Joshua Bell County, was established after the Civil War in southeastern Kentucky on August 1, 1867, created from portions of Harlan and Knox Counties. Bell County is bordered by five Kentucky counties and the Virginia and Tennessee state borders. The county was named for Kentucky Legislator Joshua F. Bell, and the county seat is Pineville. The first U.S. Federal Census of Bell County, completed in 1870, reveals a population of 3,731. The county was created after the ratification of the 13th Amendment that freed Kentucky slaves in 1865; below are the number of free Blacks and Mulattoes in Bell County as reported in the 1870-1880, and 1900 Census.

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 99 Blacks
  • 11 Mulattoes
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 99 Blacks [the majority of whom were born in Virginia]
  • 76 Mulattoes
1900 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,552 Blacks
  • 256 Colored
  • 2 Mulattoes
For more, see the Bell County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Images of America, Bell County by T. Cornett; and History of Bell County, Kentucky, by H. H. Fuson.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Bell County, Kentucky

Bell, J. W.
Rev. J. W. Bell lived in Louisville, KY, where he was one of the early pastors of the Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. In 1873, he was elected secretary of the CME General Conference. That same year, he was named Book Agent of the CME Publishing House and editor of the Christian Index, the CME monthly news publication. The CME publishing operation had been moved from Memphis to Louisville. After a month, Bell was limited to editing the newspaper only, and W. P. Churchill, of Louisville, was named the new book agent. Bell produced the first issue of the Christian Index in Kentucky; the newspaper was six years old, having been first published in 1867. A few months later, a disagreement occurred between Bell and Bishop Miles, and Bell was relieved of his duties at the newspaper and at the Center Street CME Church. He was replaced by Alexander Austin. In 1884, Rev. J. W. Bell was a pastor in Hopkinsville, KY [source: Proceedings, Sermon, Essays, and Addresses of the Centennial Methodist Conference edited by H. J. Carroll et. al., p.17]. He had also been the pastor of the Israel Church in Washington, D.C. [source: Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D.D. ("Uncle Joe") by M. F. Jamison, p.170]. For more see The History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by C. H. Phillips.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bell, Jesse B.
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1998
Jesse Bell was the fist African American doctor at Jewish Hospital [now Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare] in Louisville, KY; he began in 1958, followed by Dr. William M. Moses in 1959. In 1980 Bell became the first African American president of the Jewish Hospital medical staff. In 1965 he was the first African American to be named to the University of Louisville (U of L) Board of Overseers. Bell, born in Tallulah, Louisiana, was the son of Ella and John Bell. He completed high school at Alcorn College [now Alcorn State University] and was a graduate of Morehouse College and Meharry Medical College. He had had a private practice in Frankfort, KY, and later was employed at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville before opening a private practice. Dr. Bell also served as director of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital from 1941-1946. For more see A Legendary Vision: the history of Jewish Hospital, by B. Zingman and B. L. Anster; "First Negro on University of Louisville Board," Jet, vol. 29, issue 4 (11/04/1965), p. 26; and Jesse Burnett Bell at the U of L Magazine website.

Access Interview The Jesse B. Bell oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Archives.
 
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Tallulah, Louisiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bell, R. F.
R. F. Bell was the first African American police officer in Lexington, KY, joining the force in 1918. For more see Lexington Police Department photo, 04/12/1937, courtesy of Amanda Elliott, at the Lexington History Museum - in the Black and White Photographic Collection.
Subjects: Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bell, Spencer
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1935
Spencer Bell, born in Lexington, KY, was one of the first African American actors to receive a movie contract in Hollywood during the era of silent films. Bell was a comedian, he had acted in vaudeville and in minstrel shows. He performed on screen in Larry Semon movies: No Wedding Bells and The Gown Shop in 1923, and Kid Speed in 1924. Bell played the role of the cowardly lion in the 1925 Vitagraph production of Wizard of Oz, and he played in Peacock Fan in 1929. He was assistant casting director in Queen of the Jungles, one of his last assignments prior to his death. Bell was demeaningly billed as G. Howe Black in Semon's movies, and in his role as the cowardly lion, the subtitle read "Snowball." Spencer Bell lived at 1457 1/2 48th Street in Los Angeles. He was a WWI veteran of the U.S. Army, and is buried at the Sawtell Military Cemetery. For more see "Death claims famous actor Spencer Bell," Los Angeles Sentinel, 08/22/1935, p.1; and Joe Gans by C. Aycock and M. Scott. View The Wizard of Oz (Silent - 1925) on YouTube.

Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Hollywood and Los Angeles, California

Bellarmine College Basketball Team (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1950
Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University] had the first African American basketball players at a predominately white school in Kentucky. The players were 5'7" guard Theodore R. Wade, Jr. (1950-1951) and Franklin Freeman (1952-1953). Wade may have been mistaken for white: his mother was Irish and his father was African American and Native American. He left school before graduating and joined the Air Force. He later became a computer programmer in New York. For more see M. Story, "A barrier falls without a sound," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/11/2004, Sports section, p. C2.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ben (former slave)
Cleveland, OH, was founded in 1796. Ben, an escaped slave who had lived on the Young Farm in Kentucky, is recognized as the first African American in Cleveland. He came to the city in 1806 after the family he was with drowned in a lake and Ben almost froze to death. It was thought that Ben left Cleveland and moved to Canada. His story, including his near capture, are told on p. 12 of Cleveland's Harbor, by J. C. Ehle, W. D. Ellis, and N. A. Schneider. An earlier account can be found on pp.339-343 in the Early History of Cleveland Ohio by C. Whittlesey [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio / Canada

Benjamin, R. C. O.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1900
Robert Charles O'Hara Benjamin was shot in the back and died in Lexington, KY, in 1900. He was killed at the Irishtown Precinct by Michael Moynahan, a Democrat precinct worker. The shooting occurred after Benjamin objected to African Americans being harassed while attempting to register to vote. When the case went to court, Moynahan claimed self-defense, and the case was dismissed. Benjamin had become a U.S. citizen in the 1870s; he was born in St. Kitts and had come to New York in 1869. He had lived in a number of locations in the U.S., and he came to be considered wealthy. For a brief period, Benjamin taught school in Kentucky and studied law. He was a journalist, author, lawyer (the first African American lawyer in Los Angeles), educator, civil rights activist, public speaker, and poet, and he had been a postal worker in New York City. In addition to being a journalist, Benjamin also edited and owned some of the newspapers where he was employed. Between 1855-1894, he authored at least six books and a number of other publications, including Benjamin's Pocket History of the American Negro, The Zion Methodist, Poetic Gems, Don't: a Book for Girls; and the public address The Negro Problem, and the Method of its Solution. In 1897, Benjamin returned to Kentucky with his wife, Lula M. Robinson, and their two children. Benjamin was editor of the Lexington Standard newspaper. The first bust that Isaac S. Hathaway sculpted was that of R. C. O. Benjamin. For more information see Robert Charles O'Hara Benjamin, by G. C. Wright in the American National Biography Online (subscription database); and "R. C. O. Benjamin," Negro History Bulletin, vol. 5, issue 4 (January 1942), pp. 92-93.

See sketch of R. C. O. Benjamin in the New York Public LIbrary Digital Gallery online.

See photo image of R. C. O. Benjamin and family in Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Poets, Postal Service
Geographic Region: St. Kitts, West Indies / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bennett, Bradford
Birth Year : 1922
Bradford Bennett was born in Fulton, KY. A first baseman in the Negro Leagues, he was known for his speed. He began his career in 1940 as a 17-year-old with the New Orleans-St. Louis Stars, finishing his career in 1946 with the Boston Blues. For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Fulton, Fulton County, Kentucky

Bennett, Norvel
Birth Year : 1892
Death Year : 1945
Norvel Bennett was a sergeant with the Indianapolis Police Department when he died in 1945. He had been with the department since 1925. He received two citations in 1929, the latter for helping capture a burglar found after hours in a Kroger store. Bennett received a citation for helping to solve several cases in 1942, and he was appointed an investigator of the detective department. He was promoted to sergeant in 1944. Norvel Bennett was a native of Princeton, KY. He was a veteran of World War I, having served in France as a corporal with the 436th Engineers. He was the husband of Eula Bennett. He was a clerk and a janitor in Indianapolis before becoming a police officer [source: Indianapolis City Directory, 1918-1926]. Norvell Bennett was one of the few African American men on the Indianapolis Police Force from 1925-1945. For more see "Sergeant Norvel Bennett," Indianapolis Recorder, 09/22/1945, p. 1; "Chief Worley commends officer," Indianapolis Recorder, 03/09/1929, p. 1; and "Women and Minorities" on the Indianapolis Police Department History website.
Subjects: Migration North, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Bennett, Winston G., III
Birth Year : 1965
Winston Bennett, born in Louisville,KY, is a former NBA player and a college basketball coach. His played high school basketball at Male High School in Louisville. Bennett was a 6' 7" forward and was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1983. He was also named All-American by Parade Magazine and McDonalds. He played college basketball at the University of Kentucky 1983-1988 [he was red shirted one year due to a knee injury]. During his first season, the team went to the final four and lost to the Georgetown Hoyas 53-40 in the championship game. In the following years, Bennett was named to the All-NCAA Regional Team and was twice named to the SEC All-Conference Team. In his senior year, the team had a record of 32-4, and Winston Bennett was team captain. He was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 3rd round of the 1988 NBA Draft. He played 3 seasons with the Cavaliers and one season with the Miami Heat. He has served as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky, the head coach at Kentucky State University, and head coach at Mid-Continent University.

 

  See photo image and stats at the Winston Bennett page of the bigbluehistory.net site.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bennett-Jones, Valerie
In 2007, Bennett-Jones became the first African American officer of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary 2734 in Maysville, KY. She accepted the position of patriotic instructor and historian. Bennett-Jones is one of the few African American members of the organization; the VFW Ladies Auxiliary 2734 has not always allowed African American membership. Issac Jones, a veteran of World War II and Vietnam, encouraged his wife to join the VFW. For more see M. Maynard, "Bennett-Jones becomes new instructor, historian at VFW," Ledger Independent, 07/02/2007.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky

Benson, William, Sr. "Bud"
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1937
William "Bud" Benson was team manager of the Lynch Grays, a Negro baseball team in Lynch, KY (Harlan County). Bud Benson was also a coal miner, he was born in Marion, AL, the son of Mary Jane Naves Benson (1857-1929) and Pinkington Benson, Sr. (1850-1932). It was not uncommon for miners to also be baseball players on teams that were supported by the coal companies. The teams were segregated. The Lynch Grays baseball team was sponsored by the U.S. Coal and Coke Company [source: Diamonds in the Rough (thesis) by D. R. Bowden, p.43]. In some newspaper sources, the team is referred to as the Lynch Demons, and in 1935, the team was considered the best colored baseball team in Kentucky; they had a record of 34-1 [source: see NKAA entry]. The team may have had a different name some seasons, or there may have been more than one team. The history of the team goes back to at least 1924, when they were referred to as the Lynch colored team with no specific name [see NKAA entry]. It was several years later that Bud Benson was playing for and managing the Lynch Grays, he was with the team from the time he came to Kentucky in the 1920s, until shortly before his death from pneumonia on June 10, 1937. Bud Benson was 39 years old when he died and his body was removed to Marion, Alabama for burial [sources: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No.38; and phone conversations and email correspondence with Bud Benson's granddaughter Mary Sanders]. In addition to being team manager, Bud Benson also was the hind catcher. Bud Benson's family members own a photograph of the Lynch Grays baseball team that was taken around 1935, according to Benson's grandson James Spate. Bud Benson is on the far left side of the photograph with the word "manager" on his shirt. William "Bud" Benson had played baseball before he came to Kentucky, according to his granddaughter Mary Sanders. He came to Kentucky and had been here a few years when his mother died two weeks before Christmas in 1929. After his mother's death, Bud Benson's wife went to Alabama and got his daughter Lucy and brought her back to Kentucky. The family's move to Kentucky was part of the larger migration of African American coal miners and their families from Alabama to the eastern Kentucky coal mining counties. Bud Benson brought with him, his wife Emma Costin Benson, and they were the parents of William Benson, Jr. (1929-1953*). The family was later joined by Bud's 9 year old daughter Lucy Benson. Bud's daughter was by his previous wife Sarah Moore Benson who died in childbirth. His daughter returned to Alabama after her father's death in 1937. Bud Benson's older sister, Ella A. Benson Green also moved to Lynch, she was the wife of J. H. Green, and she died in Lynch on April 23, 1939. Her body was removed for burial in Marion, AL [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 109]. An older brother Nathan Benson (b. c1884), also moved to Harlan County, KY, he was employed as a coal loader [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Nathan Benson, widowed, brought with him from Marion, AL, eight other family members, and there were two lodgers from Marion, AL, who lived with the family at #22 P.V. & K. Camp. Nathan Benson moved to Kentucky after 1935, according to the census records. Another relative was Rev. William B. Benson, the uncle of Bud Benson. Rev. Benson lived in Harlan County, and he and his wife Narcississ (1878-1947) lived on Kentucky Avenue and are listed in the 1930 and the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. Rev. William B. Benson was born around 1869 in Alabama and died in Harlan County, KY, on December 7, 1941 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death]; the death certificate does not give the city location of his burial, but the name of the cemetery was Hill Crest. His wife, Narcississ Johnson Benson, was born in Alabama, her parents were from Virginia, and she died in Peoria, IL, on March 2, 1947, and is buried in the Springdale Cemetery [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. William Benson's daughter, Julia Mae Lee (1920-2011), also lived in Kentucky, she is buried in Cumberland, KY (Harlan County) [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index; and information from William Benson's grandson James Spate]. For the Benson family members, and many other families, the migration/recruitment to Kentucky was for employment in the coal mines. They were seeking better wages and living conditions. Playing baseball was a fun activity that was supported by the coal companies with the intent of creating a stronger bond between the employee and the workplace, with hopes of keeping out the perceived interferences such as unions and the idea of unionizing. If a coal miner could play baseball, then that was an added incentive for him to be hired. *William Benson, Jr. was born in Lynch, KY, and was killed during the Korean War; the heavily decorated serviceman is buried in the Lynch Cemetery. All of the Benson family members came to Kentucky after the year 1920 [source: U.S. Federal Census].
Subjects: Baseball, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Marion, Alabama / Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky

Bentley, Daniel S.
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1916
Reverend Daniel S. Bentley was born in Madison County, KY. Bentley attended Berea College and later left Kentucky for Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh, he founded The Afro-American Spokesman newspaper, owned by the Spokesman Stock Company, of which Bentley was president. During this time, Bentley was also pastor of the Wylie Avenue A.M.E. Church in Pittsburgh. Bentley also authored Brief Religious Reflections in 1900. Rev. D. S. Bentley died suddenly in the pulpit of his church, St. Paul A. M. E. in Mckeesport, PA, on November 12, 1916 [source: "Dr. Bentley Dead," Cleveland Gazette, 12/09/1916, p.2]. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Centennial Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church..., by Richard Allen and others (Philadelphia: 1816), p. 38, at Documenting the American South website; and The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, by I. G. Penn (1891) [available full view at Google Book Search].

A brief bio and picture of Rev. Daniel S. Bentley are on pp.186-187 in The Sons of Allen by H. Talbert [available full text at Documenting the American South website].
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh and Mckeesport, Pennsylvania

Bentley, Denise
Bentley is from Louisville, KY. In 2002, she was the first African American woman to be elected President of the Louisville Board of Aldermen. Bentley was a mortician in California for 10 years prior to returning to Louisville. She served as Alderman of the 9th Ward, West End, in Louisville for eight years, 1997-2005. Bentley resigned from the council to serve as the liaison between the Louisville Metro and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government councils, a position within Governor Fletcher's administration. For more see J. Bruggers, "Bentley scores landslide over 2 Democratic foes," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 05/29/02, News section, p. 05A; SR50; and "Governor Ernie Fletcher Appoints Louisville Metro Council Woman," a Ky.gov Electronic Archives Press Release, 02/23/05.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bentley, George, Sr.
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1923
George Bentley, Sr. was born in Danville, KY. He is listed as Mulatto in the U.S. Census, and according to the Fort Davis Administrative History, Bentley's father was white, his mother was a slave, and he had a brother. Bentley may also have been a slave. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on December 8, 1866, in Louisville, KY [source: Army Enlistment Records]. He was discharged from Company K of the 9th U. S. Cavalry on December 8, 1871. Bentley remained in Texas at Fort Davis, employed as a civilian--he worked as teamster. On September 17, 1879, Bentley purchased 160 acres of land [source: Texas Land Title Abstract]. The infamous story often associated with George Bentley is the curse that was supposedly placed upon his children because Bentley had bayoneted a baby during a military campaign at an Apache village; many of Bentley's and his wife's children died in infancy. The couple had children who were listed in the 1910 Census: Lucy, Josephine, and George Jr. George Sr.'s wife's name is given as Chana. By 1920, George Bentley, Sr. was a widower and shared his home with his son, George, Jr.; and his daughter, Lucy Bentley Brown, her husband, Jessie, and their three children. George Bentley, Sr. died February 20, 1923 [source: Texas Death Index]. For more see George Bentley in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; and the Fort Davis History website by the Chamber of Commerce.
Subjects: Migration West, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Fort Davis, Texas

Benton, J. W.
J. W. Benton was a Kentucky native who invented a derrick used for hoisting. Benton walked to Washington, D.C., to get the patent, carrying his invention in his arms. The patent #658,939 was received October 2, 1900 [source: Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents for the Year 1900, GPO, p.598]. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage by Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Blacks in Science and Medicine by V. O. Sammons; and H. E. Baker, "The Negro in the Field of Invention," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 2, no. 1 (January 1917), p. 35.
Subjects: Inventors
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Berea College Library
In 1866, the Berea School [now Berea College] Library was the first desegregated library in Kentucky and the South. The school also had the first traveling library in the state that was open to Negro families, beginning in 1895. In 1916, the school had the first book wagon service in the South that was also open to Negro families. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Berry, Elder
Elder Berry opened the first theological school for African Americans in the Olivet Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. The school lasted only five months, but it led the way for other theological schools for African Americans. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Berry, Ella
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1939
Ella Berry was born in Stanford, KY, and grew up in Louisville. She was the daughter of Dave Tucker and Mathilda Portman [source: Chicago Death Record, for Ella Berry]. Berry moved to Chicago where she was one of the leading African American women political and social activists. She would become president of the Cornell Charity Club, she had been a member of the organization since 1913. She was a suffragist and became the state organizer of the Hughes Colored Women's Clubs of the National Republican Headquarters in 1919. Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden appointed her an investigator for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations. She was also president of the Women's Second Ward Protective League, and a federal census enumerator in 1920. Ella Berry was the first African American to be employed by the Chicago Department of Welfare, she was a home visitor. She was elected to the Order of the Eastern Star, and served three terms as president of the Grand Daughter Ruler of the Daughters of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, which was the highest office a woman could hold in the organization. Berry used her positions within the various organizations to campaign for African American votes and for women's votes during presidential elections. She traveled between Louisville and Chicago networking and making political connections between the two cities. Ella Berry was the wife of William Berry. For more see the Ella Berry entry and picture in chapter six in The Story of the Illinois Federation of the Colored Women's Clubs by E. L. Davis; For the Freedom of Her Race by L. G. Materson; and photo of Ella Berry [online] in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Benevolent Societies, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Berry, Isaac, Sr.
Birth Year : 1831
Death Year : 1914
Isaac Berry, Sr. was a violin player who was born a slave in Garrard County, KY. He was willed to one of his owner's daughters. The daughter married James Pratt, and the family moved to Missouri. With the permission of Mrs. Pratt, Berry ran away and James Pratt posted a $500 reward for Berry, dead or alive. Berry made his way to Ypsilanti, MI, [see George McCoy] by following the railroad tracks, the trip taking him three weeks. Members of the Underground Railroad helped Berry to make his way on to Detroit, then to Canada. Berry's daughter, Katy Pointer, was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 1864, and the family moved to Mecosta, MI, in 1877. Isaac Berry, Sr. was a blacksmith and a carpenter, he was the husband of Lucy, who was born in New York; both are last listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The Berry family was among the early settlers of Morton Township in Mecosta, MI, where Isaac Berry built a school for Negro children and other structures. Isaac Berry, Sr. was born March 10, 1831 and died January 11, 1914 [source: Michigan Certificate of Death at Seeking Michigan, online digital archive]. For more see Negro Folktales in Michigan, edited by R. M. Dorson; and A northside view of slavery. The Refugee: or the Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada, by B. Drew (1856).
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Blacksmiths, Inheritance, Carpenters, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Garrard County, Kentucky / Missouri / Ypsilanti, Detroit, and Mecosta, Michigan / Canada

Berry, Joyce Hamilton
Birth Year : 1938
Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry, a psychologist, was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky. She was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Lucille and Sam Hamilton. Her father owned his own business, Sterling Barber Shop, at 181 Deweese Street. Her father was also one of the investors of the African American Hustlers baseball team in Lexington, KY. Dr. Joyce Berry attended (old) Dunbar elementary and high schools. She started school when she was five years old and finished high school in three years, graduating at the age of 15. She started college when she was 16 years old at Hampton Institute [now Hampton University], where she majored in English and minored in physical education. For her master's degree, Dr. Berry attended the University of Kentucky, starting in 1962 and completing her master's degree in 1964. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology in 1970. She now has a private practice in Washington, D.C. For more information about Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry, request the oral history recording [info] at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. Dr. Berry is listed in the title Fifty years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999, by the University of Kentucky. There are a number of articles in Ebony that include advice and commentary from Dr. Berry.

Access Interview Joyce Hamilton Berry, read the transcript and listen to the oral history recording at the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project.


Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Berry, Julius
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2001
Julius Berry was born in Lexington, KY. In 1994, Mayor Scotty Baesler appointed Berry to the post of Affirmative Action Officer of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Berry, 41 years old at the time, was responsible for managing the government's affirmative action plan and investigating discrimination complaints. He held the post under various mayors up to the time of his death in 2001. Berry was a man of many talents. In 1974, he worked with the city government's A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund, which helped minorities get apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. He was also involved with horses as a breeder, racer, seller, and thoroughbred bloodstock agent. He had been a public advocate in Lexington, working on school integration issues as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He is also remembered as a former (old) Dunbar High School basketball star; standing at 6'5", Berry scored more than 3,000 points during his high school days in the 1950s. He played college ball at University of Dayton and at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he earned a bachelor's degree, then went on to get his master's degree at Rutgers University. Julius Berry was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He was Ulysses Berry's brother. For more see the following articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader: J. Duke, "Julius Berry Returns to Government," 06/01/1984, City/State section, p. B1; M. Fields, "Inductee Sees Athletics as Societal Salve," 03/12/1996, Sports section, p. C1; and S. Lannen, "Aide to Lexington Mayor Dies - Dunbar Basketball Star During 1950s," 12/03/2001, City & Region section, p. B1. See also the sound recording interview of Julius Berry in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Access Interview Read about the Julius Berry oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Berry, Robert T. "R. T." and George W. Berry
R. T. Berry (1874-1967) was editor and publisher of the Kentucky Reporter, a weekly, pro-Repulican, newspaper in Louisville, KY, from 1899 to the 1930s. He co-founded the newspaper with his brother George W. Berry (1873-1939). Looking at the U.S. Census, the two had been tailors in 1900 and operated a newspaper in 1910, both in Owensboro,KY. They were the sons of George and Molly Berry, and the family lived in Glasgow, KY in 1900. George W. Berry was born in Allensville, KY, according to his death certificate. Both R. T. and George Berry's WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, gives the following information: the newspaper was located at 445 7th Street in Louisville and managed by R. T.; George was employed as a U.S. Storekeeper and Gauger, and his wife was Florence H. Berry; George, his wife, and R.T. all lived at 1711 W. Chestnut Street; their mother, Mollie Berry, was still living in Glasgow, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37Your History Online VII; and the Kentucky Reporter at the UK National Digital Newspaper Program website.
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky / Allensville, Todd County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Berry, T. L.
Birth Year : 1892
Dr. T. L. Berry was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Louis and Josephine Berry. He was a physician in Murray, KY, according to his World War I Registration Card, and was born October 17, 1892. Berry was also the Surgeon in Chief at Winnie Scott Hospital in Frankfort. From 1915-1959, the hospital primarily served African Americans. Dr. Berry left Kentucky in 1924 to join the staff of Mercy Hospital in Cincinnati, and he was a member of the Cincinnati Medical Association. Berry was a 1910 graduate of Male and Female College, where he earned his A.B., and a 1915 graduate of Meharry Medical College. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Berry, Theodore M., Sr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 2000
Theodore M. Berry was born in Maysville, KY, to a white father and an African American mother. Berry was the first African American graduate of Woodward High School in Cincinnati, OH. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Berry was also a civil rights attorney with the NAACP. He was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1950 and as vice mayor in 1955, then became the city's first African American mayor in 1972. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and "Theodore M. Berry Cincinnati's First Black Mayor, Dies at age 94," Jet, 11/06/2000.

See photo images and additional information about Theodore M. Berry at "A Timeline of His Life and Works," a University of Cincinnati website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Mayors
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Berry, Ulysses
Birth Year : 1941
Death Year : 2013
In 2001, the then 60 year old Ulysses Berry, who was born in Lexington, KY, was the interim Chief of Police in Lexington, the first African American to hold the post. Berry, a 37-year veteran of the police force, had also been the first African American to become Assistant Chief of Police in 1990, the same year that his 1987 lawsuit was dropped. In 1987, Berry, the highest ranking African American on the police force, filed suit because he felt he had been passed over for promotion because he was African American. Berry was also the first African American from the Bluegrass region to attend the national FBI academy. He was a brother of Julius Berry. Ulysses Berry died July 10, 2013. For more see J. Cheves, "Interim Chief Berry is veteran of 37 years with police department," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/04/2001, Main News section, p. A8; T. Tolliver, "Black police major files racial discrimination suit," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/11/1987, City/State, p. B1; and N. Morgan, "Chief's post about trust, Berry says candidate plays down racial issue," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/14/2001, City & Region section, p. C1.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Berry, Victoria Lynn Green
Birth Year : 1957
Death Year : 2013
Victoria (Vickie) L. G. Berry, born in Paris, KY, was the first African American director of the Bourbon County Senior Citizen Center.  She was with the Center for almost 25 years when she retired in 2012. She was first a van driver, then advanced to clerk typist, and in 2005 was named director. Vickie was a 1975 graduate of Paris High School. She was the daughter of Nellie Jones and James Roy Green. Her obituary is online at the Lusk-McFarland Funeral Home website. The Bourbon County Senior Citizen Center is located on the corner of Main and Bank Row in Paris, KY. The purpose of the center is to provide services to people 60 and over, to help them remain independent as long as possible. Support and funding is provided locally (city and county), state and federal, and through donations and volunteers. While no one can recall the exact date the Center was established, former directors remember it was a nutrition center in the late 1970s or early 1980s, and eventually became a full service facility with an adult day center. The present director is Laurel Gambill.  Former directors are Victoria Berry, Wendy Bateman, Lou Carter, and the late Carrie Bishop. The Center is part of the Bluegrass Community Action Partnership. For more information contact the Bourbon County Senior Citizen Center.
Subjects: Care of the Elderly
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Berryman, John Leroy
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1940
Dr. J. L. Berryman was a dentist in Lexington, KY, and was prominent in the African American community. He and Dr. W. T. Dinwiddie were two of the earliest African American dentists in Lexington. Dr. Berryman was born in Jessamine County, KY, attended school in Lexington, and was a graduate of Meharry Medical and Dental School [now Meharry Medical College, School of Dentistry]. He was a member of the Bluegrass Medical Association. Dr. Berryman opened his dental office in Lexington in 1906 and continued his practice until his death in 1940. He was the husband of Edith Berryman, and the father of Grace, Elanor, and Carolyn Berryman, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. Dr. Berryman was a Sunday School teacher at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, a member of the Progressive Club and the IBPOE of W, and treasurer of Lexington Lodge #27. For more see "Dr. Berryman passes; veteran Negro dentist," Lexington Leader, 04/04/1940, p. 20.

**[IBPOE of W = Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks of the World]

**[Progressive Club = social organization that assisted in addressing community problems and needs.]
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Medical Field, Health Care, Fraternal Organizations, Sunday School, Dentists
Geographic Region: Jessamine County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Best, James L.
Birth Year : 1944
Death Year : 2013
James Best, born in Lexington, KY, was the first African American firefighter to be promoted to the rank of captain in the Lexington Fire Department. He joined the department in 1970 and retired in 2008, having served for 38 years. He was also host of the educational show "In Case of Fire" that aired on the local government television channel GTV. James Best was an active member of he Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church, and was elected to the church's Hall of Fame in recognition of his public service and work with youths. James Best was the husband of Karen I. Best. He was the son of Lottie Mae Best Riley. For more see J. Kegley, "Firefighter was a pioneer - first black to be promoted to captain," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/07/2013, p.A5.
Subjects: Firefighters, Television
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bethea, Rainey
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1936
Rainey Bethea, an African American, was originally from Roanoke, Virginia. When he was 22 years old, he was charged with the murder and rape of a 70 year-old white woman in Owensboro, KY. He was convicted of rape, and on August 14, 1936, Bethea became the last person in the United States to be executed before the public. It was estimated that about 20,000 people were on hand to witness his hanging. An unsuccessful appeal for Bethea's life had been made by African American lawyers Charles Eubank Tucker, Stephen A. Burnley, Charles W. Anderson, Jr., Harry E. Bonaparte, and R. Everett Ray. Bethea's death warrant was signed by Governor Albert B. "Happy" Chandler. Rainey Bethea was buried in an unmarked grave in Owensboro. For more see The Last Public Execution in America, by P. T. Ryan; and K. Lawrence, "1936 Hanging remains last public execution," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/24/2004, Section S, p. 49; and listen to "Last public execution in America" and view the photo gallery on National Public Radio (NPR).

