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

African American Schools - Moonlight Schools, Kentucky

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The Moonlight Schools were night schools for adults; the sessions were held within school houses in rural communities. The first moonlight school sessions were held in 1911 in Rowan County, KY. The idea and execution of night school for adults was the brainchild of Cora Wilson Stewart, an experienced education leader who crusaded against illiteracy. [More information and her biography can be found at Guide to Cora Wilson Stewart Papers, 1900-1940 in the Kentucky Digital Library]. Moonlight Schools were soon opened throughout the United States in county areas and within cities. There were at least 15 Colored Moonlight Schools in Kentucky by 1915, with the best schools located in Maysville, Winchester, Mount Sterling, and Paris; Mercer County held a Moonlight School in every colored school district [source: p. 49 in Cora Wilson Stewart and Kentucky's Moonlight Schools, by Y. H. Baldwin]. See also the 1919 Day By Day County Illiteracy Agent's Record Book, a collection of booklets within the Cora Wilson Stewart Papers, 1900-1940, Box 65. The booklets include the locations of some of the Colored Moonlight Schools and the names of the teachers. The collection is held at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center. See also NKAA entries for African American Schools.

  • Allen County (in Scottsville at Zion School)
  • Barren County (Union Hill)
  • Clark County (Winchester)
  • Daviess County (in Owensboro at Western Colored School, teacher A. O. Guthrie, 12 students)
  • Green County (three schools: in Ote, teacher Mrs. Fannie Hoskins; in Gresham, teacher Miss Lilliows Thurman; in Whitewood, teacher Mrs. Sallie B. Graves)
  • Hopkinsville (Christian County)
  • LaRue County (in Buffalo, KY, teacher Bessie Ford, 12 students)
  • Maysville (Mason County)
  • Mercer County
  • Monroe County
  • Mt. Sterling (Montgomery County)
  • Paris (Bourbon County)
  • Simpson County (in Franklin, teachers Gertrude Mahin, Iola Ryons, and Bessie Lawrence, 68 students enrolled)
  • Campbellsville (in Taylor County, teacher Mrs. G. E. Philpott) [source: "Mrs. G. E. Philpott...," Freeman, 02/13/1915, p. 3].



Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Cora Wilson Stewart and Kentucky's moonlight schools : fighting for literacy in America
NKAA Source: Day by day county illiteracy agent's record book
NKAA Source: The Freeman [Indianapolis Freeman] (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Mercer County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Barren County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Green County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Taylor County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Daviess County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Larue County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Monroe County, KY
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Simpson County, KY

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“African American Schools - Moonlight Schools, Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 24, 2017,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:53