African American Schools in Laurel County, KY
The one colored school in Laurel County was included in the Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, for the School Year Ending December 31, 1864. By 1880, there were two colored schools, according to the thesis of John Milburn Taylor, History of Education in Laurel County, Kentucky, p.140. One school was located in London and the other was in East Bernstadt. The school term for the colored schools was two months and there were 62 students enrolled in the schools. In 1895, there were three colored school districts, each with one school [source: Taylor, p.115]. The two female Negro teachers earned the highest monthly salary of all teachers: white males $33.74, colored male $41.12; white females $39.99, colored females $45.90 [source: Taylor, p.117].
A new school opened in London in 1900, and in Altamont in 1901 [source: Taylor, p.140]. The Altamont School closed in 1909. There were five teachers at the colored schools in 1900, and they earned an average of $37.85 per month. With the closing of the Altamont School, the county was left with four teachers for an average of 104 regularly attending students. By 1925, the average attendance was 71 students, the East Bernstadt School was closed, and one of the schools in London had closed [source: Taylor, p.141]. The school closings left only the one colored school in London. Two years later a two year high school was added to that school, and there was a library with 90 books. There was one teacher for all ten grades. The school term was eight months, and the teacher earned $816 for the term. In 1931, the teacher's salary was increased to $914, and the library had 365 books.
In 1940, the Negro teachers in Laurel County were Steven Griffin, Emily S. Williams, Orange Yokley, and Raytha Yokley. In 1955, London High School was listed as having white and colored students, on p.220 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56. The following year, the first school to be listed as integrated was Sue Bennet College Trade School on p.438 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57.
- Colored School
- London School
- London School (2nd school)
- East Bernstadt School
- Altamont School