Access Interview
Subjects: Executions, Lawyers, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Roanoke, Virginia

Bibb, Charles Leon
Birth Year : 1921
Leon Bibb was born in Louisville, KY. A World War II veteran, Bibb became a classically-trained singer who performed folk music in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 1960s. He relocated to Vancouver, Canada, where he continued to perform. Bibb appeared in three films with Sidney Portier and was an opening act for Bill Cosby in the 1960s. He was blacklisted for playing in Russia. Bibb had a successful Broadway career, including his performance in the production Lost in the Stars. He also toured with Finian's Rainbow. In 2006 he headlined a concert in Port Coquitlam, Canada. Leon Bibb is the father of Eric Bibb, a blues singer and songwriter. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. For more see Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts, 2nd ed., by E. Mapp; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and J. Warren, "Bibb performs with Coastal Sound," The Tri-City News (Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada), 11/15/2006, Arts section, p. 31.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Fathers, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Greenwich Village, New York City, New York / Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Bibb, Henry W.
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1854
Henry Walton Bibb was born a slave in Shelby County, KY, to Mildred Jackson, a slave, and James Bibb, a white politician. Henry Bibb taught himself to read and write. He had many failed escape attempts, which eventually led to his being sold. Bibb was last owned by Indians before he escaped to Detroit, Michigan. He became an abolitionist lecturer and later moved to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where he edited the Voice of the Fugitive newspaper. He also organized the Refugee Home Society for runaway slaves. For more see Narrative of the life and adventures of Henry Bibb, an American slave, by H. Bibb [available online at the Documenting the American South website]; The Kentucky Encyclopedia; and "Death of Henry Bibb," New York Daily Times, 08/19/1854, p. 3.

   See photo image of Henry W. Bibb at the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Shelby County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Bibbs, Junius A.
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1980
Junius Bibbs was born in Henderson, KY. He attended high school in Terre Haute, Indiana, and college at Indiana State University, where he was a star football and baseball player. As a baseball player in the Negro Leagues, where he was also known as Rainey and Sonny, he played shortstop and first, second, and third base; his career began in 1933 with the Detroit Stars and finished in 1944 with the Cleveland Buckeyes. Bibbs was a good line-drive hitter, hitting to all fields; in 1936, he hit .404. Bibbs joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1938, and the team went on to win three Negro American League pennants, 1939-1941. After his baseball career, Bibbs taught and coached at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1998, Bibbs was inducted into the Indiana State University Hall of Fame.  For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley.

Additional information provided by Rebecca Bibbs 11/16/2012: Junius Bibbs was a football star at Indiana State Teachers College [now Indiana State University] in 1935 and was thought to be the only African American playing football at the collegiate level in the state of Indiana. In 2011, Junius Bibbs was inducted into the Indiana Baseball Hall of Fame. See R. Rose article "Indiana Hall of Famer Junius Bibbs put education first," Indianapolis Recorder, 07/21/2011 [online]. Junius Bibbs was the son of Lloyd and Catherine Carr Bibbs, and the grandson of Maria Carr.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Terre Haute, Indiana / Indianapolis, Indiana

Bickerstaff, Bernard T., Sr. "Bernie"
Birth Year : 1944
Bernie Bickerstaff was born in Benham, KY. At the age of 25, he was head coach at the University of San Diego, the youngest college coach in the U.S. at that time. He went on to become the youngest assistant coach in NBA history when he joined the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] at the age of 29. From 1985-1990, Bickerstaff was head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics [in 2008 became the Oklahoma City Thunder]; he was the first African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the second was Wes Unseld and the third was Dwane Casey]. Bickerstaff was president and general manager of the Denver Nuggets from 1990-1997. In 2004, he was named general manager of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, becoming the team's first coach; he returned as the head coach for the 2006-2007 season. Bickerstaff ranks 33rd on the NBA's winningest coaches list. Bernie Bickerstaff Boulevard in Benham is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in America, 45th-48th ed.; Who's Who in the West, 22nd -24th ed.; and Bernie Bickerstaff, an NBA Coaches website.

See photo image and coaching stats for Bernie Bickerstaff at Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Benham, Harlan County, Kentucky / Charlotte, North Carolina

Bicycle Clubs (Wheelmen), Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1894
In 1894, the Union Cycle Club in Louisville, KY, had 25 members and was said to be the largest African American cycling club in the South. These were the sentiments of William W. Watts, who was speaking to the League of American Wheelmen at the 1894 convention held in Louisville, KY. Watts, a Louisville lawyer, read a letter that supposedly was written by the Union Cycle Club president, Frederick J. Scott, in support of Watts' stand to deny African Americans membership to the League of American Wheelmen [source: Ethnicity, Sport, Identity, edited by J. A. Mangan and A. Ritchie, p. 20]. See also the NKAA entry for Richard Ball. In 1899, the Booker T. Washington Cycle Club at Allen Chapel A. M. E. Church made their first annual appearance on January 25 [source: "Personal Mention," Recorder, 01/07/1899, p. 4]. The club held its meetings at 409 N. West Street in Louisville [source: "Personal Mention," Freeman, 06/17/1899, p. 8]. The first national colored bicycle tournament was held at Brotherhood Park in St. Louis, MO, June 1890 [source: "Ten thousand people witnessed...," in the article "A bob-tailed cur," Cleveland Gazette, 07/26/1890, p. 1].

  • Union Cycle Club (1894?)
  • Booker T. Washington Cycle Club, Allen Chapel A. M. E. (1899)

Subjects: Bicycles, Cyclist, Cycling, Wheelmen
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Biggerstaff, Thomas B.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1969
Biggerstaff was born in Richmond, KY, the son of Ellen and James Biggerstaff. He began his successful dental career in 1943, practicing in the Kentucky communities of Pikeville, Richmond, Frankfort, Danville, and Lexington. His office was located in Lexington in 1950. For more see Supplement to Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Dentists
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Pikeville, Pike County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Biggerstaff, William
Birth Year : 1854
Death Year : 1886
William Biggerstaff was born a slave in Lexington, KY. He moved to the western U.S., where he was executed for killing Dick Johnson. Biggerstaff claimed self defense; nonetheless, he was hanged in Helena, Montana. His death was captured by African American photographer James P. Ball. For more see Representing Death; and Relections in black, by D. Willis-Thomas.
Subjects: Executions, Migration West, Photographers, Photographs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Helena, Montana

Bill (slave)
Birth Year : 1779
Death Year : 1791
Bill, a 12 year-old slave, was one of the first teens and the youngest teen to be executed in Kentucky; he was hanged for murder July 30, 1791, in Woodford County, KY. According to author Adalberto Aguirre, there were 1,161 slaves executed in the U.S. between the 1790s and 1850s, and 51 of the executions took place in Kentucky. For more see A. Aguirre, Jr., "Slave executions in the United States," The Social Science Journal, vol.36, issue 1 (1999), pp.1-31.
Subjects: Executions
Geographic Region: Woodford County, Kentucky

Bingham, Rebecca T.
Birth Year : 1928
Rebecca Taylor Bingham was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University in1950, a master's degree from the University of Tulsa in 1961, and a second master's in 1969 from the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science. During her library career, Bingham became the first African American president of the Kentucky Library Association. She is also a former president of the American Association of School Librarians. Bingham served on the Kentucky Governor's State Advisory Council on Libraries and the advisory committee for the 1979 White House Conference on Library and Information Services. In 1998, Bingham was named to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by President Clinton. She was the wife of the late Walter D. Bingham. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans; A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada, 5th ed., edited by L. Ash; and T. Tew, "An advocate for equality," SLIS Alumni Magazine, Fall 2002, Indiana University.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Indianapolis, Indiana / Kentucky

Bingham, Walter D.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2006
Rev. Walter D. Bingham became, in 1966, the first African American to lead the Kentucky Association of Christian Churches. Five years later, he became the first African American named to the top post of the Christian Church (Church of Christ) as moderator of the denomination of 1.5 million members. Bingham's first vice moderator was Mrs. H. G. Wilkes, the first woman moderator. Bingham was minister of the Third Christian Church [now Third Central United Christian Church] in Louisville, KY. A native of Memphis, TN, he was a 1945 graduate of Talladega College and earned his divinity degree from Howard University in 1948. He taught at Jarvis Christian College and was a pastor in Oklahoma before arriving in Louisville, KY in 1961. He was the husband of librarian Rebecca Taylor Bingham, and the son of Lena and Willie Bingham. For more see "Louisville minister heads church group," Lexington Herald, 04/21/1966, p. 1; "Born in slavery era; church elects first Black man national moderator," Lexington Herald, 10/20/1971, p. 31; and P. Burba, "Rev. Walter Bingham dies; was pioneer with Disciples of Christ," Courier Journal, 04/16/2006, News section, p. 4B.

See photo image and additional information about Rev. Walter D. Bingham at Find A Grave website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Birch, Augustine Edward
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 2000
Birch, born in Winchester, KY, was the son of Eva Downey Birch and Edward Eginton Birch. He was a supervisor for the Apprentice Information Center of the Cincinnati Bureau Employment Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. Birch was director of the Cincinnati Apprenticeship Information Center in 1969 when it was one of three centers in Ohio, and one of 35 centers in the United States. Access to the apprentice training programs was suppose to be a step toward getting hired in the trade industries. June 1963, the Cincinnati NAACP had charged that racists practices barred Negroes from journeymen jobs and participation in the union-controlled apprenticeship training programs in the building trades industry. May of 1965, only 100 Negroes had been allowed entrance into the 11 apprenticeship centers in the U.S. The efforts to desegregate the centers had been a long and ongoing fight. Augustine Birch retired in 1977 as an intake supervisor for the Cincinnati Apprentice Information Center. His other employments included supervisor with the Cincinnati Recreation Department and employee counselor at Wright Aeronautical Corp. Birch was a 1931 graduate of Kentucky State University, he was class president, a featured tenor soloist, and had participated in the college choir. He was a member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Kentucky State University Alumni Association, and served as chair of the scholarship committee beginning in 1975. The Augustine Birch Scholarship is named in his honor. Birch was also a Tuskegee Airman with the U.S. Air Force during WWII, he enlisted in Indiana on October 8, 1943, according to his military enlistment record. For more see "Here are addresses of the U.S.A.'s 35 Apprenticeship Information Centers," The Machinist, 04/17/1969, p.8; and see "Deaths - Augustine Birch, 92, was job counselor," The Cincinnati Post, 08/25/2000, News section, p.19A. For more of the segregated Apprenticeship Information Centers, see H. Hill, "The Negro wage earner and apprenticeship training," Crisis, June-July 1961, vol.68, issue 6, pp.335-341[online at Google Book Search]; H. Hill, "Job crisis in the urban north," Crisis, November 1965, p.565-572 [online at Google Book Search]; R. Marshall and V. M. Briggs, Jr., "Negro participation in Apprenticeship Programs," The Journal of Human Resources, 1967, vol.2, issue 1, pp.51-69.
Subjects: Aviators, Employment Services, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Birch, Ernest O. and Edward E. [Birch Bros.]
The Birch brothers, Ernest (1884-1951) and Edward (1887-1974), were born in Winchester, KY. They were the youngest two sons of Jane and Samuel Birch, who was a barber. Their oldest brother was Arthur Birch, he was a hotel porter, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The family of five lived at 125 E. Third Street in Winchester. Ernest and Edward Birch would go on to create a partnership in 1908 known as Birch Brothers, an architecture business in Cincinnati, OH. They were not licensed in Ohio, but are recognized as two of the earliest African American architects in the city. Ernest Birch was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], where he first studied to become a teacher, and later switched to carpentry. Edward Birch studied architecture engineering at Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute [now Hampton University]. According to the 1910 census, the two brothers were managing their business and were lodgers at the home of William and Eliza Ford on West Canal Street [Eliza Ford was b.1867 in KY]. By 1920, Ernest was the husband of Corenna Birch, b.1891 in KY, and she is also listed as Ernest's wife on his WWII Draft Registration Card in 1942, a period when Ernest was employed by the Rubel Baking Company. He is listed as an architect at 3146 Gaff Avenue in the 1946 William's Cincinnati (Ohio) City Directory. Also in 1920, Edward Birch was the husband of Susie B. Whittaker, b.1890 in KY, and Edward was employed as a Pullman Porter. The couple and Susie's sister lived on Mountfort Street in Cincinnati. Edward Birch was previously married to Eva Downey, b.1890 in KY, and they had a son named Augustine E. Birch, b.1908 in KY. The couple divorced in 1916, and Eva and her son Augustine are listed as living in Winchester, KY in the 1910 census and 1930 census. Edward Birch is listed as a draftsman at 1123 Yale Avenue in the 1936-1937 William's Cincinnati Directory. He is credited for designing the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church. For more see the Ernest Octavius Birch entry and the Edward Eginton Birch entry, both in African American Architects, 1865-1945 edited by D. S. Wilson.
Subjects: Architects, Barbers, Businesses, Migration North, Pullman Porters
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Birth Control Movement and African American Women in Kentucky
Start Year : 1933
End Year : 1943
The Kentucky Birth Control League (KBCL) in Louisville began the birth control movement in Kentucky. The organization was founded by Jean Brandies Tachau, who was also the first president. The KBCL was affiliated with the American Birth Control League, which focused on women and family planning. The first clinic opened in Louisville, KY, in 1933; Norton's Infirmary provided services for "whites only." Therefore, arrangements were made with Dr. John Hammons to see African American women in his office until there was a regular clinic. Hammons had been director of the Venereal Clinic, was on the staff of the Red Cross Hospital, and was a member of the NAACP and the Urban League. When the second clinic opened at 624 Floyd Street, it served both African American and white women, but each on separate days of the week. In 1936, the African American birth control clinic, known as Adler Mothers Clinic, opened in the parish house of the Church of Our Merciful Savior. Doctors Hammons, Laine, and Ballard, social worker Robert B. Scott, and nurse Louise Simms made up the staff. In Lexington, the Maternal Health Clinic, the city's first birth control clinic, opened in 1936 at Good Samaritan Hospital, and services were provided to both white and African American women. During the 1930s, there were also clinics in Berea and at Pine Mountain Settlement School. Birth control was not new to the women of Kentucky, but prior to the 1930s it had not been as accessible through public health services. There was opposition from several fronts, and a number of theories are discussed in the literature as to why birth control was being provided to women of particular classes and races. One other note of importance is that during the early 1930s and the Depression, birth control became one of the most profitable new industries through advertising and marketing to women consumers. Hundreds of birth control ads were placed in both white and African American media for a variety of mail order products in spite of federal and state interstate distribution laws; the items were sold as feminine hygiene products. By 1938 annual sales for birth control totaled more than $250,000,000 and continued to increase. For more information on the Birth Control Movement in Kentucky, see J. G. Myers, A Socio-historical Analysis of the Kentucky Birth Control Movement, 1933-1943 (dissertation), University of Kentucky, 2005; D. McRaven, Birth Control Women: Controlling Reproduction in the South, 1933-1973 (dissertation), University of Kentucky, 2006; and see the website Planned Parenthood of Kentucky: a history. For more on marketing during the Birth Control Movement, see Women and Health in America, by J. W. Leavitt.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Women's Groups and Organizations, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Pine Mountain, Harlan County, Kentucky

Bishop, Daisy H. and Charles Maceo
Daisy Carolyn Hitch Bishop (1897-1990) and Charles Maceo Bishop (1898-1990) resided in Paris, KY, for most of their lives. Daisy was born in Falmouth, KY, the daughter of Carrie B. and Edward J. Hitch. Charles, a musician, was born in Paris, the son of Georgie A. Small Bishop (1874-1953) and Charles W. Bishop (b. 1867). Charles Maceo was a World War I veteran. He and Daisy were married November 30, 1919, and initially lived with Daisy's family in Newtown, an African American community in Paris. Charles Maceo learned to play music while a student at Western School for Colored children in Paris. He played drums, saxophone, and piano. His mother, Georgie A. Small Bishop, encouraged him to play music; her father, George Small (1822-1879?), had also been a musician. He was killed when Georgie was a child and her mother, Martha Wallace Small (b. 1832), raised the family alone. At the age of 15, Charles Maceo began teaching music, saving $1,500 by the time he graduated from high school. His services were in demand throughout Central Kentucky, and he also performed in nearby states. Charles Maceo performed with local orchestras and with night club and gambling house bands in Bourbon County and surrounding counties. He played (volunteered) during services at the Martin and Hurley Funeral Home from the day the business opened up till the death of the owner. He also played for churches, at the insistence of his mother. Charles Maceo Bishop was organist for the St. Paul Methodist Church for more than 50 years, beginning in 1918. 

Read about the Access InterviewDaisy Carolyn Bishop oral history interview, and the Access Interview Charles Maceo Bishop oral history interview, both available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Gambling, Lottery
Geographic Region: Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bishop, Darryl R.
Birth Year : 1950
Darryl R. Bishop was born in Louisville, KY. In 1969, he was the first African American to play basketball for the University of Kentucky (UK), playing a few games as a walk-on, then withdrawing from the team. He had a more successful career as a defensive back on the football team. At that time at UK, football players could not play until their sophomore year. In spite of only playing three years, Bishop's career at UK was phenomenal. He holds the UK career record for most pass interceptions (14) and return yardage (376). He made more tackles (348) than any defensive back in UK history. He is also remembered for the 43-yard interception return touchdown in the 1971 win over Vanderbilt and the 97-yard touchdown return against Mississippi State. Darryl Bishop was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in January of 1974. Information provided by the University of Kentucky Athletics Media Relations Office. See also Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999. In March of 1974, Darryl R. Bishop signed to play with the newly formed World Football League [source: "Sports in brief," Lakeland Ledger, 03/05/1974, p.3B]. Bishop played with the New York Stars until he was cut from the team in July of 1974 [source: "Sports in brief," Spartanburg Herald-Journal, 07/06/1974, p.B3].

 

  See photo image of Darryl R. Bishop at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Football
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bishop, James L.
Birth Year : 1870
In 1902 the Socialists Party nominated one of it's first African American candidates for the U.S. Congress, James L. Bishop from Kentucky. Members of the Socialists Party had demanded that the party take a stronger stand for the rights of Negroes. Bishop had moved to Indiana, prior to the year 1900. With his nomination in 1902, he was to represent the 5th District of Clinton, IN. Bishop was a coal miner, a clergyman, and a trade unionist, he was president of the local Central Labor Union of Clinton, IN. He was the husband of Galveston Bishop (b.1879 in TN), they had married in 1897, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He was later married to Rosa Bishop (b.1886 in WV), according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. James L. Bishop received 745 votes, but was not successful in his bid for the U.S. Congress. [The first African American member of the Indiana Legislature was James Sidney Hinton, 1881 House of Representatives.] For more see "Nominated for Congress," Baltimore Afro-American, 10/18/1902, p.1; and Marxism in United States History Before the Russian Revolution (1876-1917) by O. C. Johnson.
Subjects: Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Clinton, Indiana

Bishop, Stephen
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1857
Stephen Bishop was 17 years old in 1838 when both he and Mammoth Cave were purchased by Franklin Gorin, a Kentucky attorney. A year later, they were both sold to Dr. John Croghan. Bishop, the first African American cave explorer, was the first guide and explorer of Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave system. He knew the cave system better than all others, which made him a responsible tour guide. He also made a published map of the cave. After receiving his freedom, Bishop had planned to take his wife Charlotte and their son to live in Liberia, Africa, but he died before he could do so. Stephen Bishop is buried in the cemetery near the entrance to Mammoth Cave. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; In Remembrance (pdf); The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and J. C. Schmitzer, "The sable guides of Mammoth Cave," Filson Club History Quarterly, 1993, vol. 67, issue 2, pp. 240-258.
Subjects: Explorers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Parks
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky

Black Church in Kentucky Oral History Project
Start Year : 1978
End Year : 1984
The following information comes from the description in the SPOKE Database. "Black church leaders throughout Kentucky discuss the history of the black church in the state, its role in the community, and lined hymns."

 

Access Interview Read more about the recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Black Dolls - Collector Books, Paducah, KY
Start Year : 1987
End Year : 1996
Collector Books is a publishing company in Paducah, KY, that is a division of Schroeder Publishing owned by Bill and Meredith Schroeder. The list of published titles includes volumes on the identification and value of black dolls and other collectibles. Since 2010, Collector Books has suspended publication of the titles.  For information on how to acquire copies of the following titles contact Collector Books or your local library.

 
Subjects: Collectibles
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Black Elected Officials in Southern Kentucky [oral histories]
Start Year : 1977
End Year : 1978
The following informaton comes from the description at the "Pass the Word" website.

 

"These interviews are with blacks who were elected to or sought public office in Adairville, Auburn, Bowling Green, Franklin, Glasgow, Hopkinsville, and Russellville. They include a mayor, a mortician, a physician, a medical technologist, a hosiery mill supervisor, a factory supervisor, and an educator.

 

Interviewees discuss their personal histories, their careers, the challenges and hardships they have faced, race relations and discrimination in their communities, education for blacks, integration of their school systems, busing, their campaigns for office, the effects of racial prejudice on their campaigns, and their city and county governments.

 

The interviews are also in the Folklife Archives collection at Western Kentucky University."

 

Access Interview  See list of interviews at "Pass the Word" website.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Southern Kentucky

Black, Evelyn Jones
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1972
In 1968, Evelyn J. Black became the first African American faculty member at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Social Work. She was named the UK Outstanding Woman Professor, 1969-70. The UK Evelyn J. Black Scholarship in Children's Mental Health is named in her honor. Black had been a teacher and social worker in three states: North Carolina, Alabama, and Kentucky. She was active on a number of boards, including the Mayor's Council, Central Kentucky Mental Health Association, Central Kentucky Regional Mental Health - Mental Retardation Board, and the Fayette County Children's Bureau. She was a past president and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In 1973, the year after her death in a traffic accident, the Evelyn Jones Black Memorial Playground was dedicated at St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Evelyn Black had been a member of the church and helped lead the sponsorship by the church for the Neighborly Organization of Women's (NOW) preschools. St. Andrews Episcopal Church also donated $1,000 to the Evelyn J. Black Memorial Scholarship Fund at UK. In October of 1977, Evelyn J. Black was posthumously honored when the former Booker T. Washington School, on Georgetown Street in Lexington, was formally dedicated as the Black and Williams Neighborhood Community Center. In 1993, she was recognized posthumously at the 3rd Annual Homecoming Awards Banquet by the Lyman T. Johnson Alumni, an affiliate of the UK Alumni Association. Black was among the 23 graduates, faculty, and staff, "Waymakers of the '60s," all recognized for their contributions toward setting the path for future African Americans at the University of Kentucky [quote from E. A. Jasmin, "Black UK graduates to honor school's 'waymakers' of '60s," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1993, p. B3]. Evelyn Jones Black was born in Murfreesboro, TN, the daughter of P.S. and Patty L. Jones. She was the wife of William D. Black, Jr. For more see "Special People: Black and Williams Center dedicated to social worker, Happy Warrior," Lexington Herald, 10/31/1977, p. A-3; "Playground dedicated at St. Andrews," Lexington Leader, 06/12/1973, p. 19; and "Mrs. Black," in the Obituary section of the Lexington Leader, 11/01/1972, p. 12. This entry was suggested by Yvonne Giles, who also assisted with the research. There is a colored portrait of Elelyn J. Black at the University of Kentucky Archives and Records, Rm 204 King Library, the portrait is 22" X 26" inside an ornate frame located on the wall just inside the entrance.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Murfreesboro, Tennessee / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Black Graduates of Kentucky (periodical)
Start Year : 1970
End Year : 1998
Beginning in 1970, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights published the title Black Graduates of Kentucky. It was an annual publication that was very unusual because it was a government directory that attempted to list the African American college and university graduates in the entire state. Most other publications of this type were not produced by the state, but rather by higher education institutions in specific states, and the publications focused on the individual institution's graduates only. The Kentucky directory title changed in 1994 to African American Graduates of Kentucky Directory. The publication ceased in 1998.
Subjects: Resources Dedicated to Kentucky African Americans [Statewide]
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Black Herman's Actual Death
Birth Year : 1892
Death Year : 1934
Black Herman was the stage name of Benjamin Rucker, an African American magician, illusionist, root doctor, and medicine man. He was born in Amherst, VA. He claimed his medicines could stamp the devil out of a tortured soul, and during his performance, a tortured soul from the audience (his brother or a friend), would drink the potion and be cured. Black Herman would hold up a snake or some other creature as proof of the devil's exit. Black Herman also performed stage illusions including his own death and resurrection. An audience would witness a supposedly dead Black Herman in a coffin, and when the coffin was being transported for burial, Black Herman would slip out of the coffin and leave town. When the coffin was retrieved from the ground a week or so later, Black Herman would arrange to get back into the coffin, and when the coffin was placed before an audience, he would step out of the coffin looking the picture of health. As he had claimed, some thought Black Herman was beyond death. However, on April 17, 1934, Black Herman was performing in Louisville, KY, when he collasped and died on stage. Some audience members refused to believe that he was actually dead, they expected him to reappear from his coffin in a week or so. According to his death certificate, Benjamin Rucker's body was received at Cooper Undertakers on W. Chestnut Street in Louisville. Once the body was prepared, there were so many viewers that the body was then taken to the train station where spectators could view the body for 10 cents per person before Rucker's body and coffin were taken by train to New York. The burial took place in Woodlawn Cemetery. Benjamin Rucker was the son of Pete and Louise Williams Rucker. For more see Black Herman's Secrets of Magic-mystery and Legerdemain by Black Herman; and the Black Herman entry in Vaudeville Old & New by F. Cullen et al.
Subjects: Hoaxes, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Amherst, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Black History Gallery [Emma Reno Connor]
The Black History Gallery is located in Elizabethtown, KY. The gallery items comprised the personal collection of Emma Reno Connor, a schoolteacher first in Kentucky and later in New York. She collected pictures, articles, biographies, and other materials pertaining to African Americans. The items were used in her classes because there was little information in school textbooks about African Americans. Since Connor's death in 1988, her family has managed the museum in her childhood home in Elizabethtown. Emma R. Connor was the author of a book of poems titled Half a Hundred. For more information, contact: Black History Gallery, 602 Hawkins Drive, Elizabethtown, KY 42701, 270-769-5204 or 270-765-7653. For more on Emma Reno Connor see the online video "A Teachers Legacy," Kentucky Life Program 905; and "Black history collection took lifetime to amass," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/12/1991, Lifestyle section, p. B6.
See the video "A Teachers Legacy" online at Kentucky Life Program 905.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Genealogy, History, Historians, Migration North
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / New York

Black Horsemen
The history of Black horsemen, many of whom were from Bourbon County, KY, is being collected and displayed. The Butler Family from North Middletown, KY, has developed the website Back in Black: A History of Black Horsemen in the Twentieth Century for the gathering and sharing of information, including photos of many of the men. There is also the 2007 exhibit at the American Saddlebred Museum in Lexington, KY, Out of the Shadows: Bringing to Light Black Horsemen in Saddlebred History. A DVD by the same title is available for purchase at the American Saddlebred Museum. For more information see L. Muhammad, "Show heralds achievements of Black trainers," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/05/2007, Features section, p. 1E; Exhibition Honoring Black Horsemen Set to Open, 02/03/2007, a Kentucky.gov website [removed]; and African American Horsemen of Bourbon County included in American Saddlebred Museum Exhibit [.pdf], 02/10/2005, a Kentucky Horse Park news release.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Black, Isaac E.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1914
Issac Black grew up in Covington, KY. He served as the law librarian and janitor at the Kenton County Courthouse from 1869-1874. It is not known what library training Black received; he was paid only for being the janitor. He had considered suing the Law Library Association for $2,500, the wages he felt he was owed for the five years he served as a librarian. Black would go on to become a lawyer after being mentored by Lt. Governor John G. Carlisle, teaming up with Nathaniel Harper to form the first African American law firm in Kentucky, Harper & Black, located in Louisville. For more see T. H. H. Harris, "Creating windows of opportunity: Isaac E. Black and the African American Experience in Kentucky," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 98, issue 2 (2000), pp. 155-177.
Subjects: Businesses, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Black, John L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1931
Death Year : 2004
John L. Black, Sr., born in Burgin, KY, was the son of Robert and Bertha Black; Bertha died in 1934 after becoming ill with sickle cell anemia and tuberculosis. John Black was a retired stationary engineer for the Cincinnati Public Schools and a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local #20. In 1991, he became the first African American president of an IUOE Local #20. For more see "John Lincoln Black" in vol. 1 of African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham; and The Cincinnati Post, obituaries, 06/24/2004, News section, p. A14.

Access Interview Listen to Samuel Black remembering his father in A Father, a Son, and a Ten-cent Mistake, 09/29/2006, StoryCorps: Recording America at NPR.org.
 
Subjects: Engineers, Migration North, Union Organizations, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Burgin, Mercer County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Black, Karla L.
Birth Year : 1961
Karla L. Black was born in Richmond, KY. She was the first African American elected to the Richmond Independent Board of Education in 1986. For more see Karla Black in "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in the 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 37.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Black Kentucky Artists
This exhibition of work by Black artists living in Kentucky was organized for and toured by the Kentucky Arts Commission, June 1979-January 1981. The curator was Roberta L. Williams. For more see black & white photos of the works and artists' biographies in Black Kentucky Artists (1979), available at the University of Kentucky, Lucille Caudill Little Fine Arts Library & Learning Center.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Black Owned Businesses in Kentucky
This 2006 online publication [.pdf] was compiled by the Office of Research and Information Technology General Research Branch at the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.   
Subjects: Businesses, Resources Dedicated to Kentucky African Americans [Statewide]
Geographic Region: Kentucky

"Black Republican" (term)
Start Year : 1858
The term "Black Republican" is often attributed to incumbent Stephen Douglas, a Democrat who was scheduled to have seven debates with Republican, and Kentucky native, Abraham Lincoln; both were campaigning for an Illinois Senate seat in 1858. The primary theme of the debates was slavery, and Douglas accused Lincoln and members of the the "Black Republican Party" of being abolitionist and against slavery in the Western territories. Lincoln lost the bid for the Illinois Senate seat, but he won the nomination to run for U.S. President during the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago. During the presidential campaign, Abraham Lincoln was often referred to as the "Black Republican." The term was also used during the Reconstruction Era for Republicans who supported legislation that favored African Americans. For more see the "Black Republican" entry in vol. 2 of the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and Lincoln and Douglas, by A. C. Guelzo.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: United States

Black Shakers (Pleasant Hill, KY)
In 1995 a celebration of the African American contributions to the Shakers, entitled "Dark Angels - The Story of African-American Shakers," was held at the Shakertown Meeting House at Pleasant Hill in Mercer County, KY. There had been 19 African Americans at the village, including Alley Hyson, the first to arrive, in 1807, and two slaves whose freedom was purchased by the Shakers. For more see L. Stafford, "Event Puts Spotlight on Black Shakers," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/08/1995, COMMUNITY section, p. 7; and contact Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KY.
Subjects: Freedom, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Pleasant Hill, Mercer County, Kentucky

Blackburn, Charles H. "Jack"
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1942
Charles Henry Blackburn was born in Versailles, KY. He was a boxer who went by the name Jack. Blackburn weighed 135 pounds, but his fast hands and legs, along with his hooks and jabs, allowed him to fight bigger and heavier men. He claimed to have fought nearly 400 bouts between 1901 and 1923, losing few of them. In 1909 Blackburn was arrested for the murder of Alonso Polk and also charged with attempted murder for shooting Polk's wife and his own wife, Maude Pillion. Blackburn served nearly five years of a 15 year sentence; while in the pen he was the boxing instructor for the warden and his sons. Blackburn continued to box for another decade after his release. After his retirement, he was a boxing trainer/manager for many boxers, including Joe Louis, who named his daughter, Jacqueline, after Jack Blackburn. For more see Jack Blackburn, a cyberboxingzone website; The Boxing Register. International Boxing Hall of Fame official record book, 2nd ed., by J. B. Roberts & A. G. Skutt; and Joe Louis: the Great Black Hope, by R. Bak. Blackburn is in the picture on p. 59 in Bak's book. See full length photo of Charles H. Blackburn at boxrec.com.


