African American Schools in Letcher County, KY
In 1911, the Whitesburg Colored Graded School held its commencement March 23 and March 24 [source: "Whitesburg Colored School closes with entertainment," Mountain Advocate, 03/31/1911, p.1]. The school teachers were Miss S. P. Lewis of Fairfield, and Ellen B. Adams of Barbourville. The Whitesburg Colored School was one of the few in Kentucky to have a colored superintendent, J. Neil Burnside [see the NKAA entry for Colored Superintendents]. Fleming Colored School was located in Letcher County [source: Mountain Eagle, 02/04/1960 and 09/05/1963, school mentioned in articles titled "County School Financial Statement"]. Burdine Colored School was part of the Jenkins Independent School System of Negro Schools located in Jenkins, Burdine, and Dunham. According to the 1939 thesis by Frances Rolston, the colored schools in the Jenkins School System were developed due to the influx of Negro coal miners working for Consolidated Coal Company.
The first Jenkins Colored School was established in 1916 with one teacher and 58 students. In 1928 there were 528 students in the colored schools in Letcher County. During the 1936-37 school year, there were 374 students in 3 schools. The end of school year report included the Fleming one room school with one teacher and 36 students; Carbon Glow one room school with one teacher and 25 students; and Haymond two room school with two teachers and 70 students. For a number of years, Dunham Colored High School, under the Jenkins School System, was the only high school for African Americans in Letcher County. Tom Biggs Colored School was located in McRoberts, KY.
In 1940, the Negro teachers in Letcher County were Camilla Elliott, Alfred Greenwood, Mattie Greenwood, M. L. Jackson, Blanche McSwain, Clemintine Masby, William Mudd, Marion Nelson, Marie Price, William Stovall, and Clara Whitt [source: U.S. Federal Census]. For more information see the thesis History of Education in Letcher County, Kentucky by F. Rolston. The first school in Letcher County to be listed as integrated was St. George, a Jenkins Independent school listed on p.128 in the Kentucky School Directory, 1963-64.
- Burdine School
- Carbon Glow School
- Dunham School
- Fleming Neon School
- Haymond School
- Jenkins School
- Tom Briggs School in McRoberts
- Whitesburg Graded School