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African American Schools in Cumberland County, KY
Start Year : 1866
End Year : 1959
Record of the first colored school in Cumberland County was for the school built by white citizens in Burkesville, KY, between 1866-1870. The school was supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [see NKAA entry African American Freedmen Schools]. In 1870, Mag Taylor was the school teacher [see NKAA entry Migration from Canada to Kentucky]. Taylor was from Canada and lived with the Owsley family in Burkesville [source: 1870 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1886, there were six colored school districts in Cumberland County [see NKAA entry African American Schools, 1886]. One of the schools was located in Marrowbone, today within the Marrowbone Historic District. Other colored schools were located in Bakerton, Beech Grove, Burkesville, Clay Lick Bottom, Coe, and Lawson's Bottom [source: History of Cumberland County by J. W. Wells]. John E. Burbridge (1867-1914), from Adair County, was the school teacher at the Burkesville Colored School for several years, until his death in 1914 [sources: "Last week we wrote a notice of the death of John Burbridge..." The Adair County News, 06/03/1914, p.1; and Kentucky Death Certificate, File No. 12587]. In 1923, the school teachers were J. M. and Kate Alexander at Burkesville; Miss Stella Baker at Waterview; Mrs. Flora V. Allen at Leslie; Thomas E. Cox at Black Ferry; Mrs. Eliza Ellington at Marrowbone; Mr. W. J. Lawson and Miss Susie Lee Scott at Bakerton [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, pp.49, 50, 55, 57, 66, & 74]. The number of colored schools would decrease to where there was only the one in Burkesville. There was not a high school for Negro children in Cumberland County. In 1940, the Negro teachers in Cumberland County included Thomas Campbell and Eliza Ellington [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The Cumberland County Schools began to integrate during the 1959-60 school term [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, p.784], and the Cumberland County High School was noted as integrated the following school year. John W. Burbridge was principal of the Burkesville Negro School, grades 1-8, and both the school and the principal are listed in the Kentucky School Directory up to the 1966-67 school term.

  • Burkesville Freedmen School
  • Burkesville School
  • Marrowbone School
  • Bakerton School
  • Beech Grove School
  • Clay Lick Bottom School
  • Coe School
  • Lawson's Bottom School
  • Waterview School
  • Leslie School
  • Black Ferry School

See photo image of Marrowbone Colored School by Bill Macintire, a Picasa web album.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, African American Schools in Kentucky (Counties A-Z)
Geographic Region: Cumberland County, Kentucky



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