 
Subjects: Boxers, Boxing
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky

Blackburn, Thornton and Ruth (or Lucie)
The Blackburns were escaped slaves from Louisville, KY. They had been settled in Detroit, Michigan, for two years when, in 1833, Kentucky slave hunters captured and arrested the couple. The Blackburns were jailed but allowed visitors, which provided the opportunity for Ruth to exchange her clothes - and her incarceration - with Mrs. George French; Ruth escaped to Canada. The day before Thornton was to be returned to Kentucky, the African American community rose up in protest. While the commotion was going on, Sleepy Polly and Daddy Walker helped Thornton to escape to Canada. The commotion turned into a two day riot and the sheriff was killed. It was the first race riot in Detroit, and afterward the first Riot Commission was formed in the U.S. Once in Canada, Thornton designed, built, and operated Toronto's first horse-drawn carriage hackney cab and cab company. He was born in Maysville, KY in 1812. Ruth died in Canada in 1895. For more see The Detroit Riot of 1863; racial violence and internal division in Northern society during the Civil War, by A. S. Quinn; I'v Got a Home in Glory Land by K. S. Frost; and Thornton and Lucie Blackburn House.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Toronto, Canada

Blackmon, George Z.
Birth Year : 1854
Death Year : 1936
George Blackmon was born in Fulton County, KY. He can be found in the census records from 1910-1930, living in Clayton, Custer County. Blackmon is remembered as a pioneer miner in Idaho where several areas are named for him: Washington Basin, Washington Creek, Washington Peak, and Blackman Peak. Blackmon, said to have been a slave at one time, came to Idaho in the mid to late 1870s with a group of miners. Gold and silver had been discovered in Idaho in the 1860s, and the prospect of riches drew many miners to the state. George W. Blackmon worked claims in the Fourth of July Creek and basin areas using a pickax and a mule. He was still mining in the 1930s. The correct spelling of George Z. Blackmon's name, and his birth and death dates, and birth location were provided by James Ridenour, a researcher in Washington state. According to Ridenour's article "The Man Who Became a Mountain," Blackmon was educated and articulate; he had been educated by a white family in Iowa. He also played the fiddle. Blackmon is buried in Clayton Cemetery. For more about Blackmon's life see J. Ridenour's article in Idaho Magazine, vol.7, issue 12, September 2008, pp.51-56; Southern Idaho Ghost Towns, by W. C. Sparling; Sawtooth Tales, by D. D'Easum; and Idaho Place Names, by L. P. Boone.
Subjects: Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Fulton County, Kentucky / Clayton, Custer County, Idaho

Blacks in Kentucky Oral History Project
Start Year : 1979
The following information comes from the description in the SPOKE Database. "Interviewees discuss race relations and racial violence in the Kentucky cities of Shelbyville, Russellville, Cadiz, and Henderson; New Haven, Connecticut; and North Carolina. The New Zion Community is also discussed. Former Kentucky governor Earle C. Clements is among those interviewed."

 

Access Interview Read more about the recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Blacks In Lexington Oral History Project
Start Year : 1978
"The Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project has over 200 interviews. These interviews concern the educational, political, economic, and social opportunities for blacks in Lexington during the twentieth century."

Access Interview Read more about the recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Blacks in Louisville Oral History Project
Start Year : 1976
End Year : 1979
The following information comes from the description in the SPOKE Database. "Black residents of Louisville discuss their history from 1900 to 1940, especially their participation in education, politics, business, and community development."

 

Access Interview Read more about the recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Blacks Who Enlisted in Kentucky for U.S. Navy Submarine Duty During WWII
The following is a incomplete list of the African American men who enlisted in Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during WWII. The names come from the book titled Black Submariners by G. A. Knoblock. This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston.

  1. Joe William Green enlisted in Lexington, KY.
  2. Arthur J. Wharton, Jr. enlisted in Louisville, KY. He is a WWII veteran interred overseas. Wharton was a Steward's Mate First Class on the ship Barbel. His death date is given as 02/19/1946, and there is a monument at Fort William McKinley in Manila, Philippines.
  3. Russell Donan (1922-1992), enlisted in Louisville, KY. He was born in Edmonton, KY.
  4. Andrew Jack Pace enlisted in Louisville, KY.
  5. George E. Pogue enlisted in Louisville, KY.
  6. Louis Hill Jones enlisted in Louisville, KY.
  7. Lunie Joseph Neal enlisted in Louisville, KY.
  8. James Lee Baker enlisted in Louisville, KY and served as the first African American steward on the ship Nautilus.
  9. James Thomas McGuire enlisted in Louisville, KY.
  10. Woodrow Wilson Jones, 1918-2001, enlisted in Louisville, KY, and is buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Norwich, CT. He was born in Tennessee and was the husband of Flore Jones.
  11. Parkes Lee Davidson, 1909-1991, enlisted in Louisville, KY. He died in Louisville and is buried in the New Albany National Cemetery in Indiana.

Subjects: Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Blakeley, Mary W.
Mary Wylie Blakeley owned a restaurant and was one of the early African American women business owners in Paducah, KY. The Wiley Family Papers, 1893-1982, are held in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Manuscripts Department. The collection contains mainly photographs with quite a few of Mary Wiley Blakeley; there is also a photo of her restaurant, dated 1900. For more see the Wylie Family Papers.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Blakey, William Arthur "Buddy"
Birth Year : 1943
Death Year : 2010
William A. Blakey was born in Louisville, KY, and was a graduate of Knoxville College and Howard University Law School. He was recognized for the development of the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Act - Title 111B-HEA, which was passed during his tenure as Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Paul Simon. Blakey also oversaw the HBCU Student Loan Default Exemption through Congress. For more than 15 years Blakey served as the Washington counsel of the United Negro College Fund. In recognition of his advocacy for HBCUs, Blakey was inducted into the National Black College Hall of Fame in 2001. William A. Blakey and Associates, established in 2005, was located in Washington, D. C. For more see "Washington attorney inducted into Black College Hall of Fame," Black Issues in Higher Education, vol.18, issue 22 (12/20/2001), p. 17; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006; and articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education. See also K. Mangan, "William Blakey, lawyer for Black colleges, dies at 67," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/14/2010.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Lawyers, Migration North, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Blanton, John Oliver, Jr.
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1962
J. O. Blanton, Jr. was born in Versailles, KY, on Christmas Day in 1885, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card. He was the son of John, Sr. and Eliza Blanton [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. He was president of the American Mutual Savings Bank in Louisville, KY. The building was built by Samuel Plato in 1922, the same year that William H. Wright launched the business. Blanton was also director of the Mammoth Building and Loan Association and a professor of mathematics at Central High School in Louisville for 12 years. Blanton was also involved with the Louisville Urban League, which was founded in 1959. His wife was Carolyn Steward Blanton; they were the parents of John W. Blanton. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Blanton, John W.
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2003
John W. Blanton, born in Louisville, KY, was the son of John O. and Carolyn Steward Blanton. He was a retired General Electric Aircraft Engines executive. He received GE's Gerald L. Phillippe Award for distinguished public service in 1981 and was inducted into the GE Aircraft Engine's Propulsion Hall of Fame in 1991. He was president of the Urban League Board of Greater Cincinnati and was an original member and former president of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA). Blanton was a 1943 mechanical engineering graduate of Purdue University. He is buried in Cincinnati, OH. For more see K. Andrew, "Obituary: John Blanton, 81, GE executive," Cincinnati Enquirer, 05/11/2003, Metro section, p. 5B; and "John W. Blanton" in vol. 1 of African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham.
Subjects: Migration North, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Blanton, William Spencer
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1945
Reverend William Spencer Blanton was a Baptist minister, an educator, and an education leader. He was born in Woodford County, KY, the oldest of eight children born to John and Eliza Woodley Blanton, and according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived in Versailles, KY. William S. Blanton attended the colored school in Versailles and was a teacher at the school while studying at Kentucky State Normal School [a teacher training school, now Kentucky State University]. He was a 1906 graduate of Kentucky State Normal and also a graduate of Simmons University (Kentucky), and he was earning his master's degree at the University of Cincinnati when he died in 1945 [source: "The Late W. S. Blanton," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, October-November 1945, v.17, no.1, p.12]. Blanton had been a teacher in the Kentucky colored schools in Henderson, Columbus, Shelbyville, Newport, and in Frankfort where he was also principal of the Mayo-Underwood High School, a building that was the result of Blanton's campaign efforts for a new school. He upgraded the school to an accredited high school and it was listed with the Southern Association, an accrediting body for high schools. He also led the campaign for the new school building in Shelbyville, and he secured funding for a new playground in Newport. Blanton taught during the summers at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], he also served as a dean at the school, and at the time of his death, he was a teacher at the Oliver Street School in Winchester, KY [source: "Professor W. S. Blanton Passes," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, April-May, 1925, v.16, no.2-3, p.25; and Caron's Directory of the City of Frankfort, Ky for 1914, 1915, and 1916, p.49]. Blanton had twice served as president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 1935-1936 and 1936-1937, and he was chairman of the College and High School Department in the mid-1920s. He was a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Board of Directors as early as 1916 [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 25-28, 1916, p.1].  Blanton was also a Mason.  He was a short man, standing 5 feet 4 1/4 inches when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Versailles, KY, on October 7, 1898 [source: U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914]. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War, having served with the 24 Infantry. Blanton received an Honorable Discharge on January 31, 1899, at Fort Douglas, Utah. Blanton was a private and received the remarks of "Very Good" in reference to his military service.  William Spencer Blanton died April 6, 1945 at the W. A. Scott Memorial Hospital in Frankfort, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, State File No. 9802]. He was the husband of Etta R. Banks Blanton, she was also a school teacher in Kentucky. The couple lived at 200 Blanton Street in Frankfort, KY. Blanton Street was in the "Craw" area of Frankfort [source: "A petition of numerous citizens of "Craw" was presented...," The Weekly Roundabout, 07/17/1880, p.4].

 

  See photo image of William Spencer Blanton on p.12 of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, October-November 1945, v.17, no.1.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky

Blewitt, Kenneth G., Jr.
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1986
Kenneth G. Blewitt, Jr. was thought to be the first African American in the U.S. to manage a major movie theater and live entertainment house. Beginning in 1939, he was general manager of the Regal Theatre in Chicago, and said to have provided the best entertainment in the city. Blewitt had started as an usher at the Regal in 1929 and advanced to become a manager for Balaban & Katz, which was later the ABC Great States, Inc., owner of the Regal Theatre. He was also named manger of the Roosevelt Theatre in 1968. During WWII, Blewitt agreed to show the all-Negro newsreels at the the Regal, as long as the reels were not derogatory to the Negro race. In 1942, he was named head of the Negro division of the USO shows. Kenneth G. Blewitt, Jr. was born in Bowling Green, KY, and moved to Chicago in 1926. He was the son of Kenneth, Sr. and Maggie Blewitt [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. He was the husband of Lucille Edmondson Blewett [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Kenneth G. Blewitt was born October 14, 1910, and died in July of 1986 [source: U.S. Social Security Index]. For more see the "Kenneth G. Blewitt" entry in the Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book edited by E. R. Rather; "The all-Negro news reel...," Plaindealer, 11/06/1942, p.3; and "USO head," Jet, 08/14/1952, p.11 [available online at Google Book Search]. *The last name is also spelled "Blewett" and "Bluett" in the U.S. Census and other sources.
Subjects: Migration North, Theaters [outside Kentucky]
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Blue Grass Colored Baseball League
Start Year : 1899
End Year : 1950
Beginning In July of 1899, there was a movement to develop a Colored baseball league in "some of the principal towns" in the Bluegrass region. W. Clarence Hueston, Sr. was asked to lend his support to the project, and consider becoming the president of the league. Baseball teams in Danville, Nicholasville, and Versailles had agreed to participate, and it was anticipated that teams from the following cities would also join: Georgetown, Frankfort, Lexington, Paris, Richmond, and Winchester. The games were to be played during the months of August and September of each year. For more see "Baseball league: of Colored clubs in Blue Grass is being talked of," Leader, 07/19/1899, p.7.

Colored baseball teams in the Bluegrass area from the early 1900s to the 1950s [sources: "Colored Notes" in the Lexington Leader; and a few articles in Kentucky newspapers online at Kentucky Digital Library - Newspapers. NOTE: spelled 'base ball' in some articles.]

  • Centerville: Centerville Team
  • Danville: Corn Crackers, Cross Ties
  • Frankfort: Capital City, Crack Nine, Frankfort Team, M. W. L. Giants, Royal Giants, White Sox
  • Georgetown: Georgetown Team
  • Lexington: All-Stars, Bums, Brucetown Heavy Hitters, Chippewa Indians [Native Americans], East End Club, East End Violets, Ellerslie Avenue Team, Fort Springs, The Gem Theaters, Haddoxtown Blues, Hamburg All-Stars, Hill Boys, Lexington Goldberg, Lexington Hard Hitters, Lexington Heavy Hitters, Lexington Heavy Hitters Jr., Lexington White Sox, Lexington Reos, Loafers, Lexington Hustlers, Mechanic Street Blues, Pralltown, Smithtown Reds, Taylortown Sluggers, White Plume, Yellmantown
  • Lancaster: Lancaster All-Stars, Lancaster Colored Base Ball Team
  • Mt. Sterling: Mt. Sterling Halls
  • Nicholasville: Nicholasville All-Stars, Nicholasville Team
  • Paris: Paris Team, Paris Quicksteps
  • Versailles: Bear Cats, Versailles Giants, Versailles Minute Men

Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Bluegrass Region, Kentucky

Blue, Thomas F., Sr.
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1935
Thomas Fountain Blue was born in Farmville, Virginia. Blue was a minister, an educator, and a civic leader. He was a graduate of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and Richmond Theological Seminary (which was merged with Wayland Seminary to become Virginia Union University). In 1905, Blue became the first formally-trained African American librarian in Kentucky and also managed the country's first library training program for African Americans in the Louisville Colored Western Branch Library. In 2003, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada, Blue was recognized with a resolution of appreciation. Thomas Fountain Blue was the brother-in-law of Lyman T. Johnson. For more see Thomas Fountain Blue: pioneer librarian, 1866-1935, by L. T. Wright; Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Thomas Fountain Blue, a Louisville Free Public Library website; and R. F. Jones, "Spotlight: Reverend Thomas Fountain Blue," Kentucky Libraries, vol. 67, issue 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 6-7. See Biographical Entry on Thomas F. Blue [available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Manuscripts]; and Resolution on death of Thomas Fountain Blue, Library Board of Trustees, November 20, 1935 [available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Manuscripts].


See photo image of Thomas Fountain Blue and the library staff at Western Branch Library 1908, about midway down the page titled "A Separate Flame."

Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Farmville, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bluegrass Chronicle (newspaper) [Edgar Wallace]
Start Year : 1978
End Year : 1980
The Bluegrass Chronicle was a weekly African American newspaper in Lexington, KY, published from April 1978 - May 1980. The paper was owned by Edgar Wallace, an Urban County Councilman and former president of the Lexington NAACP. The newspaper was started because Wallace felt the Lexington Leader and the Lexington Herald were not adequately covering Lexington's Black community. Circulation was about 2,000. For more see "Fledgling paper will be aimed at minorities," Lexington Leader, 03/30/1978, section D-1, col. 5-6; and T. Tolliver, "Chronicle still out of print," Lexington Leader, 01/12/1981.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bluster, Missouri Quisenberry
Start Year : 1899
End Year : 1994
Missouri Quisenberry Bluster was a school teacher for more than 40 years at the Oliver School in Winchester, KY. For many of those years she taught first grade during the time Oliver was a segregated school for African American children. She is remembered as a disciplinarian who cared about the children. Bluster and her parents, William and Mamie Custard Quisenberry, were born in Winchester, KY. She was the wife of Rev. Climiton Bluster (1893-1961), who was born in Alabama. Missouri Bluster, a graduate of Kentucky State University and Wilberforce University, also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women's Clubs. The Quisenberry family has been in Clark County since the early history of the state, and records of the African American Quisenberrys can be found in the slave schedules and birth records, including that of a baby girl born in 1853 to a slave woman and slave owner Roger Quisenberry. [Roger Quisenberry of Clark County owned at least 11 slaves, according to the 1850 slave schedule.] Several of the African American Quisenberry men served with the Colored infantries during the Civil War, and after slavery ended, the families settled in the communities of Blue Ball, Ford, Germantown, Kiddville, and Winchester. For more about Missouri Quisenberry Bluster, see A. D. Johnson, "Winchester teacher stressed discipline, love," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/09/1986, City/State section, p. B1.

Access Interview Read about the Missouri Q. Bluster oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.

Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Blue Ball, Ford, Germantown, Kiddville, and Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Blythe, James Louis "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1901
Death Year : 1931
James L. "Jimmy" Blythe was born in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, FHL Film No. 1893066]. He was the son of Rena Stoodel and Richard Blythe. When he was a teen, Jimmy Blythe moved to Chicago, where he spent the rest of his life. Blythe was an accomplished musician and composer. Considered one of the first Boogie Woogie piano players, he was also well-versed in most other styles. He led studio bands for several companies in Chicago. Blythe made his first recordings in 1924, including Chicago Stomp, and made many piano rolls in the 1920s; he also did a few solos and was recorded accompanying a number of singers. He died of meningitis and is buried in the Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago, IL.  For more see Jimmy Blythe in Grove Music Online; Jimmy Blythe in The Rough Guide to Jazz, by D. Fairweather, B. Priestley, and I. Carr; and James "Jimmy" Blythe at redhotjazz.com.


  Listen to Jimmy Blythe - The Enigma at PRX.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Board, Sally [Petersburg, Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1805
Death Year : 1892
Sally Board was born in Fort Harrod, KY; her mother was a slave who had been purchased (or loaned) in 1790 to care for widower Phillip Board's children. A few years later Sally was born; Phillip Board was her father and owner. By 1810, Sally's mother was no longer at the Board farm, but Sally remained. As an adult, she married a slave named Peter, and his name became Peter Board. Land that Sally either purchased or received from her father was developed into a small African American community called Petersburg. Sally was eventually freed, and she then purchased her husband's freedom. Their children, however, remained slaves until after the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. In 1878, when Sally was 72 years old, she and the whole community of Petersburg moved to the new territory and settled in Morton City [Jetmore today], Hodgeman County, Kansas, abandoning Petersburg. Today Petersburg is part of the Kentucky community know as Nevada. For more information about Sally, the Board family, and other Exodusters, including the family of Eliza Broadnax Bradshaw, see "Exoduster" Sally Board, an American Heritage: from Kentucky Slavery to a Kansas Homestead, 1805-1892, by R. O. Pleasant & J. P. Neill. [Ray Pleasant is an African American and John Neill is White; they are cousins, both descendants of Phillip Board.]
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Fort Harrod (Old Fort Harrod State Park), Mercer County, Kentucky / Petersburg, Mercer County, Kentucky (no longer exists) / Nevada, Mercer County, Kentucky / Morton City (now Jetmore), Kansas

Bobtown, Farristown, and Middletown (Berea, KY)
African Americans were able to buy land in the Bobtown, Farristown, and Middletown communities after the Civil War. This change was in part due to the influence of Rev. John G. Fee. Farristown was founded in 1835, named for the Farris families who lived in the area. Middletown is so named because it is about midway between Farristown and Berea. Bobtown is the oldest of the three communities, originally founded around 1769 when it was called Joe Lick. The name was changed around 1872 in honor of African American resident Uncle Bob Fitch. Each of the communities had an African American church: First Baptist Church in Middletown was organized in 1894, Farristown Baptist Church in 1883, and New Liberty Baptist Church in Bobtown in 1866. For more information and photos see Early History of Black Berea, by Berea College, or contact the Berea College Library.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Bobtown (was Joe Lick), Madison County, Kentucky / Farristown, Madison County, Kentucky / Middletown, Madison County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Bond, Henry
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1929
Henry Bond was born in Anderson County, KY. He was a teacher and lawyer, and it was believed that he had political influence over the African American Republican vote in Williamsburg, KY. Bond was the principal and lone teacher of the Williamsburg Colored Academy for a number of years. The school was a one-room cabin with grades 1-8. In 1929, Henry died ten days before his brother, James M. Bond; both were sons of Jane Arthur, a slave, and Reverend Preston Bond. Henry Bond is buried in the Briar Creek Cemetery in Williamsburg. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams. *Additional informaiton from Carrie Stewart of Williamsburg, KY; Stewart's mother and her mother's siblings attended the one room school and they were students of Henry Bond.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Anderson County, Kentucky / Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky

Bond, Horace M.
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1972
Horace Mann Bond was born in Nashville, TN. He could read at the age of three and entered high school at the age of nine. His family moved back to Kentucky, where he graduated from Lincoln Institute and went on to college at the age of fourteen. Bond earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1936 with financial assistance from the Rosenwald Fund. He became recognized as an authority on Negro education. Bond authored many publications and articles, including the article "Intelligence Tests and Propaganda" and the book The Education of the Negro in American Social Order. He was the first African American president of Lincoln University (Pennsylvania), the first school in the United States to provide higher education for African Americans. Horace was the son of Jane A. Browne Bond and James M. Bond, and he was the father of Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former Georgia senator and representative. The Horace M. Bond papers are at the University of Massachusett's W.E.B. Du Bois Library Special Collections and University Archives. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams; and the 1955 video Rufus E. Clement and Horace M. Bond recorded as part of the Chronscope Series by Columbia Broadcasting System.

See photo image and additional information on Horace Mann Bond at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Mothers, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Nashville, Tennessee / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky

Bond, Howard H.
Birth Year : 1938
Howard H. Bond, a consulting firm executive, was born in Stanford, KY, to Frederick D. and Edna G. Coleman Bond. He is a 1965 graduate of Eastern Michigan University (BA) and a 1974 graduate of Pace University (MBA). He has worked with a number of companies, including Ford Motor Company, where he was a labor supervisor; Xerox Corp., as a personnel manager; and Playboy Enterprises, Inc., as a vice president. He was also a council member candidate for the city of Cincinnati in 2003. Today he is managing director of the Phoenix Executech Group, having founded the company in 1977. And he is chairman and CEO of Bond Promotions and Apparel Co. in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. Bond is also a community activist and educator. He has taught leadership and social responsibility classes at Northern Kentucky University and is a former elected member of the Cincinnati Board of Education. He has also served as president of the African American Political Caucus of Cincinnati and is a founding member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Bond is also a 33rd degree Mason, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a number of other organizations. He has received a number of awards. Bond is a U.S. Army veteran. For more see "Five receive Lions awards from Urban League," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 02/12/2006, Metro section, p. 5B; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Howard H. Bond at the 2003 smartvoter.org website.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bond, J. Max, Jr.
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 2009
J. Max Bond, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY. He was an internationally recognized architect and a fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture at Harvard University. His designs include the Bolgatanga Library in Ghana, Africa, and the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum in Alabama. Bond established and became director of the Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem and from 1980-1986 was commissioner of the New York Planning Committee. He taught at and was a former dean of the architecture school at the City University of New York (CUNY). Bond was the co-author of New Service Buildings, Harvard University... and was co-author of the newspaper Harlem News. He was the son of J. Max Bond, Sr. and Ruth E. Clement Bond and the grandson of James M. Bond. For more see Who's Who in America, 47th ed. - 52nd ed.; L. Duke, "Blueprint of a life, Architect J. Max Bond Jr. has had to build bridges to reach ground zero," Washington Post, 07/01/2004, p. C01; and D. W. Dunlap, "J. Max Bond Jr., Architect, Dies at 73," New York Times, 02/19/2009, Obituary section,p.20. See also The Directory of African American Architects, sponsored by the City for the Study of Practice at the University of Cincinnati.

Access Interview Read about the J. Max Bond, Jr. oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Architects, Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Bond, J. Max, Sr.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1991
J. Max Bond, Sr. was born in Nashville, TN. His family, who had previously lived in Kentucky, moved back, and Bond attended Lincoln Institute. He later attended what is now Roosevelt University in Chicago, then earned his sociology master's degree at the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D in sociology at the University of Southern California. Bond was president of the University of Liberia, 1950-1954 [Liberia, Africa]. He was also dean of the School of Education at Tuskegee University as well as a U.S. representative of the Inter-American Educational Foundation at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Bond wrote A Survey of Tunisian Education and The Negro in Los Angeles. J. Max Bond, Sr. was the son of James M. Bond, the husband of Ruth E. Clement Bond, and the father of J. Max Bond, Jr. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 17, Sept. 1990-Aug. 1992; and "J. Max Bond, Sr., Educator, Aid Official," The Seattle Times, 12/18/1991, Deaths, Funerals section, p. E8.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Sociologists & Social Scientists
Geographic Region: Nashville, Tennessee / Kentucky

Bond, James Arthur, Sr.
Birth Year : 1892
Death Year : 1957
In 1929, James A. Bond was the interim president of the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute [now Kentucky State University]. Bond had been a dean at the school, replacing President Green P. Russell when he resigned in 1929. Russell was indicted on three counts of defrauding the state: he had hired his wife and daughter as librarians for the school. The charges were later dismissed. James A. Bond served as the interim president until the end of the year when Rufus B. Atwood was named president. James A. Bond left the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, when he was named a Specialist in Education with the Bureau of Education in the U.S. Department of the Interior. His first duty was to assist in the survey of secondary education. While in Cincinnati, Bond completed his master's degree in 1930 at the University of Cincinnati. His thesis is entitled Negro Education in Kentucky. Bond would become a dean at Bethune-Cookman College in Florida, where he worked from 1935-1941. He temporarily left the school in 1935 to complete a semester of work on his doctorate at the University of Chicago; Bond specialized in junior college curriculum. He was author of "Bethune-Cookman College: community service station," The Crisis, vol. 48, no. 3 (March 1941), pp. 81 & 94 [available online at Google Books]. While in Florida, the family lived at 625 Second Avenue in Daytona Beach, according to the 1941 Polk's Daytona Beach (Volusia County, Fla.) City Directory. While in Florida, Bond also wrote "Freshman reading program in junior college," Community and Junior College Journal, vol. 11 (1941), p. 22. James Arthur Bond, Sr. was born in Greenwood, TN, and grew up in Williamsburg, KY. He was the son of Henry Bond and Anna Gibson Bond. In 1910 he was a teacher in Williamsburg, KY [source: U.S. Federal Census], and in 1918 he was principal of the Colored High School in Middlesboro, KY [source: Bond's World War I draft registration card]. Bond was a government clerk in Chicago in 1920 [source: U.S. Federal Census]; the family of five lived on South Wabash Avenue. James Arthur Bond was the husband of Rosabelle [or Rosa Belle] Cleckley Bond, who was born in South Carolina. For more see 50 Years of Segregation by J. A. Hardin; "James A. Bond of Kentucky...," The Crisis, vol. 37, no. 2 (Feb. 1930), p. 60 [available online at Google Books]; and "Bethune-Cookman College dean leaves for Chicago," The Negro Star, 03/29/1935, p. 3.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration South
Geographic Region: Greenwood, Tennessee / Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Daytona Beach, Florida

Bond, James M.
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1929
James M. Bond was born in Lawrenceburg, KY. He was a slave the first two years of his life. When he was 16 years old, Bond walked to Berea College, where he was a student in the primary grades and continued up to the time he graduated from college in 1892. He was also a graduate from Oberlin College, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He returned to Kentucky and led the fund-raising for Lincoln Institute, the school provided for African Americans after the segregation of Berea College. He was in charge of the YMCA work with the soldiers at Camp Taylor. Bond was also the first director of the Kentucky Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and in that position he spoke out against segregation. James M. Bond was the brother of Henry Bond; they were the sons of Jane Arthur, a slave, and Reverend Preston Bond. James Bond was the husband of Jane A. Browne Bond, the father of J. Max Bond, Sr., Thomas Bond, and Horace Bond, and the grandfather of Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former Georgia senator and representative. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams; and the article and picture of James M. Bond and his three sons on p. 228 of The Crisis, vol. 27, issue 5 (March 1924) [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fathers, Freedom, Grandparents, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Bond, Leslie Fee, Sr.
Birth Year : 1928
Leslie Fee Bond, Sr., born in Louisville, KY, moved with his family to Galesburg, IL, when he was 10-years-old. Like his father, Leslie F. Bond, Sr. is a family practitioner and also a surgeon. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana and Meharry Medical College. After finishing medical school, Bond opened his practice in St. Louis, MO, where he is also an outspoken community leader. He served on the Physicians-Pharmacists Advisory Committee to Medicaid for 20 years. He was selected by Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan to serve on the St. Louis Police Board. In 2007, Bond received the Salute to Excellence in Health Care Award from the St. Louis American Foundation. His son, Leslie F. Bond, Jr., was the first African American chairman of the St. Louis Election Board in 1993. For more see Lift Every Voice and Sing: St. Louis African Americans in the Twentieth Century, by D. Wesley, W. Price, and A. Morris; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1996/97; and M. Schlinkmann, "First Black will head election board," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 02/23/1993, News section, p. 4A.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Fathers, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration West, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Galesburg, Illinois / Saint Louis, Missouri

Bond, Phillip Damone "Phil"
Birth Year : 1954
Phil Bond, born in Paducah, KY, was a 6'2", left handed, point guard and a very good student. He graduated third in the 1972 Class at Manual High School in Louisville, KY; his family had moved to Louisville when Bond was 6 years old. From 1972-1977, he was a point guard on the University of Louisville (U of L) basketball team [Bond was out the 1973-74 season with mononucleosis]. He was the first freshman to play at U of L after the NCAA gave the go-ahead to freshmen; previously, freshmen ball players were regulated to the freshmen team their first year. In 1975, the U of L team was in the NCAA Final Four. Bond, the team's starting guard, was voted Most Valuable Player in the 1975 Midwest Regional. He is credited with naming his team the "Doctors of Dunk." In 1975, Bond also played for the U.S. Pan American team that won a gold medal in Mexico City, Mexico. The following year, he was selected an All-American, Academic All-American, and he held the U of L record of 14 assists in one game. Bond is second in the school history of career assists with 528. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the 3rd round of the 1977 NBA Draft. After playing in seven NBA games, Phil Bond was released due to the NBA's labor dispute during the 1977-78 season. Bond left professional basketball, returned to U of L and finished his accounting degree, and in 1983, became the chief financial officer with the Metro United Way in Louisville, KY. In 2007, Manual High School retired Phil Bond's high school jersey. For more see H. C. Ray, "What's up with...? Phil Bond," Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/01/2001, p.E.1; and Phil Bond in Basketball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bond, Ruth E. Clement
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 2005
Ruth E. Clement Bond was born in Louisville, KY, four years after her brother Rufus E. Clement. They were the children of George Clement, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and Emma C. Williams Clement, the first African American woman to be named Mother of the Year. Ruth Bond's husband was J. Max Bond, Sr., and she was the mother of J. Max Bond, Jr. From 1934-1938, J. Max Bond, Sr. supervised the training of the African American construction workers at the TVA Wheeler Dam Project in northern Alabama. Mrs. Bond established a home beautification program for the wives of the workers and began designing quilt patterns (though Mrs. Bond initially did not know how to quilt, but the women she was working with were experts). The first quilt was call Black Power; it symbolized the TVA's promise for electricity. The quilts became known as the TVA Quilts and have been documented and displayed in a number of sources and venues such as the 2004 Art Quilts From the Collection of the Museum of Arts and Design. Ruth Bond was a graduate of Northwestern University in Illinois. At one point in her career, she taught English Literature and French at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. For more see Y. S. Lamb, "Ruth Clement Bond; Quilter, Civic Activist," Washington Post, 11/08/2005, p. B05; and M. Fox, "Ruth C. Bond dies at 101; Her Quilts Had a Message," The New York Times, 11/13/2005, p. 43.

