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

African American Schools, High Schools - Eastern Kentucky, 1948

In 1948, William T. Gilbert completed his thesis, The Administration and Organization of Secondary Schools for Negro Pupils in Eastern Kentucky, for a…

Kennedy, John W. "Jay"

John William Kennedy was born in Bryantsville, KY. His family had worked on the J. Hogan Ballard tobacco farm and also worked with horses. When…

Keene Industrial Institute (Keene, KY)Beattyville Industrial Institute (Beattyville, KY)William H. Parker

The Keene Industrial Institute was located in Keene, Jessamine County, Kentucky. The school was established by W. H. Parker, November 12, 1900, and…

Keas, Samuel G.

Samuel Keas was a land owner, farmer and cattle owner. Keas Street in Smithville [Montgomery County, KY] is named for him. In 1878 he became the first…

Kavanaugh, Nelson

Nelson Kavanaugh was a freed slave from Richmond, KY, who made his way to Texas in 1837 and settled in Houston. He was one of the many barbers in the…

Johnson, Beverly [James Williams, Sr.]

In 1858, Beverly Johnson escaped from slavery in Kentucky and made his way north to York, MI. Johnson changed his name to James Williams, Sr. and was…

Jockeys/Trainers in Kentucky

As fewer African American jockeys became riders in the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing competitions, there were still African American men…

Jackson, Luther Porter

Born in Lexington, KY, Luther P. Jackson was full professor and head of the history department at Virginia State College [now Virginia State…

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…

Hoard, J. H. [Hoardsville, Oklahoma]

Reverend Hoard was born in Hopkinsville, KY, and in 1899 moved to Okmulgee, OK, to become pastor of the First Baptist Church. Okmulgee is 30 miles…