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

Simmons, William J.

(born: 1849  -  died: 1890) 

William J. Simmons was the second president of Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute (later Simmons University). He was an education advocate who fought for better education for African American children. He was editor of the American Baptist newspaper and established Eckstein Norton Institute in Cain Springs, KY. Simmons was the author of Men of Mark (1887), the forerunner to the irregular serial publication, Who's Who of the Colored Race. Simmons was also an activist; while serving as chair of the executive committee of the Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky, he was the first African American to speak before the Kentucky Legislature on the injustices put upon African Americans in Kentucky. For more see Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Simmons College (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Entry: Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky
NKAA Source: American Baptist (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Men of mark: eminent, progressive and rising. By Rev. William J. Simmons. With an introductory sketch of the author by Rev. Henry M. Turner
NKAA Source: Who's who of the colored race : a general biographical dictionary of men and women of African descent, v.1 (1915)
NKAA Source: Black higher education in Kentucky, 1879-1930: the history of Simmons University
NKAA Source: Life behind a veil : Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Our Women and Children
NKAA Entry:  Smith, Lucy Wilmot
NKAA Entry:  Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools in Bullitt County, KY

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Simmons, William J.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 23, 2023,

Last modified: 2019-08-26 21:56:11