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Burnette, Arp C.
Birth Year : 1881
Burnette, born in North Carolina, was the first African American employed by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service, where he began work in 1919 and retired in 1944. He was in charge of Negro extension work in Kentucky. Burnette was a 1903 graduate of North Carolina A&M College [now North Carolina State University] and taught at the school for a few years after his graduation. Burnette had several other jobs before he arrived in Kentucky just prior to the building of Lincoln Institute. He helped clear the fields for the construction of the school, and once the school was in operation, he taught agriculture for six years. He left the state for a brief period, then returned to head the Kentucky State College Agricultural Department [now Kentucky State University] for three and a half years before becoming an agent with the UK Agricultural Extension Service in 1919. He was hired by Dean Thomas P. Cooper. Burnette had an assistant in Madison County. Among his many responsibilities, Burnette assisted with the development of 4-H for Negro youth, which grew to have more than 5,000 members. He organized the Negro Club in Madison County, KY. Also during his tenure, the number of meat cattle owned by Negro farmers more than tripled and food crop production doubled. After his retirement, Burnette was replaced by John Finch. In 1947, A. C. Burnette Day was held in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1952, there were three African American agricultural agents and six home demonstration agents, all serving 32 counties. In those counties with few Negro farmers, all farmers were served by the white county agent. For more see J. T. Vaughn, "Farm agent fears work cut life span from 100 to 80," Lexington Leader, 06/16/1952, p. 8. See also The College of Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Kentucky, by J. A. Smith; and the Thomas Poe Cooper Papers at the University of Kentucky's Special Collections Library.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Education and Educators, Migration West
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky