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

African American Theater Buildings in Kentucky

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Of the more than 1,500 theaters listed within the title African American Theater Buildings by Eric L. Smith, a few were located in nine Kentucky cities between 1900-1955. The theaters were managed by both African Americans and whites, and the predominate clientele were African Americans. The theaters in Kentucky were:

  • Higgins School in Vicco (Higgins School merged into Liberty Street School in 1940)
  • Frankfort - Kentucky State College Theater, picture house
  • Henderson - Doxy Theater, picture house
  • Lexington - Ada Meade, Lyric Theater, and Orpheum Theater, all picture houses
  • Louisville - Dixie Theater, Grand Theater, and Lyric Theater, picture houses. Lincoln Theater, and Palace Theater, both picture houses and vaudeville. Ruby Theater and Victory Theater were both vaudeville
  • Mayfield - Unique Theater, picture house
  • Owensboro - Plaza Theater, picture house
  • Paducah - Hiawatha Theater, picture house
  • Pikesville - Liberty Theater, picture house [may be Pikeville, KY]
  • Winchester - Lincoln Theater, picture house

Texas, Florida, and North Carolina were the states with the most African American theater buildings. Also included in E. L. Smith's book is a listing of African American drive-in theaters, all were in the South.

  See "History of the Lyric Theater" on YouTube by Derlando Ragland. 


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: African American theater buildings : an illustrated historical directory, 1900-1955

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Theater Buildings in Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed November 17, 2017,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:50