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WACs Beaten in Elizabethtown, KY
Start Year : 1945
In 1945, three African American members of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) were beaten by police officers for sitting in the waiting room for whites at the Greyhound bus station in Elizabethtown, KY. One of the women, PFC Helen Smith of Syracuse, NY, was taken to jail and released a few hours later, bleeding from her injuries. PFC Georgia Boson, from Texas, and Pvt.Tommie Smith, were also beaten. The women continued on their return to Fort Knox. When they arrived on base, they were summonsed by the commanding office, then lectured about obeying the supposed segregation laws of Kentucky pertaining to public buildings and transportation. The women were court-martialed. They were defended by Lieutenant W. Robert Ming, base legal officier at Godman Field under Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. The charges were later reduced to disorderly conduct. Helen Smith spent a week in the hospital recovering from her injuries. For more see Harry McAlpin, "Beat by cops: WACs to stand trial, violated Ky. Jim Crow," Indianapolis Recorder, 08/04/1945, p.1; "Wac's Beating Case" in The Negro Handbook, 1946-1947 edited by F. Murray; Creating GI Jane by L. D. Meyer; To Serve My County, To Serve My Race by B. L. Moore; and "Council demands investigation of WACs' beating," Baltimore Afro-American, 08/11/1945, p.12.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs), Court Cases, Bus Transportation: Employees, Owners, Segregation
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky / Syracuse, New York

WACs' Protest at Camp Breckinridge, KY
Start Year : 1943
In 1943, six African American members of the Women's Army Corps (WACs) resigned from the Army after their unit staged a protest over job assignments. The unit was under the command of 1st Lieutenant Myrtle Anderson and 2nd Lieutenant Margaret E. B. Jones. They were the first group of African American women enlistees to be stationed in Kentucky. They were a division of the first Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) that had been established at Fort Des Moines, Iowa in 1942; a total of 118 African American women were trained at the location. In 1943, the WAACs were being transitioned over to the WACs. The unit transferred to Kentucky had been trained to become supply clerks, but once stationed at Camp Breckinridge, they were assigned tasks such as stacking beds and scrubbing the floors of the warehouses and latrines. The women protested, and Anderson and Jones complained to their superior officer Colonel Kelly, but nothing was done. There was also the complaint that white soldiers had entered the women's barracks at night and officers had to protect them. As the tension continued to increase, the last straw came when the women were told to wash the walls of the laundry; the women went on strike. After five days, the Army responded by allowing the women to leave the service without honor. Those who resigned were Beatrice Brashear, Gladys Morton, Margaret Coleman, Mae E. Nicholas, and Viola Bessups, all from New York, and Ruth M. Jones from New Jersey. The Army's official response was that the "girls" had not been given a proper assignment and there was a disturbance. The Camp Breckinridge Public Relations Office acknowledged the resignations but had no additional comments. For more see "6 WACs Resign: WAC clerks decline to scrub floors," Philadelphia Afro American, 07/10/1943, pp. 1 & 15. For more about Camp Breckinridge, see the Camp Breckinridge entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia, and History of Camp Breckinridge, by P. Heady.

By the final months of 1943, African American WACs were performing mail clerk duties at Camp Breckinridge, KY, as seen in photo image of Pfc. Ruby O'Brien from Beaumont, TX; Pvt. Millie Holloway from Louisville, KY; and others in photo dated November 30, 1943. Photo at NYPL Digital Gallery from U.S. Office of War Information.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs)
Geographic Region: Camp Breckinridge [or Fort Breckinridge], Henderson, Webster, and Union Counties, Kentucky (no longer exists) / Fort Des Moines [Fort Des Moines Museum], Des Moines, Iowa

Wade, Alice
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2008
Alice Wade, born in Jeffersonville, IN, is remembered as one of the most dependable and committed voices in the Louisville, KY, civil rights movement. When she was not out front, she was many times working behind the scenes. Wade and Ann Braden were friends and worked side by side; they met in the 1980s. Wade was a volunteer, coordinator, and organizer for The Braden Center and the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, both in Louisville, KY. She also worked beside activist Rev. Louis Coleman; on July 4, 1999, she and Colman were two of the 12 people arrested for trespassing at the Valhalla Golf Club, where they were protesting against the absence of minority and women owned vendors at the PGA tournament. Wade led marches and protest against racism and police brutality. For more see P. Burba, "Civil-rights activist Alice Wade dies at 69," Courier-Journal, 05/22/2008, News section, p. 1B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration South
Geographic Region: Jeffersonville, Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wade, Helen Cary Caise
Birth Year : 1939
In the summer of 1955, it was big news in Lexington, KY when 16 year old Helen Caise registered for summer classes at Lafayette High School. The Lexington and Fayette County school systems were segregated in 1955, and Caise, who was a sophomore at Douglass High School, became the first African American student to attend a white high school. Lafayette High had the only summer program in the county school system. Students attended classes for three hours per day for seven weeks. After completing the program, Caise returned to Douglass High as a junior. It had been a tough summer. The decision to integrate the summer program was made by county superintendent, Dr. N. C. Turpen, and backed by the Board of Education. Helen, the daughter of John J. and Edna Morton Caise, had been encouraged to attend the summer program by Douglass principal Mrs. Theda Van Lowe and homeroom teacher Mrs. Mary Roach. Caise was the only African American student enrolled in the summer program; only one of her fellow students befriended her, a girl named Barbara Levy. Because Helen had broken the color line by attending a white high school, her family received threats at their home, 545 Lindberg Drive. The address had been included in the Herald newspaper article that was published on the first day of summer classes, announcing that Helen Caise would be the first Negro to attend a white high school in Fayette County. Nine male family members made sure that Helen arrived at school and returned home safely, but her family was ruined financially due to the retaliation. Helen Caise graduated from high school and college and is now a retired teacher living in Ohio. For more see "Douglass student to study at Lafayette," Lexington Herald, 06/07/1955, p. 1; Kentucky under heading "Shows schools obeying courts" on page 23 of Jet, 06/23/1955 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; M. Davis, "Girl's act of friendship not forgotten by recipient," Lexington Herald Leader, 03/15/1992, Lifestyle section, p. J1; and H. C. Wade, "Students shouldn't have to fight for respect, rights," Lexington Herald Leader, 05/22/2006, Feedback section, p. A10.

See photo image of Helen Cary Caise Wade and additional information at Fayette County Public Schools website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Waits, Ernest J., Sr. "Ernie"
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2004
Ernie Waits, Sr. is often referred to as the first African American DJ [disc jockey] in both Kentucky and Ohio [source: E. S. Murrain, "Payola and the Pied Pipers," Tone, 09/01/1960, p. 11]. In Kentucky, he was a DJ at WNOP in Newport, KY [source: see "Gab Bag" in the column "Vox Jox," Billboard, 04/21/1951, pp. 28 & 33]. In Cincinnati, he was a DJ at WZIP [source: "Chicago Chatter," Billboard, 05/28/1949, p. 40]. Waits was also among the first African American broadcasters in both radio and television in Cincinnati, Ohio, his home town. He was a singer and musician, as well as a civil rights leader who helped start organized labor. He was an international representative for the United Auto Workers, integrated the Democrat Party of Hamilton County, Ohio, and was the first African American in Cincinnati to become a New York Stock Exchange registered representative. He owned a bowling alley and other businesses and helped establish the Black Expo in Cincinnati. Ernie Waits was born in Georgia and grew up in Cincinnati. He was the son of Jesse and Mozell Harper Waits. He was a veteran of World War II. For more see Ernie Waits, Sr. in the video Road to Equality at CETConnect.org; Ernie Waits in the H. Wilkinson article, "Berry showed them the way," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/19/2000 [online at enquirer.com]; Ernie Waits in the Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, by L. F. Sies; Who's Who in Black Cincinnati 2003-2004 Edition, M. C. Sunny and R. Love; and R. Goodman, "Civil Rights fighter Ernest Waits dies," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/22/2004 [online at enquirer.com].

  See photo image of Ernie Waits Sr. within article about Theodore M. Berry at the Cincinnati Enquirer website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Radio, Television, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Georgia / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio / Kentucky

Walden, John
Walden, a barber in Glasgow, KY, was one of the first African Americans to seek public office in that town. In 1905, he attended the Republican convention in hopes of being nominated for the office of Barren County Court Clerk, but he was not nominated. For more see the John Walden article in The Adair County News, 10/04/1905, p. 4.
Subjects: Barbers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Walker, Edward
Birth Year : 1801
Edward Walker was one of the wealthiest African Americans in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He had been a slave, born on the Hayden Nelson Plantation in Kenton County, KY, and was owned by Nelson's son Thomas. When Walker's uncle and family ran away to Canada, Walker feared that he would be sold; Thomas Nelson's son had taught Walker to read and write, and Walker was a whiz at math. His quick intelligence had caused his master to keep a watchful eye on Walker. When Walker's family members escaped to Canada, it was perceived as a mistrust of Walker and he was offered to a slave trader. The sale was voided, but fearing that he could be sold at any time, in 1858, Walker escaped along with his brother, sister-in-law, and their baby. They had been assisted by Underground Railroad conductors from Covington to Cincinnati to Canada. In Windsor, Walker earned his wealth as the owner of a grocery store, a hotel, and a farm. By 1891, Edward Walker had turned his grocery over to his son William Edward Walker, who had completed a business course in Detroit, MI. The Freeman, an African American newspaper from Indianapolis, IN, was sold at the store. For more see "Smart Edward Walker" entry in Slave Testimony by J. W. Blassingame; and "Sentenced to prison. Happenings of Canadian Afro-Americans," Freeman, 04/18/1891, p.5.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kenton County, Kentucky / Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Walker, Frank X
Birth Year : 1961
Frank X Walker was born in Danville, KY. He is a visual artist, poet, author, educator, and motivator. Walker is a founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, editor of Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium, and author of Affrilachia and Buffalo Dance: the Journey of York. He has given over 250 poetry readings, including readings at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry, Northern Ireland, and in Santiago, Cuba. He has received many awards, appeared on television and been heard on the radio; he was the first writer from Kentucky to be featured on NPR's This I Believe. Walker was director of the Kentucky Governor's School for the ARTS, 1998-2004, leaving that position to become an English professor at Eastern Kentucky University. He has also been a visiting professor at Transylvania University. His teaching experience includes writing workshops at various locations and writing classes at the university level, including the University of Louisville and the University of Minnesota. Walker is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and Spalding University, and he received an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the University of Kentucky and an honorary Doctor of Letters from Transylvania University. In 2010, Frank X. Walker joined the University of Kentucky Department of English, and in 2011 he was named director of both the African American Studies & Research and the Africana Studies Programs at UK. In 2013, Frank X Walker was named Kentucky's poet laureate [source: M. Meehan,"Lexington writer Frank X Walker named Kentucky poet laureate," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/15/2013, p.A3]. At the age of 51, he is the youngest to be named the state's poet laureate and he is also the first African American to receive the honor. For more see Frank X. Walker website; Affrilachian Poets; and The Columbia Granger's Index to African-American Poetry, by N. Frankovich and D. Larzelere.


  See photo images of Frank X Walker by Rachel Eliza Griffiths at the Frank X Walker website.

  View Kentucky Muse: (#503) Frank X Walker "I Dedicate This Ride" at KET Video (Kentucky Educational Television).

Access Interview Read about the Frank X Walker oral history interviews available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.

   View video at Vimeo: "Accpetance Speech: The Induction of Frank X Walker, Kentucky Poet Laureate, 2013-2014 - April 24, 2013, Capitol Rotunda, Frankfort, Kentucky." Video footage courtesy of the Kentucky Arts Council. Edited by Nyoka Hawkins for Old Cove Press.

 
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Education and Educators, Poets
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Walker, Maymie Baker
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1951
Walker, an educator and evangelist, was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Albert and Bettie Mitchell Walker. She was a graduate of State University [Simmons College in KY], and was later principal of the business school at Eckstein Norton University, and dean of women at Albion Academy in Franklinton, NC. She was licensed as a missionary evangelist. Walker was also employed in social services. She was a member of Israel Beard Circle No.12, and she had served as chaplain of the Kentucky Council of the Ladies of the GAR and the USO. For more see Mrs. Maymie Baker Walker in  The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Franklinton, North Carolina

Walker, Prather
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1977
Walker was one of the two first African American police officers in Lexington, KY, and is thought to be the first in the South to retire from active duty with a pension. He was a sergeant when he retired from the force in 1964, having served 27 years and nine months. He became a magistrate of Fayette County in 1965. For more see "Prather Walker to retire from city police service," Lexington Herald, 01/02/1964, p. 6 [picture with article]; picture of Walker with others in police department on p.31 of Lexington, Kentucky by G. Smith; The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Walker, Ray
Ray Walker was born near Springfield, KY, the son of trainer Joseph Walker. Ray Walker opened his own stable at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. He was the first African American to develop show horses in the Philadelphia area. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Walker, Renelda Meeks Higgins
Born Renelda Meeks in Louisville, KY, she is the sister of Kenneth Meeks, Michael Meeks, and Reginald Meeks. She was the art director of Social Policy and organized shows for the U.S. Mission to the UN. Her works have been published in the New York Times and Crisis. She was the Human Resources Administration spokesperson for New York City. She is the daughter of Eloise Kline Meeks and Florian Meeks, Jr. For more see Afro-American Artists. A bio-bibliographical directory, compiled and edited by T. D. Cederholm; and The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York City, New York

Walker, Solly
Solly Walker was a sophomore guard who played for St. John's University, when, on December 17, 1951, he became the first African American to play in an integrated college basketball game in the state of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky (UK) defeated St. John's. Walker began the game by hitting six of his first seven shots and had only played a few minutes when he received a blow that put him on the sidelines for the next three weeks. In a subsequent tournament game, St. John's defeated UK in the NCAA East Regional. St. John's continued to win until they were defeated in the final game by the University of Kansas Jayhawks. Solly Walker was the first African American to play basketball at St. John's University, and upon graduation was drafted by the New York Knicks. Walker declined the NBA offer and became one of the first African American high school principals in New York. For more see Raw Recruits, by A. Wolff; and St. Johns [sic] at Kentucky. A picture of Walker playing in the December game against Kentucky is on p.111 of the 1952 Kentuckian Yearbook [available online].



Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York City, New York

Walker, Thomas Vaughn
Birth Year : 1950
Walker, born in Heathsville, Virginia, is the oldest son of the late Thomas and Mary Walker. He is a minister, an educator at the college and secondary school levels, and a community leader. He was the first African American appointed to a regular professorship in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1986 when Walker became a faculty member at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Now a tenured professor, Walker oversees both the Doctor of Ministry program in Black Church Leadership and the Ph.D. program in Black Church Studies. Since 1984, he has also been the Senior Pastor of the First Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville. The church, founded in 1910, has grown in membership, missions outreach, and vision; it was chosen as one of the 13 congregations included in Dr. Thom Rainer's research and the resulting 2005 book titled Breakout Churches. Walker has been an active member of a number of community organizations and overseas missions in countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Israel, Jordan, Germany, and the Bahamas. Walker has written a number of journal articles and his book chapters include the co-authored work "Minorities and Spirituality" in the title Becoming Christian by B. Leonard. Walker is a 1972 graduate of Hampton University; he earned a M.S. from Eastern Illinois University and a M.Div/C.E. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and he earned his Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Vaughn Walker Way, a street in Louisville, was named in his honor. In 2000, he received both the Community Service Reconciliation Award, and the Heritage Award, Black Church Development Divisions. In 2006, Walker was recognized by the Kentucky Senate [SR 209]. This entry was submitted by Cheryl Walker, wife of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker. Additional information is used with permission from the vita of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Heathsville, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Walker, William, Sr. "Billy"
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1933
William Walker, Sr., born in Versailles, KY, rode Baden-Baden to victory at the Kentucky Derby in 1877. Walker was born a slave on the Bosque Bonita Farm in Woodford County, KY. He won his first race in Lexington, KY, at the age of 11. He became one of the leading riders at Churchill Downs between 1875-1878. After retiring in 1896, he became a trainer and was adviser to horse breeder John Madden. Walker is buried in the Louisville Cemetery, his grave was unmarked until Churchill Downs placed a headstone at his grave site in 1996. For more see Roadside History, by M. P. Hay, D. Wells and T. H. Appleton; and "Once noted jockey dies," The Daily Mail, 09/21/1933, p.10.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wallace, Bonnie Goddard and Theodore "Cal" Sr.
Activist Theodore Calvin Wallace, Sr. (1914-1987) was a pioneer in radio and television in Lexington, Kentucky. He was born in Patton, AL, the son of Eula Wallace Williams (b.1898 in AL) and the stepson of Allen "Baby Bush" Williams (b.1883 in MS). According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Allen Williams was a coal miner in Parrish, AL. The family of four lived on Jasper Road. Theodore Calvin Wallace was known as Cal. He grew up in Parrish, AL, and later came to Kentucky to work in the coal mines in Harlan. While in Harlan, he met his future wife, Bonnie J. Goddard (1920-2002), the daughter of Lee D. (b.1875 in KY) and Edward Goddard (b.1864 in TN). Ed Goddard was a circuit-ridding preacher of the Christian Church/Church of Christ. Bonnie Goddard was born in Harlan, KY. She and her husband left Kentucky for West Virginia and Virginia, where Cal Wallace worked in the coal mines. He eventually left the coal mines and moved his family to Cincinnati, OH, where he had various jobs and also worked for a radio station. He was sometimes on the air at WZIP in Covington, KY, and was one of the first two African American disc jockeys (DJs) in the state. [The other was Ernie Waits.] Cal Wallace moved his family to Lexington, KY in 1954, and they all lived in the home purchased on Whitney Avenue in the Forest Hill area. The school-age children attended Booker T. Washington School. Cal Wallace had come to Lexington the year before his family arrived; he was employed as a DJ with WLEX Radio (AM). He was a DJ at night and sold accounts [air time] during the day. The radio station had another African American employee named Nancy Webb, she had a half-hour program called "Webb Presents." When WLEX expanded to television, Cal Wallace had a weekend program, he was on the air live and showed films. He was the first African American to have a program on television in Lexington, KY. Cal Wallace was also in accounts at WLAP Radio (AM), and it was there that he came up with the idea of developing the commercial station WLAP FM. He then went to a local store named Barney Miller's and ordered a truck load of FM radios, and gave them to people in the community, because most of his potential audience members had only AM radios. WLAP FM, with Cal Wallace as general manager, proved to be a hit. Several of Cal Wallace's sons and his wife were on the air. Bonnie Wallace had a popular program called "The Sweet Chariot." The station also had a DJ contest for teenagers, and two of the winners were Sam Jones and Raymond Ross, both of whom would become successful broadcasters. Cal Wallace was the first African American to manage a radio station in Lexington. He also established The Lexington Chronicle newspaper in the 1960s, and the entire family helped to publish each issue. The newspaper was a free publication made available to the African American community. The newspaper was published for about five years. In 1978, Cal Wallace's sons, Edgar and Bernard, resurrected the newspaper with the new title Bluegrass Chronicle. In 1963, Cal Wallace ran unsuccessfully for the Kentucky House of Representatives. His son Edgar Wallace would become a Lexington City Council Member, and his son, Theodore (Ted) Calvin Wallace, Jr. was a House Member of the Michigan Legislature for four terms and he also served as judge of the 36th District Court for seven years. The leadership role of their father extended into the community; Cal Wallace served as director of the Lexington Community Action organization, and he worked with Micro City Government. Cal Wallace was also a minister, he was pastor at Prall Street Church of Christ in Lexington. The church was founded by Cal and Bonnie Wallace, and began as a Bible class in their living room. Today, the church is located on Russell Cave Road. Cal Wallace would become a bishop and overseer in the Church of Christ, he was over seven churches that were located in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Cincinnati, OH, and Lexington and Harlan, KY. Cal Wallace's communication skills had been well groomed when he was a high school student in Alabama where he also competed in oratorical contests. He attended Lincoln Normal School for Colored Students [today Alabama State University], then returned to his high school as a teacher and he coached the football team. For additional information listen to the Edgar Wallace interview [info.], and the Thomas C. Wallace interview [info.]; see "Fayette radio pioneer 'Cal' Wallace dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/04/1987, p.C7; and "Bonnie G. Wallace, ex-DJ at WLAP, 81" Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/23/2002, p.C4. See also the NKAA entries for Thomas C. Wallace, Ted Wallace, and Leula Wallace Hall.

Access Interview Read about the Theodore Calvin Wallace, Sr. oral history interviews available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Radio, Religion & Church Work, Television
Geographic Region: Patton, Alabama / Harlan, Harlan County, Kentucky / West Virginia / Virginia / Cincinnati, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wallace, Count X.
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1880
Wallace, a barber and musician, played the violin at parties and other gatherings. He was born in Kentucky and was a freeman living in Fayette, Mississippi, according to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Judge Frank A. Montgomery recorded his meeting with Wallace in his book Reminiscences of a Mississippian in Peace and War, published in 1901 [available full-text at Google Book Search]. Wallace had been in Port Hudson, LA, when the Union Army seized the area in 1863 and gained control of the Mississippi River. The forces included two regiments of Colored soldiers, the 1st and 3rd Louisiana Native Guard. Wallace was a servant to the Union officers, and when the soldiers were to leave, they had planned to take Wallace with them, but Wallace requested and received a parole from his servant duties. He had shown the parole certificate to Judge Montgomery. In his civilian life, Wallace had been fairly well off, with $2,000 in personal property; he was also a slave-owner. He is listed in the 1860 Slave Schedule as owning a 35 year old female; Wallace was one of 28 slave owners in Fayette, MS. When he died in 1880, his property went to his 30 year old wife, Nelly [or Nellie], and their five children: Edgar, Gaitwood, Floyde, Mary, and Stanton.
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration South, Free African American Slave Owners
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Fayette, Mississippi

Wallace, Felix "Dick"
Birth Year : 1884
Felix Wallace was born in Owensboro, KY, the son of Sarah J. Wallace. Felix was considered one of the greatest all-time shortstops and the best second baseman. He also played third base. Wallace's baseball career began in 1906 and ended in 1921; he first played with the Paducah Nationals and went on to play for several different teams, spending the last two years with the Hilldale Daisies. A consistent hitter, he batted .348 in 1914. His greatest asset was his fielding. Wallace worked as a tobacco steamer when not playing baseball during the early part of his career. For more see The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, by J. A. Riley.
Subjects: Baseball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wallace, Theodore Calvin, Jr. "Ted"
Birth Year : 1941
Death Year : 2006
Judge Theodore C. Wallace, Jr. was born in Kimball, WV, and grew up in Lexington, KY. He was the son of Theodore "Cal" Sr. and Bonnie Goddard Wallace. Judge Wallace was known as Ted. He left Kentucky and eventually settled in Detroit, MI, in 1973, where he served as judge of the 36th District Court for seven years. He had been a member of the Michigan House of Representatives beginning in 1988 when he won a special election to fill the last two months of Representative Virgil Smith's term. Rep. Wallace was then elected to the House of Representatives and served for 10 years. He was also a member of the Michigan Law Revision Commission beginning in 1993. Ted Wallace had a law practice for 17 years. He was a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and earned his undergraduate degree from Wright State University. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam, and he served in the Michigan National Guard. For more see E. Lacy, "Confident, easy going judge was a joker, but took care of business," The Detroit News, 01/24/2006; and W. R. Knox, "Michigan House of Representatives: new members," Public Sector Reports, 01/27/1989, pp.1-2.

For more about the Wallace Family in Lexington, KY, the oral history recording by Thomas C. Wallace, brother to Judge Ted Wallace, is available within the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project at the University of Kentucky Libraries' Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. See also the oral history recordings for Cal Wallace and Edgar Wallace. See also the NKAA entries for Thomas C. Wallace and Leula Wallace Hall.
Subjects: Lawyers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Migration East, Judges, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Kimball, West Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Wallace, Thomas Cicero "Little Bee"
Birth Year : 1943
Thomas C. Wallace was an extremely popular and successful radio personality in Lexington, KY for ten years. He was a disc jockey [DJ] known as "Little Bee." He was voted the number one night time DJ in Lexington. Many remember him for his rhythm and rhyming, and he is often referred to as an early and original rapper. "You and me and Little Bee on WLAP," the "Little Bee" program, went on the air at WLAP FM in 1964 and ended in 1974. The format was the first urban contemporary [soul music] program in Lexington. The targeted audience included African Americans in Lexington and surrounding counties, and there were thousands of faithful followers. WLAP FM was managed by Theodore "Cal" Wallace, Sr., the father of Thomas C. Wallace. For many of the former audience members, the "Little Bee Show" is aligned with memories of the civil rights era of activism in Lexington, along with the broadcasts of Alex Williams. But at the time, the program was not considered a civil rights show, according to Thomas C. Wallace. "I was just a Black DJ on a Black station where young folk could tune in and hear Black music." In 1974, Thomas C. Wallace left radio to go into the ministry. He is a bishop in the Church of Christ, sharing the duties with his brother: they are over five of the churches that their father oversaw during his tenure as a bishop. Thomas C. Wallace is also pastor of the New Birth Church of Christ, Christian Ministries, Inc., located on Russell Cave Road in Lexington, KY. He was born in Virginia, the fourth child of the late Bonnie Goddard Wallace and Theodore C. Wallace, Sr. For more information listen to the three Cal Wallace interviews [info.], and the Edgar Wallace interview [info.]; and see "WLAP-AM History" website by Scott Willis. See also the NKAA entries for Ted Wallace and Leula Wallace Hall.

  See photo image of Rev. Thomas C. Wallace and other church pictures at the Facebook page for New Birth Church of Christ, Christian Ministries, Inc.

Access Interview Read about the Thomas C. Wallace oral history interview available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Radio, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Walls, John H.
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1983
Dr. Johh H. Walls, born in Tennessee, established well-baby clinics in Louisville African American neighborhoods. Walls was on the governing board of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital. He was the husband of Murray B. Atkins Walls; they were both involved in the civil rights efforts in Louisville. The Walls Family Papers are available at the University of Louisville Libraries.

Access InterviewThe Dr. John and Murray B. Atkins Walls oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Archives.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Walls, Murray B. Atkins
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1993
Murray Walls was a schoolteacher from Indiana who added the first black history program to the curriculum while teaching high school in Indianapolis. She was married to Dr. John Harrison Walls of Louisville, KY. One day Murray Walls was preparing research for a speaking engagement in Louisville when she was denied entrance to the nearest library; she was directed to the Colored Libraries, the Western and Eastern Branches. After this incident, she began to campaign for the integration of the Louisville Free Public Library System. The libraries began to integrate in 1948. Murray B. Atkins Walls was born in Indiana, the daughter of Kentucky natives Calvin and Dora Atkins. She is a graduate of Butler University and Columbia University. For more see the Murray B. Atkins Walls Papers at the University of Louisville Libraries; and In Black and White, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling.


Access Interview The Dr. John and Murray B. Atkins Walls oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Archives.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Walters, Alexander
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1917
Alexander Walters was born at the Donahoe Hotel in Bardstown, KY, the sixth child of Henry Walters and Harriet Mathews, both of whom were slaves. He was the husband of Katie Knox Walters, and later married Lelia Coleman Walters. In 1877, Alexander Walters was licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination; he was a member of St. John AME Zion Church in Bardstown. He was elected the 24th Bishop of the AME Zion Church and preached at many churches before arriving at Mother Zion of New York Church in 1888. Walters became the first president of the National Afro-American Council in 1898 and was re-elected seven times. He would become a bishop in the AMEZ Church. He was also vice-president of the NAACP in 1911, when the organization was incorporated. Walters was an outspoken civil rights advocate, calling for the formation of the Afro-American League and for African Americans to look beyond the Republican Party for justice. Among his many writings was the co-authored Address to the Nations of the World... For more see My Life and Work, by Bishop Alexander Walters [available full-text at the UNC Documenting the American South website]; The History of the Negro Church, by C. G. Woodson; Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; and R. E. Clement, "Phylon Profile, VII: Alexander Walters," Phylon, vol. 7, issue 1 (1st Qtr., 1946), pp. 15-19.

See photo image of Bishop Alexander Walters at BlackPast.org.

See photo image of the Donahoe Hotel (renamed Newman House) from My Life and Work by A. Walters, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / New York

Walters, Arthur M.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 2010
Arthur M. Walters, born in Magnolia, KY, was a social services administrator most recognized for his role as executive director of the Louisville Urban League from 1970-1987. He led the League's involvement in the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Walters already had a B.A. when he earned a M.Ed. at the University of Louisville. He belonged to a number of organizations and received many awards. Walters also received a number of military recognitions: the Medal of Merit, the Bronze Star for heroism, the Soldier's Medal for Bravery, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and many more. The Louisville Urban League's Arthur M. Walters Award is named in his honor. For more see Arthur M. Walters at the Louisville Urban League website; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.

See photo image of Arthur M. Walters at courier-journal.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Magnolia, Hardin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Walters, Katie Knox
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1896
Katie Knox Walters was a Christian advocate on behalf of her husband's work in the AMEZ Church, and she was an activist in the Colored YWCA in New York City where she chaired the library committee. She had served as vice president of the Women's Home and Missionary Society in California. According to authors Franklin and Savage, Walters raised the largest amount of money in the New Jersey AME Zion Annual Conference in 1898. [Katie Walters' death year is given as 1896 in Bishop Walters' biography.] Katie Knox Walters was the first wife of Bishop Alexander Walters. They met in Indianapolis, IN, and married in 1877, and would become the parents of five children. The family was living in Jersey City, NY, when Katie Walters died. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Louis and Kittie Knox. For more see African American Women and Christian Activism by J. Wisenfeld; My Life and Work by A. Walters [available full text at Documenting the American South]; and p.98 of Cultural Capital and Black Education by V. P. Franklin and C. J. Savage.

  See the image of Katie Knox Walters at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Jersey City, New York

Walters, Lelia Coleman
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1949
Lelia Coleman Walters, born in Bardstown, KY, was the second wife of Alexander Walters. She broke many racial barriers, including becoming the first African American woman principal of a public school in Kentucky; for nine years she was principal of the Shelby Street School in Louisville. In 1916, by executive order of President Wilson, Walters was employed as a clerk and interpreter with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service on Ellis Island; she retired in 1935. For twelve years, she was also president of the African Redemption Society, where she was associated with Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey. Walters had attended school in a Roman Catholic convent and graduated from Louisville High School. In 1895, she completed a business course at Coon's Commercial High School in Kansas City, MO, and was the first African American to graduate from any Missouri school for whites only. For more see "Mrs. Alexander Walters," New York Times, 03/18/1949, p. 25; and Lelia Walters photo on p. 72, and additional information, in My Life and Work by Bishop Alexander Walters [available full text at the UNC Documenting the American South website].


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri / New York City, New York

Ward, William H.
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1918
Ward was the first African American in Louisville, KY, and Jefferson County to become a member of the Republican Committee. He was nominated to run for jailer in 1870 and ran for marshal of the city court in 1878; he was defeated both times. In 1890, Ward was the traveling companion of Louisville Mayor Charles D. Jacob on a trip around the world. William and his wife Sarah A. Ward were both from Virginia, and it was thought they had come to Louisville in 1855 as free persons. According to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the couple was living on Ninth Street with their daughter, Mrs. Susan A. Morris, her husband Alexander, and two boarders. William Ward was still employed as a janitor at Louisville City Hall, a job he would have for more than three decades. For more see "William H. Ward" in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and Weeden's History of the Colored People of Louisville by H. C. Weeden.
Subjects: Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Warders, Jesse P.
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 1981
A 1952 graduate of Indiana University, Warders was elected Representative of the 41st District (Jefferson County, KY), serving 1966-1967. He co-sponsored the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. He was the first African American director of the Louisville Department of Sanitation. He received three bronze stars while enlisted in the U.S. Army during WWII. Warders was born in Louisville, KY. For more contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bloomington, Indiana

Ware, William, Sr.
Birth Year : 1872
Ware was born in Lexington, KY. He was a fraternal worker at Main St. Baptist Church in Lexington and Antioch Baptist Church in Cincinnati. He founded the Welfare Association for Colored People of Cincinnati in 1917, serving as president 1917-1920. He was also a long-time president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) of Cincinnati, beginning in 1920. He was the husband of Lucie Ware, born 1878 in KY; in 1920 the family of 11 lived on Barr Street in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The family moved to Cincinnati in 1903. William Ware, Sr. was the son of Alfred and Jane Ware. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29, and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

Warford, Reggie
Birth Year : 1954
Born in Drakesboro, KY, Reggie Warford became the first African American basketball player to graduate from the University of Kentucky. He was a 6'1" guard who played in 50 games from 1972 to 1976, scoring 206 total points by the end of his college career. Warford went on to become an assistant coach at Pitt, Iowa State and Long Beach State, and also was head coach of the Harlem Globetrotters in 2003. While at Pitt in 1986, Warford sued the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, claiming that it had defamed him in an article about improper recruiting offers in college basketball, specifically in reference to Steve Miller, a forward from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY. An article published October 28, 1985, quoted Miller as saying that Warford told him he would get a raise if he signed Miller and that Miller "would benefit from that raise also." The law suit was settled out of court in 1991. For more see articles related to the case in the Lexington Herald-Leader, from 1986-1991.

See photo image of Reggie Warford at bigbluehistory.net.
Subjects: Basketball, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Ames, Iowa / Long Beach, California

Waring, Mary R. Fitzbutler
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1958
Mary R. Fitzbutler Waring was said to have been born in Louisville, KY, but according to the 1880 U.S. Census, she was born in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of doctors Henry and Sarah Fitzbutler. The family moved to the U.S. in 1875, and was living in Louisville in 1880. Waring would become a teacher at the Western Colored School, according to the 1890 Louisville City Directory. She was a 1894 graduate of the Louisville National Medical College. She married Frank B. Waring, her second husband, in 1901. According to the 1930 U.S. Census, the Warings were living in Chicago, where Mary was a physician, having graduated from the Chicago Medical College, and she was also a school teacher. She was the 1915 commissioner of the Chicago Exposition, showing progress of Colored People in Chicago, and she was the appointed representative of the National Council of Women of America. She served as president of the National Association of Colored Women, and she attended the International Council of Women in Norway in 1920. For more seeWho's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; Blacks in Science and Medicine by V. O. Sammons; and Notable Black American Women,Book II by J. C. Smith.

See photo image of Mary Fitzbutler Waring at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

See 1898 graduation photo image of Mary Fitzbutler at Explore UK.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada / Chicago, Illinois / Norway

Warley, William [Buchanan v. Warley]
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1946
Warley fought for African Americans' right to vote and wrote about African Americans' contributions to history. He was editor of the Louisville News, which he founded in 1913, using the paper to speak out against segregated street cars and school inequality. Warley was also president of the NAACP Louisville, KY, Chapter in 1917 when he and Charles H. Buchanan challenged the legitimacy of the Louisville ordinance that mandated segregated housing. Warley won the U.S. Supreme Court decision giving African Americans the right to acquire, own, and live on property without race discrimination. For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; and R. Wigginton, "But he did what he could: William Warley leads Louisville's fight for justice, 1902-1946," Filson History Quarterly, vol. 76, issue 4 (2002), pp. 427-458.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Warner, Andrew Jackson
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1920
Born in Washington, KY, Andrew Warner was the son of Rueben Warner, a freeman, and Emily Warner, a slave. Andrew was also a slave, he escaped to Ripley, OH, at the age of 13 and enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer boy. He received an honorable discharge and later became a student at Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University]. Warner had also studied law and was the leading attorney in the Bishop Hillery case [within the Kentucky Conference] in Hendersonville, KY. Warner became Bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church in Philadelphia, PA, in 1908. He was a candidate for the U.S. Congress from the 1st District of Alabama in 1890, a delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention in St. Louis, MO, in 1896, and a nominee for Governor of Alabama in 1898. The Warner Temple A.M.E. Zion Church in Wilmington, NC, was named in his honor. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915Rev. Andrew J. Warner, D.D. in One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church... by J. W. Hood [full text available at UNC Documenting the American South website]; and Andrew Jackson Warner in History of the American Negro, North Carolina Edition (v.4) by A. B. Caldwell [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Lawyers, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Washington, Mason County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Alabama / St. Louis, Missouri

Warren County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Warren County, in southern Kentucky and bordered by six counties, was formed in 1796 from a portion of Logan County. It is named for Joseph Warren, a Harvard graduate and major-general who was killed in the Battle at Bunker Hill during the American Revolutionary War. The seat of Warren County is Bowling Green, founded in 1798 and thought to have been named in honor of Bowling Green, Virginia, or for the game 'bowling on the green.' According to the Second Census of Kentucky, 1800, the total population was 4,686: 4,251 whites; 4 free coloreds, and 431 slaves. In 1830 there were two free African American slave owners. By 1860, the total population was 12,004, according to the U.S. Federal Census, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 812 slave owners
  • 3,706 Black slaves
  • 611 Mulatto slaves
  • 92 free Blacks
  • 114 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 882 slave owners
  • 3,893 Black slaves
  • 1,068 Mulatto slaves
  • 99 free Blacks
  • 105 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 5,085 Blacks
  • 1,089 Mulattoes
  • About 172 U.S. Colored Troops listed Warren County, KY, as their birth location.

For more see the Warren County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; 1870 Warren County, Kentucky Black Census by M. B. Gorin; Barbara J. Chase (FA316) Western Kentucky University, Manuscripts & Folklife Archives; Mt. Moriah Cemetery by J. Jeffrey et. al.; Warren County, Kentucky Marriages (1866-1962): Blacks at Warren County Clerk Office; and African American Heritage in Bowling Green and Warren County, Kentucky (FA509) Western Kentucky University, Manuscripts & Folklife Archives.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Warren County, Kentucky

Warren, Mark Edward
Birth Year : 1938
Death Year : 1999
Mark E. Warren was born in Harrodsburg, KY, the son of Mary Wade Warren. He was the director of the television program, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, and other television sitcoms such as Sanford and Son, The Dukes of Hazzard, Barney Miller, and What's Happening. He won an Emmy Award in 1971 for Laugh-In, and was the first African American to win the award. He had also done some acting, including playing Hoon Driver in The Big Steal. He directed the movie Come Back Charleston Blue. Warren began his career in Toronto with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He was a professor at the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans (1999); Who's Who in Entertainment, 2nd ed.; From Beautiful Downtown Burbank by H. Erickson; and "Mark Warren, 60, tv and film director," New York Times, 01/25/1999, p.A21.


  See photo images of Mark Warren in the article "TV's Black Skyrocket: Mark Warren becomes director of 'Laugh-In' in less than two years" in Ebony, April 1970. pp.113-120 [online at Google Books].
 
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Military & Veterans, Television, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Warren, William
Birth Year : 1876
Born in Georgetown, KY, Warren was the first Kentucky African American to lead a military band (Ninth Cavalry). For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Washington, Bobby
Birth Year : 1947
Washington was born in in Lexington, KY. A 5'11" guard, he attended old Dunbar High School in Lexington, where he was an all-state basketball player. He played his college ball at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) from 1966-1969, one of the first three African American players at the school; the other two were Garfield Smith and Toke Coleman. Washington scored a total of 1,221 points during his college career. He was drafted in 1970 by the Kentucky Colonels, an American Basketball Association (ABA) team, and was then picked up by the Cleveland Cavaliers, for whom he played for two years. Washington played in 118 games and scored 700 points during the three years of his professional career. He returned to Kentucky and coached the Bryan Station High School basketball team for 17 years; his teams won more than 300 games and six district titles. For more see Bobby Washington at databaseBasketball.com; and M. Fields, "Dunbar days still the best for Washington - '63 finals special to KHSAA Hall inductee," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/15/2005.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Washington County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Washington County, located in central Kentucky where it is bordered by six counties, was the 10th county formed in Kentucky, in 1792. It was named for President George Washington. Many of the first settlers were veterans who came to the area to claim land grants awarded to them for service during the American Revolutionary War. The county seat, Springfield, was founded in 1793 and named for the many springs in the area. In 1800, the total population was 9,050: 7,611 whites, 17 free coloreds, and 1,422 slaves, according to the Second Census of Kentucky, 1800. In 1830 there were two free African American slave owners in Springfield. By 1860, the total population was 8,753, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 608 slave owners
  • 3,127 Black slaves
  • 337 Mulatto slaves
  • 48 free Blacks
  • 15 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 450 slave owners
  • 2,149 Black slaves
  • 674 Mulatto slaves
  • 32 free Blacks
  • 14 free Mulattoes
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,783 Blacks
  • 312 Mulattoes
  • About 25 U.S. Colored Troops listed Washington County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Washington County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; 1792 Tax List of Washington County, Kentucky; Marriage Bond Books, (1858-1942) at the Washington County Clerk's office; Marriages of Black Residents of Washington County, Kentucky Back Dated and Recorded, 1866-1872, by L. A. Anderson; I Shared the Dream, by G. D. Powers; and Washington County, Kentucky, St. Rose Cemetery, and other "tidbits", by D. F. Bertram.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z], Kentucky Land Grants
Geographic Region: Washington County, Kentucky

Washington, Edith Stubblefield
Birth Year : 1948
Edith Stubblefield Washington was born in Almo, KY. She grew up in Toledo, OH, and spent summers with relatives in Kentucky. She is a Certified Construction Specifier. In 1997 Washington was named the first African American woman Fellow of the Construction Specifications Institute, becoming in June 2003 its first African American woman president. She has been active in the construction industry for more than 30 years and has owned and operated her own consulting firm, Stubblefield Group, Inc., since 1994. She is a specifications consultant for architectural and engineering firms in the United States and abroad. For more see L. Deen, "Edith Washington: from carpenter's helper to head of the CSI," BlackEngineer.com, 02/05/04; and Who's Who Among African Americans, vols. 11-17.
Subjects: Construction, Contractors, Builders, Migration North, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Almo, Calloway County, Kentucky / Toledo, Ohio

Washington, Edward
Born in Paducah, KY, Washington was one of the first African Americans to receive a Doctorate of Education from a major university when he was awarded the degree by New York University in 1935; he also qualified for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Physical Education. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Greenwich Village, New York City, New York

Washington, Edward, Jr. "Eddie"
Birth Year : 1931
Born in Logan County, KY, Washington became Adairville, KY's first African American councilman, in 1970. Washington was a foreman at the Auburn Hosiery Mill. For more see "36 city officials include mayor, police court judge," in the Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1972], by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 10; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1977-2006.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign)
Geographic Region: Adairville, Logan County, Kentucky

Washington, Ford Lee "Buck"
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1955
Born in Louisville, KY, Washington was a pianist, vaudeville dancer, and occasional singer. As a teen, he teamed with dancer John W. Sublett (both were orphans). Known as "Buck and Bubbles," they broke the color barrier by performing in the white vaudeville circuit. In 1922 the team performed at the New York Palace Theatre, the top venue for vaudeville performers. Washington performed in movies and recorded with Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Coleman Hawkins; he also recorded duets with Sublett. He performed for a short time with Jonah Jones. For more see Buck Washington, dancer extraordinaire! and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed., ed. by B. Kernfeld. View Buck and Bubbles... Variety Show (1937) on YouTube.

Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Washington, Isam
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1903
Isam [or Isom or Isham] Washington was born in North Carolina and brought to Lovelaceville, KY, as a slave. He was a Civil War veteran who served with the 8th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, Company "L" from Paducah, KY; he was honorably discharged in 1866. He returned to Ballard County, where he later acquired 55 acres of farmland to produce tobacco. Washington later lost his land, then in 1900 moved his family to Massac County, Illinois, where he died in 1903. He had also been a minister. Isam Washington was the father of Isam Mack Washington, the grandfather of Roy L. Washington, Sr., and the great-grandfather of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Massac County, Illinois / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Washington, Isam McDaniel "Mack"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1957
Isam [or Isom] M. Washington was born in Lovelaceville, KY. He was the youngest son of Rebecca Neal Washington and Isam Washington. Isam M. Washington married Arbella Weeks from Massac County, Illinois; they were the parents of Roy L. Washington and the grandparents of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Isam M. Washington was a minister at several churches in Illinois; he helped raise funds for the building of the St. James Church in Lawrenceville and the St. Peter A.M.E. Church in Decatur. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Massac County, Illinois / Lawrenceville and Decatur, Illinois

Washington, Rebecca Neal
Death Year : 1885
Rebecca Neal Washington was born a slave in Lovelaceville, KY. She was the first wife of Isam Washington, the mother of Isam McDaniel Washington, the grandmother of Roy L. Washington, and the great grandmother of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987), by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Mothers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky

Washington, Roy L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1953
Roy L. Washington was born in Lovelaceville, KY, the son of Isam M. Washington and Arbella Weeks. When he was a teenager, Roy Washington left Kentucky for southern Illinois, where he married Bertha Spence Jones (1898-1980). The couple later moved to Chicago, two of the more than 50,000 African Americans who had left the South by 1920 to settle in Chicago. The couple had four children, 2-6 years old, when Bertha separated from Roy. He retained custody of the children while earning $15 per week at the stockyard and attending Chicago-Kent College of Law at nights. Bertha lived nearby and assisted with the raising of the children. She would later marry Ernest Price, and they would have six children. Roy Washington received his law license in 1923, and he too remarried. Washington developed his law practice and was also a minister who preached at various churches in Chicago. He would become the Democratic Party precinct captain in the Third Ward and was also a police court prosecutor. When Roy Washington died in 1953, his youngest child, Harold Washington (1922-1987), took over his precinct position. Harold Washington also served as the Democratic representative to the Illinois State Legislature, 1965-1976; state senator, 1976-1980; and house member, beginning in 1980. He was the first African American mayor of Chicago, 1983-1987 (he died during his second term). Harold Washington was the brother of Ramon Price (1930-2000), Chief Curator of Du Sable Museum of African American History in Chicago. For more see J. Camper, et al., "The road to city hall, a half-century of black political evolution set the stage for the Harold Washington revolution," Chicago Tribune, 11/16/1986; Pinderhughes, D., "Washington, Harold." Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, pp. 2267-2268; and The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C.G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Mayors
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Washington Terrace Miniture Golf Course (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1930
The Washington Terrace Miniature 18-hole Golf Course opened in June of 1930. It was located across the street from Douglas Park on Georgetown Street. The course was restricted to "Colored Only" and each week the Washington Terrace Golf Club held a tournament. The facility was managed by Harrison M'Quairy. For more see "Now open, Washington Terrace..." in the Colored Notes section of the Lexington Leader, 06/26/1930, p.18; and "The Washington Terrace Golf course..." in the Colored Notes section of the Lexington Leader, 07/02/1930, p.10.
Subjects: Golf and Golfers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Waters, Stephen H.
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1927
Waters was born in Paris, KY, the son of Jacob and Julia Waters. He was crier for the Circuit Court of Appeals and a personal messenger for Judge William H. Taft in Cincinnati. Appointed assistant librarian at the Cincinnati Public Library in 1900, he may have been the first African American librarian in Ohio. He was the husband of Minnie M. Moore Waters (b. 1869 in OH); the couple married in 1899 and lived on Mound Street in Cincinnati, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1941-44; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Watkins, Alma Taylor
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1968
Watkins was born in Louisville, KY. A professor of romance languages at Tennessee A & I State College (now Tennessee State University) beginning in 1943, she was recognized for her language skills. Watkins' doctoral dissertation was entitled Eroticism in the Novels of Felipe Trigo (1949); she also published several articles. She studied at the University of Toulouse in France in 1939, the Bibloteca Menendez y Pelayo in Spain, and the National University of Mexico. She was the wife of Dr. Mark Hanna Watkins (1903-1976), an anthropologist, they divorced in 1945. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Who's Who of American Women 1st, 5th, & 6th editions.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Toulouse, France / Santander, Spain / Mexico City, Mexico

