From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Cox, Johnson Duncan

(born: 1875  -  died: 1952) 

Johnson D. Cox, born in Kentucky, was a teacher at Governor Street School in Evansville, Indiana. He was the husband of Eugenia D. Talbott Cox (b.1879 in Indiana) and the father of Alvalon C. Cox, and Elbert Frank Cox (1895-1969), the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Johnson D. Cox would later marry school teacher Ethel Cox (b.1893 in Indiana), they are listed in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, where it is also noted that Johnson D. Cox attended one year of college and his wife had completed four years of college. Johnson D. Cox was a teacher and school principal in Evansville for 40 years. He was the son of Calvin and Annie Cox, and in 1880, the family lived in Allensville, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. By 1900, Johnson D. Cox was a school teacher in Pigeon, IN, and he and Eugenia had been married for five years and had two sons. The family was living in Evansville when the 1910 Census was taken, and Johnson D. Cox was employed as a school teacher. His son, Elbert Cox, began his teaching career at the Colored high school in Henderson, KY in 1917. He taught mathematics and physics for a year before leaving to join the Army during World War I. Elbert would go on to become a great educator. He was married to Beulah Kaufman, whose father, Lewis Kaufman (b.1853 in Indiana), had been a slave in Kentucky. Once freed, Lewis Kaufman left Kentucky for Princeton, Indiana, where he owned a blacksmith shop. For more see J. A. Donaldson and R. J. Fleming, "Elbert F. Cox: an early pioneer," The American Mathematical Monthly, vol.107, issue 2, (Feb., 2000), pp. 105-128; and "Evansville Honors the first Black Ph.D. in mathematics and his family, by T. M. Washington in Notices of the AMS, v.55, no.5, pp.588-589.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Todd County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Henderson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Allensville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Henderson, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The American mathematical monthly: the official journal of the Mathematical Association of America (periodical)
NKAA Source: Notices of the American Mathematical Society (periodical)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Cox, Johnson Duncan,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 18, 2019,

Last modified: 2019-02-26 20:21:50