See photo image of Ruth Clement Bond at the Northwestern University website.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Mothers, Quilters, Women's Groups and Organizations, Collectibles
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Booker, Elzey
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1937
Elzey Booker was a horseman in Chicago, IL. He was born in Allen County, KY, and died in Bremen, IL on July 30, 1937 [source: Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. He is buried in Rest Vale Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Allen County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Booker, Jim
Birth Year : 1872
Jim Booker was born in Jessamine County, KY. He was a hoedown fiddler with Taylor's Kentucky Boys, an integrated group that recorded Gray Eagle in 1927. Booker also played and recorded with his family band, the Booker Orchestra, which included his brothers Joe and John both of whom played the fiddle and the guitar; the group played rag-time and blues. Booker also recorded Salty Dog and Camp Nelson Blues in 1927. Jim Booker was born in February of 1872, the son of James and Sarah Booker, according to the 1880 and 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see Violin, Sing The Blues For Me: African-American Fiddlers 1926-1949 (Old Hat CD-1002) by Old Hat Records; and Kentucky Mountain Music Classic Recordings of the 1920s and 1930s, Old Time Herald, vol. 9, issue 2, Reviews.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Jessamine County, Kentucky

Booker, Robert H.
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2006
Robert Booker was the first African American police officer in LaGrange, KY, in 1968. Information submitted by Ruby Booker of LaGrange, KY.
Subjects: Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky

Booker-Bryant, Ruth
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2013
Ruth Booker-Bryant is a resident of Louisville, KY. She was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2003 for her participation in many demonstrations for civil rights and fair housing and for her fight to improve living conditions for African Americans. In 2011, she received the Carl and Ann Braden Lifetime Achievement Award. She was president and co-founder of Women United for Social Action. For more see "14 make rights hall of fame," FORsooth: a publication of the Louisville Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Sept. 2003; "Ruth Booker-Bryant" in the Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/10/2013, Obituaries section; and HR171 and SR242, both at the Open States website.

See photo image of Ruth Booker-Bryant at Hall of Fame 2003, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Women's Groups and Organizations, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Boone County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Boone County is located in northern Kentucky along the Ohio River and is bordered by three counties. Named for Daniel Boone, it was formed from Campbell County in 1798. The county seat is Burlington. In 1800, the county population was about 1,534: 1,194 whites, 325 slaves, and 15 free coloreds, according to the Second Census of Kentucky. [See the Boone County, KY, website for additional information.] At the completion of the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, the population, excluding slaves, was 9,165. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 194 slave owners
  • 676 Black slaves
  • 116 Mulatto slaves
  • 36 free Blacks
  • 1 free Mulatto
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 468 slave owners
  • 1,256 Black slaves
  • 489 Mulatto slaves
  • 35 free Blacks
  • 12 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,013 Blacks
  • 207 Mulattoes
  • About 20 U.S. Colored Troops gave Boone County, KY, as their birth location.
For more, see the Boone County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; History of Boone County, Kentucky, by A. M. Yealey; and A Brief History of Slavery in Boone County, Kentucky, by M. S. Caldwell.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Boone County, Kentucky

Born with a Purpose: African Americans in Owensboro [oral histories]
Start Year : 1997
End Year : 1999
The following information comes from the description on the "Pass the Word" web site. "In the summers of 1997, 1998, and 1999, an oral history project was conducted by local high school students documenting African American history in Owensboro. Topics covered in the interviews ranged from life under segregation, World War II, the Great Depression, Jazz, local sports, and education, to the customs and traditions common within the local african american community. The project was funded by the City of Owensboro, the J.T.P.A. Summer Challenge Program, the H.L. Neblitt Center, and the Kentucky Oral History Commission and was directed by Aloma Williams Dew.

Copyright belongs to the Kentucky Oral History Commission/Kentucky Historical Society. Access copies are also available at the Daviess County Public Library. Authorization must be granted by the Kentucky Historical Society to use or publish by any means the archival material to which the Society holds copyright."

 

Access Interview  See list of interviews at "Pass the Word" website.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Boswell, Arnita Y.
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2002
Arnita Young Boswell was born in Lincoln Ridge, KY. She was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], and earned her advanced social work certification at Columbia University and advanced education at Colorado State University. She was a professor of social work at the University of Chicago (1961-1980) and Director of the Family Resources Center at the Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago. She was also the first national director for Project Head Start, the first director of the social workers of the Chicago Public Schools, and founder of Chicago's League of Black Women. Boswell was the daughter of Whitney Young, Sr. and Laura R. Young. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2002.

See photo image and additional information about Arnita Y. Boswell at African American Registry.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Bottoms, Jesse V., Sr.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1995
In 1952, Jesse Voyd Bottoms, Sr. became the first African American graduate of Louisville Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was also a graduate of Simmons Bible College (now Simmons College of Kentucky), later serving in many capacities at the school, including as a teacher and the dean. Bottoms helped organize the local arrangements for the March on Washington. Jesse V. Bottoms, Sr. was born in Versailles, KY, the son of Charley and Harriett Bottoms [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. He was the husband of Florence Carter Bottoms. For more see "Civil Rights Activists Jesse Bottoms, 89, dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/19/1995, Obituaries section, p. B2.

Access Interview Read about the J. V. Bottoms oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bottoms, Lawrence Wendell
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1994
In 1963, Lawrence W. Bottoms was the first African American moderator of the Regional Kentucky Synod and local Louisville Presbytery. He was also the first to lead a state synod in the south. In 1974, he was elected the first African American to be named the Southern Presbyterian Moderator, the top post in the denomination. Lawrence W. Bottoms had been a Presbyterian minister since 1938 when he became pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY. He lived in Louisville from 1938 to 1949 [source: Carson's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory and Carson's Louisville (Jefferson County, Ky.) City Directory]. Lawrence W. Bottoms was born in Alabama, the son of Wilbur M. and Augusta Bottoms [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see G. Cornell, "Church post to Black Georgia pastor," Fort Scott Tribune (Kansas), 06/22/1974, p. 8; Through Conflict to Victory, by L. W. Bottoms; "Southern Presbyterians elect first Black leader," Jet, 07/04/1974, p. 44; D. Brackenridge, "Lawrence W. Bottoms: the church, Black Presbyterians, and personhood," Journal of Presbyterian History, vol. 56, no. 1, (Spring 1978); "1st Negro to head Southern Presbyterian Synod," Jet, 06/28/1962, p. 23; and "Church leader to talk here Sunday," Kingsport Times, 05/15/1953, p. 2.

 

See photo image of Lawrence W. Bottoms on p. 44 in Jet, 06/28/1962.

 
Subjects: Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Migration South
Geographic Region: Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Botts, Henry [Bason]
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1946
Henry Botts owned the first funeral home for African Americans in Montgomery County, KY, according to the Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, pp. 12-13. Henry Botts was a city councilman in Mt. Sterling, KY, in 1902, the year his wife, Sarah Davis Botts, died [source: "Deaths," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 11/26/1902, p. 7]. The couple had married in 1897, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, and both had children from their previous marriages: Henry's children, George Anne Botts, 14, and Callie May Botts, 9; and Sarah's daughter, Roberta Hammons, 6, and the son she had by Henry, Gunoa Hensley Botts, 2. Sarah Botts was buried in Olive Hill Cemetery in Mt. Sterling. She had been a school teacher in Bath, Bourbon, Clark, and Montgomery Counties, KY. Henry Botts next married Emma Oldham Botts, and they had a daughter named Fannie [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Henry Botts was a politician and a businessman. He and Peter Hensley were owners of the Montgomery Grocery Company [source: second notice under "Holiday presents," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1901, p. 7]. In 1905, Henry Botts was selected to be the Montgomery County Coroner Republican candidate at the Montgomery County Republicans Convention; the selection was not well received by some in Montgomery County and nearby counties, and Botts declined the position, but his name remained on the straight ticket [source: articles in The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/30/1905 - "Republicans in convention," p. 2, "Notice," p. 3, and "The Negro and politics," 09/20/1905, p. 2]. By 1913, Henry Botts was one of two African American City Council members in Mt. Sterling, the other being Sanford Juett, who retired and was replaced by E. W. Stockton, also an African American [source: "Winchester's hysteria," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/10/1913, p. 8]. Botts and Stockton were councilmen of the third ward. Henry Botts retired as a councilman in 1919 [source: "Retired councilmen," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/22/1919, p. 17]. In 1914, Henry Botts had been one of the men from the C.M.E. Church to sign his name to a letter to the editor of the Mt. Sterling Advocate in an attempt to keep the peace between the races; there had supposedly been an earlier letter written by a colored person threatening harm to Mt. Sterling police in retaliation for the mistreatment of colored persons by members of the police force [source: "A letter from colored citizens," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 01/28/1914, p. 8]. By 1922, Henry Botts was having health problems and had to have one of his legs amputated below the knee [source: "A Correction," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 05/12/1921, p. 4]. The following year he was an elections officer while serving as an elections judge of the 3rd ward in Mt. Sterling [source: "Election officers," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 08/03/1992, p. 1]. According to his Kentucky death certificate (#27217), Henry Botts was born in Bath County, KY, on February 26, 1859, the son of Caroline Botts and Joseph Sunthimer. Henry Botts died December 19, 1946. Henry's mother, Caroline Botts, born around 1825 in Kentucky, was a free mulatto woman living in Bath County in 1850, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and she is listed in the 1870 Census with a son Henry's age, but with the name Bason [or Boson] Botts.
Subjects: Businesses, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Bath County, Kentucky / Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Bourbon Colored Mutual Savings and Loan Association, Paris, KY
Start Year : 1887
End Year : 1895
The first Negro bank, excluding the Freedmen's Bank, is thought to be the Bourbon Colored Mutual Savings and Loan Association established in Paris, KY, on March 12, 1887, with John Spears as president and Green Jackson as secretary [source: Kentuckian Citizen, 04/27/1887; and Ninth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1893, p.106]. The savings and loan association in Paris predates, by 34 years, what was thought to be the first African American bank, the First Standard Bank in Louisville. There was also the Bourbon Colored Mutual Building and Loan Association [source: Journal of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1894, p.368]. The Bourbon Colored Mutual Savings and Loan Association was in operation at least until 1895 when it was listed in the Journal of the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 1895, p.102.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bourbon County, Kentucky African American Oral History Project
Start Year : 2010
The following comes from the collection description in the SPOKE Database. "In this project, African Americans in Paris, Kentucky and surrounding areas in Bourbon County
share their memories, life experiences, and the local history of African Americans. Their stories include the retelling of oral histories that have been handed down from previous generations. They touch on a variety of subjects including church and religion, race relations, civil rights, employment, school segregation, integration, northern migration, and the legacy they hope to leave behind. Interviewees include those who were born in Bourbon County, as well as those who moved to Bourbon later in life."

 

Access Interview Read more about the recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bourbon County (KY) Protective Union of Color
Start Year : 1880
The Bourbon County Protective Union of Color was formed in 1880 in reaction to the William Giles case. The article in the Weekly Louisianian referred to the group as representing the "manliness of the Colored citizens of Kentucky." Giles was charged with shooting with malicious intent to kill. Rev. George W. Hatton, pastor of the St. Paul M. E. Church, was the leader of the small group of African American men who sought legal representation for Giles, and noted that there were no African Americans on the grand jury for the case, and as a result the case was moved to the U.S. Circuit Court. To ensure that other African Americans received their rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, the Bourbon County Protective Union of Color was formed and it was to be a permanent organization. The initial members were Rev. Hatton as president; James Thomas, vice president; J. C. Graves, secretary; and the committee on banking, H. C. Smith, J. M. Porter, James Thomas, and W. C. Craig. Protective unions had been formed by African Americans in Kentucky prior to 1880, but these were in conjunction with workers' rights. For more see "Paris, Kentucky," Weekly Louisianian, 05/08/1880, p.1 [reprinted from the Ohio Falls Express].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fraternal Organizations, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bourbon County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Bourbon County is located in central Kentucky in the Bluegrass Region. The county was developed from a part of Fayette County in 1785. The county seat was named Hopewell, then Bourbonton, and finally renamed Paris in 1790. Bourbon County was one of the nine counties organized by the Virginia Legislature before Kentucky became a state. In the First Census of Kentucky, 1790, there were 6,929 whites and 908 slaves. Ten years later, the total population was 12,825 in the Second Kentucky Census 1800: 10,627 white, 2,136 slaves, and 62 free colored. In 1830 there were nine African American slave owners in the county. When the 1850 Census was completed, there were 7,401 persons, excluding the slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 1,075 slave owners
  • 5,495 Black slaves
  • 1,576 Mulatto slaves
  • 171 free Blacks
  • 74 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 960 slave owners
  • 5,678 Black slaves
  • 1,086 Mulatto Slaves
  • 240 free Blacks
  • 102 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S Federal Census

  • 5,710 Blacks
  • 863 Mulattoes
  • About 350 U.S. Colored Troops listed Bourbon County, KY, as their birth location.

For more see the Bourbon County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Bourbon County in Collin's Historical Sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, vol. 2, by L. Collins and R. H. Collins [available at Google Book Search]; and History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, by W. H. Perrin and R. Peter.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bourbon County Training School (Little Rock, KY)
Start Year : 1911
The Bourbon County Training School was located in Little Rock, KY. The school began as an idustrial course at the colored school prior to becoming the industrial training school in 1914. The school was supported by the Slater Fund [source: The History of Education of Bourbon County by J. R. Welch]. Ms. Maggie L. Freeman was the principal as early as 1911. The industrial school was to provide advanced training for students in the county. In 1915, there were 70 students and three teachers. The students were provided a nine grade course with elementary work in the first eight grades and secondary subjects and practice teaching in the ninth grade. Industrial training included cooking, sewing, gardening and poultry farming. According to J. R. Welch, the Bourbon County Training School was established in 1918, it was a consolidation of the colored school district in Little Rock. C. T. Cook was the school principal in 1919. The school was located on two acres on Mt. Sterling Pike, there was a frame school house with six rooms and an auditorium. The building had electric lights. The building and property were valued at about $3,000. By 1933, there were near 80 students, some were transported by school bus. In addition to the courses, there was P. T. A., a dramatic club, and a music club, and there were basketball, baseball, and track teams. The school was still open in 1933 when Professor William J. Callery was principal, and the school had become an accredited four year high school. For more see "Bourbon County Training School" on pp. 264-265 in Negro Education by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education, Bulletin 1916, NO. 39, Volume II [available full-text in Google Books]; and The Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, April 25-26, 1919, p.4, and v.3, issue 2 (January-February 1933), p.22 [available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Journals]. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Little Rock, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bowen, James Lyman
Birth Year : 1842
Bowen, born in Liberty, KY, was a chef for Buffalo Bill and had fought against Sitting Bull. His reputation for helping settle the West was well known: Bowen was received by royalty during his tour of Europe. He settled in Danville, IL, where he celebrated his 90th birthday in 1932. His name has also been written as James Lyman Brown. For more see Africa's Gift to America, by J. A. Rogers; and Henry Brown, "He rode with Buffalo Bill," The Chicago Defender, 10/30/1948, p.A2.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Liberty, Casey County, Kentucky / Danville, Illinois

Bowen, William Henry
Birth Year : 1868
William H. Bowen was born in Montgomery County, KY. He was a minister and wrote editorials for The Evangelist, a religious paper published in Paris, KY. Bowen was President of the State Sunday School Convention. In 1900, Bowen, his wife Lizzie Fanstiana Simms (b.March of 1872 in KY), a graduate of Oberlin College, and their two year old son Carl W., were living in Millersburg, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. William H. Bowen was the son of Travy and Kizzie Bowen. He studied at the Bible School in New Castle, KY, and the Christian Bible School in Louisville, KY. Bowen was a school teacher and served as president of the Christian Brotherhood, and vice president of the State Missionary Convention. For more see William Henry Bowen, Chapter IX, in Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson, pp.26-27.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Montgomery County, Kentucky / Paris and Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Bowles, Eva Del Vakia
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1943
Bowles was born in Albany, OH, the daughter of John H. and Mary J. Porter Bowles. Her first employment was teacher at the Chandler Normal School in Lexington, KY; Bowles was the first African American teacher at the school. She was secretary of the YWCA Subcommittee on Colored Work when the first Conference on Colored Work was held in Louisville, KY, in 1915. Bowles was a leader in the YWCA. For more see the Eva Del Vakia Bowles entry in Black Women in America [database].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration South, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Albany, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bowles, Joseph William
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1942
Bowles, born in Mississippi, was named a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Bradley; he was the first African American to be named a Kentucky Colonel. Bowles was also described as a Republican leader. For more see "Death Roll" in The Negro Handbook 1944 compiled and edited by F. Murray.
Subjects: Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Mississippi / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bowling Green Academy (Bowling Green, KY)
Start Year : 1902
End Year : 1933
The Bowling Green Academy School opened in 1902 with 57 students in the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, KY. Rev. R. L. Hyde was the school's president. The school was later moved into a building on State Street. "The object of this school is threefold (1) education in general of all negro children, especially in Kentucky, who desire the advantage of a first-class institution at reasonable rates; (2) education along special lines which shall fit our young men to fill more efficiently the pulpits of our churches; (3) to develop the negro youth into good Christian citizens by educating the head, heart and hand." The school attendance grew to more than 150 students before it closed in 1933. For more information see "Bowling Green Academy" in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Bowling Green Colored Branch Library (Warren County, KY)
Start Year : 1945
End Year : 1956
The Bowling Green Colored Branch Library opened in June of 1945 at 322 Chestnut Street. The books came from the Bowling Green-Warren County Library and in 1946 there were 3,000 volumes used by 347 patrons. Mrs. C. S. Poole was in charge of the colored branch. In 1947, the library was moved into two rooms of a private residence, the home of Miss Bessie Woods at 412 State Street, and Mrs. L. H. Wilson was the new librarian. Lottie Bell Crabtree was the librarian in 1952, she resigned in 1956, the year the colored library was closed. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "With librarians and libraries in Kentucky," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, II, p.13; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1946 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division from the Bowling Green-Warren County Library; Growing with Bowling Green by J. Jeffrey; and "Formal opening of branch library for colored people scheduled today," Park City Daily News, 11/02/1947, p.1.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Boyd, Charles W. "C. W."
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1951
Charles Wesley Boyd was born in Mt. Sterling, KY, the son of John Boyd and Ella Steele Boyd. He was the husband of Kate Jarrison Boyd. Charles Boyd was an education leader during the early years of the African American school system in Charleston, WV. He was an 1891 graduate of Wilberforce University in Ohio, continuing his education at several other universities and earning his master's degree at Wilberforce University. Boyd taught school in Clarksburg, WV, until 1891 when he moved to Charleston to become a principal and teacher. He was the first long-term leader of the school system; prior to his arrival school principals had served only a year or two. In 1893, he was named one of the vice presidents of the newly formed West Virginia Colored Institute, later serving one year as president. In 1900, he was the founder and principal of Garnet High School, which would become the largest African American high school in West Virginia. In 1904, Boyd was named Supervisor of the Colored Schools in Charleston. He was also a leader in his church, instrumental in the First Baptist Church becoming the first African American church ranked as a Standard Sunday School. He was also a member of the Pythians and the West Virginia Grand Lodge. Charles W. Boyd was born August 19, 1865, and died February 1, 1951, according to West Virginia Certificate of Death State File #1554. For more see Early Negro Education in West Virginia, by C. G. Woodson; Charles Wesley Boyd, a West Virginia Division of Culture and History website (photo error); Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "Charles Wesley Boyd" in History of the American Negro, West Virginia Edition edited by A. B. Caldwell.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Migration East, Fraternal Organizations, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Charleston, West Virginia

Boyd County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880
Start Year : 1860
End Year : 1880
Boyd County was created in 1860 from portions of Greenup, Carter, and Lawrence Counties. The county seat is Catlettsburg. Boyd County is surrounded by three Kentucky counties and the Ohio and West Virginia state borders. The county was named for Linn Boyd, who, although born in Tennessee, was a member of the Kentucky Legislature, a U.S. Congressman, and Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. There were 5,888 persons counted in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Boyd County, excluding the slaves. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1860-1880.

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 197 slave owners
  • 74 Black slaves
  • 54 Mulatto slaves
  • 9 free Blacks
  • 7 free Mulattoes [all with the last name Bolts]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 240 Blacks
  • 116 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops listed Boyd County, KY, as their birth location.
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 326 Blacks
  • 193 Mulattoes
For more, see Boyd County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; The Early History of Boyd County Kentucky, by J. L. Smith; and The History of Boyd County, Kentucky [videocassette] by WOWK-TV.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Boyd County, Kentucky

Boyd, Francis A.
Birth Year : 1844
Death Year : 1872
Francis A. Boyd was born in Lexington, KY, to Nancy and Samuel Boyd, free African Americans. Reverend Francis Boyd was author of Columbiana: or, The North Star, Complete in One Volume (Chicago: Steam Job and Book Printing House of G. Hand, 1870). His biography and criticism can be found in Early Black American Poets, pp. 76-77. For more see Black American Writers Past and Present: a biographical and bibliographical dictionary, by Rush, Myers, & Arta.
Subjects: Authors, Freedom, Poets
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Boyd, Henry
Birth Year : 1802
Death Year : 1866
Henry Boyd, who was born a slave in Kentucky, was an inventor, carpenter, and a master mechanic. He invented the corded bed - The Boyd Bedstead. His profits from his carpentry work also allowed him to buy his own and his family's freedom. In 1843 he was among the most successful furniture makers in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more see The Mis-education of the Negro, by C. G. Woodson; Created Equal, by J. M. Brodie; C. G. Woodson, "The Negroes of Cincinnati prior to the Civil War," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 1, issue 1 (Jan. 1916), p. 21; and History of the Negro Race in America, 1619-1880 by G. W. Williams.
Subjects: Businesses, Inventors, Migration North, Carpenters, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Boyle County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Boyle County, located in central Kentucky, was formed in 1842 from Lincoln and Mercer Counties. It was named for Judge John Boyle, who was born in Virginia and moved to Kentucky, where he became a state Legislator, a Chief Justice, a District Judge, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. John Boyle died around 1835, prior to the naming of Boyle County. The county seat is Danville. The first U.S. Census of Boyle County was completed in 1850: 5,693 persons were counted, excluding the slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes between 1850 and 1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 612 slave owners
  • 2,968 Black slaves
  • 456 Mulatto slaves
  • 129 free Blacks
  • 189 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 505 slave owners
  • 2,677 Black slaves
  • 2 Colored slaves [1 owned by R. W. Washington, 1 owned by Wm Owsley]
  • 559 Mulatto slaves
  • 192 free Blacks
  • 243 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 2,995 Blacks
  • 657 Mulattoes
  • About 103 U.S. Colored Troops listed Boyle County, KY, as their birth location.
For more, see the Boyle County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; A History of Danville and Boyle County, Kentucky, 1774-1992, by R. C. Brown; History of Mercer and Boyle Counties [Kentucky], by M. T. Daviess; and Boyle County's Black Physicians, by R. C. Brown [thesis]; and see Michael J. Denis' rootsweb page with records of African American marriages, free persons and slaves, and an index of death certificates, all pertainging to Boyle County.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Boyle County, Kentucky

Bracken County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Bracken County is located along the northern edge of Kentucky, and is bordered by the Ohio River and four other counties. Bracken County was named for William Bracken, an early settler. The county was formed in 1796 from parts of Mason and Campbell Counties. Augusta is the county seat. In the 1870s, Bracken County was among the top wine producing counties in the United States. The small population in the late 1700s had grown to 2,606 in 1800, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 2,349 whites, 243 slaves, and 14 free coloreds. In 1830 there was one African American slave owner. By 1860, the population was 10,193, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the slaves. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 208 slave owners
  • 129 Black slaves
  • 33 Mulatto slaves
  • 114 free Blacks
  • 1 free Mulatto [Laura E. Blythe]
See also J. E. Leming, Jr, "The Great Slave Escape of 1848 ended in Bracken County," The Kentucky Explorer, June 2000, pp.25-29.

1860 Slave Schedule
  • 177 slave owners
  • 553 Black slaves
  • 196 Mulatto slaves
  • 55 free Blacks
  • 28 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 554 Blacks
  • 66 Mulattoes
  • About 28 U.S. Colored Troops listed Bracken County, KY as their birth location.
For more see the Bracken County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; and African-American Records by C. R. Miller.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Bracken County, Kentucky

Bradberry, Henrietta Mahim
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1979
Henrietta Mahim Bradberry was born in Franklin, KY, and lived in Chicago, IL. She was a housewife and also an inventor who held two patents. The first, received in 1943, was for a bed rack attachment that allowed for the airing-out of clothes. The second patent, received in 1945, was for a pneumatically operated device that allowed for the firing of torpedoes from beneath the water surface. Henrietta M. Bradberry was the wife of William Bradberry [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census], the couple lived on Champlain Avenue. For more see p. 136 in The Inventive Spirit of African Americans, by P. Carter Sluby.
Subjects: Inventors, Migration North
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Bradby, Marie
Bradby was born in Virginia and graduated from Hampton University. A former journalist, she is a children's author who also writes fiction and free-lance material. Her first book, More Than Anything Else, was an ALA Notable Book in 1995. Another of her books, Momma, Where Are You From, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet, received the Golden Kite Honor Award. Bradby lives in Louisville, KY, with her family. For more see Marie Bradby's biography, a visitingauthors.com website; the Marie Bradby home page; or contact her at mariebradby@insightbb.com.
Subjects: Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Braden, Anne McCarty and Carl
Anne (1924-2006) and Carl (1914-1975) Braden were white activists with civil rights and labor groups in Louisville, KY. One of their many efforts occurred in 1954 when they assisted in the purchase of a house in Louisville on behalf of the Wade family; the Wades were African Americans, and the house was in a white neighborhood. The house was bombed, and the authorities, rather than arresting the responsible parties, charged the Bradens and five others with sedition - attempting to overthrow the state of Kentucky. Anne Braden was born in Louisville and reared in Alabama. She was a reporter who left Alabama for a job with the Louisville Times newspaper. For more see Subversive Southerner and Once Comes the Moment to Decide (thesis), both by C. Fosl; and The Wall Between, by A. Braden. View Ann Branden's interview in "Living the Story: The Rest of the Story," a Civil Rights in Kentucky Oral History Project. 

Access Interview Listen online to selected audio recordings from the Anne Braden Oral History Project at the Kentucky Digital Library.

Access Interview Read about all the interviews in the Anne Braden Oral History Project available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bradford, Billy
In 1998, Billy Bradford became the first African American mayor in Elsmere, KY, as well as the first in northern Kentucky. He has continued to be re-elected, beginning his ninth year as mayor in 2007. For more see B. Driehaus, "Three mayors ousted in local elections," The Kentucky Post, 11/06/2002, News section, p. K12; and K. Eigelbach, "Florence re-elects incumbents - that includes council, mayor," The Kentucky Post, 11/08/2006, News section, p. A9.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Elsmere, Kenton County, Kentucky

Bradford, Harrison
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1867
Twenty-four year old Sergeant Harrison Bradford was killed leading a protest at San Pedro Springs, located in San Antonio, Texas, on April 9, 1867. Bradford was shot while protesting the brutality of Lt. Edward Heyl. The shot that killed Bradford was fired by Lt. Frederick Smith during what is called the San Pedro Springs Mutiny. Lieutenant Seth E. Griffin also died from wounds he received during the fight. Harrison Bradford, from Scott County, KY, was a veteran of the Civil War and had served with the 104th Colored Infantry. He re-enlisted in October of 1866 in Louisiana along with fellow Kentuckian, former slave, and Civil War veteran, Jacob Wilks [info]. Bradford served with Company E of the 9th Cavalry [source: U.S. Army Register of Enlistments]. In 1867, the 9th Cavalry Colored soldiers were part of the movement of federal troops sent to Texas, a former Confederate state, to keep order after the Civil War. Troops from the 9th Cavalry Companies A, E, and K arrived in San Antonio at the end of slavery when there was a political debate over whether to extend voting rights to Colored men. The situation was compounded by the racial disagreements and morale issues within the troop companies. The companies were led by white officers. The 9th Cavalry arrived in San Antonio to jeers and curses from community members who felt the federal government was overstepping state's rights, and it was an added insult to have Colored troops reinforce the federal government's power. However, the first military action that resulted in injury and death did not involve the community but occurred during a fight between the 9th Cavalry troops and officers. Lt. Edward Heyl had ordered three Colored troops be hung from trees by their wrists because he felt that they had been slow in responding to his orders. The three troops were Private Fayette Hall, a Civil War veteran; Private Alphonse Goodman; and Private Albert Bailey. Lt. Heyl left camp and went to a saloon, and when he returned, he beat one of the three troops with his saber. Sergeant Harrison Bradford took issue with the behavior and led the protest, confronting Lt. Heyl. Bradford was shot by either Lt. Heyl or Lt. Griffin. Sergeant Bradford and another soldier retaliated. Lt. Heyl, Lt. Seth Griffin, and Lt. Fred Smith were injured. Lt. Smith fired the shot that killed Sergeant Bradford, which led to an all out fight: shots were exchanged between the officers and the Colored troops. Peace was restored with the arrival of troops led by Colonel Wesley Merritt. Lt. Seth Griffin suffered a head wound when he was struck by a saber; he died April 14, 1867. Corporal Charles Wood and Private Irving Charles, Colored troops, were arrested and received death sentences for their part in the fight. Several of the Colored troops involved in the fight were sentenced to prison terms. By the summer of 1867, the 9th Cavalry had been redistributed to other posts in West Texas. Also during the summer of 1867, the Colored people of San Antonio held their first Juneteenth Celebration at San Pedro Springs Park. It was not much later that Corporal Charles Wood, Private Irving Charles, and the Colored troops of the 9th Cavalry who had been sentenced to prison terms were all pardoned and returned to duty; troops were desperately needed on the West Texas front to protect against highway bandits, cattle rustlers, and Native Americans. Lt. Heyl remained with the 9th Cavalry until 1881; he was a colonel in the Inspector General's Department when he died in 1895. Lt. Frederick Smith also stayed with the 9th Cavalry, excelling as an officer, until December of 1869, when his wife was about leave him: Lt. Smith shot himself in the head. The 9th Cavalry developed into a major fighting force in Texas but still received racial hostility from the public and was therefore removed to the New Mexico Territory. For more see On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; African Americans and Race Relations in San Antonio, Texas, 1867-1937, by K. Mason; chapter 6, "The 9th Cavalry in Texas: Mutiny at San Pedro Springs, Texas, April 1867" in Voices of the Buffalo Soldier, by F. N. Schubert; the entry "9th Cavalry" in African Americans at War: an encyclopedia, Vol. 1, by J. Sutherland; E. Ayala, "Time to recall chains broken," San Antonio Express-News, 06/19/2009, p. 3B; The Buffalo Soldiers: a narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West, by W. H. Leckie and S. A. Leckie; and Black Valor: Buffalo Soldiers and the Medal of Honor, 1870-1898, by F. N. Schubert. Read more about the career of Lt. Frederick Smith in "African American troops of Company K, 9th Cavalry fought in the Battle of Fort Lancaster," an article by W. R. Austerman in the Wild West journal, February 2005 issue [article available online at Historynet.com]. The location of Sergeant Harrison Bradford's grave is not known at this time.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Scott County, Kentucky / San Pedro Springs, San Antonio, Texas

Bradleigh, Gretchen N.
Birth Year : 1949
Gretchen Bradleigh was born in Louisville, KY. She was the Children's Department Artist at the Louisville Free Public Library from 1970-1977 and was later the planning draftsman for the Community Development Cabinet in Louisville. Her work includes the acrylic, "Sisters." For more see Black Kentucky Artists: an exhibition of work by black artists living in Kentucky (1979).
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bradley, Mollie McFarland [Midway Colored School]
Birth Year : 1933
Mollie M. Bradley is a historian and writer who was born in Jefferson City, TN, the daughter of Leroy and Emma Cunningham McFarland. She is past matron of Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., P.H.A. She is the author of A Bright Star: a biography of Cecelia Dunlap, and she wrote several articles for the Order of Eastern Star publication The Phyllis Magazine. The magazine is the voice of the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc., which was organized in 1983, and Mollie Bradley served as the first executive secretary. The Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc. researches and studies the history of the Prince Hall Eastern Stars. Mollie Bradley is also a contributing writer for The Woodford Sun during Black History Month; her husband had been the Black History Month contributing writer, and after he died in 2004, Mollie Bradley took over the writing of the articles. Though born in Tennessee, Mollie Bradley was raised in Bourbon County, KY, by her aunt and uncle, Jennie P. Harris and Reverend James C. Harris, pastor of Zion Baptist Church [previously part of the African Baptist Church] in Paris, KY. Mollie Bradley is a graduate of Western High School in Paris, KY, and Central State University, where she majored in journalism. She was the wife of the late Walter T. Bradley, Jr. from Midway, KY; they owned the first laundrette in that city. Customers could leave laundry to be cleaned and folded, and the laundry would be ready to be picked up later in the day. Customers could also do their own laundry. Three washers and three dryers were available with a cost of 25 cents per wash load and 10 cents per dry cycle. The laundrette was located in the building that the couple owned and lived in, which had been the Midway Colored School, located in Hadensville from 1911-1954. The school had grades 1-8. Prior to being used as a school, the building was home to the Colored Baptist Church [later named Pilgrim Baptist Church], which had 900 members. The church building was constructed in 1872 by the Lehman Brothers, a German Company. The congregation outgrew the building and it was sold to Woodford County in 1911 to be used as the Colored School. In 1936, it was sold to the Midway Board of Education and became the Midway Elementary School for Colored children. In 1954, the school was closed and the children were bused to Simmons School in Versailles, KY. The Bradleys purchased the school building in 1959. They leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop. There had also been a lodge hall, lodge offices, and apartments. Mollie Bradley also taught piano lessons; her mission was to provide lessons to those who wanted to learn but could not afford piano lessons. Her husband, Walter T. Bradley, Jr., and their sons also played the piano. On June 25, 2011, the Midway Colored School was honored with a Kentucky Historical Society Marker. Mollie M. Bradley is a member of the Midway Women's Club. For more information read the press release, KHS to Dedicate Historical Marker to Honor Midway Colored School, 06/13/ 2011, a Kentucky.gov web page.

Access Interview Read about the Mollie M. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.

Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Communities, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Jefferson City, Tennessee / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Hadensville in MIdway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Bradley, Walter T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2004
Walter Thomas Bradley, Jr. was born in Midway, KY, to Walter T. Sr. and Sarah J. Craig Bradley. He was an Army veteran and in 1977 became the first African American on the Midway City Council. Bradley served on the council for 24 years. He was a past Grand Secretary of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. of Kentucky, and was editor of the lodge's newspaper Masonic Herald. Bradley was employed at Avon Army Depot where he was an electrical engineer inspector. He was the husband of Mollie McFarland Bradley, and the couple owned and lived in the building that had housed the Midway Colored School. Walter Bradley had been a student in the school, and purchased the building in 1959. He and his father did all of the repair work. Bradley and his wife leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop, and there was a lodge hall, and apartments. The couple were owners of the first laundrette in Midway. The building was also home to the offices of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F. & A.M. during Walter Bradley's tenure as grand secretary. Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was also a member of a male singing group from Midway, KY called the "Five Royalties of Song." He was a piano player, as is his wife and their sons. He was a contributor writer for The Woodford Sun newspaper during Black History Month. His wife, Mollie Bradley, continues to write articles each year. In 1989, Walter T. Bradley, Jr. was the first African American deacon at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. The Walter Bradley Memorial Park in Midway, KY is named in his honor. For more see "Middlesboro city councilwoman top vote-getter," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 28; W. Bradley, "Black Free Masonry's Founder Never a Slave," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/25/2002, Commentary section, p. A8; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1988-2004.

Access Interview Read about the Walter T. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Businesses, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Bradley-Morton, Dhana
Dhana Bradley-Morton, from Louisville, KY, earned her Speech/Oral Interpretive Arts degree from Western Kentucky University. She was WLOU-AM News Director prior to teaming up with Priscilla Hancock Cooper for a number of creative collaborations. Their first production was a poetic concert in 1981, I Have Been Hungry All of My Years, followed by Four Women and God's Trombones. They also performed in Amazing Grace in 1993. Bradley-Morton and Cooper are featured in the KET Production, Words Like Freedom/Sturdy Black Bridges, a poetic concert featuring African-American writing and music. Together they founded the Theater Workshop of Louisville. In 1994 Bradley-Morton was named executive director of the Cincinnati Arts Consortium; she left the position in January 2002. [She now goes by the name Dhana Donaldson.] For more see B. Brady, "Architecturally Sound," CityBeat, vol. 6, issue 33 (2000); and "Prize Possessions," Cincinnati.com The Enquirer, 22 April 2001.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Poets
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bradshaw, Eliza
Birth Year : 1827
Death Year : 1913
Eliza Bradshaw, born on a plantation in Mercer County, KY, was a slave who was sold when she was seven years old and again when she was 17. A few months later, she married Lewis Bradshaw, another slave, and they eventually had seven children. Eliza endured beatings and once had salt poured into wounds on her head. The beatings stopped when she scalded her master with boiling water. In 1879, Lewis and Eliza Bradshaw moved their family from Harrodsburg, KY, to Hodgeman County, Kansas. They were among the "Exodusters" who were migrating West. Lewis died about six months after their arrival. For more see E. Bradshaw, "An Exoduster Grandmother," Kansas History, 2003, vol. 26, issue 2, pp. 106-111.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era]
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Hodgeman County, Kansas

Brady, Bessie May
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1912
Bessie M. Brady (Thomas), born in Frankfort, KY, was an actress with William and Walker Abyssinia Company in 1906 [Egbert "Bert" A. Williams and George Walker]. Brady would later become a vaudeville performer in Chicago. She performed with Leana Mitchell, touring the vaudeville circuits and performing at the height of their careers at the Grand and Monogram Theaters in Chicago. Bessie Brady's mother, Johnsonia Buckner Brady, from Frankfort, KY, died in Chicago in 1899 [source: Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index]. The Brady family had moved to Chicago after 1880 according to the U.S. Federal Census records. In 1900, there were ten family members and they lived on Wabash Ave in Chicago. The family included Bessie's father, Horace Brady who was a musician and he had run a saloon in Frankfort, KY, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Her brother, Charles H. Brady, was also a musician. Bessie Brady died September 13, 1912, after an operation at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York [source: "Obituary: Pretty Bessie Brady dies in New York," Freeman, 09/28/1912. Her body was brought back to Chicago for burial. She was the wife of vaudevill performer James M. "Icky" Thomas. For more see "Bessie Brady" in Blacks in Blackface, by H. T. Sampson.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / New York

Brady, St. Elmo
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1966
St. Elmo Brady was born in Louisville, KY. He was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States, earning his degree at the University of Illinois (UI) in 1916 for work in Noyes Laboratory [at UI]. He taught at Tuskegee University, Howard University, Fisk University, and Tougaloo College in Mississippi. He was the first African American admitted to the chemistry honor society, Phi Lambda Upsilon. For more see Blacks in Science and Medicine, by V. O. Sammons.
Subjects: Chemists, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bramwell, Fitzgerald B. "Jerry"
Birth Year : 1945
Fitzgerald Bramwell was born in New York. In 1995 he was a chemistry faculty member and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at the University of Kentucky. In 1996, Bramwell was the highest ranking African American at the University of Kentucky. Bramwell earned his B.A. from Columbia University and his master's and doctorate from the University of Michigan. His research explores how beams of laser light change the structure and reaction of certain carbon-based compounds. Bramwell has written a number of articles and is author of Investigations in general chemistry: quantitative techniques and basic principles and co-author of Basic laboratory principles in general chemistry: with quantitative techniques. For more see Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century (1996), by J. H. Kessler, et al. Of the total chemists and materials scientists in Kentucky, 4% are African Americans, according to Census 2000 data.
Subjects: Authors, Chemists, Education and Educators, Migration South
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York

Branegan, George [Poynts vs. Branegan]
According to author Charles Lindquist, it was reported in the Michigan Freeman on October 13, 1839, that slaveholders from Kentucky had tried and failed three times to seize a slave named George Branegan who was living in Adrian, Michigan, and later they failed in Jonesville. When the slaveholders took Branegan into custody in Jonesville, they were confronted by a vigilance committee that prevented them from taking him back to Kentucky. The case went to court: Poynts vs. Branegan. When the authenticated laws of Kentucky, showing that one man could own another, could not be produced in one hour as requested by the judge, Branegan was set free. For more see The Antislavery-Underground Railroad Movement: in Lenawee County, Michigan, 1830-1860 by C. Lindquist.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Jonesville and Adrian, Michigan

The Bransfords
Start Year : 1838
Nick and Matt [or Mat] Bransford and Stephen Bishop were slaves who served as guides at Mammoth Cave; Matt was a guide for 49 years, beginning in 1838. He was the son of Thomas Bransford and a slave woman. Henry Bransford, Matt's son, was a guide for 19 years. Matt W. and Lewis Bransford, Henry's sons, were also guides, Matt for 32 years. Lewis resigned in 1940, and in 1948 Mammoth Cave was turned over to the federal government. Eight of the Bransford men had been guides in Mammoth Cave. In 2002, Jerry Bransford became a guide at the cave, he is the great-great-grandson of Mat Bransford. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Louisville Defender, 04/12/1942; The News-Enterprise (Hardin County, KY), 02/09/04; J. C. Schmitzer, "The sable guides of Mammoth Cave," Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 67, issue 2 (1993), pp. 240-258; K. Ohlson, "Illuminating his heritage," American Profile, 11/8-14,2009, pp.6-7; and Making Their Mark: the signature of slavery at Mammoth Cave by J. Lyons. 

See photo image of Matt Bransford at NYPL Digital Gallery.

See photo image of William Bransford at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Parks
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky

Brashear, Carl M.
Birth Year : 1931
Death Year : 2006
Carl Maxie Brashear was born in Tonieville, KY, the son of McDonald and Gonzella Brasher. Carl Brasher was the first African American master diver in the U.S. Navy. Brashear lost the lower part of his left leg in an accident on the USS Hoist; he was the only amputee deep-sea diver to become a master diver. He retired from the Navy in 1979 and settled in Virginia, where he died in 2006. The movie Men of Honor is based on events in the life of Carl M. Brashear. For more see Carl Brashear website.


Subjects: Military & Veterans, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Tonieville, Larue County, Kentucky / Virginia

Brashear, Jimmie Tyler
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1999
Jimmie Tyler Brashear, born in Lexington, KY, was the daughter of a Lexington schoolteacher Mattie Mason Tyler and barber Charles W. Tyler. She would later live with an aunt in Madison, WI. According to the Dallas Morning News, Brashear was the only African American in the 1924 graduating class at the University of Wisconsin. In 1929, she joined the Dallas School District with the responsibility of training African American grade school teachers. Brasher would advance to become the first African American school administrator in Dallas. She retired in 1967, after 43 years as an educator, and began teaching at what is now Paul Quinn College. She had taught at Tuskegee and Prairie View earlier in her career. The J. T. Brashear Early Childhood Center was named in her honor, and in 1997, she was recognized as an Outstanding Citizen by the Black Caucus of the Texas Legislature. Brashear was a sister to Lugusta Tyler Colston. For more see J. Simnacher, "Dallas educator Jimmie Tyler Brashear dies - she was first African American hired as schools administrator," The Dallas Morning News, 02/16/1999, News section, p.13A; and N. Adams-Wade, "Venerated educator broke ground in Dallas schools," The Dallas Morning News, 02/16/1997, News section, p.39A.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration West, Migration South
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Madison, Wisconsin / Dallas, Texas

Brauham, James L.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1922
James L. Brauham was a horseshoer who was born in New Castle, KY, and died in Chicago, IL [source: Cook County, Illinoise Death Index]. He was the son of Leory Brauham and Emily Smith Brauham.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Braxton, Frederick [Bracktown] [Main Street Baptist Church]
Death Year : 1876
Rev. Frederick Braxton, born in Kentucky, was a slave, a blacksmith, and became pastor of the First African Church in 1854. In 1864, the church was located on Short Street, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1864-65. Rev. Braxton succeeded Elder London Ferrill, who had organized the congregation in 1822; Elder Ferrill died in 1854. During Rev. Braxton's tenure, the church continued to grow and had over 2,000 members by the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. The following year the First African Church split, with 500 members following Rev. Braxton as he founded the Independent African Church. The new church was located at the corner of Main and Locust Streets, according to William's Lexington City Directory 1864-65, and for a brief period, Rev. Braxton was pastor of both his new church and the First African Church. New church members were baptized in the Poor House Pond that was located in the southern part of Lexington [the pond was also used for the baptisms of the Pleasant Green Baptist Church]. In 1867, Rev. Braxton organized a school with nearly 300 students at the Independent African Church; it was managed by Negro teachers. Later the Independent African Church was located at the corner of Main and Merino Streets, according to the Lexington City Directory 1873 and 1874. The name of the church would be changed to Second Colored Baptist Church (1876), to Main Street Independent Baptist Church, and then later renamed the Main Street Baptist Church. Rev. Braxton was also a land owner: he owned part of the Stonetown property on Leestown Pike in Fayette County, KY, where the community that became known as Bracktown (named for Rev. Braxton) was established. He began purchasing land in 1867 and continued up through 1874. Rev. Frederick Braxton died January 31, 1876. He was the husband of Keziah "Kessie" Ware Braxton, and they were the parents of Cary Braxton (d. 1913) and Charly J. Braxton (d. 1923) [source: Kentucky Death Certificates]; Molly Braxton (d. 1876) and Merritt (d. 1901) [source: Yvonne Giles]; Henderson A. W. Braxton [source: Freedmen's Bank Record]; Betsy Braxton; Sara J. Braxton; and Ella Braxton [source: 1870 U.S. Census]. After Rev. Braxton's death, his widow, Keziah, and daughter Betsie (or Betsy) Braxton, lived on Bolivar Street, the 2nd house east of Broadway [source: William's Lexington City Directory 1881-82]. Keziah (or Kesiah) Braxton died in 1898 [source: Yvonne Giles - Death Certificate #3041]. For more see A History of Kentucky Baptist, Vol. 2, by J. A. Spencer; A Brief History of the First Baptist Church (Black), by H. E. Nutter (1940), a Baptist History Homepage website; "Under the law...," Lexington Observer and Reporter, 10/02/1867, p. 3; "Five thousand people," The Kentucky Leader, 04/18/1892, p. 7; Kentucky Place Names, by R. M. Rennick; and "A Hamlet and a Railroad Town" within the African Americans in the Bluegrass website. For a photo image of Rev. Frederick Braxton, see the First Baptist Church Souvenir Bulletin in the Sallie Price Collection at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Library. See photo image of baptism at the Lexington Work House Pond [also called the Poor House Pond] in Kentucky Digital Library - Images.

 

Deed BooK - Braxton Property on Leestown Road, Lexington, Kentucky.  Information provided by Yvonne Giles.

  • Deed Book 43 p.561 01/16/1867 7 acres
  • Deed book 43 p.425 04/10/1867 4 acres
  • Deed Book 45 p.160 02/22/1868 3 acres
  • Deed Book 47 p.62   04/01/1869 7 acres
  • Deed Book 53 p.295 05/20/1874 19 acres
  • Deed Book 53 p.393                   2 acres

 

Braxton family members buried in African Cemetery No.2.  Information provided by Yvonne Giles.

  • Frederick Braxton d. 01/31/1876
  • Mollie Braxton d. 03/11/1876
  • Kesiah (Keziah) Braxton d. 09/14/1898
  • Cary W. Braxton d. 03/31/1913
  • Mary Ellen Prior Braxton [wife of Cary W.] d. 11/09/1924
  • Charles (Charly) Jefferson Braxton d. 06/05/1923
  • Charles C. Braxton [son of Charles J.] d. 03/02/1917
  • Katherine Braxton [daughter of Charles J.] d. 1880 *may be buried in African No.2
  • Nora Braxton [daughter of Charles J.] d. 1888 *may be buried in African No.2
  • Margaret Braxton [daughter of Charles J.] d. 1887 *may be buried in African No.2
  • Fred Braxton [son of Charles J.] d. 1887 *may be buried in African No.2
  • Maria Edmonds Braxton [wife of Charles J.] d. 07/26/1931
  • Merritt Braxton d. 01/01/1901

 


Poor House Pond

See photo image of Rev. Frederick Braxton in the right hand column on p.191 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at NYPL Digital Gallery.

 
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington and Bracktown, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brazley, Michael D.
Birth Year : 1951
Brazley was born in Louisville, KY, to William and Gwendolyn Brazley. He is a graduate of the Howard University School of Architecture, and the University of Louisville School of Urban and Public Affairs (Ph.D.). Brazley is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is author of the article "Moving toward gender and racial inclusion in the design profession," which is part of an ongoing longitudinal study that Brazley presented at the 2006 Diversity Conference in New Orleans. For almost 20 years Brazley has also been the President and CEO of Brazley & Brazley, Inc., located in Louisville, KY. He is a licensed architect in Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Brazley has received a number of awards, including the Minority Service Firm of the Year. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2006; M. Brazley, "Moving toward gender and racial inclusion in the design profession," The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, vol. 6, issue 3, pp. 9-18; and An Evaluation of Residential Satisfaction of HOPE VI: a study of the Park DuValle Revitalization Project (thesis) by M. Brazley.
Subjects: Architects, Authors, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois

Breathitt County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Breathitt County, located in eastern Kentucky in the Cumberland Plateau, is surrounded by eight counties and was formed from Clay, Perry, and Estill Counties. Breathitt County was formed in 1839, and was named for Kentucky Governor John Breathitt. Jackson is the county seat. The population was 359 in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census [heads of households], and grew to 5,673 by 1870, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 46 slave owners
  • 118 Black slaves
  • 51 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks
  • 8 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 46 slave owners
  • 115 Black slaves
  • 75 Mulatto slaves
  • 7 free Blacks
  • 19 free Mulattoes [last names Freeman and Smith]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 75 Blacks
  • 103 Mulattoes
  • At least 2 U.S. Colored Troops listed Breathitt County, KY, as their birth location [Henson Calamees and Robert Chanler].
For more see the entry for Breathitt County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; Breathitt County, Kentucky by J. E. Munson [thesis]; and History of Breathitt County, Kentucky by D. Wullschleger [thesis].
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Breathitt County, Kentucky

Breckinridge County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Breckinridge County was formed in 1799 from part of Hardin County, KY, and is bordered by five counties and the Kentucky River. Breckinridge County is located in the mid-western part of the state, and was named for John Breckinridge, a U.S. Attorney General and a Senator, an Attorney General and House Member in Kentucky, and a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. John Breckinridge died in 1806, shortly after Breckinridge County was formed. The county seat is Hardinsburg. The total population in 1800 was 807, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 765 whites, 41 slaves, and 1 free colored. By 1860 the population was 10,896, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 408 slave owners
  • 1,569 Black slaves
  • 380 Mulatto slaves
  • 6 free Blacks
  • 2 Colored [Thomas Alexander and Hardin Alexander]
  • 4 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 476 slave owners
  • 1,837 Black slaves
  • 499 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks
  • 4 free Mulattoes [3 last name Piles, 1 last name Tanner]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,143 Blacks
  • 413 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops listed Breckinridge County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see Breckinridge County in Collin's Historical Sketches of Kentucky, v.2 by L. Collins and R. H. Collins; History and Legend of Breckinridge County, Kentucky by B. Thompson; and Breckinridge County, Kentucky Pictorial History by Breckinridge County Bicentennial Committee.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Breckinridge County, Kentucky

Breckinridge, Thomas, and Holmes - Undertakers (Xenia, OH)
Start Year : 1902
In 1902, three former teachers from Kentucky opened an undertaking business in Xenia, OH. One of the owners, Prof. A. W. Breckinridge (b. 1863 in Kentucky), had served as principal of the Colored schools in Midway, KY, for 17 years and was a former president of the Kentucky Colored Teachers Association [later named the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA)]. His wife, Annie, was a teacher at the school. Breckinridge had also owned a grocery store in Midway. A second owner, J. D. Thomas, had been a teacher in Kentucky colored schools for 20 years. He was the former assistant secretary of the Colored Fair Association of Bourbon County. The third owner, F. E. Holmes, had also taught school in Kentucky, but had left for employment with the U.S. Revenue Service. He was a graduate of the School of Embalming in Cincinnati. For more see "Interesting Doings in Colored Society," [Xenia] Daily Gazette, 07/03/1902, p. 2.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Xenia, Ohio

Breeding, Polly
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1939
Polly Breeding was born New Year's Day, 1849, in Lafayette, KY, the daughter of Phyllis Hiser, a slave, and Thomas Pound, a freeman. Thomas Pound's family had gained freedom when his grandmother, who was white, had a child by his grandfather, who was one of her slaves. According to the reprint from WPA Projects, "Aunt Polly Breeding was the oldest and most noted slave near Edmonton, Kentucky." A brief history of the family is in the Quarterly of the Metcalfe County Historical Society, vol. 4, issue 1 (Winter 1985). Polly Breeding died of influenza on March 12, 1939, according to her Kentucky Death Certificate #8186 file #87. She was a widow, her husband was Milton Breeding.
Subjects: Freedom, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lafayette and Edmonton, Metcalfe County, Kentucky

Brennen, David A.
In 2009, David A. Brennen was named the dean of the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Law, making him the state's first African American law school dean since the desegregation of Kentucky higher education. Brennen will be the 16th dean of the UK College of Law. He has more than 15 years experience in classroom teaching, is the co-founder and co-editor of Nonprofit Law Prof Blog, and is editor of the electronic abstracting journal, Nonprofit and Philanthropy Law Abstracts, published by the Social Science Research Network in the Legal Research Network series. He has a number of research publications and is co-author of the 2008 statutory supplement to The Tax Law of Charities and Other Exempt Organizations. David Brennen graduated with a finance degree from Florida Atlantic University and earned his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Florida. He has served as the assistant general counsel in Florida's Department of Revenue and as deputy director of the Association of American Law Schools. Additional information for this entry was provided by Michelle Cosby, librarian at the UK College of Law Library. For more see "College of Law names David A. Brennen as Dean," University of Kentucky News, 04/09/2009. For the earlier history see the NKAA entries Central Law School (Louisville, KY) and Albert S. White.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Lawyers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brent, George
Birth Year : 1821
George Brent was born near Greensburg, KY; he and his parents were slaves owned by Louis C. Patterson. Brent's father gained his freedom and moved to Lexington, KY, where he secured a note for the purchase of his son. George Brent then moved to Lexington, was employed as a blacksmith and became a freeman when he paid off the note of $1,200 at the end of three years. A year prior to his freedom, George Brent married Mildred Smith, a free born woman from Campbellsville, KY. In 1837, the Brent family moved to Illinois, eventually settling in Springfield at 1417 East Adams Street. Springfield had become the capital of Illinois in 1837 thanks to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and several others. The Brent family was among the first African Americans to settle in Sangamon County. George Brent became an ordained minister in 1864 and the following year was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Springfield. The church was formerly known as the Colored Baptist Church, that was started in 1838 [more information at the Zion Missionary Baptist Church website]. The first church building was constructed under the directorship of Rev. George Brent. He and three others made the bricks from which the church was built; Rev. Brent and the three men were owners of the brick yard. Rev. Brent was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church until 1887. George and Mildred Brent had four children in 1870, according to the U.S. Federal Census, February of that year, two of the children were killed when they were struck by lightning [see George Brent at Find A Grave]. For more see History of Sangamon County, Illinois; together with sketches of its cities by Inter-State Publishing Company (Chicago) [full-text available at Google Book Search]; and contact the Springfield, Illinois, African American History Foundation.

*The last name is spelled as Brents and Brentz in the census records.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, 1st African American Families in Town, Free African American Slave Owners, Killed by Lightning
Geographic Region: Greensburg, Green County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / Springfield, Illinois

Bridgeman, Ulysses "Junior"
Birth Year : 1953
Ulysses Bridgeman was born in East Chicago, Indiana. Bridgeman was a 1975 graduate of the University of Louisville, where the 6' 5" forward played for Coach Denny Crum's Cardinals; in 1972 the Cardinals were ranked 4th in the country and played in the Final Four. In 1975 Bridgeman was drafted 8th in the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers and then traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. Bridgeman finished his career with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988 and his jersey was retired. He holds the team record for most games played. Today, Bridgeman is owner of more than 150 Wendy's Restaurants, including several in Louisville, KY; it is one of the largest Wendy's franchises in the U.S. In 2003 Bridgeman was named chairman of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Basketball biographies: 434 U.S. players, coaches and contributors to the game, 1891-1990, by M. Taragano and M. Pitsch; "Bridgeman likely to lead trustees," Courier Journal, 08/29/03; and P. King, "Former NBA star scores on Wendy's team," Nation's Restaurant News, vol. 38, issue 34, p. 70.

See photo image and additional information about Ulysses Bridgeman at Forbes.com.
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / East Chicago, Indiana

Bridges, Travis
Birth Year : 1862
Pvt. Travis Bridges, from Mt. Sterling, KY, was one of the twenty soldiers in Company H, 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps in 1897. Starting on the 14th of June, the men rode bicycles 1,900 miles from Ft. Missoula, MT, to St. Louis, MO, arriving the 24th of July. Bridges' name was submitted by Mike Higgins, who has an entry for Travis Bridges in his blog, 25th Bicycle Corps. Pvt. Travis Bridges was discharged from the Army without honor on November 1, 1897, according to the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments. He was rated as a good soldier from his first enlistment in 1885 up to the date of his final discharge.
Subjects: Bicycles, Cyclist, Cycling, Wheelmen
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Bright, Willis K., Jr.
Birth Year : 1944
Willis Bright, Jr. was born in Lexington, KY. He was the second African American to receive the Algernon Sullivan Medallion, receiving it when he was a senior at the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1966. Bright went on to earn a M.S.W. at the University of Michigan in 1968 and became an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Bright led a number of programs in Iowa and Minnesota. In 2003, when he was the Director of Youth Programs at the Lily Endowment in Indianapolis, IN, Bright was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Social Work Hall of Fame. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; the UK College of Social Work Alumni Newsletter [.pdf], vol. 4, no. 1 (2003); and Algernon Sullivan Medallion.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brim, John
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2003
John Brim was born in Hopkinsville, KY. He taught himself to play the guitar and the harmonica. In 1941 he moved to Indianapolis, then on to Chicago. Brim owned a dry cleaning business and a record store in Chicago. He was also a blues vocalist, song writer, and guitarist. He worked with "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Muddy Waters, and others. Brim had a number of recordings in the 1950s; his songs include Be Careful, Ice Cream Man, and Tough Times. His wife was Grace Brim (1924-1999), blues drummer and vocalist. John Brim played at the 1997 Chicago Bluesfest. In 2000 he performed on the album Jake's Blues. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; and R. K. Elder, "Simplicity, eloquence shaped bluesman's style," Chicago Tribune, 10/08/2003, Obituaries section, p. 10. 