Watkins, Jerry
Birth Year : 1950
Jerry Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, KY. His family moved to Central Islip, New York, in 1965. He graduated from Ottawa University in 1975 with degrees in biology and education. In 1995 he was one of the 24 educators chosen to study DNA and molecular genetics; he now works with the schools to develop DNA science curricula. For more see African Americans of Western Long Island, by J. Domatob.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Central Islip, New York

Watkins, Luevenia
Birth Year : 1934
Death Year : 1998
Watkins was born in Hopkinsville, KY. She was the first African American woman to serve on the Hopkinsville, KY, City Council, beginning in 1987. She has received a great many awards, including the NAACP Magistrate Daniel Massie Award for NAACP Involvement Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. Her community service activity is quite extensive: she has been the Democratic chairperson for Ward 9, a volunteer for the S.S.D.A. Commodities Program, and a member of the Voter Registration Committee. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; and "Hopkinsville has 3 blacks on city council," in the 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 17.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Watson, Carl
Dr. Carl Watson was the first African American admitted to the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He completed his residency and graduated in 1964. His obstetrics and gynecology practice is in California. Watson is also a graduate of the old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY. Sources: Kenutcky Alumni, fall 2010, v81, issue 3, p.15; and E. A. Jasmin and A. Etmans, "Black UK graduates to honor school's 'Waymakers' of '60s," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1993, City/State section, p.B3.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Watson, Dudley M.
Birth Year : 1919
Watson was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Paul and Beulah Malone Watson. A Tuskegee Airman, 2nd lieutenant in the Army, and captain in the Air Force, Watson served as assistant operations officer with the 302nd Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group in Michigan. He was also an instrument instructor at Tuskegee Army Air Base and commanding officer of G Squadron, Godman Army Air Base. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Tuskegee, Alabama / Michigan / Godman Army Air Field, Hardin County, Kentucky

Watson, Minnie and William
Minnie Watson was a mortician, the top student in the 1892 graduating class of the Clark School for Embalming, one of three African Americans in the class and the only woman. She was the wife and assistant to William Watson, a funeral home owner at 312 North Ninth Street in Louisville, KY. Their business was one of the three leading undertaking operations for African Americans in Louisville; the other two were owned by the Fox Brothers and J. H. Taylor. For more see "Mrs. Minnie Watson," in Noted Negro Women: their triumphs and activities, by M. A. Majors; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Watson, William
Birth Year : 1827
William Watson, a Kentucky native and an escape slave, was an education activist for the coloured in England. In January of 1857, Watson was in London at Trinity Chapel on Peckitt-street, where he delivered a speech on the importance of educating the coloured subjects of the British Empire. A collection was taken at the end of the program. Watson was attempting to raise money for the establishment of societies in various areas of England, and the societies were to oversee the education of coloured persons in a given area. Watson continued with his lectures and in November of 1859, the audience had so few boys that the presentation at the Mechanics' Institution was canceled. Watson was still at his mission in December of 1859 when he delivered a lecture at the Assembly Rooms at the Isle of Wright. The title of the lecture had been used in prior presentations, "Education and Trades of the Coloured Subjects of the Queen in the British Colonies." A collection was taken at the end of Watson's presentation. W. Watson was born in Kentucky where he was a slave. When he was 19 years old, he escaped to Canada, then moved on to England. Watson attended The King's College, located in London, England. For more see "The Coloured population of the British Empire," The York Herald, 01/24/1857, p.7; "Local and District News - Education," Berrow's Worcester Journal, 11/13/1858, p.5; "A Gentleman of Colour," Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 11/05/1859, p.3; the December 17th, 1859, entry "Lecture by Gentleman of Color" from the Isle of Wight Observer at the Ryde Social Heritage Group website; and "Lecture," Isle of Wight Observer, 12/31/1859, issue 383.

In response to our inquiry about W. Watson, the following information on William Watson was transcribed and provided by King's College London. Please note there is a possibility that W. Watson and William Watson may not be the same person. We welcome any additional information.

Source: King's College London Entrance Papers for the Theological Department. Entrance Papers were forms completed on entry listing the name, address and fees paid.

"Name of Student at full length: William Watson
Age last Birthday, with date: 26 - Dec 10th 1849
Under which class of Candidates the Student is admitted:
Candidates Date of Admittance: 12 April 1850
Student's Residence in London: 150 Southwark B[ridge]
Fees for Two Term: £8 8s 0d
Matriculation: £1 1s 0d
Library Fee: £2 2s 0d
Cap and Gown: £1 10s 0d
The Calendar: 2s £13 3s 0d
Paid: 12 April 1850"
 
In the College Calendars for 1850-1851 and 1851-1852, William Watson is listed in the Theological Department under the 'Class of Candidates. Names of those attending this Class during the past year, who have not yet passed the necessary Examination preparatory to entering upon the full Divinity course.' However, he does not reappear in any of the following Calendars which would indicate that he was no longer attending the College.

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Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Canada / London, England, Europe

Watts, Cato
Watts was the first African American resident in Louisville, KY, around 1778, and the first resident to be executed, for killing his master. For more see Kentucky: a guide to the Bluegrass state, by Writers' Program of the WPA in the state of Kentucky; Race Relations in the Late 20th Century; and The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Early Settlers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Watts, Richard, Sr.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2000
Watts was born in Maben, AL, and moved to Wheelwright, KY, in the 1940s to play baseball on a mine team and to get a job. Prior to coming to Kentucky, Watts had served in the Army and played baseball with the Birmingham Black Barons. In Kentucky, he became a state mine inspector and the Martin District Supervisor of the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals, retiring in 1995. Watts was also a cook known for his meals at picnics and dinners. For more see "Ex-mine inspector, ballplayer dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/25/2000, Obituaries section, p. B2.
Subjects: Baseball, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Maben and Birmingham, Alabama / Wheelwright, Floyd County, Kentucky

Way, James Sherman
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2005
Way was born in Cynthiana, KY, the son of James and Elizabeth Lydick Way. In 1967, James Sherman Way became the first African American faculty member at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU); he was a professor of industrial technology. His children, James, Jannette, William, and Melissa, were the first African American children enrolled in the EKU Model School. Way was a graduate of Central State University and Eastern Kentucky University. He was also an athlete: he played baseball for the Lexington Hustlers and was named to the Harrison County Football Hall of Fame. For more see "James Sherman Way 1923-2005 became first black member of EKU faculty, Cynthiana native was professor of industrial technology," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/15/2005, City&Region section, p. C3; and the James Way and Mrs. Anna Williams Way interviews in the Eastern Kentucky University Library.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Education and Educators, Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Wayman Institute
Start Year : 1890
End Year : 1919
Founded in Harrodsburg, KY, by the Kentucky Conference of the A. M. E. Church, Wayman Institute was named after Bishop A. W. Wayman. It was an elementary school with three buildings located on 20 acres of land (some sources say there were four buildings on 18 1/2 acres of land). The principals were Rev. I. H. Welch, August Reid, W. H. Lacey, George W. Saffell, W. E. Newsome, C. H. Brown, and in 1915, C. H. Boone. The school had three teachers and 53 students during the 1915-16 school term. Twenty-nine students had graduated by 1916; the school closed in 1919. The property was sold and the Kentucky interest of $2,000 was merged into Turner College in Tennessee. For more see Centennial Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, p. 370 [full-text at the UNC Documenting the American South website]; "Wayman Institute," pp. 278-279 in vol. 2 of Negro Education: a study of the private and higher schools for Colored people in the United States, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education, Bulletin 1916, No. 39 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; Wayman Institute on p. 525 of The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright; and a detailed history of Wayman Institute on pp. 196-201 in The History of Education of Mercer County, Kentucky, by W. M. Wesley. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.

 

Access Interview

 Listen to the oral history recordings of Margaret Harris for more information about Wayman Institute, recording at "Pass the Word," a Kentucky Historical Society website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Wayne County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Wayne County, located in south central Kentucky, is bordered by four counties and the Tennessee state line. It was formed in 1800 from portions of Pulaski and Cumberland Counties. Wayne County was named in honor of Anthony Wayne, a member of the Continental Army, and a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War. The seat of Wayne County is Monticello, established in 1800 and named for the Virginia home of Thomas Jefferson [Jefferson's Monticello]. The 1810 Wayne County population was 1,850 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 9,272 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 141 slave owners
  • 447 Black slaves
  • 131 Mulatto slaves
  • 3 free Blacks [Li Ewing, Judia Grals Ewing, and Jerry Lankford]
  • 7 free Mulattoes [last names Mills, Rotan, 1 Frazer, 1 Spradling]
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 212 slave owners
  • 720 Black slaves
  • 259 Mulatto slaves
  • 22 free Blacks
  • 6 free Mulattoes [last names Cowan, 1 Gibson, 1 Philips, 1 Wadkins]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 528 Blacks
  • 177 Mulattoes
  • About 55 U.S. Colored Troops listed Wayne County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Wayne County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; A Compilation of Materials Documenting the History of Negro Education in Monticello and Wayne County, Kentucky, by H. Ogle; Jesse Alexander Papers at the University of Minnesota; "Thomas J. Craft, Sr." in Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century, by J. H. Kessler; and "Brent Woods" in Black Valor, by F. N. Schubert.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Wayne County, Kentucky

Weaver, Rufus Jack
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2008
Weaver was one of the very few African American men from Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during WWII. He joined the Navy in 1945 and first served on "R-1." He was chief steward when he retired from the Navy in 1965. Rufus married Margurite in 1965 and the Weaver Family lived in New London, CT. In 1968, Rufus Weaver invented a stair-climbing wheelchair, U.S. patent #3,411,598. Rufus Jack Weaver was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Jennie Washington Weaver and George Weaver. Jennie was born in Alabama and her parents were from Georgia. She died February 9, 1929, when Rufus was two years old; the family was living at the rear of 1414 S. 10th Street in Louisville, KY, according to Jennie Weaver's death certificate. Rufus Weaver was raised by his father for a few years, then lived in a detention home before living with his grandparents for a couple of years until his father got out of jail. At the age of 14, Rufus Weaver struck out on his own. This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston. For a more detailed account of Rufus J. Weaver's life and military career, see his entry in Black Submariners by G. A. Knoblock; and see Rufus J. Weaver in the August 2002 and the December 2008 issues of Hooter Hilites [available full text online].
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Inventors, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New London, Connecticut

Weaver, Sylvester
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1960
Weaver was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Wallis and Mattie Embers Weaver. In 1900 the family lived on Logan Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Sylvester Weaver was the first country bluesman to be recorded (Guitar Blues) and was a talent scout for the Okeh blues label. Weaver brought Walter Beasley and Helen Humes to New York. His song, Guitar Rag, was taken and turned into a classic without credit to Weaver. For more see All Music Guide to the Blues. The experts' guide to the best blues recordings, 2nd ed., edited by M. Erlewine, et al; and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 3rd ed., edited by Colin Larkin. View image and listen to Sylvester Weaver & Walter Beasley - Bottleneck Blues [1927] on YouTube.

Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York

Webb, Christopher
Birth Year : 1825
Webb was a waiter at the Gothic Hall Saloon in Buffalo, NY, when in September 1847, two slave catchers from Covington, KY, claimed that Webb was an escaped slave and attempted to take him back to Kentucky. Webb declared that he was free. Members of the community came to Webb's rescue and the slave catchers fled. African Americans in the community formed a vigilante committee to watch for other slave catchers, and legal action was taken against the town constables and a lawyer who had assisted the slave catchers. Webb was awarded $90 for damages and his court costs were paid. Webb's rescue was the second of two successful attempts by the community to prevent slave catchers from capturing African Americans in Buffalo. According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, the following persons were within 25 year old Christopher Webb's household: 28 year old Ann Webb from Kentucky; 41/2 month old Richard, born in New York; 25 year old Sarah Andrews from Connecticut; and a 26 year old man named Charles from Kentucky. For more see J. Richardson, "Buffalo's Antebellum African American community and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 27, no. 2 (July 2003), pp. 29ff.; and chapter 5 of The Teachers Voice, by R. J. Altenbaugh.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Buffalo, New York

Webster, Benjamin Sweeney, Sr.
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 1987
Webster was a Kentucky native, the son of James and Marie L. Webster. A mortician and salesman, Benjamin was the father of poet Toi Derricotte (b. 1941 in Detroit, MI) and the husband of Antonia Baquet (Webster) Cyrus until they divorced in 1953. The Webster Family owned the Webster Funeral Home in Detroit, MI. For more see M. Salij, "The poetry of black and white Detroit native Toi Derricotte reaches inside herself to write about race," 04/27/2001, and "Antonia Cyrus: family historian, animal lover," 10/20/2001, both articles in the Detroit Free Press. For more on Derricotte see the Concise Oxford Companion to African American Literature.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Poets, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Webster County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1860-1880
Start Year : 1860
End Year : 1880
Webster County, located in western Kentucky, was formed in 1860 from portions of Henderson, Hopkins, and Union Counties. It is bordered by five counties and was named for Daniel Webster, a U.S. Congressman who opposed the War of 1812. The seat of Webster County is Dixon, which was incorporated in 1861 and named for Archibald Dixon, a U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the 12th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. The 1860 Webster County population was 6,449, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. The population increased to 14,249 by 1880. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1860-1880.

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 256 slave owners
  • 790 Black slaves
  • 293 Mulatto slaves
  • 11 free Blacks [most with the last name Tye, 3 Brooks, 1 White]
  • 22 free Mulattoes [most with the last names Brooks, Hambleton, Lisle, and Rose]
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 923 Blacks
  • 367 Mulattoes
  • About 18 U.S. Colored Troops listed Webster County, KY, as their birth location.
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 1,154 Blacks
  • 0 Mulattoes
For more see the Webster County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Jesse Oliver Mays Collection; and "Samuel Watson" in Homeless, Friendless, and Penniless: the WPA interviews with former slaves living in Indiana, by R. L. Baker.
See the photo image of the Sebree Colored School at Kentucky Digital Library - Images.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Webster County, Kentucky

Weeden, Henry Clay
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1937
Born a slave in LaGrange, KY, Weeden was educated at the public school that was managed by E. P. Marrs, and continued his education in Louisville. He became editor of the Christian Index, and later edited Zion's Banner, and was a special correspondent to city dailies. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention for ten years. In 1892, he was the first African American elected secretary of the Fifth District Republican Convention. Weeden was a Knight Templar and a Thirty-second Degree Mason. He wrote Weeden's History of the Colored People of Louisville, and brief biography is given of Weeden's life under the heading "Our Compiler." For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky

Wells, Billy T.
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 1986
Wells was the first African American rodeo star from Murray, KY. He is buried in the African American section of the Murray City Cemetery. For more see Find a Grave, Billy T. Wells.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky

Wells, Jerry Lee
Birth Year : 1944
Born in Glasgow, KY, Wells played high school basketball at Ralph Bunche High School there. He was recruited along with teammate Charles Hunter to play college ball at Oklahoma City University, where Wells was an All-American. His scoring ability helped take the team to the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years. Wells and Hunter were the first two African American basketball players at the school. Wells was selected by the Cincinnati Royals in the second round of the 1966 NBA draft, but his season was cut short when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Wells was inducted into the Oklahoma City University Hall of Fame. For more see N. Haney, "Spirit of '66 alive and well; Glory Road' brings back memories for local duo, "Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 01/16/2006.
Subjects: Basketball
Geographic Region: Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma / Cincinnati, Ohio

Wells, Johnny
Birth Year : 1905
Death Year : 1965
Wells, born in Kentucky, was a drummer, singer, comedian, and dancer at the Apex Club in Chicago. Later, during the 1920s and 1930s, he played with Jimmie Noone's Band in Chicago, replacing drummer Olie Powers. Wells played on several of the band's recordings. He also played with a number of other bands before leaving Chicago for New York, where he performed and recorded with Joe Sullivan and his Cafe Society Orchestra. For more see Johnny Wells in Oxford Music Online (database); and Joe Sullivan and his Cafe Society Orchestra, a redhotjazz.com website.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / New York

Wells, William "Dicky"
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1985
Born in Centerville, TN, Wells grew up in Louisville, KY. He was a trombonist who played in a speech-like style and who invented his pepperpot mute. Throughout his career he played with Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Ray Charles, and a number of others. Wells co-authored The Night People with S. Dance. For more see Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, ed. by D. Clark; and American National Biography, ed. J. A. Garraty and M. C. Carnes. View Born to Swing - pt.5 - Dicky Wells on YouTube.

Subjects: Authors, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Centerville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wendell, Thomas T.
Birth Year : 1877
Death Year : 1953
Dr. Thomas T. Wendell was born in Nashville, TN, the son of Alfred and Clare Wendell. He was a physician in Lexington, KY, for half a century, and was a full time doctor for Negro patients at Eastern State Hospital until his retirement in the spring of 1952. When Eastern State completed the new hospital building for Negro patients in 1953, it was named the Wendell Building in honor of Dr. Thomas Wendell. The facility was to be a fully functioning hospital with the capacity to house 350 patients and housing for 30 live-in employees. In addition to being a doctor, Wendell was also a pharmacist, he had received both degrees from Meharry Medical College. He also led the effort to build the old Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in 1922. For more see Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; "Negro building at Eastern to be named for Dr. Wendell," Lexington Leader, 03/05/1953, p.24; and the Thomas T. Wendell Collection at the Kentucky Historical Society Library.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Nashville, Tennessee / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wesley, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1891
Death Year : 1987
Charles H. Wesley was born in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Matilda Harris Wesley, who was mistakenly listed as a widow in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census when she and her son Charles lived on 9th Street with Matilda's father, Douglas Harris, and other family members. Matilda Harris Wesley was not a widow in 1900; her husband (or ex-husband) Charles Snowden Wesley is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as a single man; he was living with his parents, Mary H. and J. H. Taylor, on 9th Street in Louisville and was employed at an undertakers' business. Charles S. Wesley died in April of 1902 [according to information provided to Ms. C. P. Uzelac of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc.] His death date is given as April 28, 1904 in the Kentucky Death Index for Jefferson County, KY. His son, Charles H. Wesley, received his B.A. from Fisk University in 1911, his M.A. from Yale in 1913, and a Ph.D in history from Harvard. Wesley was the third African American to receive a doctorate in history from Harvard. As a professor, he taught history and modern language at Howard University. He later became president of Wilberforce University and Central State College [now Central State University] in Ohio. Wesley was president of the Study of Negro Life and History, 1950-1965, and executive director up to 1972. He was an AME Church minister and elder. Wesley wrote a number of articles on the problems of Negro education in the United States. In 1927 he published Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925, and, in 1935, Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom. Wesley wrote the history of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for seven decades. His last book was The History of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. For more see Who's Who Among Black Americans, 6th ed.; Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith; and Current Biography. Additional information provided by C. P. Uzelac, Executive Director of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc.

See photo image of Charles H. Wesley and additional information at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / New Haven, Connecticut / Cambridge, Massachusetts / Washington, D.C. / Wilberforce, Ohio

Wesley, Edward
Birth Year : 1859
Edward Wesley, born in Kentucky around 1859, was a jockey in Prescott, AZ, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Prescott, AZ

West Chestnut Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1886
The West Chestnut Street Baptist Church was organized in 1886 in Louisville, KY, with Reverend William Johnson as pastor. Reverend Johnson was pastor for more than 30 years and he was respected as a leader. The church was known to have a number of professional men within the congregation such as doctors and lawyers who supported church efforts. The church also became known for its fine Black gospel music, the West Chestnut Street Baptist Church Choir performed in the 1986 film Aida. From the 1950s-1970s, the church served as a training center for civil rights protests. In the 1980s, when Reverend C. Mackey Daniels was leading the church, there was a partnership developed with the Highland Presbyterian Church, which was predominately white and led by Reverend James O. Chatham. The two church congregations worked together to speak out for racial unity in Louisville. For more see a picture and brief history of the church in Negro Baptist History, U.S.A., 1790-1930 by L. G. Jordan; and "A Tale of Two Congregations" in Sundays Down South by J. O. Chatham.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

West, James
Birth Year : 1868
Death Year : 1885
Seventeen year old James West was a jockey from Madison County, KY. He died April 17, 1885 in Chicago, IL [source:  Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index]. He is buried in the Oak Cemetery in Chicago.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

West Kentucky Conference and West Kentucky Conference Branch (African Methodist Episcopal Church)
Start Year : 1880
The West Kentucky Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church ((AME) became independent from the AME Kentucky Conference in 1880 at Richmond, KY, under Bishop J. P. Campbell. The first conference was held the following year in Paducah, KY. The West Kentucky Conference Branch, a women's missionary organization, was organized in 1908 in Franklin, KY, by Bishop C. T. Shaffer. For more information about the West Kentucky Conference and the West Kentucky Conference Branch and its sub-units, see pp.396-397 and p.430 in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky

West, Millard
Birth Year : 1943
West was the first African American state trooper in Kentucky. From Lexington, KY, he was a 25-year old graduate of the police academy and also an Air Force veteran. West graduated with the 37th cadet class and was assigned to Port Four in Elizabethtown, KY. For more see The New York Times, 01/26/1968, p. 17; "First Negro Trooper Sworn in Kentucky," The Washington Post, 01/27/1968; and "Kentucky State Police" in the Lexington Herald, 01/27/1968, p.13 [picture with article].
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Western Colored Branch Library, Louisville, KY (Jefferson County)
Start Year : 1905
The library originally opened on September 23, 1905, in a home in Louisville, KY; the books were shelved in three rooms. In 1908, permission was sought and funds were received from the Carnegie Corporation, and a permanent library was built at the corner of Tenth and Chestnut Streets. It was the first Carnegie Colored Library in the United States; it still operates at the same location. From 1912-1931, the library housed the first library training program for African Americans in the United States. This was also the period when Louisville hired more African American librarians than any other city in the U.S. In addition to the library, the Western Colored Branch Library supported 69 classroom collections in 26 colored schools in Louisville, and a number of deposit library stations within Negro businesses and organizations. For more see A Separate Flame; Western Branch; the first African American Library and the video recording of the same title (available in the University of Kentucky's Audio Visual Services' Media Library collection); and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. See also A list of books selected from titles in the Western Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library recommended for first purchase. Compiled by Thomas F. Blue and Rachel D. Harris [available online in the Kentucky Digital Library].


See photo images of the Western Branch Library, at the website "A Separate Flame."

