Coleman, John A., Sr.(born: 1869 - died: 1936)
John A. Coleman, a community leader born in Centerville, KY, was the son of George and Ann Sharp Coleman. He was a builder, a school teacher, and a musician. According to author and musician Bill Coleman, his uncle John built his own house and many of the homes in what was then an all African American community known as Centerville. John Coleman was first in the community to have electricity in his home. Though he is listed in the Census as a laborer, John Coleman also served as a teacher in the Centerville Colored School, which was a one room structure that served students in grades 1-8. The school was mentioned in a 50 year survey that was completed and published by Dr. C. H. Parrish in 1926. The Centerville School held classes about five months out of the year, the same as many of the common schools founded after the Civil War in small African American communities in Kentucky. In addition to being a school teacher, John Coleman was a musician; he and two of his brothers were members of a local music group. John Coleman played the cornet, Ernest Coleman played the tuba, and Robert Henry Coleman (Bill Coleman's father) played the snare drum. According to the U.S. Federal Census, the Coleman family had been in Centerville at least since the end of slavery (and probably before that). John Coleman and his wife, Kitty [or Kittie] Bachelor Coleman, were still living in Centerville in 1930; they were the parents of four children: Mattie Coleman Hersey, Ida B. Coleman, John A. Coleman Jr., and Cora M. Coleman. For more see Dr. C. H. Parrish, "A fifty year survey," Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 21-24, 1926, pp. 23-24 [available full-text in the Kentucky Digital Library]; and Trumpet Story, by Bill Coleman.