See photo image and additional information about John Brim at website by Hiroshi 'Edogawa Slim' Takahashi.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinios

Britt, Allen [Frankie and Johnny]
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1899
Allen Britt was born in Kentucky, according to his death certificate. It is believed that he is the character referred to as Johnny in the popular song Frankie and Johnny. The song, composed by Bill Dooley, was originally titled Frankie and Al (or Albert), until Britt's father became enraged that his son's name was being used in the song, and the name Johnny was used instead. Allen Britt was a piano player, he was shot on October 15, 1899, and died a few days later at the City Hospital in St. Louis, MO. He is buried in an unmarked grave in St. Peter's Cemetery in St. Louis. Britt was shot by his girlfriend, Frankie Baker (1876-1952), after the two got into a fight. Britt's name is also given as Albert in some sources. He was the son and only child of George and Nancy Britt (both from Tennessee), the family had moved to St. Louis in 1891. Frankie Baker, born in St. Louis, was acquitted of shooting Allen Britt and she left St. Louis, eventually settling in Portland, OR, where she shined shoes for a living. She had two unsuccessful law suits, one against Mae West and Paramount Pictures for the use of her name in the film She Done Him Wrong, and in 1938, she sued Republic Pictures for their 1936 film Frankie and Johnny. After Baker lost the suit, Republic Pictures claimed ownership of the story. Frankie Baker became sick later in life and also suffered from mental illness. She was placed in the East Oregon Hospital where she died. Frankie Baker and Allen Britt's family did not benefit from the popularity of the story "Frankie and Johnny." The tale has been song on commercial phonograph recordings and records, presented in plays, minstrels, in literature, newspaper articles, poems, paintings, ballets, movies, and all other mediums. For more see Hoecakes, Hambone, and All that Jazz by R. M. Nolen; Body and Soul by P. Stanfield; and The Devil's Music by G. Oakley.

See photo image of Frankie Baker on p.52 in Jet, 01/24/1952.

Listen to Frankie and Johnnie by Ethel Waters on YouTube.
Subjects: Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri

Britt, Hardin B.
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1963
Born in Brownsville, KY, Hardin B. Britt was a trained gospel singer. He was the son of Thomas and Julia Britt. After attending the Negro common school in Edmonson County, Hardin Britt graduated valedictorian from State University [Simmons College, Louisville], and he also graduated from Eckstein Norton University. He was the leading soloist at the Baptist World's Congress held in London England; Hardin's performance was reviewed in the Christian Herald, July 1905, "A Sweet Colored Singer." By 1920, Britt had settled in Louisivlle, Kentucky, according to the U.S. Census, he lived on Finzer Street where he boarded with Lucy Burton, a cook, and her niece, Rosa Stone, a school teacher. Britt was earning a living as a gospel singer. In 1937, he was a music teacher living at 2424 W. Walnut Street, according to Caron's Louisville City Directory, 1937, p.263. Hardin B. Britt died in Louisville in 1963 [source: Kentucky Death Index]. For more see Who's Who Among the Colored Baptists of the United States by S. W. Bacote.

 

  See photo image of Hardin B. Britt, middle of left hand column, on p.100 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Bownsville, Edmonson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Britton, Arthur Eugene and Lillian Smith
Arthur Britton (b.1875 in Kentucky), was African American, Crow, and Cherokee. He grew up near Maysville and had attended college in Louisville (probably Simmons) before moving to Chicago, where he worked as a clerk in a manufacturing company. He was there during the "Red Summer" of 1919. He and his wife, Lillian Smith (b.1882 in Kentucky), were the parents of four children, the youngest being Irene Britton Smith (1907-1999), a noted composer and school teacher in Chicago. Arthur and Lillian Britton separated in 1917. For more see H. Walker-Hill, "Black women composers in Chicago: then and now," Black Music Research Journal, vol. 12, issue 1, (Spring, 1992), pp. 13-14; Funeral program for Irene Britton Smith, Chicago: Griffin Funeral Home, 02/18/1999, vertical file at the Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago; Black Women in America, 2nd ed., by D. C. Hine; and From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American women composers and their music, by H. Walker-Hill.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Britton, Mary E.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1925
Mary E. Britton was born in Lexington, KY. She was an activist and a journalist who wrote many articles against segregation laws. Britton was also a schoolteacher. She would later become the first African American woman physician in Lexington and a founder of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home. Britton was a graduate of Berea College. She is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington. She was a sister of Julia B. Hooks. For more see Mary Britton at womeninky.com; and E. Applegate, "The Noble Sole of Mary E. Britton," in Berea College Magazine [online]. 

See photo image of Dr. Mary E. Britton at Great Black Kentuckians, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Medical Field, Health Care, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Britton, Thomas M., Sr. "Tom"
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1901
Well known jockey Thomas "Tom" Britton, Sr. was born in 1870 in Lexington, KY, the son of Laura and Henry Britton. He was the husband of Pearl Jackson Britton (1873-1904, born in KY), and they had a son named Thomas Britton, Jr. [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. Tom Britton, Sr. rode in the 1892 Kentucky Derby aboard Huron, owned by Ed Corrigan, and came in second place, six inches behind Alonzo Clayton riding Azra. Britton had won the Tennessee Derby in 1891 aboard Valera, and the Kentucky Oaks aboard Miss Hawkins. He was thrown against a fence and knocked unconscious when he fell while riding Miss Dixie in a Chicago race in June of 1891. It was written in the Milford Mail newspaper that Britton's mind had been affected by the injury, and since then he was sometimes referred to as "Crazy Britton." He continued racing and won the 1892 Tennessee Derby aboard Tom Elliott. Though a successful jockey during the earlier days of his career, Britton began having more serious troubles around 1895 when he lost his racing license. April of 1895, the Committee on Jockeys of the Turf Congress allowed Britton to have a two-month permit that was to be continued if his conduct was satisfactory. Britton was ruled off the track at Latonia in November of 1896, and it was recommended that his license be revoked. He had been ruled off the track five months earlier because of his involvement in a fraudulent ticket operation. In 1900, he was racing in Newport, KY, riding aboard Banbury, when both horse and rider took a spill. By 1901, Britton was down on his luck, he was broke and living in a room in a boarding house in Lodge Alley in Cincinnati, OH, when he committed suicide. Thomas M. Britton, Sr. is buried in African Cemetery #2 in Lexington, KY. For more see "The Chicago races," Sandusky Daily Register, 06/27/1891; "The Congress rules," New York Times, 04/12/1895, p.6; "Jockey Tom Britton," Leader, 11/20/1896, p.5; "Jockey Tom Britton," in the Daily Racing Form, 07/03/1896, p.2, and 07/04/1896, p.1; "Jockey Tom Britton," in the Daily Racing Form, 05/23/1900, p.1; "Took his own life," Leader, 05/20/1901, p.7; "Britton had great ability," The Milford Mail, 08/31/1905, p.3; and "Negro riders of renown," Daily Racing Form, 02/17/1922, p.2.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Suicide

Brock, James "Jim"
James Brock was the second head basketball coach at William Grant High School (WGHS) in Covington, KY, coaching there from 1955 to 1965. Like other African American school teams in Kentucky, WGHS was a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL). The counter league, Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), was for whites only until school integration began in the mid-1950s. The 1956-1957 WGHS team was the first African American basketball team to win a district tournament in the KHSAA tournament. As more African American students were allowed to attend the formerly all white schools, there was an impact on the pool of high school athletes that had been restricted to the all black schools. In 1965, the year that William Grant High School closed, the basketball team won only five games. The season was a far cry from the winning seasons that had garnered the school a win-loss record of 185-69 during Brock's years as head coach. With the closing of William Grant, Brock moved on to Cincinnati, where he continued to successfully coach high school sports. James Brock was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Black Hall of Fame and the KHSAA Hall of Fame in 2000. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; J. Reis, "Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s," The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998, Editorial section, p. 4K; and Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame class of 2000 inductees announced, 06/21/1999, at the KHSAA website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Brock, Richard
Birth Year : 1824
Death Year : 1906
Richard Brock, born a slave in Kentucky, was given as a wedding present to the daughter of his master. The daughter moved to Houston, Texas, and brought Brock with her. Brock would become a leader in the Houston community: he owned a blacksmith business and became a land owner, he helped found two churches, and had part ownership of the Olivewood Cemetery. The cemetery was the first for African Americans within the Houston city limits. In 1870, Brock became the first African American Aldermen in the Houston city government. Brock is listed as a mulatto in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, and he and his wife Eliza (b.1837 in Alabama) were the parents of five children. They would have five more children. Richard Brock was co-founder of the first masonic lodge in Houston for African Americans and he helped found Emancipation Park. In 1900, Richard Brock was a widow living with three of his daughters and two grandchildren. The Richard Brock Elementary School in downtown Houston is named in his honor. For more see "Exhibit honors former slaves who emerged as pathfinders,"Houston Chronicle, 02/08/1987, Lifestyle section, p. 1.

See photo image and additional information about Richard Brock at Texas Trail Blazers, a Defender Network.com website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration West, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Houston, Texas

Brodis, James, Sr. "Jim" [Joseph M. Dorcy v. Maria Brodis et al.]
Birth Year : 1833
Jim Brodis, Sr. was a runaway slave from Kentucky. He escaped from his master while they were mining in California. Brodis fled to Pajaro Valley, California, where he eventually purchased a farm. A street there is named in his honor and memory in Watsonville. Brodis [or Brodies] is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a farmer, also listed are his wife Maria (b.1843 in Nova Scotia) and their five children. In 1908, the Supreme Court of California denied a rehearing in the case of Joseph M. Dorcy v. Maria Brodis and others. James Brodis had passed away, leaving all assets to Maria and the children. A land dispute led Dorcy to file a lawsuit against Maria et al. over the ownership of a tract of land in Santa Cruz. The court had ruled in favor of Maria et al., and Dorcy sought a retrial. For more see Dorcy v. Bordis on p.278 of v.96, first series of the Pacific Reporter, July 6-September 7, 1908 [full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Santa Cruz, California

Brooks, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1940
Charles H. Brooks was born in Paducah, KY. A lawyer, businessman, and writer, Brooks wrote the official history of the Odd Fellows Fraternity and was a delegate to the International Conference of Odd Fellows in Europe in 1900. He was educated in the Colored school in Paducah [info NKAA entry], and after finishing his studies in 1876, he became a teacher at the school. He taught for five years, and was then named the school principal. While he was principal of the school, Brooks became a member of the Paducah Odd Fellows Lodge No. 1545. He served as secretary and was influential in the building of the Colored Odd Fellows Lodge in Paducah [info NKAA entry]. Brooks was State Treasurer, he was secretary of the B. M. C. and was Grand Director at Atlanta, GA. On the national level, he was Grand Auditor. Brooks' work with the Odd Fellows was also during the time he was Secretary of the Republican County Committee in Paducah, and Secretary of the First Sunday School Convention and Baptist Association. In 1889, he successfully passed the civil service exam, and Brooks left Kentucky to become a clerk at the Pension Bureau Office in Washington, D.C. While in D.C. he attended Spencerian Business College, completing a course in bookkeeping. Brooks left his job in D.C. and entered law school at Howard University where he completed his LL.B in 1892, which was also the year that he was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. As a lawyer, Brooks gained admission to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. He left D.C. in 1892 to work full time at the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, PA. He was there for ten years, and led the effort to pay off all debts, sustained a surplus of $50,000, and established a printing press and the publishing of a weekly journal. Brooks traveled extensively throughout the U.S. to visit the various Odd Fellows lodges. He also traveled to England; the Colored Odd Fellows dispensations came from England, and they were the only Colored organization with a regular affiliation to the English fraternity. When Charles Brooks retired from the Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, he operated a real estate and insurance office. He continued to be active in organizations such as the National Negro Business League, Gibson's New Standard Theater, Model Storage Company, and he was secretary of the Reliable Mutual Aid and Improvement Society, all in Philadelphia. He is author of The Official History of the First African Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa., published in 1922. Charles H. Brooks was the husband of Matilda Mansfield Brooks (1862-1945, born in KY). The couple married on August 24, 1880 in Paducah, KY [source: Kentucky Marriages Index]. Both are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, KY [source: Find A Grave website]. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Official History and Manual of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, by C. H. Brooks; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Charles H. Brooks," Freeman, 10/10/1896, p.5; and "Out of the depths," The Colored American, 09/19/1903, p.1.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Lawyers, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brooks, Corrinne Mudd
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2008
Brooks organized the first African American girl scout troop in Fort Wayne, IN. The history of African American girl scout units has not been thoroughly researched, and it is not known how many units existed in the U.S. Up to the 1950s, girl scouts were segregated by race. In the state of Indiana, the first girl scouts were formed in New Albany in 1919; the organization became a council in 1923. Brooks was an active member of the Limberlost Girl Scout Council as well as the Urban League, the Commission on the Status of Women for the State of Indiana, and the YWCA. She was also the comptroller at the YWCA. Corrinne Brooks was the wife of James W. Brooks. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Loretta Douglas Mudd (1897-1928), who was born in Fort Wayne, and James Mudd (1881-1968), who was born in Springfield, KY. The family moved from Kentucky to Fort Wayne in 1915 and lived on Wallace Street, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. When Loretta Mudd died, Corrinne became the mother of the household; she was the oldest of her six siblings. She was also an athlete, the first girl in her high school to receive a sweater for her participation in basketball and soccer. She graduated from Central High School in 1933. She won the Civic Men's Scholarship, which was used for her courses at Indiana University Extension, located in downtown Fort Wayne. Brooks took a turn at politics: an unsuccessful candidate for the Indiana House of Representative in 1954 and 1956, she went on to become a coordinator for the Indiana voter registration drive in preparation for the 1960 presidential election, helping to register over 43,000 voters; Senator John F. Kennedy invited her to a National Conference on Constitutional Rights and American Freedom in New York. She was also founder of the Martin Luther King Living Memorial. For more on Corrinne Brooks, see her entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Corrinne Brooks always active in helping others," The Journal Gazette, 02/06/1996, People section. A picture of Corrine Brooks is on p. 120 in Ebony, 09/1983 [available in Google Book Search]. For more on the girl scouts see the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website; and for a more detailed accounting of African American girl scout history, see the "Josephine Groves Holloway" entry in Notable Black American Women, by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Civic Leaders, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Brooks, Cynthia
Cynthia Brooks is Assistant Chief (Lt. Col.) of the Louisville, Kentucky Fire Department.  She is in charge of minority affairs and recruitment.  
Subjects: Firefighters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brooks, Edward Benjamin
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1953
Edward Brooks was born in Paducah, KY. He was a physician who practiced in Shawnee, Oklahoma, for 15 years, then moved to Oklahoma City. Brooks was the first African American physician in Oklahoma City to hold a commission from the U.S. Employees Compensation Commission. He and his wife, Ruth (b.1895 in Arkansas) were living in Shawnee in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America,1928-1929.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Shawnee and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Brooks, Garland H.
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1984
Garland H. Brooks was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Carrie and Henry Brooks. He became a pharmacist after attending Attucks High School in Hopkinsville and receiving his Ph.D. from Howard University School of Pharmacy in 1934. He returned to Hopkinsville, where he became proprietor of Brooks Pharmacy. He was a brother of Phillip C. Brooks. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Brooks, Jonathan H.
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1945
Johnathan H. Brooks was born in Lexington, KY. He attended Jackson College [now Jackson State University] in Mississippi, Lincoln University, and Tougaloo College, also in Mississippi. In addition to being a poet, he was also a postal clerk, minister, and teacher. In a local contest, he won first prize for his first short story, "The Bible in the Cornfield." He was author of The Resurrection and Other Poems, published posthumously. His work has appeared in anthologies and other publications. For more see Black American Writers Past and Present: a biographical and bibliographical dictionary, by Rush, Myers, & Arta.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Poets, Postal Service, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brooks, Melody
Birth Year : 1956
Little has been written about African American women ventriloquists, and there has been nothing written about those in or from Kentucky. In minstrel shows, it was not unusual to find a woman playing the role of a puppet for a male ventriloquist. Richard Potter (1783-1835) is often considered the first (or one of the first) African American male ventriloquists, as is John Walcott Cooper (1873-1966), who is also recognized as the first to become famous. Melody Brooks is a modern day ventriloquist. She was born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Audrey and Curtis Brooks. The family moved to Lexington, KY, where Melody graduated from Bryan Station High School. She has been a self-taught ventriloquist since the age of 12 and continues to perform at nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and at showers, parties, and other special events. She performed once on the television show, Good Morning America. Brooks is also an artist (producing drawings, paintings, charcoals, pencils, and mixed medium) and a singer. For more information on Melody Brooks, contact her at (859) 254-2257. For more about African American ventriloquists, see Ethnic Ventriloquism: literary minstrelsy in Nineteenth-Century American literature by M. Banerjee; the John W. Cooper Collection (archival) at the New York Public Library. See also the Vent Haven Museum website, the museum is located in Ft. Mitchell, KY, and is the only one dedicated to ventriloquism.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Ventriloquist, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brooks, Phillip C.
Birth Year : 1901
Death Year : 1982
Phillip C. Brooks was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Henry and Carrie Brooks. Brooks, a physician and surgeon, acquired his pre-med and medical education at Howard University. He later returned to Hopkinsville, where he owned and operated Brooks Memorial Hospital, beginning in 1944. In 1958, Clinton Reynolds, a white race car driver was treated by Dr. Brooks at the Brooks Memorial Hospital. Complaints were filed with the Kentucky Medical Association asserting that Reynolds had waited for more than an hour to see a white doctor at Jennie Stuart Hospital, before being treated at Brooks Memorial Hospital [Jet article online at Google Book Search, 09/18/1958, p.26]. Dr. Brooks was the brother of Garland H. Brooks. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Brooks, Robert A. "Bob"
Birth Year : 1938
Robert A. Brooks was born in Winchester, KY. A six foot tall football player, he attended Oliver High and Clark County High School in Winchester. Louis Stout referred to Brooks as a "pure athlete" who displayed speed, quickness, agility and toughness. Brooks was a running back at Ohio State University, where he was designated an Ohio All American in 1960. He was selected in the 21st round of the 1961 draft by the New York Titans (later the New York Jets), an American Football League team. Brooks played one season, participating in 14 games and averaging 3.7 yards a carry. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and Bob Brooks at the databaseFootball.com website.
Subjects: Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Brooks, Robert H.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1941
Robert H. Brooks was born in Sadieville, KY, the son of Adeline Neal Brooks and Ray Brooks. He was the first African American to die in World War II, during the bombing of Clark Field in the Philippines. The main parade ground in Fort Knox, Brooks Field, is named in his honor. Brooks was passing for white when he joined the National Guard. He was assigned to Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion. The U.S. Army learned that Brooks was African American after his death. For more see Pvt. Robert H. Brooks, a Proviso East High School website; and "Black History Month: Robert H. Brooks" The Courier-Journal, 02/06/2009, News section, p.3B.

See photo imge of Robert H. Brooks at the Proviso East High School website.
Subjects: Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Sadieville, Scott County, Kentucky / Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky

Brooks Sisters
The Brooks Sisters were a singing group with members Naomi, Ophelia, Carrie, and Susie Brooks, all from Zion Hill, Kentucky. These sisters were the daughters of Hannah Brown of Fermantown in Versailles, Kentucky (also spelled Firmatown) and Minister John Brooks. The Brooks Sisters were a gospel group that was invited to sing at Kentucky churches, and they also made a record. Susie Brooks, the group's piano player, also played for the Zion Hill Church; she taught herself to play the piano. She was the mother of the Raglin Brothers, also a gospel singing group. Information submitted by Ponice Raglin Cruse and her father, the Reverend Floyd B. Raglin. Contact Ms. Cruse for additional information about the Brooks Sisters.
Subjects: Fathers, Kentucky African American Churches, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Zion Hill, Scott County, Kentucky / Firmatown (Fermantown), Woodford County, Kentucky

Brooks, Thomas L.
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1923
Brooks, born in Virginia, was the son of Maria and Thomas Brooks, according to his death certificate. He lived most of his life in Kentucky, and was a noted contractor in Eastern Kentucky. Brooks moved to Frankfort in 1881, where he was a highly sought after carpenter and contractor. His projects there included over half of the residence in the exclusive Watson Court area, the Columbia Theater, the auditorium and trades building at Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], the Odd Fellows Building for African Americans, and the Baptist Church. Brooks was the secretary of the Capital City Lodge of the Odd Fellows, a member of the Knights of Pythias, a member of the United Brothers of Friendship, and was Grand Master of the B. M. C. He was the husband of Mary L. Hocker Brooks, and the couple shared their home on Blanton Street with Mary's parents and two nieces. Thomas L. Brooks is buried in Frankfort, his funeral was handled by Thomas K. Robb. For more see "Prominent business man," Baltimore Afro-American, 12/12/1914, p.5; and the Thomas L. Brooks entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race edited by F. L. Mather, 1915.
Subjects: Construction, Contractors, Builders, Migration West, Fraternal Organizations, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Virginia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Brown (Byrd), Calvin
Calvin Brown is listed in the National Archives as Calvin Byrd; he changed his name after the Civil War. Brown had been a slave who ran away from his owner in Louisville, KY, on August 14, 1864, and three days later he enlisted in the 108th Infantry, Company A. He fought in the Battle of Vicksburg in 1865, where he was injured, then later fell ill due to an unrelated disease. In 1996, Brown and other African American Civil War soldiers were honored with the dedication of a national memorial site. Calvin (Byrd) Brown was the great-grandfather of Mr. Shirley Foley, Jr. For more see L. Wheeler, "The unseen soldiers get their due memorial to honor blacks who fought in Civil War," Washington Post, 09/03/1996, Metro section, p. B1. *Last name also spelled Bird in some sources.
Subjects: Freedom, Military & Veterans, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Vicksburg, Mississippi

Brown, Clara
Birth Year : 1803
Death Year : 1885
Clara Brown was born in Virginia. She and her three children were sold separately, and Clara was brought to Kentucky. She purchased her freedom in 1858 and moved to Missouri before moving on to Colorado, where she became involved in several business ventures, including opening a laundry and investing in mines. Brown profited from her investments and returned to the east to bring 34 of her relatives out west. Much later she was able to find only one of her children. For more see The Book of African American Women: 150 Crusaders, Creators, and Uplifters, by T. Bolden.

See photo image of Clara Brown at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration West
Geographic Region: Virginia / Kentucky

Brown, Edward D. "Brown Dick"
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1906
Edward Dudley Brown, born in Kentucky, was a slave owned by R. A. Alexander. At the age of seven, Brown was sold on the steps of the Lexington Courthouse to Alexander. Brown was a jockey, and won the 1870 Belmont Stakes aboard Kingfisher, trained by Raleigh Colston, Sr. Dudley was the trainer for the horse Baden-Baden, winner of the 1877 Kentucky Derby. Brown also owned and trained his own horses. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1984. For more see Black winning jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, by J. R. and M. R. Saunders.

See photo image of Edward D. Brown at Black Jockeys website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Edward Hall
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1946
Edward H. Brown was born in Henderson County, KY. He owned his own blacksmith business, beginning in 1898. Brown also owned a number of homes and held stock in mercantile interests and organizations. He was a member of the National Horseshoers Association and the Henderson Blacksmiths Association. He was the son of Michael and Susan Agnes Watson Brown. Michael Brown was also a leading blacksmith in Henderson, KY, and his son Edward learned the trade from his father. Edward H. Brown was the husband of Emma B. Coleman Brown (b.1883 in Louisville, KY) and after her death, he was married to Mary B. Brown [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Edward H. Brown made his home at 935 Clay Street in Henderson, KY, and his blacksmith shop was located at 422 First Street. He and Emma had five children: Michael, Rose, Lelia, Susan, and Andrew. Edward H. Brown died August 30, 1946 in Henderson, KY. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Brown, Hugh Victor
Birth Year : 1891
Death Year : 1994
Hugh V. Brown was born in Henderson, KY. He was a school principal in Virginia and North Carolina. Brown also organized district associations for the North Carolina Teachers Association while serving as its first president in 1936; he served as president again from 1948-1950. He was also president of the Southeastern District Teachers Association. Brown was a two time graduate of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University], and was a trustee in 1950. He was a veteran of WWI. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; Folks Around Here by G. Price; and "Hugh V. Brown" in the Obituaries section of the Daily Press, 09/22/1994, p.C4. See also A History of the Education of Negroes in North Carolina by H. V. Brown; E-qual-ity Education in North Carolina Among Negroes by H. V. Brown; and A Study of the Functional Value of Curricula Materials and Methods of the Goldsboro (North Carolina) Negro Schools in Meeting the Economic and Civic Needs of the Pupils (thesis) by H. V. Brown.

Access Interview Read about the Hugh Victor Brown oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration East
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Virginia / North Carolina

Brown, J. B., Jr.
Brown is from Fort Knox, KY, but considers Owensboro, KY, his home. While attending high school in Fort Knox, Brown set a record as state high jump champion. The 6'8" center was an All-America basketball player at Kentucky Wesleyan College (KWC) and a member of the team that won the 1987 NCAA Division II Championship. Brown, starting all but one game, was the second leading rebounder that season with 225 rebounds. Brown went on to play ball with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1988-1995. He underwent a kidney transplant in 1996 and taught elementary school geography in Daviess County, Kentucky in 1997. For more see M. Graf, "J B Brown becomes a Harlem Globetrotter," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/28/1988, p. 1B; and N. Phillips, "Brother's kidney gives KWC star hope," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/13/1996, p. A1.
Subjects: Basketball, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Brown, James and Bridgett
In 2006, the husband and wife team of James, born 1970 in Chicago, and Bridgett, born 1973 in Louisville, KY, opened Brown's Bakery in Lexington, KY. James Brown has been a retail manager at Morrison Healthcare Food Services, and he was employed at Kroger and the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. Brown's Bakery is not the first African American owned bakery in the city, but it is a continuation of a long history of African American bakeries and bakers dating back to the 1800s. Author John D. Wright mentions in his book that there was a black-owned bakery in Lexington between 1870-1880. In 1901, Charles H. Allen, a baker and confectioner who owned his own business, was included in the Negro Business League's 2nd Convention report given by Dr. L. D. Robinson on Lexington businesses. Brown's Bakery, located on Leestown Road, was the most recent African American owned bakery in Lexington. In 2011, the bakery moved to Versailles Road in Lexington, KY. James Brown received his culinary degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). For more see S. Thompson, "I yam what I yam," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/05/2006, A La Carte section, p. J1; Sweet Treats, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #441 [available online]; and visit brownsbakery.com. For more about earlier bakers see Lexington, heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. See also Kentucky bakers entry in the NKAA.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brown, Jesse E. "Doc"
Birth Year : 1856
Jesse E. Brown, a doctor in Louisville, KY, was the city's first African American businessman and insurance agent. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, John Michael
Birth Year : 1950
J. Michael Brown is the first African American to be appointed Secretary of the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet; he was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear in 2007. Brown was born in New York, the son of John Sylvester Brown and Cora Lewis Brown. He is a graduate of City College of New York, where he earned his undergraduate degree in political science. He was a paratrooper and infantry officer in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he piloted helicopters, and was later stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, with the 101st Airborne. Brown remained in Kentucky, graduating in 1979 from the University of Louisville School of Law. He has served as a Louisville District Court Judge and as Law Director for the City of Louisville. For more on Brown's career, see L. Lamb, "J. Michael Brown tapped as new Justice Cabinet Secretary," Inside Corrections, vol. 1, issue 4 (January 2008), pp. 1 & 6-7 [available online]; and J. Michael Brown, a Kentucky.gov website.

Subjects: Aviators, Lawyers, Military & Veterans, Migration South, Judges, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: New York / Fort Campbell, Christian County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, John W. "Scoop"
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2002
John W. Brown was born in Lexington, KY. He attended the (old) Dunbar School in Lexington, where he was an outstanding football player as a kicker and receiver, as well as a star basketball player. Brown got his nickname when he played first base for the Lexington Hustlers. He also coached the team for nearly 50 years. Brown was also an official of baseball, basketball, and football in Kentucky and was the first African American official in the men's NAIA national tournament. In 1994, John W. Brown was inducted into the Dawahares/KHSAA Hall of Fame. For more see M. Fields, "19 State sports figures join high school hall of fame," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/23/1994, Sports section, p. C5; and M. Story, "Brown's legacy lives with kids - local athlete did best work for city's black children," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/07/2002, Sports section, p. C2.