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Weston, Alice Victoria Henry and William Julius Sr.
In 1948, Alice Weston was buried in Paducah, KY. She was born in 1882 in Perry, NY, the daughter of Henry and Clara E. Henry Thomas. Her father had been an escaped slave from Mississippi, and her mother was the sister of distinguished Judge Edward W. Henry (1871-1946) in Philadelphia. Alice Weston was married to Dr. William Julius Weston (1875-1936) from Henderson, KY; they met while students at Howard University. The couple moved to Kentucky, where Dr. Weston practiced medicine at Hickman, Henderson, and Paducah. Victoria Weston completed her college degree at Kentucky State University and taught at Lincoln High School in Paducah for 20 years. She was one of the most influential teachers in the city and the state. Weston, who taught history, was the first teacher in Kentucky to develop and teach a formal course in African American history that was required of all students at Lincoln High. She served in several leadership positions within her church and led general church activities held in Paducah. She was an active member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association and served as president of the Kentucky State Association of Colored Women, which was established in 1903. Victoria and William Weston had three children, all born in Kentucky: Clara Elizabeth (b. 1904), Alice Victoria (b. 1915), and William Julius, Jr. (1906-1945); William was a police officer in Washington, D.C., who was killed in the line of duty. For more see C. G. Woodson, "Alice Victoria Weston and her family," Negro History Bulletin, vol. 11, issue 9, pp. 195-198; William Julius Weston in A Historical, Biographical and Statistical Souvenir, by D. S. Lamb [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Perry, New York / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Whedbee, Bertha P.
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1960
Bertha Whedbee, is considered the first African American woman police officer to be hired by the Louisville Police Department, March 22, 1922. Whedbee had campaigned for the position by circulating a petition that was signed by voters. Her employment came with the stipulation that she work only with members of her race. Whedbee was born in West Virginia, and was the wife of Dr. Ellis D. Whedbee (1863-1940, born in North Carolina). The couple married in 1898, and the family lived at 2832 West Chestnut Street in Louisville, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see the Louisville Division of Police by M. O. Childress, Sr.; and "Louisville Police Department" by M. O. Childress in The Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Migration West, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: West Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wheeler, Albert
Birth Year : 1866
Albert Wheeler, born around 1866 in Kentucky, was a jockey at the fairgrounds in Kansas City, MO, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri

Wheeler, John Leonidas
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1957
John L. Wheeler left teaching to become a leader within the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, the largest African American owned business in the U.S. He was an 1897 graduate of Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University]; immediately after graduating, he became a faculty member at Kittrell College, where he would become a president of the school for four years. [Kittrell College was a Black College in North Carolina, 1886-1975. The location is now Kittrell Job Corps Center.] In 1908, Wheeler left Kittrell College to accept a position with North Carolina Mutual, where he would become superintendent of the Raleigh District. Wheeler would later move to the records department in the Durham office. He also served as master of the Knights of Pythias while in Durham. He invested in real estate and owned property in North Carolina, Ohio, and New York. In 1913, Wheeler was named the North Carolina Mutual state agent for Georgia. In 1922, he was elected to the company's board of directors and in 1927 was named regional supervisor. In 1930, Wheeler was insurance superintendent in Atlanta, GA, and would become assistant director of agents in charge of the southern region. In Atlanta, he was also a member of the NAACP, the Negro Business League, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Wheeler was born and raised in Nicholasville, KY, the son of Phoebe Wheeler, a former slave. He was the husband of Margaret Hervey (b. in 1880 in KY). For more see John Leonidas Wheeler in History of the American Negro and His Institutions, 1917, edited by A. B. Caldwell [online at Google Book Search]; and in An Economic Detour, by M.S. Stuart [online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Migration East, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina / Atlanta, Georgia

Wheeler, John N.
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1940
Dr. John N. Wheeler was born in Kentucky, the son of Sarah and Robert Wheeler. According to the U.S. Federal Census, in 1870 the family of 13 lived in Feliciana, KY, and by 1880 Sarah Wheeler had died, and Robert and four of the children lived in Mayfield, KY. The family moved to Vienna, IL, where John Wheeler completed school and went on to graduate from Meharry Medical College in 1903. He was the husband of Dr. Emma Rochelle Wheeler (1882-1957), and they had a medical practice together in Chattanooga, TN. In 1915, Dr. Emma Wheeler was founder and owner of Walden Hospital in Chattanooga, it was the first African American hospital in the city, and it closed in 1953. Dr. Emma Wheeler also founded a school for training nurses, and she and her husband taught at the school. For more see the John N. Wheeler entry in African Americans of Chattanooga by R. L. Hubbard.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration South
Geographic Region: Feliciana and Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Chattanooga, Tennessee

Wheeler, John W.
Birth Year : 1847
Death Year : 1912
Wheeler was born free in Lexington, KY. He moved to St. Louis in 1873 where he was a politician and the publisher of the St. Louis Palladium newspaper. A republican and follower of Booker T. Washington, he echoed Washington's message for African Americans to become more self-reliant. He also used his newspaper to speak out against discrimination toward African Americans, actively seeking to mobilize black votes for the Republican Party. For more see Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights, ed. by C. D. Lowery, J. F. Marszalek and T. A. Upchurch.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Wheelwright, KY - Colored Section
Start Year : 1918
The Wheelwright Company Housing Project included housing for African Americans, known as the Colored Section. African Americans had first come to the town to work on the railroad at the close of World War I. The railroad was being constructed by the B&O (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), one of the oldest railroads in the United States, and was later purchased by the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio Railway). When the railroad was completed, the African American men were kept on to work in the mines. Some of the men lived at the boarding house owned by Hilton Garrett (1895-1991), an African American from Birmingham, AL. Garrett had come to Kentucky on his own, and after saving enough money, he was able to bring his wife, brother, and another man to Wheelwright. The town of Wheelwright had been established in 1916 by the Elkhorn Coal Company, and was named after the president of Consolidated Coal Company, Jere H. Wheelwright. The miners were of all races and nationalities, and African Americans were recruited from the North and the South. In the mines, the men were integrated, but they were segregated outside the mines. A black deputy was hired for the Colored section of town known as Hall Hollow. Wheelwright was not listed as a separate town in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. In the 1930 census, of the 226 African Americans listed as living in Wheelwright, more than 100 were men from Alabama. Wives and children were also listed in the census. Segregation was the norm between African Americans and Whites. Among the African Americans who lived in the Colored section, there was distinction and confrontations between those from the North and those form the South. There was not a school building for African American children, so grade school was held in the Colored church. A high school, Dunbar High, was built in 1936. Mrs. Mannie N. Wilson was a high school teacher before the building was completed, and in 1935, she was listed in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal. When Inland Steel owned the city of Wheelwright, the homes were upgraded, the streets were paved, and recreation facilities were built. All was segregated. Library services were provided to African Americans around 1943 via the library for whites. Photographs, such as a 1946 photo, show the street in the Colored section of the housing project. There is also a photo of the shift change at a mine. These and other photo images are available in the Kentucky Digital Library - Images. For more see the Wheelwright Collection and other collections at the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections; Black Coal Miners in America, by R. L. Lewis; the Kentucky Coal Education website Wheelwright Kentucky, Floyd County; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. Also contact the Floyd County Public Library.

 
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration South, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Birmingham, Alabama / Wheelwright, Floyd County, Kentucky

White, Addison
Birth Year : 1821
Addison White was a slave from Fleming County, KY. He was owned by Daniel White. Around 1853 Addison escaped from Kentucky to the farm of Udney Hyde in Mechanicsburg, OH. Hyde had been a conductor in the Underground Railroad but had since given it up and become a farmer. Hyde allowed Addison to stay at his place, but Daniel White soon found where Addison was hiding and Hyde's house was surrounded by federal marshals. A group of 100 citizens from Mechanicsburg came to Addison's rescue and eventually bought his freedom for $950. For more see The Ad White Slave-Rescue Case, and Addison White's picture at The African American Experience in Ohio 1850-1920.


Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Fleming County, Kentucky / Mechanicsburg, Ohio

White, Albert S., Sr. and Sally J. Seals
Albert S. White, Sr. (1869-1911), was born in Kentucky, the son of Albert and Jane Buckner White. He was an attorney and dean of Louisville (KY) Central Law School, where he served from 1896-1911. He fought for African American voting rights; when White and others insisted on voting in the 1890s, they were beaten by Louisville police officers. White was a graduate of State University [Simmons, KY] and Howard University Law School. In 1902 he was appointed a U.S. Revenue Agent following the election of Kentucky's first Republican governor, William O. Bradley. White was unsuccessful in his quest to be named the Minister to Liberia. He was killed by Louis A. Evans in a dispute over the removal of personal belongings at the Lyric Theater, located at 13th and Walnut Streets in Louisville. His wife, Sally J. Seals White (b.1868 or 1871 in KY), was the first woman to graduate from Central Law School, where she was also an instructor. In 1904, she became the first African American woman to be admitted to the Kentucky Bar. White had a bachelor's degree from Fisk University. For more see Central Law School Alumni Information, a University of Louisville website; C. B. Lewis, "Louisville and its Afro-American citizens," Colored American Magazine, vol. 10 (no.3-4), pp. 259-265; Life Behind a Veil, by G.C. Wright; Emancipation: the making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944, by J. C. Smith; "Negro woman admitted to bar...," The Landmark, 09/23/1904, p. 3 (also in Marshall Expounder, 09/23/1904, p. 2); and "Albert S. White is shot to death," Lexington Leader, 07/22/1911, p.8. See also the entry for Central Law School.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

White, Churchill
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1949
White was living in Talmage, KY, when he invented the hemp brake machine for which he received patent #1358907 on November 16, 1920. He was born in Mercer County, the son of Churchill and Sallie Herman White. For more see Hemp Brake, by C. White [full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Inventors
Geographic Region: Talmage, Mercer County, Kentucky

White, David French
Birth Year : 1872
David F. White was an educator and minister who combined the two professions: he believed that the Bible should be a part of the course work in schools and that teachers should be Christians. In 1920 he was pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church in Norfolk, VA. White was born in Berea, KY, and he attended Berea College for a year before graduating from Tuscaloosa Institute for Training Colored Ministers [later named Stillman Institute, now Stillman College] and Knoxville College (in 1903). He was principal of Athens Academy and was pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, both in Athens, TN, which began his tenure as a school principal and a minister in several locations: Indianapolis, IN, where he was also active at the YMCA, where he taught Bible classes; Richmond, VA; Prairie, AL; and Cleveland, TN. In 1911, Rev. White resigned from his position as pastor of the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis to join with Fred B. Smith in the "Men and Religion Forward Movement" headquartered in New York [source: Rev. D. F. White...," Freeman, 06/24/1911, p. 8]. The movement was to bring more men and boys into the church; there was a fear that women had become the dominate membership and would soon sway church policies and decision-making. In 1920, while in Norfolk, VA, in addition to being a minister, Rev. White was director of the YMCA, a probation officer, and a member of the juvenile court. For more see "David French White" in History of the American Negro, Virginia Edition, edited by A. B. Caldwell, and in Black Biography, 1790-1950: a cumulative index by R. K. Burkett, et. al.; and "Y.M.C.A. notes," Freeman, 09/26/1908, p. 8. See the online reprint of W. T. Stead, "The Men and Religion Forward Movement," The Review of Reviews, April 1912.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Corrections and Police, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Tuscaloosa and Prairie, Alabama / Athens, Cleveland,and Knoxville, Tennessee / Indianapolis, Indiana / Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia

White, Fannie Fletcher Hathaway
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1958
Fannie White was an education leader in Lexington, KY, [though her permanent residence was in Owensboro, KY, and later in Louisville, KY]. She taught for 32 years, and served as principal for a total of 18 years at three different schools, Peach Orchard School, Patterson Street School, and George Washington Carver School, all located in Lexington. In 1902, she was a board member of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home. White was the conductor of the Colored Teachers Institute in Lexington, KY, in 1903. She served as second vice president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) from 1924-25, and as first vice president from 1925-28 and 1931 [source: KNEA Journals]. Fannie White was the daughter of Robert Elijah Hathaway, a preacher, and Rachel Scott Hathaway. She was the older sister of Isaac Scott Hathaway and Eva Hathaway Hulitt. She was the wife of Dr. Randolf F. White. Fannie White was a graduate of Chandler Normal School and State Normal School [now Kentucky State University]. She died in 1958 and was buried with her husband in Zachery Taylor Cemetery in Louisville, KY. For more see her obituary in the Courier Journal, 11/12/1958; Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home, by L. F. Byars; and "Colored County Schools," Leader, 09/06/1903, p.3. This entry was provided by Y. Y. Giles.
See photo image of Fannie White in background of photo with her brother Isaac S. Hathaway [Kentucky Digital Library - Images].
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

White, James L.
Born in Mt. Sterling, KY, James L. White served in the Navy and later attended the University of Massachusetts. He later moved to California, where he lived for a while before he and Taylor Hackford became the screenwriters for the 2004 film Ray (about Ray Charles). The movie received six Oscar nominations, and Jamie Foxx, playing the role of Ray Charles, won an Oscar in 2005 for Actor, Leading Role in the film. For more see R. Copley, "'Ray' writer dared to dream: Kentuckian bucked odds, hit big with biopic," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/27/05.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Amherst, Massachusetts / California

White, Paul Dunbar
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 1997
White, a minister, was born in LaGrange, KY, the son of Reverend Isham H. White and Florence Harris White. In 1963, Paul D. White was the first African American judge elected [never appointed] to the Cleveland Municipal Court. He also served as Director of Law in Cleveland when he was hired in 1967 by Carl B. Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major city in the U.S. In 1968, White became the first African American lawyer in a major Cleveland firm, Baker & Hostetler, and was made partner in 1970. The firm established the Paul D. White Scholarship in 1997. Paul D. White was a 1940 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he played on the championship football team as a fullback, then later played professionally for one season in Indianapolis. White was also a 1950 graduate of Western Reserve Law School [now Case Western Reserve University, School of Law] and following his graduation, was hired by Kentucky native and Cleveland attorney Jean Capers. For more see The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History [online], sponsored by Case Western Reserve University and the Western Reserve Historical Society; and the The Plain Dealer articles - - R. M. Peery, "Paul Dunbar White, 79, Judge, City Law Director," 09/26/1997, Obituaries, p. 11B, and P. Morris, "The judge inspired, but he never knew," 09/30/1997, Editorials & Forum section, p. 9B.
Subjects: Football, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Judges
Geographic Region: La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

White, Perry
Death Year : 1877
White was shot and killed by Cassius M. Clay on Sunday, September 30, 1877. White and his mother were former slaves, and with the end of slavery, White's mother, a cook, had been employed by Clay until, according to Clay, he found that she was "robbing him of silver plate and other articles." Clay was on his way to a Negro church near Richmond, KY, to hire another cook, when his path crossed with that of Perry White. According to Clay, White was shot because he threatened Clay's life. Clay turned himself over to the authorities; he was tried, and the jury gave the verdict of justifiable homicide. According to author K. McQueen (Cassius M. Clay: Freedom's Champion, p. 31), "The shooting of White seems to have been a turning point in Clay's mental health." For more see "Cassius M. Clay's ready pistol," New York Times, 10/02/1877, p. 1; Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1888), vol. 1, by J. G. Wilson and J. Fiske [available full view via Google Book Search]; and Cassius M. Clay: "Freedom's Champion" by K. McQueen.
Subjects: Freedom
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

White, Randolf Franklin
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1943
Dr. Randolf F. White was a prominent pharmacist in Owensboro, KY, serving both white and African American customers. He was one of the first African American pharmacists in Daviess County. Dr. White was born in Warrington, Florida, the son of Moses and Massie White. His wife, Fannie H. White, was born in Kentucky. Dr. White and his wife are listed in both the 1920 Daviess County Census and the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. In 1913, Dr. White was named president of the Pharmaceutical Section of the National Medical Association. He had been a druggist in Lexington, KY, and came to Owensboro in 1901, where he operated his drug store for 24 years. White's Drug Store was located at 812 West 5th Street. As a young man, John T. Clark, of the Urban League, had been a pharmacist during the summers at White's Drug Store. In 1925, Dr. White sold his pharmacy to Miley R. Coffield. By 1930, Dr. White and his wife lived in Louisville, KY, at 2504 W. Madison Street. Dr. White owned a drugstore and his wife Fannie was a school teacher [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. Dr. Randolf F. White died on January 1, 1943 [source: Kentucky Death Certificate]. Arrangements were handled by the J. B. Cooper Funeral Home, and Dr. White was buried in the Zachery Taylor National Cemetery. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. For more see "The Pharmacy conducted by Dr. R. F. White ...," The Savannah Tribune, 02/07/1914, p. 4; Dr. R. F. White in "Enterprising Owensboro" in Freeman, 06/30/1906, p. 6; Dr. R. F. White on p. 347 under the heading "Pharmaceutical Section" in the Journal of the National Medical Association, 1914, vol. 5, no. 4; "Southern States," The Pharmaceutical Era, 1925, vol. 60, p. 379; and the paragraph at the bottom of column 1 and the top of column 2 of the article "Past Week at Louisville," Freeman, 10/07/1911, p. 1.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Warrington, Florida / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

White, Robert C.
Birth Year : 1952
Robert C. White was born in Richmond, VA. He began his career in Washington, D.C. In 1995, he was named the first police chief of the D.C. Housing Authority Police Department. In 2003, he became the first African American police chief in Metro Louisville, KY. White came to Louisville from Greensboro, NC, where he had been the police chief. White is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia and John Hopkins University. For more see G. Josephstaff, "Chief Robert White: new leader set to take reins," Courier-Journal, 01/05/2003, News section, p. 01A; "Louisville, KY, gets first Black police chief," Jet, vol. 103, issue 3 (01/13/2003), p. 19 [available full view at Google Book Search]; and Chief Robert White in Who's Who of Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, pp.66-67.
Subjects: Migration West, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Richmond, Virginia / Washington, D.C. / Greensboro, North Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

White, Robert M. "Bob"
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1969
In 1957, Robert "Bob" M. White replaced Thomas F. Johnson as the head football coach at Howard University [source: "Bob White named Howard U. grid coach," Plaindealer, 8/24/1957, p. 6]. White would also serve as a physical education instructor. In 1959, the team won the first Archer-Marshall Award when it defeated Morehouse 20-13 [source: "Howard, Morehouse coaches memorialized at homecoming" Los Angeles Tribune, 12/4/1959, p. 24]. Bob White came to Howard University from New Haven, CT, where for a year he was the program director of the Community School Recreation Program. Before his move to Connecticut, Bob White was the head football coach and athletic director at North Carolina State Teachers College in Elizabeth City, 1953-1956 [now Elizabeth City State University]. The team had a 28-2 record and won the Eastern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference all four years of Bob White's tenure, for which Bob White was named Coach of the Year all four years. Bob White became the ninth head football coach at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1946 and was later the head football coach at Delaware State College, 1950-51 [now Delaware State University] [source: "Robert M. White Records by Year" at the All Time Coaching Records website]. When he arrived at Howard University in 1957, Bob White had 18 years experience as a football coach. He left Howard University in 1962 to become a physical education instructor at Maryland State College [now University of Maryland Eastern Shore] [source: "Sease is selected as Howard mentor," Gettysburg Times, 08/29/1962, p. 3]. He would become the football coach at Maryland State College. In 1968, Bob White was a scout for the NFL Washington Redskins [source: M. E. Jackson, "The World of Sports," Memphis World, 02/03/1968, p. 6]. According to his biography at cyclopaedia.net, Bob White was the director of player personnel for the Washington Redskins. Born in Richmond, KY, White was a 1936 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he earned a B.S degree, and a 1939 graduate of Indiana University, where he earned a M.S. in physical education. Bob White was also a World War II veteran: he enlisted at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indiana on November 13, 1945 [source: U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Record Serial Number 35736208]. Bob White died in 1969 in Washington, D.C. [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Dover, Delaware / Elizabeth City, North Carolina / New Haven, Connecticut / Princess Anne, Maryland / Washington, D. C.

The White Slave by Bartley Theo Campbell
Start Year : 1882
End Year : 1918
The White Slave was a play written by Bartley Campbell who was white, the play opened on April 3, 1882 at the Fourteenth Street Theatre in New York City. The story is of a young woman named Lisa, who believes that she is an octoroon slave. Lisa's white lover/previous owner helps her escape from her new owner, and Lisa learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of a white woman and an Italian man. Her mother was in Italy when she died after giving birth to Lisa, and Lisa's father moved on to France. Lisa was delivered to her grandfather, Judge Hardin in the United States. Judge Hardin, who owned Big Bend Plantation in Kentucky, did not want anyone to know that his dead daughter had had an illegitimate child by a foreigner. He gave the baby to his quadroon slave, Nance, to be raised as her daughter. Once Lisa knows the truth about her past, she marries her lover/former owner, who is also her grandfather's adopted son named Clay. The couple returns to Kentucky and regains ownership of the Big Bend Plantation and the slaves. The White Slave was one of several racial melodramas in the late 1800s, and it repeated the long established plight of the tragic octoroon. It was Bartley Campbell's biggest success and was performed on stage for more than 35 years. The White Slave was written during more successful times for Bartley Campbell, he had been a journalist. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1840, and wrote for the Pittsburgh Post in the late 1850s . He had also worked for newspapers in Cincinnati, New Orleans, and Louisville, KY. Campbell was also an author while employed as a journalist. He gave up journalism in 1871 to become a playwright and was very successful. Campbell died in 1888; he had been declared insane in 1886 and was placed in State Hospital in New York. For more on Bartley T. Campbell see The Cambridge History of American Theatre by D. B. Wilmeth and C. W. E. Bigsby; and Bartley Campbell by W. H. Claeren. For more on the history of the term "white slave" see Sisters in Sin by K. N. Johnson. For more about the play, see the entry "Re-Viewing The White Slave" in African American Performance and Theater History by H. J. Elam, Jr. and D. Krasner; and The White Slave and Other Plays by B. Campbell and N. Wilt.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses
Geographic Region: New York City, New York / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Kentucky

White, Solomon E.
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1912
Solomon White was an artist, scenic painter, and fresco painter. He was born in April 1841 in Kentucky and was the husband of Mary J. White (b.1855 in OH). In 1860, Solomon White was a free person who lived in Cincinnati at the home of Penelope Cousins and Wiley Cousins who was a barber. Solomon would return to Kentucky where he and Mary had their first three children. By 1870, the family had moved to Memphis, TN, where Solomon was employed as a framer. The entire family was listed in the 1870 Census as Mulattoes, including the last two children who were born in Tennessee. By 1879, the family lived in Cincinnati at 276 John Street [source: Williams' Cincinnati Directory for 1878-9], and there were two more children. A year later, the family lived in Grand Rapids, MI, and Solomon was employed as an artist and fresco painter. They lived at 43 Curtiss Street from 1880-1885, according to the Grand Rapids City Directory. They then returned to Cincinnati, and Solomon White continued his work as an artist [source: Williams' Cincinnati Directory 1884-1885]. In 1886, the family moved to 267 W. Eighth Street [source: Williams' Cincinnati Directory 1886]. Solomon White continued as a scenic painter and a fresco painter; he is listed in Williams' Cincinnati Directory as late as 1895, and in the Cincinnati Business Directory section under Fresco Decorators in Williams' Covington and Newport Directory, 1898-99. In October of 1899, Solomon White painted the scenery for the play On the Suwanee River when the play came to Newark, OH. Solomon White had made drawings of the Suwanee River on a trip to Florida, and used the images in the scenery. In 1900, Solomon continued his work as an artist, and he and Mary shared their home on W. Eighth Street with their youngest two sons and Solomon's brother Jackson White, a butcher who was born in December 1861 in Kentucky [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Solomon E. White died February 5, 1912 in Cincinnati, Ohio according to the Ohio Death List. For more see "Auditorium Saturday," Newark Daily Advocate, 10/21/1898, p.6; and Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900 by M. S. Haverstock, et. al.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee / Cincinnati, Ohio / Grand Rapids, Michigan

White Sox Baseball Team (Richmond, KY)
A 1940s picture of the African American baseball team, the White Sox, from Richmond, KY, is included in the Black America Series title Berea and Madison County. The picture was taken in front of Blythe's Restaurant. The caption gives the names of most of the players. For more see Black America Series: Berea and Madison County, by J. G. Burnside.
Subjects: Baseball, Photographers, Photographs
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

White, Thomas McKinley
Birth Year : 1899
White, from Henderson, KY, was chauffeur for the gangster Gerald Chapman. Chapman was hanged in 1926 for the 1924 murder of James Skelly in New Britain, Connecticut. White claimed that he had been driving the getaway car the night of the murder and that Chapman had given him $8,000 and told him to leave town and not talk. According to the Henderson police, White, who was extremely ill, had turned himself in and was willing to testify against Chapman. White was not expected to live. For more see "Negro accuses Chapman," New York Times, Special to the New York Times, 04/03/1926, p. 8.
Subjects: Migration North, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / New Britain, Connecticut

White, William Henry
Birth Year : 1897
William H. White, an AME minister and journalist, was born in Cynthiana, KY, the son of William and Fannie Alexander White. In 1947, Rev. White was pastor of the St. Paul Church in Lexington, KY, and had been a pastor in Middlesboro, Shelbyville, Louisville, Danville, and Frankfort, KY. He had attended the Frankfort schools and earned his B.D. at Payne Theological Seminary in 1925, and his A.B. at Wilberforce University in 1928. He was a contributing journalist to the Christian Recorder, wrote articles for secular periodicals, and founded the Kentucky Junior Christian Recorder newspaper. Rev. White was a veteran of WWI, and served with the 159th Depot Brigade, 38th Company. When he enlisted, he was living at 207 Murray Street in Frankfort, KY, and was working at a production company in Dayton, OH. He was a member of the Masons, the NAACP, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Rev. White was the husband of Frozene Campbell (1906-1945), born in Midway, KY, the daughter of Richard and Ellen Tolbert Campbell. Mrs. White was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], and was a registrar and teacher at Turner College in Atlanta. She also taught school in Shelbyville, KY. For more see the entries for Rev. William Henry White and Mrs. Frozene (Campbell) White in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Whiteside, Birdie Mary Lee
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2004
Whiteside was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of Augusta Radford Jordan and Arkley Whiteside. She founded the Guiding Light Christian Service in 1953 in Indianapolis, designed to take recorded religious sermons to the sick and shut-in. Six years later the service was incorporated. Whiteside moved to Indianapolis in 1950. She was a graduate of Simmons University (KY). The Birdie L. Whiteside Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see Guide to African-American History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Whiting, Pierre, Sr.
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1949
Pierre Whiting, Sr. was a janitor at the University of Kentucky for 57 years. It is thought that he was the first African American employed at the university, and that he was employed longer than any other employee. Whiting's starting date was in 1888 and he retired in 1945. Pierre Whiting was born in Woodford County, KY, the son of Fletcher and Martha Whiting [source: Pierre's Kentucky Death Certificate Registrar's No. 344]. Prior to coming to work at UK, Pierre Whiting lived in Adamstown and he was a farmhand, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Piere's wife was Florida Young and their son was Hannibal. An uncle named Hannibal Breckinridge lived with the family. Pierre Whiting started working at the University of Kentucky in 1888. By 1900, he and Florida were no longer together, and Pierre Whiting was married to Nanine Scott. There were four children in the house: Hannibal, Pierre Jr., Charlie T., and a daughter named Mary [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived on Winslow Street. Pierre's oldest son Hannibal Whiting died of consumption in 1907 and is buried in African Cemetery #2; he was 26 years old [source: Kentucky Certificate and Record of Death Registered No.543]. By 1918, Pierre's son Charlie T. Whiting was employed at Michler Brothers, a greenhouse located at 415 W. Maxwell Street in Lexington [source: Charlie Whiting's WWI Draft Registration Card]. When he returned from service, he was employed with Louis Michler as a chauffeur [source: p.765 in Lexington City Directory, 1923]. In 1920, Pierre and Nannie's son Robert W. was included in the census record for the family. In 1930, the family is listed as living on Euclid Street (Adamstown), according to the U.S. Federal Census. The address is given as 247 Euclid Avenue on p.615 in Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, 1930. Beginning in the 1930s, there were a series of deaths in the Whiting family. Pierre and Nannie Whiting's son Pierre Jr. died in 1939 and is buried in African Cemetery #2 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 699]. Pierre Whiting was a widower when his son died [source: U.S. Federal Census]; his wife Nannie Scott Whiting had died in 1936 and she is buried in African Cemetery #2 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registered No. 1123]. Pierre's first wife Florida Young Saunders died in 1940, she was the widow of Edward Saunders. Florida is buried next to her son Hannibal Whiting in African Cemetery #2 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Registrar's No. 204]. In 1943, Piere's son Robert Willie Whiting died of lukemia and he is buried in African Cemetery #2 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Registrar's No.1060]. Also in 1943, Pierre Whitings house was one of the homes in Adamstown that the University of Kentucky purchased for the building of Memorial Coliseum. The land was referred to as the "Field House Property" in the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees' Minutes, January 12, 1943, p.63 [available online at Explore UK]. The Whiting home was purchased for $1800 [p.64]. Pierre Whiting and his daughter Mary moved to 181 Colfax Street [source: Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, 1943, p.343]. Charles, who was a chauffeur for Thomas B. Cromwell, lived with his wife Millie at 561 S. Upper Street [p.343]. Pierre Whiting retired from the University of Kentucky in 1945, he died April 7, 1949 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death Registrar's No. 344]. He lived to see the integration of the University of Kentucky in March of 1949. Pierre Whiting, Sr. is buried in African Cemetery #2. His son Charlie T. Whiting died in 1958 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, Charlie was a veteran of WWI [source: U.S. Headstone Applications for Military Veterans]. Prior to his death, Charlie T. Whiting was a clerk at O. S. Honaker, and he and his Millie lived at 741 Whitney Avenue [source: p.760 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, 1958]. Pierre's daughter Mary Whiting was a cook at Donovan Hall Cafeteria on the University of Kentucky campus in 1958, and she had moved from the home on Colfax Street to 512 Lawrence Street [source: p.760 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, 1958; and p.728 in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, 1960]. Mary Whiting retired from the University of Kentucky on June 1, 1971; she had been a cook at Donavan Hall for 15 years [source: University of Kentucky Board of Trustees' Minutes, May 4, 1971, p.20 - available online at Kentucky Digital Library]. Mary Whiting died in 1973 [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index]. For more see "The Life story of Dean Whiting is the history of an institution," Kentucky Kernel, 04/22/1949, p.5; and "Dean Pierre dies; served UK 57 years," The Kentucky Alumnus, p.19; [both articles available online at Explore UK]. For the earlier employment and resignation of Mary Whiting at the University of Kentucky, see the Board of Trustees' Minutes, April 6, 1954, p.50; and Board of Trustees' Minutes, June 1, 1954, p.97 [both available online at Kentucky Digital Library].

 

  See photo image of Pierre Whiting Sr. in Explore UK, University of Kentucky
Subjects: Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Other

Whitley County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Whitley County, formed in 1818 from a portion of Knox County, is located in southeastern Kentucky, bordered by four counties and the Tennessee state line. The county was named for William Whitley, a veteran of the Indian Wars and the War of 1812. In the late 1700s, he built the country's first circular race track at his home in Whitley County. Noted differences were that the course was made of clay and the horses raced in a counter-clockwise direction [info]. The seat of Whitley County is Williamsburg, established in 1819 and also named for William Whitley. The 1820 county population was 371 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and it increased to 7,579 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 46 slave owners
  • 135 Black slaves
  • 66 Mulatto slaves
  • 6 free Blacks
  • 18 free Mulattoes
1860 Slave Schedule
  • 46 slave owners
  • 115 Black slaves
  • 42 Mulatto slaves
  • 8 free Blacks [most with last name Berry, 1 Bradshaw, 1 Eaton]
  • 19 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 94 Blacks
  • 51 Mulattoes
  • About 5 U.S. Colored Troops listed Whitley County, KY, as their birth location.
For more see the Whitley County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; Roy M. Chappell in the chapter "No Sir, I Will Not Sign" in Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers, by B. Craig; The Abolitionist Legacy, by J. M. McPherson for information on the first Black students in 1885 at the American Missionary Association (AMA) School in Williamsburg, KY; and the "John G. Tye" entry in the History of Kentucky, v. 5, by W. E. Connelley and E. M. Coulter, for information on the role of the Tye slaves during the early pioneering days of developing Whitley County, KY.
See ca.1920 photo image of African American miners in Whitley County coal mine.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Whitley County, Kentucky

Whitley, Kimberly
Birth Year : 1965
Whitley is the second African American female to become a warden in Kentucky. (The first was Cookie Crews.) Whitley was born in Danville, KY, the daughter of Roland and Frances Whitley. She is a graduate of Danville High School and Kentucky State University, where she earned a B.A. in corrections education (1987) and a masters degree in public administration with a concentration in personnel management (1990). Whitley also holds a certificate in Management Fundamentals as a graduate of the Governor's Minority Management Training Program (Patton administration). She has been a government employee since 1986, when she was a student employee via the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program with the Department of Corrections. In 1990, Whitley was hired full-time as a classification and treatment officer at Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, KY. She has also been employed with the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the Lexington Corrections Division of Probation and Parole, and she was a Court Designated Worker with the Division of Youth Services. In 1995 she left corrections for a position with the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, but after two years returned to the Department of Corrections. She was promoted to Deputy Warden II at the Frankfort Career Development Center in 2002; Deputy Warden III at the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington in 2004; and transferred in 2005 to Northpoint Training Center. In 2006, Whitley was promoted to Warden II at the Frankfort Career and Development Center. This entry was submitted by Roland Whitley with additional information provided by his daughter, Kimberly Whitley.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Burgin, Mercer County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Whitman, Albery A.
Birth Year : 1851
Death Year : 1901
Albery Allson Whitman was born into slavery in Hart County, KY, on the Green River Plantation. Albery was the husband of Caddie Whitman (1857-1909), who was also from Kentucky. Albery was a poet and a Bishop of the Methodist Church. He was a graduate of Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University] and served as Dean of Morris Brown College in Atlanta. His published works include "Leelah Misled" in 1873, "Not a Man and Yet a Man" in 1877, and "The Rape of Florida" in 1884. His last work was published in 1901: "An Idyll of the South." His talent as a Negro poet has been described as between Phillis Wheatley and Paul L. Dunbar. Albery A. Whitman was also the father of musician Caswell W. Whitman (1875-1936) and the Whitman Sisters, one of the most successful vaudeville troupes in the U.S. Albery taught his older daughters to dance when they were children, and for a brief period they were manged by their mother, Caddie. The Whitman troupe first toured Kentucky in 1904. The Whitman Sisters were Mabel (1880-1962), Essie B. (1882-1963), Alberta (1887-1964), and Alice (1900-1969). Mabel directed the shows, Essie was a comic singer, Alberta was a flash dancer and did male drag, and Alice was an exceptional tap dancer. For more on Albery A. Whitman see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; and Albery Allson Whitman (1851-1901), epic poet of African American and Native American self-determination (thesis), by J. R. Hays. For more about the Whitman Sisters see The Royalty of Negro Vaudeville by N. George-Graves; and Jazz Dance, by M. W. Stearns and J. Stearns. For more on Caswell Woodfin Whitman see the following Chicago Defender articles - "The Whitman Sister's kin passes away," 04/04/1936, pp.1 & 10; "Allen Bowers Entertains," 03/06/1932, p.7; and "The Whitmans arrive," 03/16/1918, p.6 - [article citations provided by the Curator of the Chicago Jazz Archive at the University of Chicago].
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Authors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Poets, Religion & Church Work, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Cross Dressing, Dress in Drag
Geographic Region: Hart County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Whitney, Davey L.
Birth Year : 1930
Davey L. Whitney was born in Midway, KY. As a student at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], he earned more letters as an athlete than any other student has: in basketball, baseball, football, and track. He played baseball in the Negro League. He was head coach for more than 26 years at Alcorn State University in Mississippi. In 2002, he set a career victory record as a head basketball coach (551-338) and as the head coach at Alcorn State (496-275). He was ranked among the top six active coaches and was the first to receive the NCAA Hall of Champions Journey Award. The Davey L. Whitney Complex at Alcorn State was named in his honor in 1975. Davey Whitney retired in 2003 and was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. For more see W. Barnhouse, "Dave Whitney, master of perseverance," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 02/19/2003; and R. D. Russo, "A full life, on and off the court," Black Issues in Higher Education, 4/27/2000, vol.17, issue 5, p.37.

See photo image of Davey L. Whitney at the Road Runner website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Alcorn State, Mississippi

Whitney, Francis E.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2006
Whitney was born in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1948 he began operating the F. E. Whitney Real Estate Agency in Hopkinsville. He co-organized and was secretary/treasurer of the Durretts Avenue Realty Co., Inc., which developed and built the Gladys-Gail Village, the first subdivision developed by African Americans in Hopkinsville. The subdivision established a new trend in housing for African Americans. Whitney was appointed to the Interim Council of the City of Hopkinsville by Governor Wetherby in 1953, serving for 21 years as a city councilman. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Businesses, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Whittaker, Richard Salinthus
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1977
Kentucky native Dr. Richard S. Whittaker, a physician and surgeon, was founder of the Dunbar Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, in 1924. The facility was managed by Dr. Richard S. Whittaker, his brother Dr. J. T. [James Thomas] Whittaker (1876-1934), and Dr. Charles S. Diggs (1875 -1938) who was born in Mississippi. The hospital served the African American community in Los Angeles for 14 years; it was closed after the death of Dr. Diggs in 1938. Dr. Richard S. Whittaker then returned to his private practice and he was on the staff of Angeles Hospital and the Rose-Netta Hospital that was founded by Kentucky native Dr. N. Curtis King. Dr. Whittaker was born in Carrollton, KY, the son of Scott and Cecelia Whittaker. He was the husband of Esther King Whittaker and the father of James Salinthus Whittaker (1912 -1938) who was a mortician. Dr. Whittaker's education began in a colored school in Carroll County, KY, and he was a 1904 graduate of a college in Louisville (probably Simmons University) where he earned an A.D. degree, and he earned his M.D. at the Louisville National Medical College. He completed three months of post-graduate studies at Howard University. His first practice was in Kansas where several members of the Whittaker family had moved. His brother Dr. J. T. Whittaker is listed in the 1905 Kansas State Census for the town of Coffeyville. His parents, Scott and Cecelia Whittaker, and sister Mary, are listed in the 1915 Kansas State Census for Coffeyville. All of the family members were born in Kentucky, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census when the family of seven was living in Owen County, KY, [Richard Whittaker's first name is given as "Robert"]. Dr. Richard S. Whittaker and his wife Esther were living in Coffeyville in 1910, according to the U.S. Federal Census [Dr. Whittaker's first name is again listed as "Robert]. The couple is also listed in the 1915 Kansas State Census along with their 3 year old son (b.1912). Both Esther and the child were born in Kansas. In 1922, Dr. Whittaker moved his practice and family to Pasadena, CA, then on to Los Angeles, CA, in 1923. Dr. Richard S. Whittaker was a member of several organizations including Sigma Pi Phi, Knights of Pythias, National Medical Association, and the NAACP. He died in Los Angeles on February 15, 1977. For more information see Dr. Richard Salinthus Whittaker on p.31 of Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 edition.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Carrollton, Carroll County, Kentucky / Coffeyville, Kansas / Pasadena and Los Angeles, California

Whyte, Garrett
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2000
Whyte was born in Louisville, KY, according to his Army enlistment records. [Mt. Sterling has also been given as his birth location.] He completed an art education degree at North Carolina A&T State University in 1939. Whyte was an artist for the Chicago Defender, taught art at a high school and was an art professor at Chicago City College System [now City Colleges of Chicago]. In addition to teaching, Whyte was an artist for a number of organizations before he retired in 1980. He is remembered for his art and for the creation, for the Chicago Defender, of the comic strip, "Mr. Jim Crow," one of the first Civil Rights graphic satires. Whyte was a WWII Army veteran. For more see J. D. Stevens, "Reflections in a dark mirror: comic strips in Black newspapers," Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 10, issue 1 (Summer 1976), pp. 239-244; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Artists, Fine Arts, Education and Educators, Jim Crow, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Whyte, Zack [Zach]
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1967
Whyte, born in Richmond, KY, was a banjoist and a bandleader. He was a member of Horace Henderson's student band while enrolled at Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University] and formed his own band in 1923. Whyte would become the leader of the group known as the Chocolate Beau Brummels, a very successful band. Some of the groups recordings include Good Feelin' Blues, It's Tight Like That, and Mandy. Group members included Herman Chittison, Al Sears, Bubber Whyte, and Henry Savage. Zack Whyte retired from music in 1939. For more see "Zack Whyte" in Oxford Music Online; Zack Whyte and his Chocolate Beau Brummels at redhotjazz.com; and Zack Whyte in Classic Jazz. View image and listen to Zach Whyte's Chocolate Beau Brummels - West End Blues (1929) on YouTube.

Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Wiggins, Bobbie Reeves
Birth Year : 1949
Wiggins, born in Paducah, KY, is an educator, performer, author and writer. In the 1970s, she performed in movies and other productions, including Abby, Sheba Baby, and Combat Cops / Zebra Killer, which were all produced by Louisville, KY, native William B. Girdler, Sr. Wiggins was also a features writer with West Kentucky News, Kentucky Voice, The Paducah Sun, and Paducah Parenting and Family Magazine, a free publication. Wiggins was a school teacher for 13 yeas in Dallas, TX, and in 1995 she received the Junior Women's League Award for Innovative Teaching. Using the education grant she received in 1995, Wiggins wrote and recorded Rap N Learn in 2000 and It's a Rap in 2002. Both CDs contain curriculum-based songs geared to help young learners who have difficulty grasping language rules and fundamentals. Wiggins is the author of The Legacy of Woodland. She is a graduate of Lone Oak High School and Murray State University, where she received a B.A. in speech and English and an M.A. in speech and theater. Wiggins is a sister to Loretta Reeves Stewart. This information is presented, with permission, from Bobbie R. Wiggins biography.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Children's Books and Music, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wigginton, Ellen O.
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 1989
Wigginton was born in Lexington, KY. She attended Florida Memorial College, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], Crutcher's Beauty School, and Mary Miller's College of Beauty Culture. Wigginton was owner and operator of Wigginton's Beauty Shop in Lexington. She was the first chair, and later director, of the Kentucky Poor People's Coalition, and she was the vice-president of Community Action of Lexington-Fayette County. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wilkerson, Artishia Garcia Gilbert
Birth Year : 1868
Death Year : 1904
Artishia Garcia Gilbert was the first African American woman to pass the medical boards and become a doctor in Kentucky. She was an 1889 graduate of State University [later Simmons College, KY] and also taught at the school. She was an 1893 graduate of the Louisville National Medical College and an 1897 graduate of Howard University Medical School. She returned to Kentucky and taught obstetrics at the Louisville National Medical College and was superintendent of the Red Cross Sanitarium in Louisville. She was a member of the Green Street Baptist Church and of the board of directors of the Colored Orphan Home in Louisville. She was also an active member of the Baptist Women's Educational Convention. She was president of the Baptist Women's Missionary Convention when she died. Artishia Wilkerson was also a club woman who belonged to several organizations including the Woman's Industrial Club, Woman's Improvement Club, and Sons and Daughters of the Morning. She was born in Manchester, KY, the daughter of William and Amanda Gilbert. She was the wife of attorney B. O. Wilkerson, whom she married in 1896; the couple had three children: B. O. Jr., Artishia Garcia, and a baby boy. An incorrect death date for Artishia Wilkerson is given as December 31, 1929 in the Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929, edited by A. W. Hafner, et al. Wilkerson died in 1904. For more see Black Women in America, 2nd ed., vol. 2; Women Doctors in Gilded-Age Washington: race, gender, and professionalization, by G. Moldow; the Artishia Garcia Gilbert entry in A Historical, Biographical and Statistical Souvenir by Howard University Medical Department [available full view at Google Book Search]; and "In Memoriam: Mrs. Artishia Gilbert Wilkerson, A.B., A.M., M.D.," American Baptist, 04/08/1904, p. 3.


Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Women's Groups and Organizations, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Manchester, Clay County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilkes, Gracie Rice
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1998
Gracie Rice was born in Kentucky and grew up in Lexington. In 1930, she was one of the three African American women admitted to the City Hospital nurses' training program in Cleveland, OH, according to "MetroHealth celebrates Black History month by remembering its history," Call & Post, 02/20/2008, p. 2. The article goes on to say that Gracie Rice learned about the program through the black newspaper, Dayton Forum. The three nursing students graduated in 1933 and were hired by City Hospital: Gracie Rice, Dorothea Davis, and Edna Wooley. According to Gracie Rice Wilkes's entry in the Ohio Death Index, she had more than five years of college and was a registered nurse. Prior to the late 1920s, African Americans in Cleveland had not been admitted to hospital internship programs or nurses training programs. The integration of the nursing program at City Hospital came as a result of the political power gained by Blacks at the end of the 1920s; during their election, three city council members had promised that, if elected, they would fight to end the discrimination at City Hospital. The editor of the Cleveland Gazette claimed the fight was led by the newspaper, and the move was opposed by the "Blossom Triplets": city councilmen Clayborne George, Roy Bundy, and Larry Payne. For more see Cleveland: a metropolitan reader, by W. D. Keating, N. Krumholz and D. C. Perry; "Read! Read!! The rounder on what's doing," Cleveland Gazette, 10/15/1938, p. 2; A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleveland, 1870-1930, by K. L. Kusmer; and Making a Place for Ourselves: the Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945, by V. N. Gamble.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Wilkinson, Crystal
Birth Year : 1962
Crystal Wilkinson was born in Ohio and reared in Indian Creek, KY. She chaired the Creative Writing Department for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, taught creative writing at the University of Kentucky, served as a writer-in-residence at Eastern Kentucky University, and was a member of the faculty of Spalding University's MFA Program. In 2007, she was a writer in residence at Morehead State University. Wilkinson is author of Blackberries, Blackberries; Water Street; and a host of works in anthologies and serial publications. Her works have received a number of awards and recognitions, including the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature. Crystal Wilkinson and her husband are owners of the Wild Fig Book Store in Lexington, KY. For more see Crystal Wilkinson, Poet, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #422 [available online]. 

  See photo image of Crystal Wilkinson and additional information at the Baggot Asher Bode blog site.

Access Interview Read about the Crystal Wilkinson oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Poets
Geographic Region: Ohio / Indian Creek, Whitley County, Kentucky

Wilkinson, Doris Y.
Birth Year : 1936
Doris Y. Wilkinson was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Regina L. and Howard T. Wilkinson. She is director of the Project on the African American Heritage, Department of Sociology, at the University of Kentucky. Her interests include organizations and professions, medical sociology, and race and ethnic relations. Dr. Wilkinson was a member of the first class of African American students at the University of Kentucky in 1954, and she earned her Ph.D. at Case Western in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1967, she became the first African American female appointed to a full-time faculty position at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Wilkinson has received a number of awards and is author of numerous articles and eight books, including anthologies and co-authored works. A more recent recognition was the dedication of the Doris Y. Wilkinson Conference Room in Breckinridge Hall at the University of Kentucky on October 18, 2007. For more see "Sociologist inspired by cultural resilience," Lexington Herald-Leader, p. A14, 03/02/02; Who's who Among African Americans 1992-1995; and Who's Who in America 1998-2008.

