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

African American Schools in Washington County, KY

The first Negro school in Washington County was established in 1868, according to the thesis of William L. Case, A History of Education in Washington County, Kentucky. The colored school district had an average of 29 children attending each colored school during the five month school term. According to author Case, between 1879 and 1880, there were seven colored school districts with seven schools; 1 log building and six frame buildings. The colored school teachers earned an average monthly salary of $25.44. The first school report from the county school commissioner was in 1880. The colored teachers in 1880 included Leotta Meaux and R. W. Christian [source: U.S. Federal Census].

It was in 1883 that the colored students and the white students of Washington County received the same per capita amount, $1.30 per student. The colored schools still existed in Washington County, KY, in 1886, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In the 1895-97 Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, on pp. 716 & 718, there were 13 colored schools in 13 districts. Ten of the schools were held in log or frame school houses, with about 200 students attending the schools during each term.

The first commencement of the Springfield Colored School was held at the Opera House on July 17, 1902 by Principal M. B. Givens; reserve seats cost 25 cents, general seats 15 cents [source: "Commencement exercises," News-Leader, 07/17/1902, p. 3]. In 1905, the school principal was Mrs. Eliza Davison, and her assistant was Miss H. E. Wells [source: "The Entertainments given by the pupils of the Springfield Colored School...," News-Leader, 02/16/1905, p. 5]. That same year, a school was held in Randall's Chapel in Springfield, KY [source: "Will Best, a Negro...," Springfield Sun, 01/25/1905, p. 5]. In 1908, an election for the formation of a new colored school district was held in Washington County [source: "Election Notice! of colored graded school," Springfield Sun, 10/07/1908, p. 2].

For the colored students, there was a two year high school, the Washington County Training School in Springfield, with Principal C. V. Haunes who earned $125 per month [source: A History of Education in Washington County, Kentucky]. There were 19 high school students and the school was in session for eight months of each year. In 1925, L. L. Rowe was the principal of the Springfield Colored High School, it was a Class 3 school that was also a county training school with 4 teachers over the 2 year high school that was in session for 8 months, and the average annual salary was $712 [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, pp. 41 & 65].

In 1931, Prof. G. W. Adams was the principal of the Washington County Training School; he was previously the principal of the colored school in Paris, KY [source: Prof. G. W. Adams...," KNEA Journal, vol. 2, issue 1, p. 26]. Mrs.Catherine Gowdy was the teacher at the Washington County Supervising Industrial School in Springfield in 1925 [p.66]. The term of service was 8 months and the school received $400 from the Jeanes Fund. In 1935, there were 402 children in the colored county school district and the Springfield district [source: "Letter on salary schedule," KNEA Journal, vol. 5, issue 2, p. 20].

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Washington County were David E. Carmon, Ada Hughes, Ann Philips, and Nancy Ray. A pioneer teacher in Washington County was Mrs. Elizabeth Goodloe Clark, who died in 1942; she started teaching at the age of 16 at the Mackville Colored School [source: "The Late Mrs. E. G. Clark, Historian, Kentucky Negro Education Assn.," KNEA Journal, vol. 13, issue 1, pp. 19-20]. St. Catherine Academy was the first school to be listed with "white & colored" students, on p.230 of the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, and the following year it was the first school to be listed as integrated, on p.448 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57.

  • Colored Schools (13)
  • Mackville School
  • Randall's Chapel School
  • Springfield School
  • Washington County Training School
  • High Street School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.892]

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Washington County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Springfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mackville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Paris and Bourbon County, KY
NKAA Source: A History of education in Washington County, Kentucky (thesis)
NKAA Source: Report of the Superintendent of public instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for school year ending ...
NKAA Source: Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky with accompanying documents for the two years beginning July 1 ... and ending June 30 ... (periodical)
NKAA Source: The News=leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Springfield sun (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Kentucky public school directory (serial)
NKAA Source: Kentucky Negro educational association journal (periodical)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Washington County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 23, 2023,

Last modified: 2017-11-21 22:01:57