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

Ray, Joseph R., Sr.

Joseph R. Ray, Sr. was born in Bloomfield, KY. In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him Director of the Racial Relations Service of the Housing and…

Reed, Steven S.

Steven S. Reed was born in Munfordville, KY. In 1999, President Clinton named Reed the first African American U.S. Attorney in Kentucky, and he served…

Reynolds, Louise E.

Louise E. Reynolds, a stenographer, was the first African American to work at the Republican headquarters in Louisville, KY (1953-1959); she was there…

"Petition of Colored People of [Owensboro] Kentucky"

In July 1867, Chief Agent A. W. Lawvill of the Bureau Refugees, Freemen and Abandoned Lands; forwarded a petition to Congress from the Colored people…

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…

Kentucky 1836 Gambling Law, Negroes

Gambling with cards and dice greatly increased following the American Revolution. Every state had passed laws to curtail gambling, particularly among…

Hamilton, Jeff

Jeff Hamilton, a slave, was sold to Texas Senator Sam Houston; Hamilton had been placed on the auction block in Huntsville, TX, in 1853. Hamilton was…

Ball, William Baton

William Baton Ball, a former slave, was born in Danville, KY, and graduated from Oberlin College. He served in the U.S. Army, 99th Division, 149th…

Logan, Greenbury

Greenbury (or Greenberry) Logan was born in Kentucky, the son of David Logan, who was white. Greenbury may or may not have been a slave, though he was…