 

   See "Doris Wilkinson, University of Kentucky Sociologist" on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #423 at KET (Kentucky Educational Television) website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Sociologists & Social Scientists
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Williams, Alexander "Alex", Jr.
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 1973
The following information comes from "Alex Williams Jr., radio personality, dies at 54, " Lexington Leader, 09/10/1973, p. 2. Alexander Williams, Jr. was a radio broadcaster, known for his 1960 program, "Cool Summer." During the program, Williams promoted non-violence in reaction to a period of racial unrest in Lexington, KY. The program was broadcast from station WLAP in Lexington. Williams also broadcast Dunbar High School (Lexington) basketball games on the "Bearcats Sports Network" at WLAP. He also did Kentucky State University broadcasts. He was the regional managing editor of NIP Magazine and was a reporter for the Blue Grass Edition of the Louisville Defender newspaper. He was a promoter for the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival. Williams also worked with underprivileged children. In 1977, Alexander Williams, Jr. 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 [source: "Special People: Black and Williams Center dedicated to social worker, Happy Warrior," Lexington Herald, 10/31/1977, p. A-3]. Alexander Williams, Jr. died at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Lexington. He was the husband of Beatrice Williams.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans, Radio
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Williams, Aubrey
Birth Year : 1945
Willliams was a member of the Kentucky General Assembly from 1978-1985, the elected Representative of the 42nd District (Jefferson County). He is an attorney, a graduate of the University of Louisville Law School. Williams also attended Case Western Reserve University; Sue Bennett College [closed in 1997], where he earned his A.A.; and Pikeville College, where he earned his B.S. He also served as a judge with the Jefferson County 3rd Magisterial District. For more contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission and see Who's Who in American Law, 1st-3rd editions, and Who's Who Among Black Americans, 2nd & 3rd editions.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Judges, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Williams, Burnett, Jr.
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 1997
Williams was born in Cynthiana, KY. He was a 6'4" center-forward on the Banneker High School basketball team in Cynthiana. The team finished third in the 1951 Bluegrass Tournament. He continued his basketball career and education at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], graduating in 1955. Williams was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy and was employed by the Cincinnati Police Department in Ohio; in 1988, he became one of the first few African Americans to earn the rank of Captain with the department; his promotion came one year after A. W. Harmon, Sr. was named the second African American captain. Burnett Williams was a 35-year veteran of the Cincinnati Police Department, retiring in 1993. For more see Shadows of the past, by L. Stout; and "Burnett Williams, police captain," The Cincinnati Post, 11/21/1997, News section, p.17A.
Subjects: Basketball, Corrections and Police, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Williams, Charles
Birth Year : 1942
Williams was born in Blue Diamond, KY, near Hazard. He lived with his grandparents and later moved to Chicago with his mother and other family members. He returned to Kentucky with an uncle and did not leave. One of his art forms was to use a circular saw and a reciprocating saw to draw on plywood. For more see Souls Grown Deep: African American vernacular art of the South, vol. 2, by W. Arnett and P. Arnett.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Migration North
Geographic Region: Blue Diamond, Perry County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Williams, Charles
Birth Year : 1840
Charles Williams, born around 1840 in Kentucky, was a jockey in Detroit, MI, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Josephine Williams; the couple had three children.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Williams, Charles Holston
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1978
Born in Camp Nelson, KY [according to his World War II draft registration card], Charles Holston Williams attended high school at Berea College until the Day Law was passed making Berea a segregated school. Williams transferred to Hampton Institute, where he finished high school and continued on to college. An outstanding student and athlete, Williams was a star baseball player at Hampton. He graduated in 1909 and the following year became the physical training director at the school. He was co-founder of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), and as a coach, he won CIAA championships in football, basketball and wrestling. He organized physical education demonstrations with Hampton students and faculty members performing drills, gymnastics and dances for the public. He formed the Hampton Creative Dance Group, the first national touring company made up of college students. Williams is author of Cotton Needs Pickin', Characteristic Negro Folk Dances and Negro Soldiers in World War I: the human side and co-author of Sidelights on Negro Soldiers and The Race Problem. Williams retired from Hampton in 1951. He was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 1975. He died in 1978, according to the Social Security Death Index. For more see African-American Concert Dance; the Harlem Renaissance and Beyond, by J. O. Perpener III.

   See photo image of Charles Holston Williams and additional information at the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum website.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Authors, Baseball, Migration East
Geographic Region: Camp Nelson, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Hampton, Virginia

Williams, Charley "Banjo Dick"
Birth Year : 1849
Born in Kentucky, Charley Williams moved to Arizona in 1871 as a cook and housekeeper for the L. A. Smith family, according to author Alton Hornsby in Black America: a state-by-state historical encyclopedia, v.1, p.41. Charley Williams was known as Banjo Dick, and in the 1880s, he had a mining company named the Banjo Dick Mine, located near Tucson, AZ. According to author Hornsby, the mine was thought to the be first African American owned and operated mining operation in Arizona. The mine lasted but a few years, then Charley Williams moved to Nogales, AZ, where he shined shoes and played the banjo for extra money. "His biggest engagement was that of playing at La Vennis Park, the exclusive rendezvous of the Tucson aristocrats." For more see In Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage at the University of Arizona Library.

See photo image of Charley Williams at the University of Arizona website.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Tucson, Arizona

Williams, Earl
Birth Year : 1885
Williams was born in Cynthiana, KY. A physician and surgeon, he was also the president of the Board of Education in Lovejoy, Illinois. He was the force behind two new schools being built and an increase from four to 17 in the number of teachers in the school system. Williams was employed on the staff of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Granite City, Illinois. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Board of Education, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lovejoy and Granite City, Illinois

Williams, Erica Lee
Birth Year : 1977
Judge Erica Lee Williams is a district court judge in Louisville, KY, division 17. She was first appointed a judge in 2009 by Kentucky Governor Steve Breshear, and in 2010, Judge Williams defeated A. Christian Ward by about 200 votes to retain her judgeship [source: J. Riley, "3 African-American appointees elected," Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/03/2010, p.K.8, News section]. Judge Williams is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky Law School [source: M. Fernandez, "STYLEMAKER; The accent's on smile," Louisville Courier-Journal, 11/28/2009, p.S.4].

 

  See photo image and additional information about Judge Erica Lee Williams at Business First website.

 
Subjects: Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Judges
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williams, Frances Harriet
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1992
Williams, a civil rights activist, was born in Danville, KY, and grew up in St. Louis, MO. She was the daughter of Frank and Fannie B. Williams. Frances Williams was valedictorian of her high school class, and graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1919, Phi Beta Kappa, having majored in chemistry and economics. She earned her masters in political science from the University of Chicago in 1931. Williams had an active career with the YWCA, and the NAACP. She was on the staff of Senator H. H. Lehman (D-NY), served as Assistant to the Executive Secretary of President Harry S Truman's Committee on Civil Rights, and was a staff member of the Office of Price Administration. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. DunniganWho's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Frances H. Williams" in Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965 edited by D. W. Houck and D. E. Dixon; and a picture of Frances H. Williams on p. 138 of Crisis, vol 18, issue 3, July 1919 [available at Google Books].
Photo image in top lefthand corner of page 138.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri

Williams, Frank L.
Williams was born in Louisville, KY, educated at Berea College and taught in the mountains of Kentucky during the summers. He was an Institute Instructor for both whites and African Americans and also Chair of Mathematics at Louisville High School. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Williams, George T.
Williams was born in Taylor County, KY. In 1985 he became the first African American to hold office in Taylor County. 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: Taylor County, Kentucky

Williams, Henry
Death Year : 1908
Williams was a marshal with the police department in Paris, KY. In September 1908, he was on patrol at the Paris Colored Fair and attempted to break up a fight between Bud Warren and his wife. Williams was stabbed to death by Warren, who claimed self-defense. Later that night, Warren telephoned the police and asked them to come get him at the home of Dan Love on Cypress Street in Paris. For more see "Stabbed to death," The Bourbon News, 09/22/1908, p. 1.
Subjects: Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Williams, Henry H.
Birth Year : 1790
Death Year : 1850
Williams was born near Lexington, KY. A violinist, he was also the first African American dance teacher in Louisville, KY. He formed a cotillion band in 1835 that included other free African Americans, slaves, and German immigrants. Williams is remembered for his composition "Maysville March," which had not been played for more than a century when the sheet music was discovered by Filson Historical Society librarian Pen Bogert. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and L. Blackford, "It's pure," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/14/1998, City&Region section, p. B1.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williams, Herbert S.
Birth Year : 1941
In Septermber 2009, Herbert Williams became the first African American major of Franklin, KY. Williams was a city commissioner for 18 years, prior to being named mayor. His term will end in 2010, and the city of Franklin will then elect their next mayor. The former mayor, Jim Brown, left the position to become Franklin City Manager. For more see "Franklin selects first African American Mayor," WBKO13 (Bowling Green, KY), Local News, 10:00 p.m. broadcast [Central Time Zone], 09/14/2009 [video available online with NewsBank subscription]; and "Williams appointed mayor of Franklin," The Daily News, 09/12/2009.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky

Williams, Jamye Coleman
Birth Year : 1918
Jamye Williams was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Jamye Harris Coleman and Frederick Douglass Coleman, Sr. and the sister of Frederick Douglass Coleman, Jr. She served as an English and speech professor at a number of institutions after earning her B.A. from Wilberforce University in 1938, her M.A. from Fisk University in 1939, and her Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1959. She was teacher of the year in 1968 at Tennessee State University and was co-editor of the journal, Negro Speaks, in 1970. Three years later she became a full professor in communications and took over as head of the department until her retirement in 1987. Williams was the first woman elected general officer of the A.M.E. Church in 1984 and played a leading role in the church naming the first woman bishop in 2000. For more see Jamye Coleman Williams' biography in The History Makers; Living Black American Authors: a biographical directory, by A. A. Shockley and S. P. Chandler; Who's Who Among African Americans 1975-2007; and B. Karkabi, "Octogenarian at crossroads of church's past and future - Jamye Coleman Williams reflects on her legacy in the AME Church," Houston Chronicle, 08/27/2005, Religion section, p. 1. For more about the Coleman family and the AME Church see The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.

  See video with Jayme Coleman Williams and her husband, McDonald Williams, at the National Visionary Leadership Project website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee

Williams, Jane Simpson
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1971
Williams was the librarian at the National Republican Headquarters in Washington, D.C. when she died, according to author Alice Dunnigan. Williams was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of James Edward and Lida Simpson. For more about the family see "James Edward Simpson" in The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Williams, John
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1924
John Williams was a race horse trainer who was born in Lexington, KY, in February, 1875 [source: Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. He was the son of Warren Williams and Rose Worsham Williams. John Williams died February 28, 1924 and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago, IL.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Williams, John E.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1989
From La Grange, Georgia, Williams came to Owensboro, KY, in 1927 and later owned a plaster contracting business. He filed his petition for the Office of Owensboro City Commissioner in 1965, losing the general election; he is remembered, however, for opening the door for other African Americans running for office in Owensboro. Williams was a member of the Mt. Pisgah Lodge #20. The first African American to run for office in Owensboro was H. Clay Helm in 1875. For more see J. Campbell, "Williams' bid opened door for black leaders, He earned a spot on fall ballot," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 10/28/05, p. 19; and "records local death John E. Williams," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 05/07/1989, p.2B.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: La Grange, Georgia / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Williams, Kermit
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2006
Kermit Williams attended Mayo-Underwood, an all African American school in Frankfort, Kentucky. School integration in 1956 allowed Williams and a few other African American students to transfer to Frankfort High School. In Williams' sophomore year he became the first African American to play football at the school, playing halfback as well as defensive back. In 2006, Williams was inducted into the school's Football Hall of Fame. One of the obstacles Williams faced as a football player was a stipulation in the will of John R. Sower, who had donated the land where the football field was located: Sower's will stipulated that the athletic field was to be used by whites only, but the coach allowed Williams to play anyway. Before one game, crosses were burned near the football field, yet Williams went onto the field and scored two touchdowns, giving Frankfort High the win. The night was covered by Life magazine. Williams continued to play football throughout his high school years and was also outstanding in basketball and track. For more see "The Enlightened One," The State Journal, 08/23/2006; and J. Sergent, "Coming of Age: how a product of the segregated South became an advocate for change," Vanderbilt Magazine, Fall 2002, pp. 68-69 & 86.
Subjects: Football, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Williams, Lucille L. Brown
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1982
Born in Ghent, KY, Williams moved to Indiana, where she worked as a day nursery director, owned a grocery store, and was a social services director. She was also very active in social organizations, including being the founding member of the Lucille Lucas Williams Federated Club in 1952. The Lucille L. Williams Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see the "Lucille L. Williams" entry in the Guide to African-American History Materials in Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Ghent, Carroll County, Kentucky / Indiana

Williams, Margaret Yeager
The first African American in the Louisville Parent Teacher Association, Williams was also the first African-American president of United Methodist Women - R. E. Jones Temple and the first African American Dean of the School of Missions. For more see C. Ritchie, "Six 'Women of Distinction' are honored," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 03/24/03, Features section, p. O13.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williams, Orena Vaught
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1988
The poet Orena Williams was born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Eliza and Dock Vaught [also spelled Vaughn]. The family is listed in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census showing Eliza Vaught (b. 1878 in KY) as a widow with seven children; the family was living on Georgia Avenue in Connersville, IN. Orena was one of the younger children. She attended Lewis Business College in Indianapolis in 1932, and was later employed as a secretary and teacher. She also wrote plays and poetry, including two books of poetry, Grains of Sand in 1974 and From My Garden in 1980. Orena Williams was the wife of Roy L. Williams of Louisville, KY. For more see The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and the Indiana Historical Society website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Poets
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Connersville, Indiana

Williams, Pauline L.
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2005
Pauline L. Williams was born in Trenton, KY. She moved to Chicago in 1927 and later became the first African American woman to serve on the Evanston Plan Commission. Williams was also president of the Woman's Auxiliary at the Community Hospital and later became president of the board of directors at the hospital. She was also president of the board of directors of the Evanston Historical Society and creator of the African American exhibits, "The Sick Can't Wait" and "Your Presence is Requested." For more see J. Bourke, "Pauline Williams," Evanston Review, 09/08/2005, News section, p. 151.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North
Geographic Region: Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky / Chicago and Evanston, Illinois

Williams, Samuel
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1927
Horseman Samuel Williams lived in Chicago. He was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Charles Williams from Georgetown, KY, and Emma Holmes Williams from St. Mary's Parish, LA [source: Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths]. He was the husband of Ada Williams. Samuel Williams is buried in a cemetery in Louisville, KY.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williams, Samuel Carl
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1977
Williams was the first African American city commissioner in Winchester, KY. A graduate of Knoxville College, he became a teacher. Samuel Williams, born in Ford, KY, was the son of Thomas and Lettie Williams. For more see the "Samuel Carl Williams" entry in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and National Roster of Black Elected Officials (1982).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Ford and Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Williams, Sheila J.
Sheila J. Williams is the author of Dancing on the edge of the roof, The shade of my own tree, Girls most likely, and On the right side of a dream. She was born in Columbus, OH, attended Ohio Wesleyan University, and graduated from the University of Louisville. She has been a legal secretary, corporate paralegal and mutual fund product manager; and worked in law firms, a Fortune 500 corporation and two banks. For more about Williams, see Sheila Williams; and Sheila Williams, Author, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #424 [available online].

  See photo image of Sheila J. Williams at her website.
Subjects: Authors
Geographic Region: Columbus, Ohio / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Williams, Stanley Rudolph "Fess"
Birth Year : 1894
Death Year : 1975
Stanley R. "Fess" Williams, born in Danville, KY, was a bandleader who played the clarinet, alto saxophone, and violin. In 1914, he moved to Cincinnati after graduating from Tuskegee Institute and returned to Kentucky in 1915 where he taught school in Winchester [source: WWI Draft Regisration Card, 1917-18]. He and his family later moved to Chicago before settling in New York in 1924, where he formed the Royal Flush Orchestra in 1925. The band played at the Savoy Ballroom from 1926-1928 and had a number of recordings that featured musicians such as pianist Henry "Hank" Duncan from Bowling Green, KY. One of the group's most memorable and best selling recordings was Hot Town. Fess Williams led bands in both New York and Chicago. He was the uncle, by marriage, to Charles Mingus; his wife, Louise Phillips Williams, was Mingus' maternal aunt. Stanley R. Williams died in Jamaica, NY, on December 17, 1975 [source: U.S. Social Security Death Index]. He was the son of Maria Jane Durham [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra, at redhotjazz.com; and see "Fess Williams" in the Oxford Music Online Database.

  See album cover and listen to "Fess Williams and his Royal Flush Orchestra" on YouTube
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / New York

Williams, Wallace D.
Birth Year : 1946
Wallace Williams is a retired Territorial Librarian and was director of the Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Williams is also a runner, an Olympic marathon runner. He was born in Campbellsville, KY, and in 1950 was the first African American to attend a white school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. He was among the first African Americans to graduate from Campbellsville High School in 1964. He had started running track and cross-country as a senior in high school. While a student at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University], he was the only African American on the cross-country team and the freshman basketball team. Williams left school and joined the the U.S. Air Force. While at Reese Air Force Base, Williams was the leading scorer on the base and squadron basketball teams and was also a coach. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force and went on to earn a B.A. in liberal arts at Northwestern Illinois University. He was the school's leading scorer in basketball during the 1973-74 season, and was winner of the Golden Eagle Award. He was also a member of the Evanston Running Club at Northwestern University. In 1975, Williams earned a masters in library science at Rosary College [now Dominican University]. He was the school's first athletic coordinator in 1974. He was the first student delegate to attend the International Federation of Library Associations Conference (IFLA). In 1977, Williams began his 30 year career as a librarian in St. Croix, and during his career, he taught library skills at the University of the Virgin Islands, and he taught coping skills in the Adult Education Program with the Department of Education. He was secretary of the Rotary Club of St. Croix, was president of the St. Croix Library Association, and was co-president of the Virgin Islands Library Association. Williams was a newspaper columnist, and trained for marathons and established running organizations. In 1978 he founded the Virgin Islands Pace Runners and organized road races. He was founder of the Society of Olympic Marathon Runners, was a founding member of the Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation, and started Women Race for the Women's Coalition. In 1979, Williams ran in the marathon of the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1982, he was the first participant for the Virgin Islands to run in the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Havana, Cuba. He was also a delegate of the International Association of Athletic Federations Congress for several years, beginning in 1982. Williams competed in the World Cross-Country Championships in 1984 and in 1986. He competed in the Olympic Games Marathon in Seoul, Korea in 1988, and came in 81st with a time of 2:44:40. The marathon took place Sunday, October 2, 1988 at 2:30pm (local time). There were 118 athletes representing 70 countries, and 98 completed the marathon. Wallace Williams represented the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was the oldest competitor in the competition. Information in this entry was added with permission from the resumé of Wallace Williams. See also C. Buchannan, "On Island Profile: Wallace Williams," St. Croix Source, 07/29/2007 [available online, photo at end of article].


Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Military & Veterans, Track & Field, Migration South, Olympics: Athletes, Games, Events
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Williams, William "Colonel"
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1973
Williams was born in Virginia. Also known as Bill, he settled in Greenup, KY, in 1922, remaining there until his death. Williams taught himself to play the guitar at the age of 10. He teamed up with Blind Blake and entertained at road gang camps in Tennessee. Once in Kentucky, he played at social parties and also at the Mountain Heritage Folk Festival, Louisville Folk Festival, and many others. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; and Bill Williams on Blue Goose Records.


Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Virginia / Greenup, Greenup County, Kentucky

Williams, Worthy "Butt Cutt"
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1989
Born in Redfox, KY, Williams was the first African American elected to public office in Knott County, and as of 2009, he is the only one. Williams was first elected as constable in 1969 and re-elected in 1973 and 1977. Williams was a coal miner until he developed black lung and was no longer able to work in the mines. He was the husband of Wilma Dean Gipson Williams (deceased), from Manchester, KY. Williams was the father of Janet (deceased), Linda, Lorena, Sophia, Wendell, and Worthy Dewayne Williams. For more see "Eleven blacks hold county level posts," in Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1978], Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 13. Corrections, birth, and death date information for this entry was provided by his daughter Linda Williams via Dr. Andrew Baskin at Berea College.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Redfox, Knott County, Kentucky

Williamsburg (KY) Colored Academy
Start Year : 1883
End Year : 1955
In 1883, the American Missionary Association (AMA) opened a church and a school in Williamsburg, KY, that was attended by both Negroes and whites. The effort was to be a copy of what had taken place at Berea. When some of the white children left the school in protest of the mixed attendance, AMA refused to change the policy, and the white children returned. The school would eventually be for whites only. The Williamsburg Colored Academy was opened for Negro children at some point in the 1880s. It began as a one room cabin for grades 1-8. Though it was claimed that there were few Negro children in the area, the school continued to grow, and by 1889 it was written that there were 307 students, Report of the Commissioner of Education [available at Google Book Search]. Rev. Henry Bond was the sole teacher of the school during the early 1900s. He is listed as a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association in the association's 1923 journal. Other teachers included Jane Arthur (mother of Henry Bond), Miss Mae Jones, Miss Ruth Bond (daughter of Henry Bond), Miss Mamie Smith, Viola Shields, Thelma Smoot Lewis, Benjamin O. Burrus Sr., and Professor Holliday S. Skillman. The Williamsburg Colored School was closed some time after 1958. According to historian, Karen McDaniel, the high schools integrated in 1955, but the African American students continued in grades 1-8 at the Williamsburg Colored School until some time after 1958. Also, thanks to McDaniel for the following information: a c.1938 photo taken in front of the schoolhouse, with teacher Thelma Smoot and the school children, is in the title Whitley County, Kentucky, History and Families, 1818-1993. The colored school building has since been converted into a residence, it is located on Hickory Street [renamed Roy Chappell Street]. This entry was suggested by Carrie Stewart, a 1942 graduate of the Williamsburg Colored School. For more see the Annual Report of the American Missionary Association, 1883, pp.23,51-52; American Missionary, vol. 37, issue 12 (Dec. 1883), pp. 376-382; and The Bonds, by R. M. Williams. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky

Williamson, Ansel
Birth Year : 1810
Born in Virginia, Williamson was a slave owned by T. G. Goldsby of Alabama and later bought by R. A. Alexander. Williamson was a horse trainer who conditioned many winners, including Aristides, winner of the first Kentucky Derby, ridden by Oliver Lewis. Williamson was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1998. Williamson is listed in the 1880 U. S. Federal Census as having been born around 1810. For more see Black winning jockeys in the Kentucky Derby, by J. R. and M. R. Saunders.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby
Geographic Region: Virginia / Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Willis, "Aunt" Lucy
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1914
In 1987, Aunt Lucy Willis's cabin was restored to 1/3 its original size and exhibited at the Kansas City Museum. The cabin had been built in Trenton, Missouri, where Aunt Lucy Willis had resided. Aunt Lucy had first been a slave in Kentucky, owned by a couple named Willis who gave Aunt Lucy to their daughter, Amelia. According to the research of family member Scott Helmandollar, Aunt Lucy had a daughter named Rosa (1842?-1894) who was listed as white; John Willis may have been the girl's father. Aunt Lucy was brought west when Amelia Willis's second husband, William Neil Peery, moved his family from Kentucky to Missouri. According to Scott Helmandollar, Aunt Lucy was purchased by his family and given her freedom; she chose to remain with the Perry family. At her request, Aunt Lucy was buried in the family cemetery. The cemetery contains the graves of the Perry and Helmandollar families. Family memorabilia were used by the Black Archives of Mid-America to reconstruct Aunt Lucy Willis's life. For more see "Slave's rude cabin brings life to Missouri's history," The Wichita Eagle (Missouri), 06/21/1987, Lively Arts section, p. 8F. For more about the Helmandollar family, Aunt Lucy, her daughter Rosa, and their descendants, contact Scott Helmandollar.

*Aunt Lucy Willis's descendants: Rosa Willis Clayton (Lewis), William Harley Clayton and James Arthur Clayton [twins], Ernest Clayton, Nellie Goldia Clayton Woodson (Carter) [1881-198?], Erma Woodson Smith, Bernice Woodson, Dale Byron Woodson, Theodore Woodson.*
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Mothers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Trenton and Kansas City, Missouri

Willis, Edward D. (horse trainer & newspaper man)
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1930
Willis was one of the most noted trainers in the history of harness racing and one of few African Americans to drive trotters on the Grand Circuit. He set a new world record of 2:19 1/4 for yearling trotters with Miss Stokes, and later lowered the record another quarter of a second with Peter Volo. Willis was employed at the Patchen Wilkes Farm on Winchester Pike in Lexington, KY, owned by millionaire Mrs. W. E. D. Stokes from New York. Willis had previously worked for horse breeder Robert P. Pepper in Frankfort, KY. He resigned from his job at Patchen Wilkes Farm in 1914. Willis' second career was editor and publisher of the Lexington Weekly News, a newspaper in Lexington KY that succeeded the Lexington Standard. He began as editor of the newspaper in 1912. Willis was also an activist and led a protest against the 1916 movie, Birth of a Nation, by D. W. Griffith. He was on the committee that created Douglass Park in Lexington. For more see the following articles from The Lexington Leader, "Willis was famous Negro horse trainer," 12/06/1930, p. 1; "Ed Willis quits Patchen Wilkes," 03/10/1914, p. 8; "Good advice from Colored editor," 10/25/1912, p.4; and "Lexington news," 12/22/1912, sec. 1, p.5; and see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and The Daily Aesthetic.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Willis, Floyd W.
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1951
Born in Crestwood, KY, Willis became a physician who did x-ray and radium work in Mercy Hospital, Cook County, IL. He was a visiting lecturer in x-ray at Meharry Medical College Clinics, 1920-1921, and a roentgenologist at Fort Dearborn Hospital. Floyd Willis was the son of Lavenia and Lee A. Willis, and according to the U.S. Federal Census, the family was living in Chicago in 1910, and Floyd was an artist and landscaper. In 1920, he was a doctor and the husband of Kentucky native Mable Gordon Willis. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; and Blacks in Science and Medicine by V. O. Sammons. A picture of Dr. Willis is available online at NYPL Digital Gallery.

Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Crestwood, Oldham County, Kentucky / Chicago, Cook County, Illilnois / Nashville, Tennessee

Willis, Frank R.
Birth Year : 1874
Willis, from Louisville, KY, raised poultry; his chickens won national and international awards, including the World's Champion Cockerel award at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and Frank R. Willis in the following Crisis articles, "Industry," v.13, no.1, November 1916, p.29, and "Industry," v.19, no.2, December 1919, p.82..
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Produce
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Willis, Lucas B.
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1930
Lucas B. Willis was born in Frankfort, KY, the son of Sam and Appaline Willis. He was the organizer and vice-president of the Kentucky State Funeral Director's Association, organizer and executive secretary of the Independent National Funeral Directors Association, and organizer and executive secretary of the Sisters of Charity of the State Burial Fund of Indiana. Willis was the husband of Cora L. Willis, who was also a Kentucky native. According to the U.S. Federal Census, in 1910 the couple lived on Camp Street in Indianapolis. Lucas owned an undertakers establishment and Cora was a public school teacher. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; and "Lucas B. Willis" in the articles "Vital statistics - Deaths" and "Notice of Appointment," both on p.7 of the Indianapolis Recorder, 04/05/1930.
Subjects: Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Wilson, Arthur H.
Birth Year : 1915
Wilson was the first African American hired by the City of Maysville, KY, and by the Maysville Fire Department. The assignment was only temporary until the regular employee returned from the service. For more see Human Rights News, Oct. 1961, p. 4, col. B.
Subjects: Firefighters, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign)
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky

Wilson, Atwood S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1967
Atwood S. Wilson was a chemist, educator, civil rights leader and community leader in Louisville, KY. He was born in the California neighborhood of Louisville to Allen and Mary Wilson. A 1910 graduate of Central High School in Louisville, he graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University in 1915 with a major in science and mathematics. He went on to earn a B.S. in chemistry (in 1920) and a M.S. in education (in 1934) from the University of Chicago. He first taught at State Street High School, located in the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green, KY, beginning in 1915, then left the school in 1917 to serve as a chemistry researcher at the American University Experiment Station during World War I. After the war, Wilson returned to Louisville and served as secretary-treasurer of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) from 1922-1942. He also chaired the organization's Merger Committee, which led in the integration of Kentucky's education organizations, the KNEA and KEA. In 1928, Wilson was named the first principal of Madison Junior High [the school was later named Russell Junior High]. In 1934, Wilson became principal of Central High School and led the planning and building of the new Central High School, which opened in 1952; it was the first comprehensive high school in Kentucky. Wilson was also principal of the Central High Adult Night School, grades 1-12, from which he retired in 1963. During his tenure, he also held a number of appointments, including membership on the executive committee of the National Youth Administration in Kentucky. In 1944, Wilson was appointed a trustee on the Board of the Louisville Free Public Library, and in 1948 he presented the resolution that abolished segregation at the main library building. Wilson was the first African American in the South to be recognized with a citation for his service on a library board. He received many other awards, including the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service to the Boy Scouts of America, presented to him in person by President Hoover in 1933. Wilson also received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Simmons University [Kentucky] in 1954. In recognition of his contributions, in 1974 the Kentucky Education Association co-named an award in his honor: "The Lucy Harth Smith-Atwood S. Wilson Award for Civil and Human Rights in Education." Atwood S. Wilson is mentioned in several biographies on the life of Muhammad Ali; Wilson encourage Ali [then known as Cassius Clay] to finish high school, though he was at the bottom of his class. Wilson was impressed by Ali's dedication and work ethic toward becoming a world boxing champion. In 2000, Wilson was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' Hall of Fame, and, in 2005, was among the first inductees to the Central High School Distinguished Hall of Fame. Atwood S. Wilson was the grandfather of Kentucky Appeals Court Judge Denise Clayton. Information for this entry was submitted by Mrs. Susie M. Guess, daughter of Atwood S. Wilson. See also pp. 20-21 in Muhammad Ali. by A. O. Edmonds.

See photo image of Atwood S. Wilson at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Chemists, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Grandparents, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, Clarence "Cave", Sr.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 1996
Wilson led the Horse Cave, KY, Colored School to 65 consecutive basketball victories in the 1940s. He was named to the Tennessee State University Hall of Fame. He was a forward and a point guard for the Harlem Globetrotters (1949-1964), known for his two-handed set shot from mid-court. After his basketball career Wilson was a juvenile caseworker and probation officer in Louisville, KY. He and his teammates were in the movie Harlem Globetrotters, starring Dorothy Dandridge and Thomas Gomez. For more see "Former Harlem Globetrotter Clarence 'Cave' Wilson Dies," Lexington Herald Leader, 09/20/96.
Subjects: Basketball, Corrections and Police, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, Cornelius
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1919
Cornelius Wilson was born in Campbellsville, KY, but his exact birth date has been disputed; 1890 is the birth date on his grave marker. He was the son of Matthew Wilson and Virgina Miller [source: Cook County, IL, Death Index]. Cornelius Wilson left Kentucky for Chicago, where he joined the police force in February 1915. He was a widower when four years later, May 1, 1919, he became the first African American police officer in Chicago to be killed in the line of duty. That night, Wilson ended his shift and was heading home when he was gunned down in a shootout with robbery suspects known as "boy bandits." His body was brought home to Campbellsville and buried in the Oddfellows Cemetery on May 5,1919. In 2003, the Chicago Police Department Pipes and Drums replaced Wilson's broken grave marker, and a ceremony was held in his honor. For more see F. M. Beckless, "New headstone for first Black cop killed in line of duty," Chicago Defender, 04/24/2003, p. 4; B. Schreiner, "Slain Chicago police officer remembered," The Enquirer (Cincinnati) 04/30/2003; and R. Dial, "Chicago Police officers will remember their first fallen black officer in Campbellsville ceremony," Central Kentucky News-Journal, 02/28/2003.
Subjects: Migration North, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Wilson, Daniel
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1917
Rev. Daniel Wilson was born in Barren County, KY and died in Kingfisher, OK. He was a Baptist minister and organized the first Colored Baptist church in Horse Cave, KY in 1866. Wilson had been a slave until 1864 when he joined the Union Army, and that same year he married Lydia Watkins. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, Wilson returned home and joined the white Baptist church in Horse Cave, KY, and later organized the Colored Baptist church where he was a deacon for seven years. Wilson was ordained in 1874 and was a pastor at churches in Horse Cave, Hicksville, and Seenoria. He was also a missionary of the Liberty Baptist Association of Kentucky. In 1888, Wilson moved to Kansas where he was pastor at several churches. He then moved to Lincoln, NE to become pastor of the J Street Baptist Church, and soon resigned and moved to Kingfisher, OK, where he organized and was pastor of the First Baptist Church until his death. Kingfisher was a two year old town in the Oklahoma Territory when Wilson arrived there in 1891. After two years, he estimated that his church had 300 members, and that there were 400 Colored home owners who were served by seven stores, three Colored attorneys, two Colored physicians, and The Oklahoma Constitution newspaper. In addition to being pastor of his church, Wilson also served as president of the Oklahoma Territorial Baptist Convention, and moderator of the Western District Association. He was a member of the school board and a trustee of the National Baptist Training School for Women in Washington, D.C. that was directed by Nannie Burroughs. Rev. Daniel Wilson is buried in the Kingfisher Cemetery. For more see "Rev. Daniel Wilson," Plaindealer, 06/01/1917, p.4; and "Oklahoma Territory" on p.236 in The Baptist Home Mission Monthly, v.15-16, 1893 [available at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Kansas / Nebraska / Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Wilson, Edith
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1981
Born Edith Goodall in Louisville, KY, she would marry piano player Danny Wilson. She left Kentucky for northern locations to pursue a career of singing and acting. Edith Goodall Wilson became a blues singer who first recorded in 1921. She was the third African American woman to make phonographic records. She acted on radio programs, appeared on stage and in films, and was featured in cookie advertisements as 'Aunt Jemima'. Edith Goodall Wilson was the daughter of Susie A. Goodall. In 1910, the family of six lived on 5th Street in Louisville along with three lodgers [source: U.S. Federal Census]. For more see the Lexington Herald Leader, 09/18/03, p. E2; American National Biography, by J. A. Garraty and M. C. Carnes; and Edith Wilson, a Red Hot Jazz website.

See the image and listen to Edith Wilson - Rules and Regulations by Razor Jim, 1922, on YouTube.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, Ellis
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1977
Ellis Wilson was born in Mayfield, KY, the son of Frank and Minnie Wilson [source: U.S. Federal Census]. He was a free-lance interior decorator and painter. Though he acquired international fame, he never made a living from painting. Wilson worked with the Federal Art Project during World War II and painted African Americans employed in war industries. His painting The Fish won the 1946 Atlanta University Purchase Award. He received the Certificate of Merit from the U.S. Treasury Dept. for donating the painting Nocturne during the war loan drive. His works were exhibited at Kentucky institutions beginning in the 1950s. For more see The Art of Ellis Wilson, by A. Sperath; and 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.

   See photo image of Ellis Wilson and additional information at the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) website.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky

Wilson, G. Marshall
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1998
G. Marshall Wilson, who was born in Kentucky, lived much of his life in New York and died in Germany. He was a long time national and international photographer with Ebony, serving for 33 years with the magazine before retiring in 1986. Of his noted photographs is the image of Martin Luther King waving to the crowd in 1963 during the March of Washington. Wilson was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of fellow Kentucky photographer, Moneta Sleet, Jr.; the two had worked together at Jet. For more see "Prolific Ebony photographer, G. Marshall Wilson, succumbs," Jet, 03/09/1998, p. 16 [article available full-text at Google Book Search, includes photo image].


Subjects: Migration North, Photographers, Photographs, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York / Germany, Europe

Wilson, George D.
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1992
George D. Wilson served as dean of the West Kentucky Industrial College in 1930 and was professor of education at the Louisville Municipal College from 1934 until its closing in 1951. Wilson then became professor and head of the department of education at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State Uniersity]. For more see A Century of Negro Education in Louisville [full-text available in the Kentucky Digital Library E-texts]; and the George D. Wilson papers at the University of Louisville's Libraries's Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wilson, George W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1943
Death Year : 2005
Wilson was born in Paris, KY. In 1981 he was appointed secretary of the Corrections Cabinet of Kentucky, in charge of administering a budget of more $50 million. He was the state's first African American cabinet-level officer. Prior to accepting this position, he had been the commissioner of the Bureau of Corrections, Department of Justice. Wilson received a B.A. in history and political science with a second major in sociology from Kentucky State University. He earned an M.S. from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. In 1993, while warden of the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington, KY, he was awarded the Anderson Medal, named for Kentucky's first African American legislator, Charles W. Anderson, Jr. For more see HR183; see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton and A. Jester; and "George W. Wilson 1943-2005, first black to serve in state cabinet dies at 61," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/02/05, City&Region section, p.B1.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wilson, Henry S.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1988
Wilson, born in Louisville, KY, became the first African American faculty member at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University] in 1955, and, in 1957, the first full professor. He was a chemistry professor who had graduated from Indiana University and served as chair of the natural sciences department at Louisville Municipal College until the school was merged with the University of Louisville. Wilson worked for the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company prior to joining Bellarmine, a Catholic college. He was the first retired faculty member in 1967. Bellarmine opened in 1950. For more see High Upon a Hill: a history of Bellarmine College, by W. Hall.
Subjects: Chemists, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, Hughlyne A. Perkins
Birth Year : 1931
Hughlyne A. Perkins Wilson was the first woman assistant superintendent in the Louisville, KY, public schools. She is a 1951 graduate of Howard University and earned her M. Ed. in 1964 at the University of Louisville, where she completed her thesis, A Study of the Relationship of First Grade Readiness Test Scores to Reading Achievement in the Fifth Grade. Wilson began her career with the Louisville Public Schools as a teacher in 1956. She is a member of the Urban League, Delta Sigma Theta, and Phi Delta Kappa. She was a member of the Board of Regents at Western Kentucky University. Hughlyne Wilson was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Henry W. and Gertrude Loving Perkins. She is the wife of Charles A. Wilson. For more see the Hughlyne Perkins Wilson entry in Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1975-1995; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1996-2009.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Women's Groups and Organizations, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, James H. (minister)
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1944
Rev. J. H. Wilson was born in Shelbyville, KY, the son of Henry and Mariah Lawson Wilson. He attended school in Jeffersonville, IN, and taught for three years in Missouri. He was licensed to preach in 1885 and was a pastor in Glasgow, Missouri, before being transferred to California in 1904. He helped organize Wesleyan AME Church [later St. Paul AME Church] in San Bernardino, and was appointed the presiding elder of the California Conference in 1905. Rev. Wilson was next appointed to a mission conference, which he built into two conferences and was presiding elder for 23 years. Rev. Wilson was Grand Master of the Masons, Royal Grand Patron of the Eastern Star, and a member of the Grand Joshua Heroines of Jericho. He was editor of Western Christian Recorder from 1928 until his death in 1944. The newspaper was founded at the 1890 AME General Conference in Columbus, OH. It was published privately by J. Frank McDonald in Kansas City, Kansas until 1904 when it was adopted by the General Conference. For more see Rev. J. H. Wilson in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright; and A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church by C. S. Smith and D. A. Payne [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Jeffersonville, Indiana / MIssouri / California

Wilson, James Hembray, Sr. (musician/band director)
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1961
Born in Nicholasville, KY, James Hembray Wilson was a noted band director and musician, he played the cornet. He was a faculty member at Alabama A&M College [now Alabama A & M University] 1903-1904, he took over the school band, succeeding W. C. Handy, the former band director. Wilson left the school to tour with Billy Kersands and the Georgia Minstrels. Wilson returned to the school in 1907 to remain there until his retirement in 1951. He had been a musician in Jacob Litt's 'In Old Kentucky' Company in 1896, bandmaster in Al Martin's Uncle Tom's Cabin from 1897-1899, cornetist in Mahara's Minstrels in 1899, and worked with many other groups. He became the first African American treasurer at Alabama A&M in 1947 and served as the first African American postmaster at the school from 1919-1942. The James Hembray Wilson Building, located on the Alabama A&M campus, houses the James Hembray Wilson State Black Archives Research Center and Museum. James Hembray Wilson was the son of Hester and Jacob Wilson, and the husband of Eveline Wilson. He graduated from high school in Cincinnati, OH, and from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He died in Normal, Alabama on October 2, 1961 [source: Alabama, Deaths and Burials Index]. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; "New Acquisitions" on p.3 in the Newsletter of the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments, Fall 2006, no.29 [online .pdf]; and Alabama A&M Wilson Building under the headline "Why is it named that" by D. Nilsson on p.6 in Pen & Brush, February 2003, vol.43, issue 4 (newsletter of the Huntsville/North Alabama Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication and others).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Postal Service, Migration South, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Huntsville and Normal, Alabama

Wilson, Milton James, Sr.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2003
Born in Paducah, KY, Wilson was the son of Rhea Day Wilson, a school teacher, and Jess Wilson, a Pullman Porter. He was the grandson of Elizabeth Day, also a public school teacher. Milton Wilson was a graduate of Lincoln High School in Paducah, West Virginia State University, and Indiana University at Bloomington. He would later become chief accountant for architect Samuel Plato in Louisville, KY. In 1951, Wilson became the second African American in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in accounting (Indiana University). He was the 25th African American CPA in the U.S., and the first in Indiana and Texas. He created the business schools at Texas Southern University and Howard University and established a business school in Decca, Pakistan in 1966. For more see L. Abram, "Wilson, 88, launched TSU's business school," Houston Chronicle, 09/06/2003, A section, p. 37; A White-Collar Profession by T. Hammond; and "Milton James Wilson" in vol. 8 of African American National Biography , edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham.
Subjects: Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Wilson, William H.
Birth Year : 1879
Wilson, born in Murray, KY, was a school teacher, a pharmacist, and a physician. He was the son of Lina Beauraguard. Wilson was a graduate of State Normal School in Frankfort, KY; a 1903 graduate of Berea College; and received his M.D. from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in 1910. He taught public school for 12 years, then was a pharmacist in Chicago before moving back to Kentucky to practice medicine, first in Clayton, then in Henderson. For more see the William H. Wilson entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, by F. L. Mather [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Clayton, Kentucky / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Winkfield, Jimmy
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1974
Born in Chilesburg [later Uttingertown] in Fayette County, KY, Jimmy Winkfield was the youngest of 17 children. He was the last African American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, in 1901 and 1902. Winkfield left the U.S. after a contract dispute and became a national riding champion in Russia and a trainer in France. He retired from racing in 1930 and died in France in 1974. In 2004 he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. For more see The Great Black Jockeys and Wink: the incredible life and epic journey of Jimmy Winkfield, both by E. Hotaling; and Jimmy Winkfield, a National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame website.

See photo image and additional information at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Chilesburg (Uttingertown), Fayette County, Kentucky / Russia, Europe / France, Europe

Winny (slave) v Whitesides
Winny was the slave of Phebe Whitesides. The family had moved from Carolina to Kentucky. In 1795, Winny's owners took here from Kentucky to the Indiana Territory, then on to the Missouri Territory, where Winny filed a civil suit for her freedom in April 1821 [case no. 190]. Slavery was prohibited in the Indiana Territory, in accordance with the 1787 Northwest Ordinance; therefore, Winny felt that she had become a free person. In 1824 the Supreme Court agreed, and Winny's case set the standard for determining slave freedom cases up to the 1850s. For more see Winny's story in the Missouri State Archives: Guide to African American History, a Missouri Digital Heritage website; and "Winny v Whitesides alias Prewitt," Supreme Court of Missouri, St. Louis District, 1 Mo. 472, November 1824 Decided.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Carolina / Kentucky / Indiana / Missouri

Winters, Ruby
Born in Kentucky, and raised in Cincinnati, OH, Ruby Winters was a soul singer during the late 1960s and early 1970s. She joined with Johnny Thunder in 1967 for the chart hit "Make Love to Me." In 1969, "I Don't Want to Cry" and "Guess Who" were top 20 hits. Her 1970s hits included "I Will" and singles "Baby Lay Down" and "Come to Me!" For more see the Ruby Winters entry in All Music Guide to Soul, by V. Bogdanov, et al. Listen to Ruby Winters recordings at Rhapsody.com.
Access Interview
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Wolfe, Anna M. Lindsey
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 1996
Anna M. Lindsey Wolfe was one of the first four African American students to take library classes (at home) from the University of Kentucky Extension Program in 1952. She served as the last librarian of the Mero Street Library (for African Americans) in Frankfort, KY. She was also a school principal. Anna Wolfe was the mother of George C. Wolfe. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and Community Memories: a glimpse of African American life in Frankfort, Kentucky edited by W. L. Fletcher and S. M. Burton.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wolfe County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1861-1900
Start Year : 1861
End Year : 1900
Wolfe County was formed in 1860 from portions of Breathitt, Owsley, and Powell Counties; it is surrounded by six counties. It is named for Nathaniel Wolfe, a Commonwealth's Attorney for Jefferson County who also served in the Kentucky House and Senate. The town of Campton became the seat of Wolfe County in 1860; it had originally been named Camp Town by the first settlers. The 1870 county population was 3,643, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 8,969 by 1900. Below are the number of Black and Mulatto members of the population from 1861-1900.

1861 Annual Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts of the State of Kentucky for the Fiscal Year Ending October 10, 1861 [p. 249, online at Google Books]

  • 14 slaves over the age of 16
  • 1 free Negro
1870 U.S. Federal Census
  • 42 Blacks
  • 9 Mulattoes [last names Burden, Cockrill, Cox, Linden, and Razor]
  • At least one U.S. Colored Troop listed Wolfe County, KY, as his birth location [Samuel Stewart]
1880 U.S. Federal Census
  • 74 Blacks
1900 U.S. Federal Census
  • 99 Blacks
For more see the Wolfe County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; the Hazel Green Herald newspaper; and Early and Modern History of Wolfe County, by R. M. Cecil.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Wolfe County, Kentucky

Wolfe, George C.
Birth Year : 1954
George C. Wolfe was born in Frankfort, KY. A director, writer, and producer, he has received numerous awards, including the Obie Award in 1990 and the Tony Award for best director in 1993, for the first part of Angels in America, Millennium Approaches; Wolfe was the first person of color to win the award for directing a "white" play. He also produced Paradise (his first professionally produced play), and The Colored Museum and Jelly's Last Jam, both of which are also books authored by Wolfe, and he has completed many other works. Beginning in 1993, he was the producer and artistic director of the New York Shakespeare Festival and the Joseph Papp Public Theater. In 2004, Wolfe moved from theater to film and produced Lakawanna Blues, a play written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson that debuted off broadway in 2001, and Wolfe directed the 2005 award winning motion picture with the same title. George C. Wolfe is the son of Costello and Anna M. Lindsey Wolfe. For more see The African American Almanac, 9th ed.; and Contemporary Theatre, Film, and Television. A biographical guide featuring performers... in the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the world, vol. 38. See photo images of George C. Wolfe on his facebook page.

    See George Wolfe with other children in photo image at Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections.