Access Interview Read about the John Will "Scoop" Brown oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brown, Josh
Birth Year : 1980
In 1993, Josh Brown, a 13-year old from Sturgis, KY, became the first African American student to win the Kentucky Education Association President's Spelling Bee in Frankfort, KY. He correctly spelled "jodhpurs" to win the competition. For more see "Kentucky spelling bee gets 1st black champ," Jet, 07/26/1993, vol. 84, issue 13, p. 22; and C. Carlton, "8th Grader from Sturgis wins state bee 'jodhpurs' good fit on ride to victory," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/23/1993, City/State section, p. B1.
Subjects: Spelling Bees
Geographic Region: Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky

Brown, Lee L.
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1948
Lee L. Brown was born in Spring Station, KY. He was owner of a stenography school in Louisville, KY, and also owned Brown's Leather Shop. Brown was a correspondent for Dobson's News Service and editor and an organizer of the Louisville News. He was a representative of the Negro Press Association of Chicago. Brown was a two-time candidate for the Kentucky State Legislature, once in 1913 and again in 1935. Lee L. Brown was the son of Richard and Lucy Alexander Brown [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census; and Lee L. Brown's Kentucky Death Certificate]. He was the husband of Etta C. Brown [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. The couple last lived at 1014 West Chestnut Street in Louisville. Lee L. Brown died at the Louisville Red Cross Hospital on August 17, 1948. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Spring Station, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Mary Ellen
Birth Year : 1868
In 1897, Brown was named a notary public in Georgetown, KY; it is believed she was the first African American woman to be so designated in Scott County. She was to be the notary for African Americans, most of whom were applying for pensions or increases in their present pensions. Brown was born in Georgetown, KY, the daughter of Weston and Harriet Brown. She graduated from the Georgetown Colored city school in 1886 and became a teacher at the school. The family lived on Mulberrry Street. For more, see "Negro woman notary," The Weekly News and Courier, 06/02/1897, p. 14.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Notary Public
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Brown, Phil H.
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1923
Phil H. Brown was the appointed Commissioner of Conciliation in the U.S. Department of Labor, Division of Negro Economics. News of his appointment was listed under the heading of "Politics" in M. G. Allison's article "The Horizon" in The Crisis, June 1921, vol.22, issue 2, whole number 128, p.80 [available online at Google Book Search]. The Division of Negro Economics was established in 1918 to mobilize Negro workers and address their issues during WWI. The program came about after much pressure from Negro leaders. It was the first program to assist Negro workers and acted as an informal employment agency. George Haynes, of the Urban League, was named director and continued at the post until the program was discontinued in 1921, when Haynes left the office. Phil H. Brown replaced Haynes in 1921 with the new title of Commissioner of Conciliation. He was assigned the task of making a special study of Negro migration to the North and the cause of the migration. Brown delivered an address on his findings at the International Labor Conference in Toronto, Canada. Brown continued to serve as the Commissioner of Conciliation until his sudden death in November 1923. He died of a heart attack at his home, 1326 Riggs St. N.W in Washington, D.C. Funeral services were conducted at Brown's home by Rev. J. C. Olden and Rev. T. J. Brown. Phil H. Brown's body was sent to Hopkinsville, KY, for burial; he considered the city to be his home town. Brown was born in Ironton, OH, and he had previously lived in Washington, D. C. while working at the Government Printing Office (GPO). He then moved to Hopkinsville, KY, where he was a Republican leader. He was employed by the Republican National Committee during the presidential elections from 1908-1920. Brown was also an associate of W. C. Handy; he wrote a commentary that accompanied Handy's 1922 published sheet music "John Henry Blues." [Handy's first wife, Elizabeth, was a Kentucky native.] Phil H. Brown was also a recognized journalist and publisher in Kentucky; Brown had owned a printing company located at Tenth and Chestnut Streets in Hopkinsville. He was editor of the newspaper Major in 1902 and the Morning News in 1903. He also published the Saturday News. Brown had an association with the Chicago Daily News, The New York Journal, and the New York Sun. He also wrote articles for many other publications. In 1916, Brown's printing company published the book The Awakening of Hezekiah Jones by J. E. Bruce. Phil H. Brown was married to Dorothea "Dolly" R. Brown, b.1872 in Pennsylvania, and died in 1924. Prior to their second move to Washington, D.C., the couple had lived on North Liberty Street in Hopkinsville, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. For more see A History of Christian County Kentucky from Oxcart to Airplane by C. M. Meacham; Colored Girls and Boys Inspiring United States History and a Heart to Heart Talk About White Folks by W. H. Harrison, Jr.; "Phil H. Brown dies suddenly in Washington," The Afro American, 12/07/1923, p.1; and U.S. Department of Labor Historian, J. MacLaury, "The Federal Government and Negro Workers Under President Woodrow Wilson," paper delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Society for History in the Federal Government, 03/16/2000, Washington, D.C. [available online].
Subjects: Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Ironton, Ohio / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Brown, Robert L. "Tobe"
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1939
Robert L. Brown, was born in Shelbyville, KY. He was a cornet and piano player as well as a music teacher who specialized in dance music. He directed the Cunningham Band in Louisville, KY. Brown left Kentucky around 1890 and opened the Dance Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. He also provided orchestral music at social events and taught string and brass. His music was thought of as a guarantee for a good time at any event. Brown returned to Louisville in 1899. In 1907, his Louisville orchestra played at the Owensboro Chautauqua, thought to be the first Negro Chautauqua in the United States. For more see Out of Sight: the Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895, by L. Abbott and D. Seroff.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Brown, Russell S., Sr.
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1981
Russell S. Brown, Sr. was born in London, KY, the son of Bartlett and Alice Brown. The family moved to Kansas when Russell was a teen. A minister, between 1920 and 1925, he founded the First Community House for Soldiers in Memphis, Tennessee, the first in the south. He also served as chaplain at the Fulton County Jail and conducted services at the Atlanta Federal Prison. In 1929, he was elected to the City Council of Cleveland and appointed a trustee with the State Department by Gov. Cooper. Brown was the second African American to serve on the City Council of Cleveland. He left Cleveland in 1933 and moved to Denver, CO, and was the only African American to have his picture included in the Denver Daily Posts Hall of Fame. He was general secretary the AME Church and served as the financial officer for 28 years. Rev. Brown died in Chicago in 1981. He was the husband of Floy Smith and the couple had three children. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927 & 1933-37; see The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History [online], sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society; see Rev. Russell S. Brown in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright; and "Rev. Russell S. Brown, Sr., former A.M.E. secy., dies," Jet, 09/03/1981, p.25.
Subjects: Migration North, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: London, Laurel County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee / Fulton County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia / Cleveland, Ohio / Denver, Colorado

Brown, Thelma Waide
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1975
Brown was born in Ashland, KY. She toured as a concert and opera singer and was a music and voice instructor for more than 25 years in the Chicago Musical College at Roosevelt College [now Roosevelt University]. She was considered one of the most respected concert singers and teachers in the Chicago area and was sought out for private lessons. For more see African American Concert Singers Before 1950 by D. G. Nettles; and "Obituaries" in The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 4, issue 3 (Autumn, 1976), p. 344.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky

Brown, Viola Davis
Birth Year : 1936
Viola D. Brown was born in Lexington, KY. In 1955, she was the first African American admitted to a nursing school in Lexington. Brown attended the Nazareth School of Nursing, which was affiliated with St. Joseph Hospital, where Brown would be promoted to hospital supervisor in 1960. Her promotion was another first for African Americans in Lexington. In 1972, Brown and Lizzie Conner were the first two African American RNs to receive advanced practice as Nurse Practitioners in Lexington. In 1980, Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr. appointed Viola Brown to the position of Executive Director of the State Office of Public Health Nursing; she held the post for 19 years. Viola Brown was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Public Health Hall of Fame in 2004. For more see L. Blackford, "Her essay won a prize, but she couldn't go to ceremony," Lexington Herald Leader, 09/09/04, Main News section, p. A1; and V. D. Brown and J. Marfall, "Swinging bridges of opportunity and challenges: memoirs of an African American nurse practitioner pioneer on providing primary care for the underserved," Journal of Cultural Diversity, vol. 12, issue 3 (Fall 2005), pp. 107-15.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Nurses, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brown, William W.
Birth Year : 1814
Death Year : 1884
William Wells Brown was born in Lexington, KY. His mother, Elizabeth, was a slave; his father, George Higgins, was white. Since his mother was a slave, Brown too was a slave. He eventually escaped and made his way north, where he participated in abolitionist activities. He wrote a play, poems, songs, and books, including Clotel, the first novel published by an African American. Brown was also a historian and practiced medicine. For more see From Slave to Abolitionist by W. W. Brown and L. S. Warner; and Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave. Written by Himself [full-text at UNC University Library Documenting the American South].

See image of William Wells Brown from frontispiece of the title Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave, at Documenting the American South website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Freedom, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Browne, Birdius W.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1986
Birdius Browne was born in Warsaw, KY. He taught in the Mt. Olivet School and was principal of the Melbourne High and Vocational School in Florida. Brown won a government medal in Decatur, Illinois, for his athletic ability. He died in Paducah, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Warsaw, Gallatin County, Kentucky / Mt. Olivet, Robertson County, Kentucky / Florida / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Brown-Lewis, Charliese
Birth Year : 1974
Born in Versailles, Kentucky, Charliese Brown was the third African American to be selected as the Kentucky Derby Festival Queen, crowned in 1996. Derby Festival Queens have been selected every year since 1957; it is believed that the first two African American queens were selected in the 1980s. Becoming a derby queen begins with a nomination. Brown was a junior at Kentucky State University (KSU) when she was nominated by Betty Gibson, Vice President of Student Affairs at KSU. An application and photos were submitted, and Brown was selected as a princess. The Royal Court acted as ambassadors and represented the community at a variety of functions. In addition to being named the Derby Festival Queen in 1996, Charliese Brown was recognized as a member of the 1996 KSU Homecoming Court. She is the daughter of Charles E. Brown Jr. and Geraldine Collins Brown, and a sister to Chantel Brown Depp. For more information see the Kentucky Derby Festival web site and contact Charliese Brown.
Subjects: Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Brown, Marie Spratt 
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1943
Her name is given as Marie Spratt Brown on the cover of The K.N.E.A. Journal, 1936, vol. 6, issue 2, and there is a brief biography on p.2.  Her name is also given as "Maud" in various issues of the KNEA Journal. Brown was a Louisville, KY, schoolteacher who in 1898 became the first woman president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association. Her term ended in 1900. The next and last woman president, Lucy H. Smith, took office in 1945. Brown was a 1931 graduate of A & I State College [now Tennessee State University] and earned her master's degree at Fisk University. One of the earliest listings of her name is on p.178 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1888; Marie S. Brown lived at 2204 W. Madison Street. Marie Spratt Brown died in Evansville, IN and was buried in Louisville, KY. Whle in Evansville, she lived at 432 S. Evans Avenue [source: Bennett's Evansville (Vanderburgh County, IND.) City Directory, v.1943, p.90]. For more see The Kentucky Negro Education Association, 1877-1946, by H. C. Russell; and "Two honored and revered...," on p.24 of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.14, no.3.

 

  See cover of The K.N.E.A. Journal, 1936, vol. 6, issue 2.
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brownsville Affair [Texas] - 25th U.S. Regiment
Start Year : 1906
In 1906, the 25th U.S. Regiment [Colored] was stationed at Fort Brown, TX; it included 20 servicemen from Kentucky among its ranks. Soon after the men arrived at the fort, tension ensued between whites in Brownsville and the soldiers. On August 13, a bartender was killed and a police officer was wounded; the men of the 25th Regiment were blamed for both. President Theodore Roosevelt had 167 men dishonorably discharged from the service. In 1970, author John D. Weaver investigated the incident and found that the men of the 25th Regiment were all innocent; he published his investigation in The Brownsville Raid. As a result of Weaver's book, the U.S. Army conducted an investigation into the Brownsville incident and also found that the men were innocent. The Nixon Administration reversed President Roosevelt's 1906 order, and in 1972, the men of the 25th U.S. Regiment were given honorable discharges, but without backpay. In December 1972, an article was placed in the Lexington Leader seeking the descendants of the 20 men from Kentucky. Below are the names and birth location of 19 of the men.

  • Pvt Henry W. Arrin, Pembroke
  • Corp. Ray Burdett, Yosemite
  • Pvt. Strowder Darnell, Middletown
  • Musician Hoytt Robinson, Mt. Sterling
  • Pvt Samuel Wheeler, Clark County
  • Pvt Richard Crooks, Bourbon County
  • Pvt Edward Robinson, Mulborough
  • Pvt Benjamin F. Johnson, Fayette County
  • Pvt Charles Jones, Nicholasville
  • Musician Joseph Jones, Midway
  • Pvt Thomas Taylor, Clark County
  • Sgt Luther T. Thornton, Aberdeen OH
  • Corp Preston Washington, Lexington
  • Pvt Charles E. Rudy, Dixon
  • Pvt William VanHook, Odville
  • Pvt August Williams, Hartford
  • Pvt Stansberry Roberts, Woodford County
  • Pvt William Smith, Lexington
  • Pvt John Green, Mulborough
For more see Brownsville Affair on the Wikipedia website; Brownsville Raid of 1906, at The Handbook of Texas Online; and "Descendants of cleared Black soldiers sought," Lexington Leader, 12/05/1972, p. 2B.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Brownsville, Texas / Kentucky

Broyles, Moses
Birth Year : 1826
Death Year : 1882
Moses Broyles was a slave who was born in Maryland, according to the 1880 U.S. Census. His mother's name was Mary and his father's name was Moses. Moses Jr. was sold at the age of three or four to a slave owner named John Broyles in Kentucky, and he lived in McCracken County, and later worked in Paducah to purchase his freedom for $300. White children he played with had taught him to read, and Moses Broyles also had the gift to recite, sing, and give speeches. While still a slave, he began preaching in Paducah, and helped build the first Colored Baptist meeting house in Paducah. Moses Broyles would become a religion leader and an education leader among African Americans in Indianapolis, IN. Broyles purchased his freedom when he was an adult and left Kentucky, he moved to Lancaster, IN, in 1854. He was a prominent student at Eleutherian Institute in Lancaster, where many of the students were from Kentucky. In addition to his education, Broyles also learned furniture-making. Broyles would become a minister and led the Second Baptist Church in Indianapolis from 1857-1882. He also led in the establishing of several other churches in Indiana, and helped found the Indiana Baptist Association. He also taught school in Indianapolis, teaching at one of the first schools in the city for African Americans. He is author of the 1876 title The History of Second Baptist Church. The church prospered under Broyles leadership, and the congregation increased from 30 to 630. Broyles was a Republican and pushed for African Americans to align themselves with the Republican Party. Moses Broyles was the husband of Francis Broyles, and in 1880 the couple had seven children [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived on Blake Street in Indianapolis. For more see J. C. Carroll, "The Beginnings of public education for Negroes in Indiana," The Journal of Negro Education, vol.8, no.4, Oct. 1939, pp.649-658; Second Baptist Church Collection, 1912-1985 at the Indiana Historical Society[user info .pdf]; T. Sturgill, "Celebrating Black History Month: Three stories of survival," The Madison Courier, 02/16/2011 [article online at The Madison Courier.com]; and see Moses Broyles in the various entries in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis by D. J. Bodenhamer and R. G. Barrows.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Maryland / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Lancaster and Indianapolis, Indiana

Brucetown (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1865
Located on the northeast side of Lexington in what was a low field, the community of Brucetown was established by W. W. Bruce in 1865. The land was subdivided and provided for the homes of African Americans employed by Bruce; Brucetown was adjacent to Bruce's hemp factory. In 1878, a white mob killed three African American men in Brucetown; the murdered men were suspected of having knowledge of the murder of a white man killed two weeks prior. The three dead men were Tom Turner, who was shot, and Edward Claxton and John Davis, both of whom were hanged; a man named Stivers had been hanged earlier for the crime. In 2001, the ninth Brucetown Day celebration was held on Dakota Street in Lexington, sponsored by the Brucetown Neighborhood Association. For more information and maps 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; "Negro Urban Clusters in the Postbellum South," Geographical Review, vol. 61, issue 3 (July 1977), pp. 310-321; "Mob Violence in Kentucky," The New York Times, 01/18/1878, p. 1; and "Brucetown plans annual festival," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/08/2001, Bluegrass Communities section, p. 2.
Subjects: Communities, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Brucetown, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brumfield, Sophia M. "Sophie" Overstreet
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1933
Sophia M. Overstreet, from Camp Nelson, KY, was the last African American student employee at Berea College Library prior to the school becoming segregated in 1904. She would continue her education and graduate from Fisk University; Shopia boarded with the Pinkston family in Nashville, TN, while she was a student in 1910. Sophia was the daughter of William S. Overstreet and Jane Jackson Overstreet. In 1900 the family of nine lived in Lee, KY. Sophia's sisters, Mary and Cordelia, were school teachers. Sophia Overstreet died April 4, 1933, she was the wife of Rev. T. M. Brumfield, and the couple had resided in Nashville, TN [source: Tennessee, Deaths and Burials Index FHL Film No.1876799]. According to her death notice, she was born August 13, 1882. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and Black America Series: Berea and Madison County, by J. G. Burnside, p. 41.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Camp Nelson and Lee, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Brummell, William C., Sr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1969
Brummell, born in Salina, Kansas, was the first African American member of the Kentucky Parole Board in 1966. He was named to the board by Governor Breathitt for a four year term at $12,000 per year. Brummell, a social worker, had been director of the Louisville-Jefferson County Children's Home. For more see "Negro on Kentucky Board," New York Times, 07/12/1966, p.4.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Social Workers, Migration East, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Salina, Kansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bruner, Peter
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1938
Peter Bruner was born a slave in Winchester, KY. After several attempts at running away, he finally succeed in 1864 by enlisting in the Union Army at Camp Nelson, KY. For 2 1/2 years, he served in the 12th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery Regiment - Company G. Bruner next settled in Ohio, where he attended school and married. He was later employed at the Western Seminary near Oxford, Ohio, and also worked at Oxford College and Miami University. [Oxford and Western were merged into Miami University.] Peter Bruner is buried in the Woodside Cemetery in Oxford, Ohio. For more see A Slave's Adventures Toward Freedom; Not Fiction, but the True Story of a Struggle, by P. Bruner [full-text available at UNC University Library Documenting the American South website].

See several photo images of Peter Bruner at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Oxford, Ohio

Bryant, Carolyn
Birth Year : 1934
Carolyn Bryant, MSN, RN, was born in Lexington, KY, and grew up in Muskegon Heights, MI. She is a founding member of the the Detroit Black Nurses Association, June of 1972. The organization is a chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc. Beginning in 1957, when Carolyn Bryant received her nursing license, she worked as a nurse in various locations and has been a college nursing instructor. Bryant is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She served as Vice President for Nursing in the Reserve Officers Association, and was the Burn Educator for the U.S. Army Reserve Corps. For more see the Carolyn Bryant entry in The Color of Healing by B. F. Morton. For more about the Detroit Black Nurses Association, Inc. see the entry on p.62 in Maricopa County, AZ Sheriffs by Turner Publishing Company.
Subjects: Migration North, Military & Veterans, Nurses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Muskegon Heights, Michigan

Bryant, Charles W. "C.W."
Birth Year : 1830
Charles W. Bryant was born in Kentucky and settled in Texas after the Civil War. He had been a slave and was an agent for the Freemen's Bureau in Texas. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, 1868-1869, representing Harrison County, Texas. He was also a minister. For more see Forever Free: The Biographies, a website by the Texas State Library & Archives Commission; and "Bryant, Charles W," by P. M. Lucko in The Handbook of Texas.
Subjects: Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Texas

Bryant, Clarence W.
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1899
Bryant, born in Covington, KY, was a famous winning jockey who had ridden for the well-known turfman, Byron McClelland (1855-1897), from Lexington, KY. Bryant died of heart disease at 92 Race Street in Lexington, KY, on April 21, 1899, according to his death certificate. The family entry in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census indicates he was the son of William and Mary Bryant. For more see "One Famous Jockey Dead," The Marble Rock Weekly, 04/27/1899, p. 2. A picture of McClelland and his African American employees is available at the Bloodhorse.com website. For more see the Byron McClelland entry, History of Kentucky, by Kerr, Connelley, and Coulter, p. 375 [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bryant, Derek R.
Birth Year : 1951
Derek Bryant was born in Lexington, KY. He was the first African American baseball player at the University of Kentucky, where he played from 1971-1973. Bryant was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 8th round of the 1973 amateur draft. The 5'11" outfielder ended his career in 1979. For more see Fifty years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999; and Derek Bryant at baseball-reference.com. Additional information provided by Buzz Burnam.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bryant, Isabella
Birth Year : 1890
In 1917, United States District Court Judge John Raymond Hazel ruled that Isabella Bryant was a U.S. citizen because her father, a former slave from Kentucky, had become a U.S. citizen when slaves were emancipated in Kentucky. At the time, Isabella Bryant was living on Caledonia Avenue in Rochester, New York. Her case was represented by lawyer Edwin C. Smith, who had asked the courts to grant Bryant the writ of habeas corpus. Isabella Bryant knew that her father was born in Kentucky around 1854. His name was Henry Bryant, he was a Methodist, and was born in the United States [source: Canada Census, 1901]. He was the husband of Ellen Bryant and the family of seven lived in Hamilton, where Isabella was born around 1890. Her father was never naturalized as a Canadian citizen; therefore, the courts determined that he was an American citizen and so was his daughter; therefore, Isabella Bryant could not be deported from the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor had described Isabella Bryant as an unwed mother of two children; supposedly, the first child was born in Canada and the second in the United States. Isabella Bryant had visited her sister, Mrs. Matilda Taylor, in July of 1915. Her sister lived at 11 Egerton Street in Rochester, NY [source: Immigration Card 446-E ; 07/25/15]. Isabella Bryant's immigration card describes her as an African(Blk) woman standing 5 feet 8 inches tall. Also on the card is her mother's name and address: Ellen Johnson, 101 Carolina Street, North Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is not known how long Isabella Bryant stayed in the U.S. before returning to Canada, but in August of 1915 she immigrated to the U.S. She arrived at the port of Buffalo, NY, according to the List Or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission, Sheet No. 14, a U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service form. Isabella Bryant is listed as African (Blk), and her Canadian address is the same as her mother's address in North Hamilton. She entered the U.S. and lived in Rochester, NY, for two years, then the U.S. Department of Labor ordered her deported because she was said to be an undesirable alien who would probably become a public charge. Bryant refused to leave and hired lawyer Edwin C. Smith. The case was another example of the citizenship question concerning former slaves. Also, the Immigration Act of 1917 [info] had passed in February of 1917 to further ban undesirables from entering and/or remaining in the United States. In Isabella Bryant's case, having a child out of wedlock had made her an undesirable alien, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This was the time period during World War I, just prior to the United States sending American troops into battle. The ruling by Judge John R. Hazel allowed Isabella Bryant to remain in the United States. She was still living in Rochester, NY, in 1920 and is included in the U.S. Census, where she is listed as white and single; she was employed as a domestic. There are no children listed with Isabella Bryant on the immigration forms or in the 1920 Census. For more see "Slave's daughter is an American," The Post Express, 04/12/1917, p. 33.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Hamilton, Ontario, Canada / Rochester, New York

Bryant, Roscoe C., Jr.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2005
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Bryant was the son of Dr. Roscoe C. Bryant, Sr. and Curlie Marshall Bryant. Bryant, Jr. had been on the staff of the Red Cross Hospital in Louisville, KY, for one year when, in 1948, he and two other doctors applied for membership to the segregated Jefferson County Medical Society. Bryant and his colleagues were accepted. Bryant would also become the first African American physician on the Louisville/Jefferson County Board of Health. He was a graduate of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College. Bryant practiced medicine for almost 50 years in Louisville before his retirement in 1994. He was the father of Louisville Council Member Cheri Bryant Hamilton. For more see P. Burba, "Physician Roscoe Bryant Jr., 83 dies," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 07/13/2005, p. 06B.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration East, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Fort Worth, Texas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bryant-Johnson, Donna
Donna Bryant-Johnson was principal at Booker T. Washington School, the first public Montessori school in Lexington, KY. With Bryant-Johnson at the helm, student performance increased by 40% on the national standardized tests. She was awarded a Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award in 1994. In 1998, Bryant-Johnson quit her job as principal after pleading guilty to physically abusing her 8 year old daughter. For more see Donna Bryant-Johnson at the Milken Family Foundation website; and "Suspended Principal in Abuse Case Quits," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/10/1998, City and Region section, p. C1.
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Buchanan, Walter S.
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1939
Walter S. Buchanan was hired as president of Kentucky State University (K-State) in 1912, but he never arrived at the school; therefore, Green P. Russell was hired in his place. W. S. Buchanan was born in Troy, AL, the son of Frederick and Harriet Buchanan (Artis) [sources: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. When hired by K-State, W. S. Buchanan was serving as the second president of Alabama A & M College (now Alabama A & M University), his tenure was 1909-1921. The first president of Alabama A & M was William H. Councill, who served from 1890 until his death in 1909. His son-in-law was Walter S. Buchanan, who was married to Councill's daughter, Ida. The couple is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census as living on the Alabama A & M campus along with several family members. In 1912, though Buchanan had applied to be president of K- State and he had accepted the position, it was much too difficult for him to leave Alabama A & M. One of the reasons being the continued fight for funding for Alabama A & M to continue to exist as a college. One funding battle being the fight for the school to receive Smith-Lever funding [see online United States v. State of Alabama]. "When Buchanan became president he inherited a campus with twenty-two buildings including classrooms, dormitories, and shops. Buchanan also inherited a deficit in the school's budget. The state budget was $4,000 with a federal sum of $11,000. The two budgets totaled $15,000, about $5,000 short of the college's needs for annual expenses." - - [source: p.13 of the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, NPS Form 10-900 (Rev. 10-90), Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Historic District, 11/20/2001 (online .pdf)]. In 1919, Alabama A & M was downgraded to a junior college, and in 1921, Buchanan resigned. W. S. Buchanan was a 1907 graduate of Harvard College where he earned a B.A.S, and he received an honorary degree from Selma University in 1911 [source: "Life directors, life and active members, Alabama" N. E. A. Bulletin, September 1917, vol.6, no.1, p.101]. There is no record of Walter S. Buchanan resigning from Kentucky State University in 1912, and he was never affiliated with the school after 1912. Contact Alabama A & M University Library for additional information on the tenure of Walter S. Buchanan.
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Troy and Normal, Alabama / Kentucky

Buck, Vincent Lamont "Vince"
Birth Year : 1968
Vince Buck was born in Owensboro, KY, where he was an outstanding football player. He attended Central State University, where he was an NAIA All American and Defensive Player of the Year. In 1988, Buck, at 6'2", 185 pounds, led the nation in punt return average (34 punt returns, 21.5 yards per attempt) and interceptions (10, one for a touchdown). He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the second round of the 1990 NFL draft. Buck played his entire professional football career with the Saints as a cornerback and safety from 1990-1995. The Saints had their first winning season in 1991 and they were in the playoffs 1990-1992. Buck broke his ankle during the 1995 season and was released in 1996. During his career, he had started in 64 of 84 games, had 354 tackles, and 10 interceptions. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-1999; S. Vied, "Buck lavished with praise for exploits at Central State," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 11/24/1988, p. 1B; Vince Buck at databaseFootball.com; and J. DeShazier, "Buck surprised to hear of release from Saints," Times-Picayune, 05/26/1996, Sports section, p. D1.
Subjects: Football
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / New Orleans, Louisiana

Buckner, George Washington
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1943
George W. Buckner was born a slave in Green County, KY; after being freed, he went on to become a physician. Buckner taught school in Kentucky and Indiana for 17 years before moving to Monrovia, Liberia, where he was the U.S. Minister to Liberia from 1913 to 1915. He was the first African American diplomat appointed to a foreign country. For more see The Political GraveyardWho's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and Who Was Who in America: A component volume of Who's Who in American History, vol. 4, 1961-1968. See also The Diplomat and the Librarian in Little Known Black Librarian Facts (blog).

