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.

Recently Updated/Added

Bacon, Louis

Louis Bacon, a trumpeter and singer, was born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Chicago. In 1910, he lived in an orphan home in Chicago [source: U.S.…

Thompson, Rudolph

Rudolph Thompson, born in Louisville, KY, was a jug blower. He was the son of Juanita and John H. Thompson, and according to the 1920 U.S. Federal…

Thomas, John L.

John L. Thomas, a trombonist, was born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Chicago, IL. He played and toured with a number of bands, including the bands…

Connors, Charles Raymond "Chuck"

Charles Raymond Connors, born in Maysville, KY, was a bass trombonist who studied at the Navy School of Music in Washington, D.C. He earned a MusB…

Smith, John Robert [Johnny Hammond]

John Robert Smith, born in Louisville, KY, was an organist who also played piano and acoustic piano, electronic keyboard and synthesizers. Smith was…

Thompson, Malachi Richard

Malachi Richard Thompson was born in Princeton, KY, and grew up in Chicago. He played the piano and trumpet and was a music activist and leader.…

Robinson, Keith

Keith Robinson, an actor and singer, was born in Louisville, KY and grew up in Greenville, South Carolina and later moved to Augusta, GA. He played…

Adams, Charles "Cane"

Charles Adams was a musician who invented the 'walking cane flute,' a flute combined with a walking cane. He recorded with the Kentucky Jug…

Shake Rag (Bowling Green, KY)

The Shake Rag District of Bowling Green, KY, was an African American community with families, schools, businesses, and churches. It is listed on the…

Clark, John W.

In 1897, John W. Clark was the first African American graduate from the University of Kansas School of Law. The John W. and Gertrude Clark Scholarship…