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

Oliver, Joel Peter Jr., and Wilma

In January of 1939, Dr. Joel P. Oliver, Jr. (1903-1958) and a woman named Wilma, who was white, were arrested in Louisville, KY, for violating the…

Telephone Company Employees, Kentucky, African Americans, 1900-1960

Telephone Company Employees Kentucky African Americans.pdf

By Reinette F. Jones with assistance from Kathy L. Schiflett, April 29, 2018Added to this entry is a .pdf of the excel spreadsheet that lists the…

Smith, Carl H.

Starting in 1958, Dr. Carl H. Smith was the director of the Kentucky State University (KSU) Choir, exept for the year he took off to earn his…

Howard School / Normal Institute / Chandler Normal School / Webster Hall (Lexington, KY)

At the end of the Civil War, the first schools for Negro children in Lexington, KY, were located in the churches: First Baptist Church, Pleasant Green…

Smith, Henry Clay

Henry Clay Smith, from Kentucky, was one of the early African American police officers in the U.S south; he is listed in the 1870 and 1880 U.S.…

Migration from Kentucky to Florida

In 1910, Florida was one of six states to have the greatest gain from Negro migration (the other five states were Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma,…

Harrison, Nathaniel "Nate"

Nathaniel "Nate" Harrison was an African American man from Kentucky who was referred to as the first white man on Palomar Mountain. He was actually…