There are more notable African Americans with Kentucky roots and ties than any one person knows about. Very little has been written about many of them and it is a challenge to find what was written in the past. For some, their stories have only been told by word of mouth. The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA) has been developed as a finding aid to bring together a brief description of pertinent names, places, and events, and to list the sources where additional information may be found. This is not currently an all inclusive database, but we are working toward that goal and suggestions are welcomed.

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Migration to Deadwood, Dakota Territory

The 1870 U.S. Federal Census shows African Americans living in the Dakota Territory; there were 80 residents, five of whom were from Kentucky. Most…

Yowell, Samuel [Petersburg Colored School]

Samuel Yowell [also spelled Youell] was a property owner in Petersburg, KY. He was born in Virginia and is listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census as a…

African American Blacksmiths in Kentucky

A discussion of the number of African American blacksmiths in the U.S. can be found in the Negroes in the United States (1904), by W. E. B. DuBois,…

Duncan, Cruz [Cruz McClusky]

In 1910, Cruz Duncan was appointed an aid on the staff of Commander in Chief Van Sant of the G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic). Duncan was a…

Wallace, Count X.

Count X. Wallace, a barber and musician, played the violin at parties and other gatherings. He was born in Kentucky and was a freeman living in…

African American Slave Owners in Kentucky

In 1924 the Research Department of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History completed a study of the free Negro slave owners found in…

Lyons, Donald W., Sr.

Donald W. Lyons, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Joseph B. and Sam Ella Lyons. He has been an educator, a librarian, and an athletic…

Coleman, John A., Sr.

John A. Coleman, a community leader born in Centerville, KY, was the son of George and Ann Sharp Coleman. He was a builder, a school teacher, and a…

Robinson, Adam M., Jr.

In 2007, Adam M. Robinson, Jr. was the 36th Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy and was named Chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, both…

Howard, Theodore R. M.

T. R. M. Howard, born in Murray, KY, was a graduate of the College of Medical Evangelists [now Loma Linda University] in Los Angeles, CA. He was…