    See video 1 - The Colored Museum - Dir. George C. Wolfe on YouTube.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wolfe, John T., Jr.
Birth Year : 1942
John T. Wolfe, Jr. was the 14th president of Kentucky State University; his tenure was a little over a year. Wolfe was born in Mississippi and grew up in Chicago. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; and the Office of the President Records, a Kentucky Digital Library webpage.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Mississippi / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wolfe, William K.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2002
Wolfe, born in Bowling Green, KY, was the former executive director of the Greater Cleveland Urban League, 1972-1984, and is credited with developing the organization into a multi-million dollar operation. He had also been head of the Urban League in Westchester County, NY, and was the housing coordinator for the New York Housing Authority. He was a past president of the Ohio Welfare Conference and had begun his social work career with the Dayton YMCA. Wolfe was a social work graduate of Springfield College and Adelphi University. He founded the Black Professional Association of Cleveland. For more see A. Baranick, "William K. Wolfe, led Urban League," Plain Dealer, 12/31/2002, Metro section, p. B7.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Social Workers, Urban Leagues, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio / Westchester County, New York

Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville (KY)
Start Year : 1900
The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville was founded by Nannie Burroughs in 1900. It was described as a business, charitable, and industrial club housed in a building that the club rented in Louisville, KY. Attendance was initially free, then women who could afford it paid ten cents per week for the work and Burroughs took care of the rest. They made pies and cakes and sold them. In the afternoon and evenings, Burroughs instructed the women on professions such as millinery and she taught domestic science. During the day, the organization made and sold lunches to African Americans who worked in downtown Louisville. On the advice of a white woman who came to her aid financially, Burroughs increased the weekly tuition, and each student paid something, even if it was a penny. There were 40 clubs in Louisville, and the city was to host the next biennial meeting of the National Association of Colored Women. The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville continued to grow, and Burroughs was forced to hire teachers and let other club members manage the school while she supervised. The club eventually purchased a twenty-room building for the classes, and it also provided rooms for women who were moving to Louisville for work. The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville and the school existed at least during the nine year period that Burroughs was in Louisville. For more see Efforts for Social Betterment Among Negro Americans, A social study made by Atlanta University [available online at Google Book Search]; Fortress Introduction to Black Church History by A. H. Pinn and A. B. Pinn; and In the Vanguard of a Race by L. H. Hammond [available online at Google Book Search and Inernet Archive].
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Women's Groups and Organizations, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Women's Action Committee For Victory and Lasting Peace Convention in Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1946
While preparing for their convention in Louisville, KY, in 1946, the Women's Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace (WACVLP) was met with the challenge of segregation at the convention hotel. Mrs. Vera Whitehouse was chair of the WACVLP. The organization planned to hold the convention with its delegates from the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The executive secretary of the NACW, Mrs. Christine Smith, refused to send delegates if the housing arrangements at the convention were to be segregated. The WACVLP considered moving the convention to Ohio if the segregated housing situation in Louisville could not be resolved. The Louisville hotel association discussed the matter with the WACVLP and it was decided that Negro delegates could attend the meetings, take meals, and use the same elevator as the white members. A colored pastor, Rev. Offutt, agreed to find rooms in private homes for the Negro delegates attending the convention. The Negro delegates included Miss Jane Hunter of Cleveland; Mrs. Audley Moore of New York; Mrs. Jane Spaulding of West Virginia; Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune from Washington, D.C., member of the National Council of Negro Women; Mrs. Sadie M. Alexander, an attorney in Philadelphia; and Mrs. L. B. Fouse of Louisville. Members of the WACVLP included Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt; Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt; Mrs. Paul Mellon; Dean Virginia Gildersleeve; Mrs. Anne O'Hare McCormick; Mrs. Ogdon Reid; Miss Dorothy Thompson; Dr. Emily Hickman. As the negotiations continued, it was soon too late to move the convention to Ohio and the concession was for the Negro delegates to be able to eat, meet, and use the same elevator as the white delegates, but the hotel association would not budge on the segregated housing. The WACVLP accepted the terms. In response, Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune declined to attend the convention. Mrs. Christine Smith withdrew the names of the five delegates who were members of the NACW. Mrs. Audley Moore, of New York, a member of the WACVLP, accepted the terms and agreed to attend the convention. Negro delegates who actually attended the WACVLP Convention were Mrs. Mary F. Waring who lived in Chicago and had grown up in Louisville; Mrs. Joy H. Earl of Cleveland; and Mrs. Emma Shores of Canton, Ohio. For more see "NACW strikes blow against Ky. Jim-Crow," The Afro American, 02/23/1946, p.15; "Women leaders refuse Jim-Crow offering of Action Committee: colored delegates may eat but not room in Ky. hotel," The Afro American, 04/06/1946, p.12; "Leaders shun Ky. meeting," Baltimore Afro-American, 04/30/1946, p.4.

*The Women's Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace was formerly the Committee on the Cause and Cure for War that was organized in 1925 after the U.S. rejection of the League of Nations. The Committee on the Cause and Cure for War had a name change in 1940 to the WACVLP. The name would change again to the Committee on Education for Lasting Peace. For more see finding aid at Harvard University Library for Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. Records, 1923-1948.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Women's Right to Vote in Kentucky
Start Year : 1838
End Year : 1902
In 1838, the Kentucky Legislature granted limited voting rights to unmarried women and widows who owned property, and was over 21 years old and lived in the school district. The women could vote on school board issues, on the selection of county school district trustees, and on school taxes. Few women were able to actually vote based on the criteria, and according to author J. D. Wright, Jr, the voting rights were revoked in 1902 because more African American women were going to the polls than white women. The trouble was said to have started in Lexington, KY, when an unpopular Colored man was to be named head of the Colored schools and there was an outpouring of African American women at the polls. Though the rights were revoked, the 1838 School Suffrage voting rights for women in Kentucky set a precedence that was followed by Kansas in 1861, Wyoming in 1869, England in 1870, New Zealand in 1877, and many other states in the U.S. For more see J. Reis, "Winning the right to vote," The Kentucky Post, 11/08/2004, Kentucky Life: History section, p. K4; Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright, Jr.; the article on black and white women voting in The Bourbon News, 02/11/1902, p. 4; and "School Suffrage in Kentucky - Boston Transcript," Friend's Intelligencer, 1902, v.59, p.221 [available at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Voting Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Wood, Francis M.
Birth Year : 1878
Death Year : 1943
Francis Wood was born in Barren County, KY, the son of Fannie Myers Wood and William H. Wood, and a brother to Rev. J. Edmund Wood. He taught in various African American schools in Kentucky and served as principal of Western High School in Paris, KY for 12 years [he lived at 401 Lillleston Avenue in Paris]. He was also president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) for 10 years and of the Kentucky Negro Industrial Institute (now Kentucky State University) from May 1923 to June 1924. In 1925 he became supervisor and later director of the Baltimore Colored Schools. In 1934 he was elected president of the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools and established a permanent office in Washington, D.C. Francis M. Wood Alternative High School (Baltimore) is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; "Office of the President Records" in the Kentucky Digital Library; and "Dr. Francis M. Wood, educator, 65, dead," The New York Times, 05/09/1943, p. 40.


See photo image and additional information in "Francis Wood left legacy in education," article by G. Kinslow in Glasgow Daily Times, 02/21/2010 [available online].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland

Wood, George E.
In 1895, George E. Wood, from Madisonville, KY, was appointed Notary Public by Governor William O. Bradley. He was the first African American to hold the post in Hopkins County, and in 1902 he was reappointed for his third term, by Governor J. C. W. Beckham. For more see "Madisonville," Kentucky Reporter, 03/22/1902, p. 1.
Subjects: Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Notary Public
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Wood, John Edmund [Torch Light newspaper]
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1929
Reverend J. Edmund Wood was born in Hiseville, KY, the son of Fannie Myers Wood and William H. Wood. He was the husband of Ella B. Redd Wood, the couple married in 1891 and had five children. He was a brother to Francis M. Wood. Rev. Wood died of tuberculosis, December 15, 1929, according to his death certificate. Prior to his death, he had been a school teacher and a minister in Munfordville, Woodsonville, Bardstown, and Elizabethtown, all locations in Kentucky, and he served as president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association in 1899. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Danville, KY, for 31 years, and he also served on the Danville City Council. He was a leader in the Baptist Church, serving as president of the National Baptist Convention for six years. The 46th Annual Session, in 1926, was held in Indianapolis, IN. Wood was secretary of the South District Baptist Association for 35 years, and was the moderator of the General Association of Kentucky Baptist for nine years. In 1912, he was elected a delegate at large and attended the Republican National Convention in Chicago. While at the convention, he spoke out to the media in response to the comments made about the disloyalty of Colored delegates from the South. Rev. Wood was also an undertaker, a printer, and he was editor of the Torch Light [or Torchlight], a weekly newspaper that was published in Danville, KY, until the headquarters was moved to Lexington in 1910, at 434 West Main Street. Subscribers were allowed to pay for the newspaper with eggs, chickens, lard, and other food items. The newspaper was in operation as early as 1904 [source: Freeman, 09/17/1904, p. 1], and Rev. Wood was editor for more than 26 years. In 1907, Rev. Wood was the National Grand Chief of the Independent Order of the Good Samaritans, and he also had been the State Grand Chief. In 1910, he was chairman of the executive board of the Insurance Department of the Odd Fellows. He was elected treasurer of the Kentucky Negro Press Association at the 2nd Annual Session in 1916. Rev. Wood was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute [now Kentucky State University], he was a 1903 graduate of National Correspondence College in Vincennes, IN, and a 1908 graduate of State University [Simmons College in KY]. Rev. Wood was a trustee at State University for 20 years. For more see Dr. J. Edmund Wood in The Crisis, March 1930, vol. 37, issue 3, p. 97; "Predicting a Roosevelt bolt," New York Times, 06/18/1912, p. 2; "Baptist throng to the Hoosier convention city," Plaindealer, 09/10/1926, p. 1; "It's nice to be a Kentucky editor...," in the "Short Flights" column by R. W. Thompson in Freeman, 05/13/1911, p. 2; "At Kentucky's capital, Freeman, 04/20/1912, p. 4; T. Richardson, "Ink-Lings of the Ink-Slingers," Freeman, 01/19/1907, p. 3; "The 2nd Annual Session of the Kentucky Negro Press Association," Freeman, 09/09/1916, p. 1; John Edmund Wood, pp. 158-219, in The President Speaks: annual addresses delivered to the National Baptist Convention of America, 1898-1986, edited by M. C. Griffin; "In 1899 Rev. J. E. Wood was elected President.," Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 04/21-24/1926, p. 32, 2nd paragraph [available online in the Kentucky Digital Library]; and "The Torchlight," Lexington Leader, 01/12/1910, p. 2.


See photo images of Mrs. Ella B. Wood and Rev. J. E. Wood in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Hiseville, Barren County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Woodford County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Woodford County was the ninth and last Kentucky county that was organized by the Virginia Legislature. The county was created from Fayette County in 1788, and is surrounded by six counties. It was named for William Woodford, an American Revolutionary War general who died after being captured by the British. The seat of Woodford County is Versailles, established in 1792, and named for Versailles, France. In the First Census of Kentucky, 1790, there were 6,963 whites, 2,220 slaves, and 27 free persons. The total county population for the year 1800 was 6,624: 4,502 whites, 2,107 slaves, and 15 free coloreds, according to the Second Census of Kentucky. There were 13 African American slave owners in Woodford County in 1830. The 1860 county population was 5,391, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, free Blacks, and free Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 808 slave owners
  • 5,767 Black slaves
  • 607 Mulatto slaves
  • 143 free Blacks
  • 22 free Mulattoes

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 704 slave owners
  • 4,681 Black slaves
  • 1,150 Mulatto slaves
  • 81 free Blacks
  • 33 free Mulattoes

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 3,337 Blacks
  • 450 Mulattoes
  • About 436 U.S. Colored Troops listed Woodford County, KY, as their birth location.

For more see the Woodford County entry in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber; Woodford County, Ky. Colored Marriages by D. A. Wilson; Proclamation Orders by Governor E. P. Morrow; All I See Is What I Know by Z. Webb (video); Funeral Home Records, Mack Brown Funeral Home; and History of Woodford County, Kentucky by W. E. Railey.
Subjects: Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county N-Z]
Geographic Region: Woodford County, Kentucky

Woods, Brent
Birth Year : 1850
Death Year : 1906
Woods, a former slave, was born in Pulaski County, KY. He later joined the Army and was assigned to Company B of the 9th all black U.S. Cavalry. He was one of the 17 troopers and 20 miners in pursuit of Apache raiders. With the death of the lieutenant and the miner's leader, Woods took charge and led the attack that forced the Apache to abandon their position. Woods was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was discharged for service in 1902 and returned to Pulaski County. Woods was very poor when he died; he was buried in a pauper's grave. For more see African American Recipients of the Medal of Honor by C. W. Hanna; and A. Mead, "Black hero given formal military burial," Lexington Herald Leader, 10/29/1984, Main News section, p.A1.
Subjects: Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Pulaski County, Kentucky

Woods, Mattiebelle
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 2005
Woods, a journalist, was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Annabelle and Ira Woods. She grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and married when she was 19. Shortly after her daughter was born, Woods lost her husband in a car accident. She was briefly married again at age 24; that marriage ended in divorce. Beginning in the 1940s, Woods became a society reporter, writing for African American newspapers. In 1964, she joined the Milwaukee Courier and was also a reporter for several other Milwaukee newspapers and the Chicago Defender. She was also a freelance writer for Ebony and Jet magazines. Woods loved to dance and was featured in Jet doing the electric slide. She attended a Christmas party at the Clinton White House. Her newspaper column, "Partyline," was last written the week she died; Woods had been a journalist with the Milwaukee Courier for more than 40 years and was the oldest working journalist in the U.S. For more see A. R. Silvers, "Obituary: Mattiebelle Woods 1902-2005," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 01/19/2005, A News section, p.1; "Mattiebelle Woods," in vol. 8 of African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham; and listen to the E. Gordon's remembrance of "Mattiebelle Woods, pioneer journalist" at NPR.org.
Access Interview
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Woodson (former slave)
The first slave case to be tried in Pittsburgh, PA, under the Fugitive Slave Law was that of an escaped slave named Woodson. The trial took place on March 13, 1851. Woodson, previously owned by a Mrs. Byers in Kentucky, had been living as a free man for two years in Beaver, PA, where he was a mechanic and a preacher. In the escaped slave case, the courts decided in favor of Mrs. Byers, and Woodson was returned to Kentucky. Citizens of Pittsburgh and Beaver raised subscriptions (money) and purchased Woodson, who returned to Pennsylvania. On August 1, 1851, Woodson was guest speaker at the West Indies Emancipation Day Celebration in Oakland, PA; it was the 17th anniversary in recognition of the end of slavery in the British Empire, including the British West Indies. For more see I. E. Williams, "The Operation of the Fugitive Slave Law in Western Pennsylvania, from 1850-1860," The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 4, issue 3 (July 1921), pp. 150-160 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Beaver, Pittsburgh, and Oakland, Pennsylvania

Woolfolk, George Ruble
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1996
Woolfolk was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Theodosia and Lucien Woolfolk. He was a graduate of Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, Ohio State University, and the University of Wisconsin. Woolfolk was head of the history department at Prairie View A&M and was the first African American elected as a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association. The Political Building at Prairie View was renamed the George Ruble Woolfolk Building in his honor, and the Woolfolk Lecture Series is in recognition of his contributions to public higher education in Texas. Woolfolk was a scholar, an educator, and a historian. He was the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Cotton Regency; the northern merchants and reconstruction, 1865-1880 and The Free Negro in Texas, 1800-1860: a study in cultural compromise. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1980-1999; and Directory of American Scholars, 1974-1982.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Prairie View, Texas

Work, Beulah White
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2008
Beulah Work was a leader and board member of the Detroit NAACP and a union organizer and labor activist for the United Auto Workers (UAW). For 40 years she was employed as a quality control specialist at Ford Motor Company, according to "Beulah Work joins the ancestors," The Michigan Citizen, April 20, 2008, p. 3. The article also mentions that Beulah Work founded and chaired the Women in the NAACP (WIN) Committee and was honored for being the most successful NAACP voter registration recruiter in Detroit. Beulah Work was one of the women interviewed for the documentary, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter; her interview is part of the collection of outtakes held at Harvard University Library: "Records of the Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter Project, 1974-1980." Beulah Work, born and raised in Madison County, KY, was the daughter of John Andrew White, Sr. and Bertha Ballew White. In 1920, the family of six lived in the community of White Hall, where John White was a farmer. In 1930, the seven member family lived in the community of Foxtown. Beulah White graduated from Richmond High School in 1931 and soon after moved to Detroit, MI. She was the widow of Merrill Work (1905-1981) from Tennessee. See "Beulah White Work, 95," in the Obituary section of the Richmond Register, 04/15/2008.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Work With Negroes Round Table, American Library Association
Start Year : 1921
End Year : 1923
The Work With Negroes Round Table was approved as a temporary section of the American Library Association (ALA) during the 1921 Conference in Swampscott, MA. There were no Negro members. Ernestine Rose, a white librarian at the Harlem Branch Library in New York, ran the initial round table meeting. In preparation for the 1922 meeting, Rose distributed a survey throughout the United States inquiring about library services provided to Negroes. The results were presented at the next meeting of the Work With Negroes Round Table held during the 1922 ALA Conference in Detroit, MI. George T. Settle, head of the Louisville Free Public Library in Kentucky, was present. Ernestine Rose reported from her survey that library services for Negroes was progressing slowly, and overall, the idea was still an unreached goal. It was insinuated that this was particularly true in the South. The meeting continued with several papers being presented and discussed, including a paper by Thomas Fountain Blue from the Negro Department of the Louisville Free Public Library. It was the first time that an African American had been placed on a program of the ALA Conference. The Louisville Free Public Library was recognized by ALA as the prime example of how segregated libraries and services should be provided to Negroes. The final speaker at the conference was William F. Yust, a librarian at the Rochester Public Library in New York, and the previous director of the Louisville Free Public Library who had established the Negro Department and the library training program for Negroes. During his talk, Yust reported that there was no race problems in Rochester, NY. At the conclusion of the meeting, there was not a clear consensus as to whether there should be another Work With Negroes Round Table meeting or if the section should be continued; a split had occurred between librarians from the North and those from the South. George Settle concluded that there was still enough interest in the group, so he requested that ALA permit the round table to meet at the next conference in Hot Springs, AK. In 1923, George T. Settle presided over the Work With Negroes Round Table meeting held in the Hot Springs Central Methodist Church. Ernestine Rose was absent, but her survey results were read by her colleague Harry M. Lydenberg. A counter survey had been completed by Julia Ideson of the Houston Public Library in Texas. Ideson's survey was titled "Progress South" and the results did not jive with the Rose survey findings that the South did not know the Negro or that there was no Negro problem in the North. During the meeting, tempers flared and the meeting turned into a heated discussion about the way library services for Negroes were and should be administered in the South. Librarians were still angry when the meeting concluded and it had been decided that permission would be sought from ALA for another Work With Negroes Round Table meeting at the next conference. The ALA ruling body was not pleased with the turn of events during the round table meeting, which was referred to as the "only untoward episode of the conference" in the ALA journal [source: "Editorial," Library Journal, v.47, p.169]. ALA permanently suspended the Work With Negroes Round Table. For more information and citations, see the 1921, 1922, and 1923 entries for the Work With Negroes Round Table in Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones.


 
See photo images and additional information about Ernestine Rose in the Long Island History Journal website [article: A. Sandford, "Rescuing Ernestine Rose (1880-1961): Harlem Librarian and Social Activist," Long island History Journal, v.22, issue 2].
 
 
See full text of "Work with the Negro Round Table" and article from the report given by Thomas Fountain Blue, in The Southern Workman, September 1922, pp.437-438, at Kentucky Digital Library.

 
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Swampscott, Massachusetts / Harlem, New York City, New York / Detroit, Michigan / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Rochester, New York / Hot Springs, Arkansas / Houston, Texas

Works Progress Administration (WPA), Kentucky, Photographs
Start Year : 1935
End Year : 1943
The Works Progress Administration was a New Deal Agency that was created in 1935 to help provide relief for U.S. citizens during the Great Depression. In 1939, the name was changed to Work Projects Administration. African Americans were employed on building projects, there were classes for women, food was provided to families, daycare centers were provided for children, and families received medical care. Within the Kentucky Digital Library are WPA photographic images that include the work involving African Americans in Kentucky. Search using the term "WPA" to find related photo images, including those with African Americans.


See photo images of African Americans in Kentucky who were involved with the WPA programs. (colored)


See additional photo images. (Negro)

 

See also the Works Project Administration documentary film that highlights the employment of African Americans, "We Work Again, 1937," at the National Archives website.

 
Subjects: Photographers, Photographs, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

World War II Veterans from Bourbon County
Start Year : 1939
End Year : 1945
An 80 page listing of veterans is available online in Bourbon County Men and Women Who Served in World War Two. It was published by the War History Committee of the Bourbon County Woman's Club and was sponsored by Hansley Mills, Inc. The title does NOT include the name of every World War II veteran from Bourbon County, but it attempts to gather as many names as possible. More than 100 African American veterans, noted by the term "(colored)," are included, including such names as William T. Clay, Henry Stewart, Rudolph Stout, and Virgil Allen, Jr. There is not a date on the publication, but it covers the period 1939-1945 and is available via the Kentucky Digital Library collection.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

World's Columbian Exposition 1893
Start Year : 1893
End Year : 1893
In 1890, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison appointed a national commission with representation from all states and territories to oversee the planning of the world's fair, to take place in Chicago during the summer of 1893. No African Americans were selected for the commission or the Board of Lady Managers that was headed by Mrs. Bertha Honore Palmer, a Chicago socialite originally from Kentucky. African American contributions were also missing from the majority of the exhibits; these exclusions were cause for protests. There were also ongoing disagreements between various African American groups about the fair. An attempt to appease the protesters resulted in a Colored Jubilee Day being held in August 1893. Discrimination of public accommodations was not part of the grievance; during the fair only one incidence of exclusion based on race was reported: Miss Mary Britton of Lexington, KY, was denied entrance to the Kentucky Building. The building had also been featured in one of the series of stereotyped cartoons about the unenlightened Johnson family, former slaves, who were attending the fair. The cartoons were printed in issues of Harper's Weekly. For more about African Americans and the Columbian Exposition see All the World is Here!: the Black presence at White City, by C. R. Reed; and Rudwick & Meier, "Black Man in the White City: Negroes and the Columbian Exposition, 1893," Phylon, vol. 26, issue 4 (1965), pp. 354-361. For more about the Kentucky Building, see the cartoon in Harper's Weekly, 11/04/1893, p. 1059. For more about the Mary Britton incident, see The Freeman (Indianapolis, IN), vol. 5, issue 32, front page, bottom of column one. The Hifner Photo Collection of Woodford County, KY, Schools was created in 1892 for the educational exhibit at the World's Fair, available online via the Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections web page.

See images from the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, a digital history collection at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Paul V. Galvin Library website.
 
Subjects: Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Photographers, Photographs
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Wright, George C.
Dr. George C. Wright was born in Lexington, KY. He received the Governors Award from the Kentucky Historical Society for his book, Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940. According to his research, at least 353 lynchings took place in Kentucky up to 1940. Though Wright states that it is impossible to accurately count the number of African Americans lynched, his research shows that the majority of the lynching victims were African American men. More than one-third of the lynchings occurred between 1865 and 1874. Wright is the seventh president of Prairie View A & M University in Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A & M.A.) and Duke University (Ph.D.). For more see Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940; lynchings, mob rule, and "legal lynchings," by G. C. Wright; and Dr. George C. Wright a Prairie View website. 

Access Interview Read about the George C. Wright interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Lynchings
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wright, James L. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 1999
Wright was originally from Kentucky. His union work began at a Kentucky equipment factory when he returned from the service at the end of World War II. His initial duties were sweeping and cleaning, typical jobs assigned to African American employees, and he advanced to forklift operator. The factory had a union that was just being initiated, and Wright became a union leader to help other African Americans advance in the company. He was a member of the National Negro Labor Council (NNLC) in Louisville, KY. His work was perceived as subversive and Wright was accused of being a Communist. Wright eventually left Kentucky for Chicago to become a full-time union organizer. In 1980, he was the first African American elected to head region 4 of the United Auto Workers (UAW), which included Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Wright was also the president of the UAW's political arm in Illinois; he also headed the regional civil rights department. He had received threatening phone calls during his campaign for office, but Wright persevered. He was even re-elected, but had to step down in 1984 due to health problems. For more see L. Forte, "James Wright, former UAW leader," Chicago Sun-Times, 07/28/1999, p. 74; and see Jimmy Wright in the film The Freedom Train, by Kingberry Productions & WDIV-TV.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Union Organizations, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Wright, Lillian Taylor
Birth Year : 1918
Wright was one of the first four African American students to take library classes (at home) from the University of Kentucky Extension Program, in 1952, completing her library degree at Atlanta University [now Clark-Atlanta University]. Her thesis, Thomas Fountain Blue: pioneer librarian, 1866-1935 [available online in the Kentucky Digital Library] was one of the very few studies of African American librarians in the U.S. Wright was a librarian at Kentucky State University. For more see Who's Who in Library Service. A biographical directory of professional librarians in the United States and Canada, 4th ed., edited by L. Ash.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Atlanta, Georgia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wright, W. H.
Wright was president of the American Mutual Savings Bank in Louisville, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wright, Zara
Nothing is known of Zara Wright's background; she has been added to this site because of her controversial novel, Black and White Tangled Threads (1920) and its sequel Kenneth (1920), which are both set in Louisville, KY. Wright was living in Chicago when the fictional works were published. Both titles went out of print shortly afterwards, and AMS Press reprinted them in 1975. Zoleeta, the main character, discovers that she is the daughter of a mulatto woman and must confront her new identity and her planned marriage to a white southern planter, Paul Andrews. The author does not explain why her novel was set in Louisville. For more see Wright's novel and book reviews in the Chicago Defender, 12/25/1920; and A. A. Shockley, "The Little Orphan," Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933.
Subjects: Authors
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

 

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