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

African American Schools in Adair County, KY

(start date:  -  end date: ) 

As early as 1880, there was a colored school in Adair County, KY; Kittie Miller was the teacher in Columbia [source: U.S. Federal Census]. There continued to be colored schools according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, school year ending June 30th, 1886 and June 30th, 1887, pp.68 & 123. There are references to the schools in William G. Aaron's thesis History of Education in Adair County, Kentucky. By 1895, there were 13 colored schools, 5 in log buildings, and 8 in frame buildings [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.194-197]. The average attendance was more than 300 students taught by 13 teachers 1895-96, and 14 teachers 1896-97. In 1912, the Columbia Colored School was taught by Parker Jackman; he had been teaching since shortly after the end of the Civil War and was one of the first African American teachers in Adair County and Russell County. There were as many as 14 colored schools in Adair County, but the number decreased to 10 by 1933 [Aaron, p.112]. In 1917, bids were accepted for the building of a colored school in Kelleyville [source: "Notice," Adair County News, 07/25/1917, p.4]. In 1920, bids were accepted for the building of the Elroy Colored School in District G, Division 2 [source: "To Contractors," Adair County News, 01/28/1920, p.4]. In 1921, the colored teachers earned between $65-$75 per month, and in 1931, they earned between $44-$56 per month [Aaron, p.86]. Attendance ranged from 384 students in 1901 to 161 students in 1931 [Aaron, p.89]. The Columbia County High School for colored students opened in 1925; the school was funded by the County Board of Education and cost $3,800 [Aaron, p.107]. There was also the Rosenwald School built on Taylor Street and named Jackman High in honor of Parker Jackman. There were 10 high school students for the 1931-32 term. In 1940, the Negro teachers in Adair County were R. L. Dowery, Arena Duvall, Mares Grider, Sottie Harris, Pabla Hughes, Viven Johnson, Bessie Lasley, Mollie Lasley, Stephen Samuel, Nina Mae Vaughan, Ida White, Paralee White, and Ora Lee Willis [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Integration of the schools in Adair County occured in 1956 after parents of Negro studens filed a lawsuit via the NAACP (James A. Crumlin, Sr.), [sources: "Court orders Adair Board to end segregation, Leader, 12/01/1955; and Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.41].

  • Colored Schools (14)
  • Columbia School
  • Jackman High School
  • Kelleyville School
  • Elroy School
  • Knifley #2 School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.839]
  • Montpelier School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.839]
  • Pellyton #2 School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.839]

  See photo image of Columbia School c.1926 on p.73 in Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky, 1917-1923 by The Kentucky Heritage Council.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Jackman, Parker Hiram
NKAA Entry: Crumlin, James A., Sr.
NKAA Source: Report of the Superintendent of public instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for school year ending ...
NKAA Source: History of education in Adair County (thesis)
NKAA Source: The Adair County news (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Kentucky public school directory (serial)
NKAA Source: The Kentucky school directory (serial)

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NKAA Entry:  Jackman, Parker Hiram

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“African American Schools in Adair County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 25, 2017,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:54