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African American Schools in Louisville and Jefferson County, KY
Start Year : 1827
End Year : 1956
Some of the earliest schools for African Americans in Louisville, KY were established in the 1820s. In 1865, there were 7 colored schools with 12 teachers and 730 students [source: H. C. Burnett and H. S. Foote, "From Kentucky (4th paragraph)," New York Times, 07/23/1865, p.5]. There were at least three schools supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands between 1866 and 1870 [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky]. In the 1870s there were at least 15 schools. The first high school for African Americans in Kentucky was located in Louisville in 1873 and was mentioned in several leading newspapers in the United States [source: "The First Colored high school in Kentucky," The New York Times, 10/09/1873, p.1]. In 1880, there were more African American teachers in Louisville and Jefferson County than any other Kentucky town/city or county. The Jefferson County and Louisville teachers in 1880 were Silas Adams, Bell Alexander, Lucy Booker, Sallie Bowman, Thomas Brown, Albert Burgess, Isaac Caldwell, John Collins, Addie Couisins(?), M. F. Cox, L. C. Cox, Lucy Duvall, James Gray, Allen W. Henson, Martha Johnson, William A. Kenzie, W. P. Lewis, Mary Meed, Clarence M. Miller, Isidora Miller, William T. Peyton, Elizabeth Smiley, Mary S. Spradling, Mamie Sublett, Joseph Taylor, John Thomas, Frank Thomas, Tilda Walker, Anna Walker, Jenney Wise, E. C. Wood Sr., Silas Adams, Ada Bedford, Martha Buckner, Virginia Burks, Louretta Carter, Joseph M. Ferguson, Daniel Gaddy, Nancy Hickman, Mack McKinley, I. M. Maxwell, Eliza Jane Mitchell, Elizabeth Morris, Lizzie Patterson, Charles Preston, Mary Robeson, Larry Scott, Nellie Slaughter, Rebecca Smith, and Martha Webster [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1895, there were 23 colored schools and 22 teachers in the public school systems in Louisville and Jefferson County, according to the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.457-461. {The number of schools, students, and teachers were undercounted by the superintendent.} The average attendance was 905 students during the 1895-96 school term, and 651 students during the 1896-97 school term. In 1925, there were 13 elementary schools in Jefferson County with 20 teachers, and in Louisville there were 155 elementary teachers and 32 high school teachers [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67 & p.69]. In 1940, there were more than 400 Negro teachers in Louisville and Jefferson County [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Schools listed as having "white & colored" students in 1955 were Kentucky School for the Blind and St. Agnes [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]. The first schools to be listed as integrated are on pp. 432-436 of the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57: a total of 88 schools were noted as integrated, 17 schools in the Jefferson County School system, and 71 schools in the Louisville Independent School system.

  • Bannecker School
  • Bond School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • California School
  • Central School
  • Colored High School
  • Colored Normal School
  • Convent of the Good Shepherd - 518 S. 8th Street**
  • Cotter School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Frederick Douglas School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.49]
  • Dunbar School
  • DuValle Jr. High School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Eastern School
  • Eight Ward School
  • Ely Normal School supported by the Bureau
  • Forest School (Anchorage) [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.862]
  • Highland Park School
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.218]
  • Industrial School of Know Mission for Colored Children - [founded in 1886, located at 1122 Madison Street, Louisville, KY, conducted by the Women's Missionary Society of the Presbytery of Louisville, KY]*
  • Industrial School of Reform, Colored Girls Building
  • Alexander Ingram School (Jeffersontown) [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.862]
  • Jacobs School (Harrods Creek)
  • Jeffersontown School
  • Jackson Street School
  • Lincoln School
  • Louisville Christian Bible School - [opened in 1873 by W. H. Hopson, conducted by P. H. Morse for four years, school was an experiment] - - The Apostolic Times, 09/18/1873, p.4, col.s 2-3
  • Louisville Free Kindergarten Association, Colored Normal Department
  • Louisville Teacher Training School
  • Madison Street School
  • Maiden Lane School
  • Main Street School
  • Moore School
  • Newburg School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1930-1931, p.70]
  • Parkland School
  • Pearl Street School
  • William H. Perry School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Portland School
  • Portland Freedmen School
  • Ridgewood School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.216]
  • Shelby Street School
  • South Louisville School
  • Special for Boys School [Prima F. Washington, Principal, school located at 13th and Liberty, source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.51]
  • St. Augustine School - 1314 W. Broadway**
  • St. Mark's High School - [incorporated in 1867 by trustees Rev. B. B. Smith, Joseph S. Atwell, N. B. Rogers, Jesse Meriwether, and John C. Towels, and as ex-officio, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church, school operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Church] - - Approved March 8, 1867, Chapter 1806, "An Act to Incorporate St. Mark's High School" in Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed, 1867, v.II, pp.342-343.
  • St. Peter Claver - 532 Lampton Street**
  • Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm School (1838)
  • Talbert School
  • Taylor School
  • Twelfth Ward School
  • Twenty-ninth Street School
  • Twenty-seventh and Cedar Streets School
  • Virginia Avenue School
  • Booker T. Washington School
  • Western School
  • Western Girls' High School
  • Wheatley School
  • Wilson Street School
  • Young School

 

See image of the Industrial School of Reform, Colored Girls Building, from Weeden's History of the Colored People of Louisville, at NYPL Digital Gallery.

 

 

For additional information about the early Colored schools in Louisville, see the entry "African American Education" in the Encyclopedia of Louisville, by J. E. Kleber; and see the references to "colored schools" within chapter 17 in volume 2 of History of the Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties by L. A. Williams & Co.

 


Sources: *see Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, 1896-1897, p.765, for more on the Industrial School of Know Mission for Colored Children in Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 18, 0000UA129, File: Negro Schools. Located in the University of Kentucky Special Collections; **see "Mailing List: Catholic City Schools - 1935-1936" by the Diocese of Louisville, in Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 18, 0000UA129, File: Negro Schools. Located at the University of Kentucky Special Collections; see "Don't forget the date," Courier-Journal, 08/20/1906, p.2; "Teachers and their salaries," Courier-Journal, 05/28/1909, p.6; Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, 1909 and 1911; see the NKAA entry Early School in Louisville, KY; see photocopy image of South Park School in Jefferson County on p.30 at Rosenwald schools in Kentucky, 1917-1932 [.pdf]; and see the Kentucky Public School Directory. See also "Still I rise!" Public discourse surrounding the development of public schools for African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, 1862 – 1872 by M. B. Robinson (dissertation).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, African American Schools in Kentucky (Counties A-Z)
Geographic Region: Jefferson County, Kentucky



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