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

African American Schools in Christian County, KY

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Between 1845 and 1856, 40 school districts were sketched in Christian County, KY, by Enoch A. Brown, the County School Commissioner (who was white), according to Claybron W. Merriweather's, "Hopkinsville Colored Schools," pp. 293-295 in A History of Christian County, Kentucky, from Oxcart to Airplane, by C. M. Meacham. After the Civil War, the number of districts were increased from 40 to 84 by G. A. Champlin, the new commissioner. Between 1866-1870, there was a Freedmen School in Hopkinsville [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky]. By 1881 there were 41 colored school districts with 23 schools, most of which were log buildings in poor condition. The Booker T. Washington Colored School was located on 2nd Street in Hopkinsville. In 1884, G. A. Champlin wrote "The Colored Schools," an essay that appeared on p. 252 in Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky. According to Champlin, the first colored common schools in 1875 were located within five school districts, and there were 500 school-age children counted in the colored school census. The schools were a result of the Kentucky Colored School Law, which provided the bare minimum of school funding from taxes and fines collected from colored people. Similar information about the colored schools during the year 1876 was included in Charles J. Petrie's thesis, The History of Education in Christian County, pp.93-98. According to Petrie, the County Commissioner's report showed that there were only two teachers in the colored schools, and prior to 1881, most of the colored schools were not free and the best schools were located in Hopkinsville. The Booker T. Washington School was constructed in 1882, a two story frame structure, and in 1930 a third story was added [source: Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 5, File: Christian County, Christian County Education by Mrs. Mamie Hanbery, 11/14/1938, p. 11]. By 1889, there were 55 teachers at the colored schools, the male teachers earned an average of $44.76 and the female teachers earned an average of $35.70 [Petrie, p.96]. The leaders of the Christian County Colored Teachers Association in 1891 were Ephraim Poston, president; T. C. Woosley, vice president; Miss Augusta Brewer, secretary; T. S. Gaines, assistant secretary; and P. A. Hamby, treasurer [Petrie, p. 98]. In 1899 there were 54 colored school districts [source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 06/23/1899, p. 5], one of which was Crofton Colored School with teacher George Robinson [source: "Crime of Cain," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/31/1899, p. 1]. In 1890, A. H. Payne was principal of the Colored school in Hopkinsville and there were six teachers [Petrie, pp.135]. The school was considered the best colored school in the county, it operated within the common school system with a nine month term and with a Colored school board. In 1908, the school was placed under the white school board and supported by Negro property taxes [Petrie, p.122]. The school held grades 1-8 in a two-story building on E. Second Street. In 1912, the school was moved back under the county system and two years of high school were added. The trustees were Edward M. Glass, Frank Boyd, and Ned Turner. Julien Colored School was also a county school [source: Dr. Stanley Dean," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 04/17/1906, p. 8]. Teacher Nina Anglin was removed from the Lafayette Colored School in 1906, and she filed suit against the superintendent and the trustees [source: "Circuit court," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/25/1906, p. 1]. The Clarksville Colored School was one of three schools to receive an improved chemical fire extinguisher in 1910 [source: "Here and there," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/30/1910, p. 4]. The number of school districts had increased from 52 in 1890 to 54 in 1900, then to 75 in 1910 [Petrie, p. 132]. There was an average attendance of 2,034 students in 1909 [Petrie, p. 134]. Attucks High School was built in 1916 at First and Vine Streets and the school had the first four-year high school for Negroes in Hopkinsville [Petrie, p. 183]. The early principals were L. A. Posey, J. W. Bell, P. Moore, and B. E. Perkins [Kentucky Education Collection (KEC), Series 1, pp. 11-12]. The county school system contracted with the city school board for students to attend Attucks High School [KEC, Series 1, p. 9]. In 1939, the Attucks High School had 227 students, 11 teachers, and 35 students graduated [Petrie, p. 188]. The Male & Female College in Hopkinsville, KY, opened in 1883 [now Hopkinsville College of the Bible]. In 1896 there were 70 colored teachers in the county schools [source: "Colored institute this week," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/18/1896, p. 1]. During the 1911 election of colored trustees, Peter Postell and Lucian Dade were re-elected, and George Leavell became the newly elected trustee [source: "The Colored election," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 05/09/1911, p. 8]. In 1909, a colored graded school and high school were opened in Pembroke, and the school served as a training school for teachers up to 1924 [Petrie, p. 122]. In 1914, the legality of the staff election for the Pembroke Colored School was called into question, and the finding was in favor of the school [source: 2nd paragraph of "Railroad case begun," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 06/06/1914, p. 1]. In 1924, the Pembroke School was moved back to the county administration and the school's two-year high school course continued until 1929. The high school was re-established in 1936 and operated under the independent graded school system with one or two teachers and 20-25 students. At the end of 1911, the colored school house near Sinking Fork was burned by an incendiary [source: "Suspicious fire," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/07/1911, p. 8]. In 1912, Ephraim Poston had almost completed the school census of colored children and found that there were 1,396 students, which was 188 more students than had been incorrectly counted the previous year, all of which meant that the schools would receive about $800 more from the state [sources: "Colored school census," 05/11/1912, p. 5, and "1411 Colored children," 05/18/1912, p. 4, both articles in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian]. It was expressed in Petrie's thesis that the school census for colored children may have been "padded" [p.132]. The Zion Colored School was destroyed by fire in 1916, the fire started by a stranger in town who went by the name of Katherine Denton. She was badly burned and later died from her injuries [source: "Woman died Thursday," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/02/1916, p. 1]. In 1928, there were five male teachers and 51 female teachers in the colored schools, and in 1937, the average attendance was 1,055 students [Petrie, pp. 178 & 180]. The names of other colored schools in Christian County, KY, can be found on pp. 292-293 in A History of Christian County, Kentucky, from Oxcart to Airplane, by C. M. Meacham, who was also editor of the Hopkinsville Kentuckian newspaper. There is also a list of the schools and the names of the head teacher/principal during the 1938-39 school term, all on p.23 of Christian County Education by Mrs. Mamie Hanbery, 11/14/1938, within the Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 5, File: Christian County. In 1940, there were at least 90 Negro teachers in the schools of Christian County [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The names of the schools, including those that held classes in churches, are listed below. A later school, the Fort Campbell Dependent School, was the first school in Christian County to be listed in the Kentucky Public School Directory (1952-53, p.418) as having both white and colored students, though the term "integrated" was not used. The second school to be listed with students of both races was in the 1954-55 directory, the SS. Peter and Paul School, a parochial school in Hopkinsville [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1954-55, p.563]. Both schools are listed as integrated in the 1956-57 directory. All of the schools in Christian County are listed as integrated in the Kentucky School Directory, 1963-64, pp. 101-102.

