University of Kentucky, African American Teachers, Extension Courses
Years before the integration of the University of Kentucky with the success of the Lyman T. Johnson case, there had been requests from African Americans wanting to attend classes and correspondence courses at the school. The urgency of the requests came about in 1931 with changes in the regulations concerning higher education standards for teachers in Kentucky, a move that not only prompted requests from individuals, but from other institutions and educators as well. The regulations stipulated that teachers who did not have college degrees must earn 12 semester hours every two years toward a degree. There were no such training programs for African American teachers who were already in service in Kentucky, other than at the University of Louisville by way of the Negro Municipal College which had a limited enrollment.
A letter dated May 13, 1931 from President R. B. Atwood at Kentucky State Industrial College (now Kentucky State University), was received by President F. L. McVey at the University of Kentucky; the letter was a request for the University of Kentucky (UK) to admit Negro teachers in Kentucky to the extension courses at UK as a temporary measure to address the training needs stipulated by the new regulations [source: "Minutes of the regular quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky for Tuesday, September 22, 1931," pp.12-22 - - online at Kentucky Digital Library].
There was a letter dated May 28, 1931, from Dr. Henry H. Hill, City Superintendent of Schools of the City of Lexington that endorsed Atwood's proposal. A letter of support also came from W. H. Fouse, Principal of Dunbar High School. A letter dated July 6, 1931 was received from L. N. Taylor, State Supervisor of Negro Education for Kentucky; the letter was a brief digest of the Kentucky laws and Supreme Court decisions affecting Negro education, and pointed out that there were no laws preventing UK from providing extension classes for Negro teachers on a temporary basis. According to the law, whites and Negroes could not be taught in the same classroom, but nonetheless, the board was worried that the people of Kentucky might object to UK offering classes to Negroes.
Extension courses had been in effect at UK for 13 years. The classes were self-supporting with no expense to the University. It was decided that the proposed program for Negro teachers should operate the same way. Extension classes would be offered in only a few communities, Lexington, Covington, Newport, Frankfort, and two or three other communities where there was a significant Negro population, and correspondence courses would be offered for those who had access to the nearest center offering the extension classes. The program was to only be in place until a Negro institution could set up its own program. The students would be classified as "special students" and their records would be certified at UK then sent directly to Kentucky State Industrial College which would be responsible for the adequancy of entrance requirements for the students. All credits earned would be recorded in the Kentucky State Industrial College Registrar's Office. The starting date to accept Negroes into the extension courses and correspondence courses would be September 22, 1931.