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

Samples, John

John Samples, born in Kentucky, was a competing jockey. He rode the horse Wanderer for Rice and McCormack and Longfellow for John Harper. He won the…

Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky

Initially named the Harlem Jockey Club, the Harlem Race Track was located in the Village of Harlem, in Proviso Township, a suburb of Chicago, IL. It…

The White Slave, by Bartley Theo Campbell

The White Slave was a play written by Bartley Campbell, who was white. The playopened on April 3, 1882, at the Fourteenth Street Theatre in New York…

Ferguson, Thelma B.

Thelma B. Ferguson, born in Memphis, TN, was, in 2005, the first African American woman to be named President of Chase Bank Kentucky. In 2008,…

Hicks, Madeline Maupin

Madeline Maupin Hicks was the first African American female to attend the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, from which she graduated in…

Cook, Isabel and John Hartwell

It has been mistakenly assumed that the Cooks were Kentucky natives. John Cook was born to a free family around 1838 in Washington, D.C. Isabel Marion…

Johnson, Anita L.

Anita L. Johnson was the first African American elected official in Jeffersontown, KY. She was re-elected to her third term to the Jeffersontown City…

Reynolds, Sadiqa N.

Sadiqa N. Reynolds, born in New York, was the first African American woman to clerk for the Kentucky Supreme Court, serving as the chief law clerk for…

Migration from Canada to Kentucky by 1870

At the close of the Civil War and at the time that slavery ended in Kentucky with the ratification of the 13th Amendment [December 18, 1865], there…

Allen County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1920

Allen County, located in south-central Kentucky, was formed in 1815 from parts of Barren and Warren Counties. The county is named for Colonel John…