  • Attucks High School
  • Banneker School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 848]
  • Barkers Mill School
  • Beech Grove School
  • Booker T. Washington School
  • Blue Springs School [photo image, p. 12, Rosenwald Schools]
  • Brent Shop School
  • Canton Heights School
  • Carver School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-61, p. 848]
  • Caskey School
  • Cedar Bluff School
  • Center Point School
  • Chopped Hickory School
  • Clarksville School
  • Crofton School
  • Dyers Chapel School
  • Durretts Avenue School
  • Elmo School
  • Edgefield School
  • Fairview School
  • Forks of Road School
  • Foston's Chapel School
  • Gainesville School
  • Garrettsburg School
  • Gee School
  • Gracey School
  • Hensleytown School
  • Herndon School
  • Hopkinsville Freedmen School
  • Hopkinsville School
  • Julien School
  • Kelly School
  • Kentucky Trade Institute Automotive Mechanics for Colored Men [source: "Announcing the opening of the Kentucky Trade...," Kentucky New Era, 08/24/1949, p. 10]
  • Lafayette School
  • Male & Female College
  • Massies Chapel School
  • Moonlight School
  • McClain's Chapel School
  • Mt. Herman School
  • Mt. Vernon School
  • New Zion School
  • Oak Grove School
  • Pee Dee School
  • Pleasant Green School
  • Pleasant Grove School
  • Pleasant Hill School
  • Pembroke School
  • Reeves Chapel School
  • Salem School
  • Sinking Fork School
  • Spring Hill School
  • Walnut Grove School
  • West Union School
  • White Oak Grove School
  • Zion Hope School


See the image of Attucks High School on postcard at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.



Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Merriweather, Claybron W.
NKAA Entry: African American Schools, Freedmen Schools - Kentucky, 1866-1870
NKAA Entry: Poston, Ephraim
NKAA Entry: Hopkinsville College of the Bible (Hopkinsville, KY)
NKAA Entry: Postell, Peter, Sr. [Peter Glass]
NKAA Entry: Poston, Ephraim
NKAA Entry: Integration at Gainesville Elementary (Hopkinsville, KY)
NKAA Entry: Hopkinsville Male and Female College
NKAA Source: A History of Christian county, Kentucky, from oxcart to airplane
NKAA Source: Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky
NKAA Source: The History of education in Christian County (thesis)
NKAA Source: Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1 (archives)
NKAA Source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Kentucky public school directory (serial)
NKAA Source: The Kentucky school directory (serial)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Report: Negro School Districts and Their Needs by L. N. Taylor
NKAA Entry:  Report: Negro School Districts and Their Needs by L. N. Taylor
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools - Colored Superintendents at Kentucky Public Schools, 1925

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“African American Schools in Christian County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 17, 2017,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:53