See photo image of G. W. Buckner at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Green County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, Africa

Buckner, Gregory Derayle "Greg"
Birth Year : 1976
Greg Buckner, born in Hopkinsville, KY, is an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets. He was formerly a star basketball player in high school and college. Buckner is a graduate of North University Heights Academy in Hopkinsville, KY. Buckner, a 6'4" shooting guard and small forward, was a member of the 1992 state basketball championship team; it was the school's first, and to date, only state championship. His final year of high school in 1994, Buckner was selected First Team All-State, and averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game [source: J. Pickens, "North University Heights set for compelling game," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 03/23/1994, p.1B]. Buckner went on to play basketball at Clemson University where he did not miss a single game during his basketball career. "Buckner was the first player in Clemson history to start on four postseason tournament teams...he started 122 consecutive games between 1994 and 1998," according to the online Clemson Orange and White article titled "Former Tiger, NBA star Greg Buckner earns Clemson degree." All four years, Buckner also led the team in scoring and is ranked as the fourth all time leading scorer at Clemson with 1,754 points. He was ACC Rookie of the Year 1994-95, two times an All-ACC player, and helped take his team to the Sweet 16 during the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Greg Buckner was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005. He was a second round pick by the Dallas Mavericks in the 1998 NBA Draft. Buckner played one year of Continental Basketball before joining the Mavericks for three seasons. He would play for several other teams before ending his professional basketball playing career with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009. As of August of 2012, Greg Buckner is a graduate of Clemson University. For more see Greg Buckner at Basketball-Reference.com; and Greg Buckner at NBA.com. 
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Buckner, Jim
Birth Year : 1893
Death Year : 1911
Jim Buckner was the first prisoner to be electrocuted in Kentucky. Convicted of a murder in Marion County, KY, he was put to death on July 8, 1911. For more see P. T. Ryan, Legal Lynching: the plight of Sam Jennings, p. 172.
Subjects: Executions
Geographic Region: Marion County, Kentucky

Buckner, Nathaniel "Nat"
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1932
Nat Buckner was born in Elizabethtown, KY, around 1858 on the plantation of Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner (Kentucky Democratic Governor, 1887-1892). Nat Buckner was a well-respected citizen of Montpelier, Indiana, where he had lived for 25-30 years. Buckner had left Kentucky after his wife died, around 1890; they had no children. Nat was a restaurant cook in Indianapolis and in Montpelier, which is how he became so well-known and respected in both cities. For more on Nat Buckner and his family see "Nat Buckner died Tuesday," The Montpelier Herald, 06/02/1932, p. 1. For more on Simon Bolivar Buckner, see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Indianapolis and Montpelier, Indiana

Buffalo Soldiers reburied in New Mexico [Thomas Smith and David Ford]
Start Year : 2009
Thomas Smith and David Ford were two of the three lost Buffalo Soldiers whose remains were reburied in the Santa Fe National Cemetery in New Mexico, July 2009; their remains had been left behind by the Army more than one hundred thirty years ago. Smith died in 1866, he was from New Market, KY. Ford died in 1868, he was from Taylor County, KY. The third soldier was Levi Morris from Akron, OH, he died in 1877. The soldiers had served in the remote outposts on the Western frontier. Their bodies were found during a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation investigation of cemetery looting at Fort Craig in southern New Mexico. For more see M. Dabovich, "Military welcomes home long-lost Buffalo Soldiers," Lewiston Morning Tribune, 07/19/2009, p.A2.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: New Market, Marion County, Kentucky / Taylor County, Kentucky

Bullitt County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Bullitt County is located in the western Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, and is bordered by four other counties. Shepherdsville is the county seat, named for Adam Shepherd, an engineer and Revolutionary War veteran. Shepherdsville was founded in 1793, three years before the county was established. Bullitt County was formed from parts of Jefferson and Nelson Counties, and was named after Alexander Scott Bullitt, the state's first Lieutenant Governor. The total population in 1800 was 3,542, according to the Second Census of Kentucky: 2,564 whites, 969 slaves, 9 free colored. In 1830, there were two African American slave owners in the town of Mount Washington. The 1860 population was 5,631, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. Below are the figures for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 252 slave owners
  • 1,186 Black slaves
  • 169 Mulatto slaves
  • 23 free Blacks
  • 4 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 294 slave owners
  • 1,067 Black slaves
  • 391 Mulatto slaves
  • 13 free Blacks
  • 3 free Mulattoes [women]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 984 Blacks
  • 189 Mulattoes
  • About 16 U.S. Colored Troops listed Bullitt County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Bullitt County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; Bullitt County, Kentucky by Turner Pub. Co.; and Rogers Family African American Graveyard (Fox Chase) a Bullitt County History Museum website.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Bullitt County, Kentucky

Bumpus, Earl
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 1985
Earl Bumpus was born in Uniontown, KY. He was a left-hand pitcher for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1944, switching mid-season to the Birmingham Black Barons, with whom his career ended in 1948. Bumpus played his entire baseball career in the Negro Leagues. For more see H. J. Rothgerber, Jr., "Home-grown Kentuckians in the Negro Leagues: what role did 'black baseball' play in the region's diamond history?" in A Celebration of Louisville baseball in the major and minor leagues, SABR 27, Society for American Baseball Research, Souvenir Edition; and see Earl Bumpus at Baseball-Reference.com.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Uniontown, Union County, Kentucky

Burdett, Samuel "Sam" and Carol
Samuel (b. 1849) and his wife Carol (b. 1848) were both Kentucky natives, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. They married in 1872, then left Kentucky and settled in Seattle, WA. Samuel, a Civil War veteran, made his living as a veterinarian surgeon. In 1900, he was elected the King County wreckmaster. He co-founded the Cornerstone Grand Lodge of the York Masons, and helped organize the International Council of the World, an anti-lynching organization. He was author of A Test of Lynch Law, a 100-page book published in 1901 that fictionalized the lynching of Henry Smith in Paris, Texas. Sam Burdett died June 28, 1905 in Kilckitat, WA [source: Register of Deaths in Klickitat County, Washington]. For more see Samuel Burnett at the BlackPast.org website; Seattle's Black Victorians, 1852-1901, by E. H. Mumford; and A Spectacular Secret, by J. D. Goldsby.
Subjects: Authors, Lynchings, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Seattle, Washington

Burdette, Gabriel
Birth Year : 1829
Death Year : 1914
Gabriel Burdette was born a slave in Garrard County, KY. In the 1850s, he was a preacher at the Forks Dix River Church in Garrard County. In 1864 he enlisted in the 114th U.S. Colored Infantry at Camp Nelson, KY, and assisted in establishing the refugee camp at Camp Nelson. He was an associate of John G. Fee. Burdette returned to Camp Nelson after the Civil War to become a member of the group that established Ariel Academy. He was the first African American on the Berea College Board of Trustees. In 1877, Burdette left Kentucky for Kansas, a member of the Exoduster Movement to the West. For more see the Gabriel Burdette entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Garrard County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Kansas

Burdette, John
Birth Year : 1896
At the age of 25, John Burdette left his hometown, Lexington, KY, seeking employment and the opportunity to further his singing career in Chicago. [He was actually born in Garrard County, KY, according to his WWII Draft Registration Card.] Burdette was one of several lodgers living on South Parkway, including Ernest Covington, who was also from Kentucky, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. Burdette sang part-time, and both he and Covington were employed full-time as elevator operators; Covington at an official building and Burdette in a furniture store on Wabash Avenue. Burdette's big break came in 1930 when he won a local contest at the Oriental Theater, singing the song "Old Man River." Burdette was declared the best baritone among the competitors. He would next sing at the Chicagoland Music Festival at Soldiers' Field and was invited back to perform for the next three years. Burdette was also a jubilee singer and in 1934 won the audience over with his rendition of "Old Man River." Burdette was still singing professionally in the 1950s; he was a member of the first integrated chorus in Grant Park Concert's Cole Porter High Program, held in Chicago, August 18-19, 1951. The guest star, Etta Moten, an African American soprano from Weimar, TX, was one of the four featured performers who were accompanied by the chorus that included African American members John Burdette and Albert Yarborough. Burdette's entire singing career took place in Chicago. For more see "Former Lexington Negro wins singing contest at Chicago," Lexington Leader, 08/17/1930, p. 16; J. B. Lieberman, "Mundy-led jubilee singers delight audience," Daily Illini, 01/16/1934, pp. 1 & 5 [online at Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection website]; and "Moten, Etta: soprano" in 1952 Negro Year Book, ed. by J. P. Guzman, p. 56.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Garrard County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Burks, Ishmon, F. Jr.
Birth Year : 1945
Ishmon Burks, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY. He was the first African American Kentucky State Police Commissioner, appointed by Governor Paul Patton in 2000. Burks was promoted to Justice Cabinet Secretary in 2002. In 2011, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer named Ishmon Burks, Jr. interim chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department. Burks is a former executive vice president and COO of Spalding University. He is a graduate of Lincoln University of Missouri, Indiana University, and City College of New York. He is a retired colonel from the U.S. Army. Ishmon Burks, Jr. is the son of Ishmon Sr. and Juanita Burks. For more see "Retired Army officer first Black KSP chief," The Kentucky Post, 08/23/2000, News section, p.1K; D. Stephenson, "Burks becomes state police head," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/01/2000, City & Region section, p. B1; and "Mayor selects Ishmon Burks as Louisville's interim police chief [Opinion: The Arena]" by T. McAdam, online at Louisville.com.


 Access InterviewListen to the Ishmon Burks oral history interviews, by Mike Jones, 10/07/2002,  at the Kentucky Historical Society website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burks, Juanita P.
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2014
Juanita P. Farley Burks was the daughter of Donna and Allen Farley of Crittenden County, KY. Ms. Burks was head of J. P. Burks Construction, Inc., a Louisville, KY, glass company she started in 1980. She was one of the leading African American women entrepreneurs in Kentucky, having served on President Carter's board of energy and, in the 1970s, was nominated by Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll to go to Washington, D.C. to help develop a federal energy policy. Burks attended Kentucky State College in the early 1940s and took business courses at the University of Louisville. In 1974, she borrowed money (for the first and last time) through a $6,000 home loan to start her first company, City Plaza, a personnel recruitment service. Burks' glass company was formed in 1980; she won a contract to install glass in the downtown Louisville Galleria, where her company put the floors down and installed $4.5 million worth of glass. Burks had worked as a maid and elevator operator in that same building when she first came to Louisville in 1942, earning $17 per week. In 1983, Burks was named Woman of Achievement, and, in 1996, Kentucky Entrepreneur of the Year. Juanita P. Burks was the mother of Ishmon Burks, Jr. Juanita P. Burks died August 3, 2014 [source: S. S. Shafer, "Business pioneer Juanita Burks dies," Courier-Journal, 08/05/2014, p.A.8]. For more see M. Green, "83-year-old loves business," Courier-Journal, 10/01/2003; and C. Carlton, "Faith & fashion," Courier-Journal, 04/16/2006, Arts section, p.1I.
Subjects: Businesses, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Mothers, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Crittenden County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burks, Kathryn L. Wright
Birth Year : 1937
Death Year : 1990
Kathryn Burks was the first African American student teacher in Franklin, IN (1958) and the first to teach high school in that city (1966). She was a graduate of Franklin College and Indiana University and taught school for more than 30 years in Indiana, first in Gary, and later in Franklin. She was a member of the Franklin College Board of Trustees. The Kathryn Burks Endowed Scholarship was established at the school. Burks was born in Springfield, KY, the daughter of Naomi M. Summers Wright and William H. Wright. For more see the Kathryn L. Wright Burks entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and the Kathryn Burks Endowed Scholarship website at Franklin College.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Franklin, Indiana

Burleigh, Angus A.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1939
Angus A. Burleigh was the first adult African American to attend and graduate from Berea College in Berea, KY. Burleigh had been born free, the son of an English sea captain and an African American woman, but after his father's death the family was sold into slavery, first in Virginia, then in Kentucky. Burleigh ran away and joined the Union Army when he was 16 years old. In 1866, he had finished his stint with the Army and enrolled at Berea with the encouragement and support of John G. Fee. After his graduation in 1875, Burleigh immediately left Kentucky and headed north, where he would spend the rest of his life preaching and teaching. For more see "Hasan Davis and the story of A.A. Burleigh," Kentucky Life, Program 807. Hasan Davis gives a phenomenal live performance of A. A. Burleigh's life in The Long Climb to Freedom. You have got to see it! Program 807 is available at the UK Young Library Audio Visual Services.

See photo image of Angus Burleigh at the Long Climb to Freedom website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Virginia / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Burley, Daniel G.
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1962
Daniel Burley was born in Lexington, KY, and later moved to Chicago. He was a musician and journalist who is still remembered for his column "Everybody Goes When the Wagon Comes." Burley was editor of several newspapers, including the South Side Civic Telegram in 1932. For a while he was employed by the Johnson Publishing Company and in 1960 produced the magazine Salaam, which was similar to Jet. Burley was also a boogie woogie and jazz pianist. In 1946 he had a group called Dan Burley and the Skiffle Boys. He also played with other greats such as Brownie McGhee and Lionel Hampton. Burley can be heard playing piano on the album South Side Shake, 1945-1951. In addition to being a musician, Burley was also a disc jockey at stations WWRL and WLIB. He was also a composer and authored Dan Burley's Original Handbook of Harlem Jive (published in 1945). For more see Dictionary of Literary Biography, vol. 241: American Sportswriters and Writers on Sport, ed. by R. Orodenker; and Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Listen to clips of Dan Burley's performances, MP3 Downloads for sale at Amazon.com.

Access Interview
Subjects: Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Burley, James M.
Birth Year : 1854
James M. Burley was probably one of the first African American jewelers in Georgetown, Louisville, and Paris, KY. His business opened in 1872 in Georgetown. Burley was listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as an unmarried watchmaker; he did marry at some point after 1880. Burley moved his business to Louisville in 1885, then to Paris, KY, sometime after 1897. He is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as divorced and living on 8th Street in Paris, KY. His specialty was gold and silver plating. Burley's work was exhibited at the New Orleans World's Exposition in 1884 [source: Scott County Kentucky: a history edited by L. Apple, F. A. Johnston, and B. Bevins, p. 220]. James M. Burley was born in Frankfort, KY. He was an 1890 valedictorian graduate of the Normal Class at State University [later Simmons College]. For more see the "James M. Burley" entry in Weeden's History of The Colored People of Louisville, by H. C. Weeden.
Subjects: Businesses, Jewelers, Watchmakers
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Burnam, Cedric C.
Birth Year : 1955
Cedric Burnam was born in Bowling Green, KY. In 2003 he became the first African American elected to the Warren County Fiscal Court; he was the District 2 Magistrate. Burnam is owner of Burnam and Sons Mortuary in Bowling Green. For more see Amy Bingham, "Warren County Officials Sworn In," Channel 13 WBKO, Bowling Green, KY; and J. Gaines, "New county magistrates tour offices," Daily News (Bowling Green) newspaper, 12/18/2002, News section.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Burnette, Atlas Crawford
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1960
A. C. Burnette, born in North Carolina, was the first African American employed by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service, where he began work in 1919 and retired in 1944. He was in charge of Negro extension work in Kentucky. Burnette was a 1903 graduate of North Carolina A&M College [now North Carolina State University] and taught at the school for a few years after his graduation. Burnette had several other jobs before he arrived in Kentucky just prior to the building of Lincoln Institute. He helped clear the fields for the construction of the school, and once the school was in operation, he taught agriculture for six years. He left the state for a brief period, then returned to head the Kentucky State College Agricultural Department [now Kentucky State University] for three and a half years before becoming an agent with the UK Agricultural Extension Service in 1919. He was hired by Dean Thomas P. Cooper. Burnette had an assistant in Madison County. Among his many responsibilities, Burnette assisted with the development of 4-H for Negro youth, which grew to have more than 5,000 members. He organized the Negro Club in Madison County, KY. Also during his tenure, the number of meat cattle owned by Negro farmers more than tripled and food crop production doubled. After his retirement, Burnette was replaced by John Finch. In 1947, A. C. Burnette Day was held in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1952, there were three African American agricultural agents and six home demonstration agents, all serving 32 counties. In those counties with few Negro farmers, all farmers were served by the white county agent. According to A. C. Burnette's WWI Draft Registration Card submitted to the Local Board of Franklin County, KY, and dated September 12, 1918, he was born February 28, 1885 and was the husband of Florence Bradley Burnette. A. C. Burnette died October 7, 1960 and is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY. For more see J. T. Vaughn, "Farm agent fears work cut life span from 100 to 80," Lexington Leader, 06/16/1952, p. 8. See also The College of Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Kentucky, by J. A. Smith; and the Thomas Poe Cooper Papers at the University of Kentucky's Special Collections Library.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Produce, Education and Educators, Migration West
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Burns, Tommie, Jr.
Birth Year : 1933
Tommie Burns, Jr. came to Louisville, KY, from Mississippi when he was 18 years old, taking a job as a molder at the American Standard plant. While still holding his day job, Burns began cleaning Bacon's department store at night, soon hiring a crew and cleaning all of the Bacon's stores in Shively (a west-end Louisville suburb). Burns eventually quit his day job, incorporating Burns Janitor Service in 1975. He continued to develop other businesses and by 1992, Burns Enterprises had revenues of $17 million. The company consisted of almost 500 employees in six businesses: janitor service, roller rink, chemical and supply, food marts, rigging, and packing, with operations in Kentucky, Maine, New York, Georgia, and Tennessee. In 1992, Burns was the 69-year-old chairman of T&WA Inc., a company that mounts tires and wheels for automakers. The company, then 7 years old, had about $500 million in revenues. In 2001, T&WA Inc. was selected as the Minority Business of the Year at the Greater Louisville Inc.'s Annual Dinner. Tommie Burns, Jr. is the son of Tommie, Sr. and Rosetta Burns [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see T. R. Hill, "Sensible Chance Paid Off," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/03/1994, Business section, p.3; R. Redding, "Entrepreneur 'Burns' up latest automotive niche. 'Janitor' lands $50 million assembly job at Toyota," bizjournals.com (from 06/20/1997 print edition); and Y. Markstaff, "Wheeling Dealing," Courier-Journal, 09/16/2002, Business section, p. 01C.
Subjects: Businesses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burnside, Carl Meredith
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1967
Professor C. M. Burnside, born in Bryantville, KY, was an educator and active member of the AME Church. He attended Wayman Institute, Lincoln Institute, and graduated from Kentucky State University in 1933. He was a high school teacher and principal in Lancaster and Monticello, KY, and established a standard four-year high school and led in the construction of a new school building. Burnside served on various committees within the KNEA, and is listed as a member of the organization in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, 1936-1939 [Lancaster], 1940 [Monticello]. He was also president for 15 years of the United Brothers and Sisters of Benevolence, was senior warden within the Masons, and was a member of the United Brothers of Friendship. He was a delegate to the AME General Conference 1940 and 1944. He was the son of Mahalia and Lee Burnside. For more see Prof. C. M. Burnside in in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Bryantville, Garrard County, Kentucky / Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky / Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky

Burnt Cork in Kentucky Derby, 1943
Start Year : 1943
Burnt Cork was a thoroughbred racehorse owned by Edmund Lincoln Anderson (1905-1977), aka "Rochester," the Negro comedian and former vaudeville performer who teamed with Jack Benny on radio in The Jack Benny Program and in the television series, The Jack Benny Show. Several newspapers around the country accused Anderson of entering Burnt Cork in the 1943 Kentucky Derby as a publicity stunt, and prior to the race, Anderson was advised not to enter his horse; its odds were 25-1. Anderson would not be swayed, however; he attempted to hire jockey Carroll Bierman, who had won the 1940 Kentucky Derby with longshot Gallahadion. Anderson, his wife, and his valet stayed at the home of Kentucky House Member Mae Street Kidd in Louisville; the hotels in Louisville were segregated. Mae Street Kidd did not care much for Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, but got along well with his wife. Kidd was invited to join the Andersons in their box during the derby. Burnt Cork came in last place. He had come out of the gates fast, but quickly ran out of steam and came in 10th, 38 lengths behind the winner, Count Fleet, owned by Mrs. John D. Hertz. Burnt Cork was ridden by jockey Manual Gonzalez and was trained by A. E. Silver. Edmund Anderson was disappointed in his horse's performance, but the loss became part of the comedy routine with Jack Benny ribbing "Rochester" on air during The Jack Benny Program. The newspapers and other comedians also poked fun at Anderson. During 1943, there were more than 200 newspaper stories in the United States and Canada about Burnt Cork's loss in the Kentucky Derby. Anderson continued to race Burnt Cork until the horse died in July of 1944. For more see Kentucky Derby Stories, by J. Bolus; "Rochester entry in Kentucky Derby has good chance," Corsicana Daily Sun, 04/12/1943, p. 5; "Burnt Cork is long shot," Racine Journal-Times, 04/16/1943, p. 19; "Entry of Burt Cork would end doubts of last place in derby," Salt Lake Tribune, 04/29/1943, p. 19; "Burnt Cork runs in Crete Handicap," New Castle News, 05/22/1943; and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in Passing for Black, by W. Hall.

*The term "burnt cork" refers to theatrical makeup that was first used by white blackface performers in minstrel shows, beginning in the early 1800s. The actors presented themselves as comical and stereotyped characterizations of African Americans. There were also African American minstrel performers who wore burnt cork, including one of the most famous and highest paid blackface performers, Bert Williams. Originally the makeup consisted of burnt cork that was pulverized then mixed with water, petroleum jelly, or some other substance and smeared on the uncovered areas of skin such as the face, neck, and hands. With the popularity of blackface performances in the U.S. and abroad, soon burnt cork was commercially manufactured, advertised, and sold to performers by mail. A popular item was The "Crest Brand" Burnt Cork, billed as a healthier alternative to the original mix. It was sold by the Crest Trading Company in New York for 50 cents, plus 7 cents for postage. Other burnt cork alternatives were grease paint and shoe polish. Today, there are blackface performers around the world. For more see The Witmark's Amateur Minstrel Guide and Burnt Cork Encyclopedia, by F. Dumont [available at Google Book Search]; and Behind the Burnt Cork Mask, by W. J. Mahar.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burroughs, Nannie H.
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1961
Nannie Burroughs moved to Louisville, KY, in 1900 to become secretary and bookkeeper of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention. That same year she founded the National Baptist Women's Convention. Burroughs was an activist for African American women's rights. When the National Training School for Women opened in 1909 in Washington, D.C., she became director and held the post for the rest of her life. Burroughs brought the cause for improvements in industrial conditions for African American women to the forefront of the National Association of Colored Women. She helped found the National Association of Wage Earners. For more see Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators, by F. Ohles, et al.; and African American Women: a biographical dictionary, by D. S. Salem.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Burroughs, Olive
Birth Year : 1951
Death Year : 2003
Olive Burroughs was the first African American woman elected to the Owensboro, KY, City Commission, first elected in 1995 and continuously re-elected until 2002. She was instrumental in developing the Neighborhood Alliance and the Owensboro Youth Council. She served on the Kentucky Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, the National League of Cities Human Development Committee, and the Coalition Drug Task Force of U. S. Representative Lewis Heartland. The Heritage Award was presented to Burroughs posthumously by the Owensboro Board of Realtors in 2004, its highest community honor. Burroughs received many additional awards, including the NAACP Herman E. Floyd Award. For more see "Burroughs wins Heritage Award posthumously," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 05/12/04.

Access Interview Read about the Olive Burroughs oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Burse, Luther, Sr.
Birth Year : 1937
Burse was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Ernestine Merriweather Perry and the stepson of Monroe Perry. He is a 1958 graduate of Kentucky State University (BS), a 1960 graduate of the University of Indiana (MEd), and a 1969 graduate of the University of Maryland (EdD). Burse has taught in public schools and at the university level and was acting president of Cheyney State College, 1981-1982 [now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania]; president of Fort Valley State College, 1983-1989 [now Fort Valley State University]; Director of Civil Rights with the U.S. Forest Service; president of the Kentucky State University National Alumni Association; and Director of Urban Programs and Diversity for the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges. Burse has received a number of awards, including the Kentucky State University Leadership Award, and he is listed among the Outstanding Educators of America. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1977-2006; and K. F. Kazi, "The Forest Service is growing diversity," Black Collegian, vol. 24, issue 2 (Nov/Dec 1993), p. 72.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Fish & Wildlife, Forestry
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Burse, Raymond M.
Birth Year : 1951
Raymond Malcolm Burse was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the youngest of the twelve children of Joe and Lena Belle Burse. He was captain of his high school track and football teams and declined football scholarships to attend Centre College, where he majored in chemistry and math, graduating in 1973. While at Centre, Burse was named most outstanding individual in track at two invitational meets and was named to the All-College Athletic Conference Football Team in 1972. He also earned a Rhodes Scholarship and attended the University of Oxford, majoring in organic chemistry and graduating in 1975. While at Oxford, he became the first African American to earn three "Blues," one in rugby; Burse also participated in basketball, track, and crew. He returned to the U.S. to attend Harvard Law School, graduating in 1978. Burse has had many recognitions and awards. He served as president of Kentucky State University, 1982-1989. He was vice president and general counsel at GE Consumer and Industrial. In 2014, Raymond M. Burse returned to Kentucky State University to serve as interim president. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; and M. Starks, "Raymond & Kim Burse," Who's Who in Black Louisville, 3rd ed. p.73. See also the Office of the President Records, a Kentucky Digital Library webpage.

 

 

  See photo image and additional information about Raymond Malcolm Burse at Lexington Herald-Leader webpage: M. Davis, "KSU interim head gives chunk of salary to help workers - $90,000 will go to raising minimum wage," 08/02/2014, p.A7.

 

 
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Football, Lawyers, Track & Field, Rugby
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Burton, Evans, Jr. [W. E. "Buddy" Burton]
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1976
Burton was born in Louisville, KY. He was a vocalist who also played a number of music instruments, including the piano and the drums. In the early 1920s, Burton moved to Chicago, where he played and recorded with Jelly Roll Morton. He also made his own recordings as a soloist in 1928, a few recordings as a band member, and duets with Kentucky native Jimmy Blythe and others. Burton disappeared from the music scene in 1936 and returned to Louisville in 1965. For more see Buddy Burton in Classic Jazz, by S. Yanow; and W. E. "Buddy" Burton at redhotjazz.com. View images and listen to W. E. "Buddy" Burton singing "No One But You" on YouTube.

Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Burton, James A.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1991
James Burton was the first African American elected to the Perryville, KY, City Council, in 1969. For more see "36 city officials include mayor, police court judge," in Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1972] by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 15.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign)
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Burton, Rahn
Birth Year : 1934
Death Year : 2013
Rahn Burton, born in Louisville, KY, was a pianist who learned to play at the age of 13 and began his professional career in Louisville in the early 1950s. Beginning in 1953, he played with Roland Kirk for six years and later toured with George Adams, playing the organ. In 1972, Burton formed a group called African American Connection. Burton's recordings include the 1992 album, The Poem, and "Jack the Ripper," which was released on Roland Kirk's album, Introducing Roland Kirk, in 1960. For more see Rahn Burton in the Oxford Music Online Database.

See J. Tamarkin, "Pianist Rahn (Ron) Burton dies at 78; best know for his work with Rahsaan Kirk," at JazzTimes website.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Burton, Thomas W.
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1930
Born near Tates Creek (Madison County), KY, to slave parents, Burton was the youngest of 15 children. He attended Berea College and later received his medical degree in Indiana in 1892. He and Dr. H. R. Hawkins established the Ohio Mutual Medical Association. For more see Ohio Authors and Their Books. Biographical data and selective bibliographies for Ohio authors, native and resident, 1796-1950, ed. by W. Coyle; and What Experience has taught me: an autobiography of Thomas William Burton, by T. W. Burton [available online at the UNC Library, Documenting the American South website].
Subjects: Authors, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Tates Creek, Madison County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Indiana

Bush v. Kentucky (John Bush vs The Commonwealth of Kentucky)
Start Year : 1879
End Year : 1884
The murder trials of John Bush (c.1847-1884) were an ongoing "tug of war" for a few years; it was a matter of race and jury selection in Kentucky. In January of 1879, John Bush was accused of shooting 13 year old Anna Vanmeter in the thigh. Bush was a Kentucky-born African American who lived in Fayette County, KY. Anna Vanmeter, who was white, died a week or so after being shot. She had been sharing a bed with her sister who had scarlet fever. The defense claimed that Anna Vanmeter died from scarlet fever and not the wound to her thigh [source: "Special to the Courier-Journal," Lexington, Feb. 5., Courier-Journal, 02/06/1884, p. 4]. John Bush's case went to the Lexington grand jury and the all-white jury could not come to a verdict. In May of 1879, a second trial was held and an all-white jury convicted John Bush of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The case was appealed and the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the verdict and ordered a new trial. Bush's attorney asked that the case be moved to the U.S. Circuit Court. The request was denied and John Bush was again found guilty and sentenced to death by an all-white jury at his third trial. Bush asked for a writ of habeas corpus for the U.S. Circuit Court for Kentucky. A motion was filed that the case be removed to a federal court on the grounds that Kentucky laws exclude Negroes from grand and petit juries. The federal court agreed with the defendant, and John Bush was released. When John Bush was taken back to Lexington, KY, he was arrested and placed in jail; he is listed as married and incarcerated in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. In December of 1880, the State of Kentucky charged John Bush with the same offense, and in May of 1881, Bush was tried for the fourth time by an all-white jury, convicted, and sentenced. An appeal was filed in 1882, and the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. The case was then taken up to the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in the reversal of the Kentucky Supreme Court's judgement on January 29, 1883. The Opinion of the Court by Justice Harlan: The defendant's conviction and sentence violated the Constitution because the laws of Kentucky expressly precluded Negroes from serving on grand and petit juries. While the U.S. Supreme Courts' decision in "John Bush v. The Commonwealth of Kentucky" is still recognized and discussed in the field of law, there is no mention of the fact that there was no enforcement of the decision and the state of Kentucky ignored the decision. On November 21, 1884, John Bush was hanged in the Lexington jail yard [source: "John Bush's execution," Lexington Leader, 01/06/1890, p.8]. John Bush's defense counsel was L. P. Tarleton, Jr., a lawyer, former sheriff, and a race horse owner in Lexington, KY. Jockey Isaac Murphy rode for Tarleton Jr., Swiney, and McIntyre. John Bush had been a domestic servant for Lexington lawyer William Preston, according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He is listed as a farmhand who lived at 167 Correll Street in Lexington, on p.55 in Prather's Lexington City Directory, for 1875 and 1876. For more see "Bush v. Kentucky" {107 U.S. 110 (1883)} on p.86 in the Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment in the United States by L. J. Palmer; Jury Discrimination by C. Waldrep; and Bush v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, a Cornell University Law School website.
Subjects: Executions, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Butler County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Butler County is located in the western part of Kentucky and is bordered by six counties. It was formed in 1810 from portions of Logan and Ohio Counties, and was named for Richard Butler, a Revolutionary War veteran from Pennsylvania. The county seat is Morgantown. There were 322 persons [heads of households] counted in the 1810 U.S. Federal Census for Butler County, and the population had increased to 7,117 by the year 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the numbers for the slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes from 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 177 slave owners
  • 574 Black slaves
  • 107 Mulatto slaves
  • 14 free Blacks
  • 4 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 213 slave owners
  • 560 Black slaves
  • 212 Mulatto slaves
  • 25 free Blacks
  • 0 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 622 Blacks
  • 16 Mulattoes
  • About 17 U.S. Colored Troops listed Butler County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Butler County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; and Butler County, Kentucky by L. Russ.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county A-C]
Geographic Region: Butler County, Kentucky

Butler, Darraugh Clay
Birth Year : 1955
Butler was born in Paducah, KY, to Theodore M. and Mary E. Glore. She is president of D. Butler Management Consulting in Cincinnati, OH. Butler founded the company in 1996 to encourage economic inclusion of minority- and women-owned businesses with the corporate and government sector. Butler's company is tops in the region for economic inclusion and has garnered a number of awards. In 2004, a second consulting office was opened in the Atlanta, GA area. For more see W. Hicks, "D. Butler Management Consulting delivers economic inclusion results," 09/04/2007, at North College Hill News at Cincinnati.com; G. Verna, "Small businesses made team at ballpark project," Business Courier of Cincinnati, 09/19/2003, online at bizjournals.com; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2000.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Atlanta, Georgia

Butler, William F.
From Jefferson County, KY, William F. Butler served as president of the Negro Republican Party that was formed following the Civil War. The organization's first convention was held in Lexington, KY, in 1867. That same year, at a Civil Rights meeting held in Louisville, KY, William Butler stood and demanded equal rights for African Americans. Following the meeting, the Law League was established to "finance and secure" lawyers who would fight for African Americans' civil rights. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and V. B. Howard, "The Black testimony controversy in Kentucky, 1866-1872," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 58, issue 2 (April 1973), pp. 140-165.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Butts, William A.
Birth Year : 1933
William A. Butts served as president of Kentucky State University, 1975-1982. He favored the Council on Higher Education's plan to keep Kentucky State as a small liberal arts college with one graduate program. Enforcing the new strategic plan caused him to fall out of favor and lead to his resignation in 1982. The following comes from the transcript of the Oral History with Dr. William a. Butts at the University of Southern Mississippi, Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, 03/03/1976. William A. Butts was born near Kilmichael, MS, the son of Sylvester and Virginia Butts. He is a U.S. Army veteran. He is a graduate of Mississippi Vocational College where he earned a B.S. in political science in 1957, and he earned his PhD from Southern Illinois University. See also the Office of the President Records, a Kentucky Digital Library webpage.

 

  See photo image of Dr. William A. Butts on p.20 of Jet, April 29, 1976.

 
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kilmichael, Mississippi / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

 

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