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Akins, Clyde B., Sr.
Birth Year : 1950
Clyde B. Akins, Sr. is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Bracktown, KY, and an educator. He is also author of From burden to blessing. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a B.A. in Social Work, and his Master's of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry are from Lexington Theological Seminary. He served in the Army as a multilingual interpreter and taught foreign languages, having studied eight languages. Akins was appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education in 2006. He was appointed by Governor Steve Breshear to the University of Kentucky Board of Trustee in 2011. For more see First Baptist Church Bracktown; "Governor Fletcher Appoints Members to the State Board of Education," 02/24/2006 (a Kentucky government press release); F. E. Lockwood, "Expanding a ministry - First Baptist Church Bracktown moves into its $6.5 million facility with lots more room and outreach opportunities," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/08/2006, Main News section, p. A1; the Akins interview, "Future Black Males Working Academy," Connections with Renee Shaw, #215, 06/02/2007, at KET (Kentucky Educational Television); and L. Blackford, "Lexington minister joins UK board - Breshear fills number of college posts," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/02/2011, p.A4.
Subjects: Authors, Civic Leaders, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Bracktown, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ayers, Rhoda R.
In 1976, Ayers became the first African American member of the Newport, KY, Independent Board of Education. During that year, she was also one of two African American women on a local school board in Kentucky. Ayers was employed by the U.S. Postal Service. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 26.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky

Bartleson, Truman, Sr.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2000
Bartleson, born in Mercer County, KY, was the first African American elected to the Harrodsburg, KY, Board of Education. Bartleson was employed at the Hall Mack Corp. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 25; and Truman Bartleson, Sr. in "Obituaries," by C. Beaven, Lexington Herald Leader, 11/12/2000, p. B2.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Black, Karla L.
Birth Year : 1961
Karla L. Black was born in Richmond, KY. She was the first African American elected to the Richmond Independent Board of Education in 1986. For more see Karla Black in "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in the 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 37.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Bond, Howard H.
Birth Year : 1938
Howard H. Bond, a consulting firm executive, was born in Stanford, KY, to Frederick D. and Edna G. Coleman Bond. He is a 1965 graduate of Eastern Michigan University (BA) and a 1974 graduate of Pace University (MBA). He has worked with a number of companies, including Ford Motor Company, where he was a labor supervisor; Xerox Corp., as a personnel manager; and Playboy Enterprises, Inc., as a vice president. He was also a council member candidate for the city of Cincinnati in 2003. Today he is managing director of the Phoenix Executech Group, having founded the company in 1977. And he is chairman and CEO of Bond Promotions and Apparel Co. in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. Bond is also a community activist and educator. He has taught leadership and social responsibility classes at Northern Kentucky University and is a former elected member of the Cincinnati Board of Education. He has also served as president of the African American Political Caucus of Cincinnati and is a founding member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Bond is also a 33rd degree Mason, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a number of other organizations. He has received a number of awards. Bond is a U.S. Army veteran. For more see "Five receive Lions awards from Urban League," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 02/12/2006, Metro section, p. 5B; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Howard H. Bond at the 2003 smartvoter.org website.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Cannon, Frank R., Sr.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1988
Frank R, Cannon, Sr. was born in Jessamine County, KY, the son of Lizzie and Simon Cannon. The family owned a farm on Lexington Pike in Keene, KY. Frank Cannon was the first African American member of the Jessamine County (KY) Board of Education. He was an educator and had served as principal of Rosenwald-Dunbar School in Jessamine County, and was later principal of the Lincoln Heights School System in Ohio. He would become superintendent of the school system, before leaving Lincoln Heights to teach in the Cincinnati School System. Cannon returned to Kentucky and was president of the Jessamine County Retired Teachers Association, before becoming president-elect of the Central Kentucky Retired Teachers Association. He was also Master of Central Lodge #91 F. & A.M. of Nicholasville. He owned Cannon's Fixit Shop, Inc. Frank R. Cannon, Sr. was a graduate of Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky; he was one of the first 17 African American teachers to attend UK. He was the husband of Ora Belle Hamilton, who was a school teacher. For more see "Frank R. Cannon, Sr." entry in A History of Jessamine County, Kentucky edited by R. Fain; and "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 26.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Keene, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Lincoln Heights, Ohio

Carpenter, Rose L.
Birth Year : 1893
Death Year : 1980
Rose Lillian Carpenter was born in Bowling Green, KY. She earned an A.B. degree from State University [Simmons University in Louisville], and Bachelor's and Master's of Music Education degrees from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She also took music courses from six other universities. Carpenter taught for 15 years as an instructor of music education and served as Director of Choir for ten years at Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. In 1927 she replaced Professor Jay Fay as a teacher of music in the Louisville Negro schools. In 1937 she became the assistant supervisor of vocal music for the Louisville Public School System, holding the post for 36 years. She was the first African American to have an office in the Louisville Board of Education administration building. For more see C. H. Mitchell's Historical Research on Rosa Lillian Carpenter: a study of her life and influence on Music Education in Kentucky.


See photo image of Rose L. Carpenter on p. 11 of the KNEA Journal, vol. 22, no. 3 (April 1951).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Carr, Kipley D.
Birth Year : 1967
Kipley D. Carr was born in Bowling Green and served as the first African American student representative on the Bowling Green Independent School Board, 1983-1984, and is believed to be the first African American student representative to a local board of education in the Commonwealth. Active in the NAACP since childhood, Carr served as president of the Bowling Green-Warren County NAACP Youth Council and later as president of the Kentucky State NAACP Youth & College Division. From 1995-97 Carr was Political Action Chairman of the Kentucky State NAACP Conference, as the youngest state political action chairperson anywhere in the country. Carr played a leading role in Bowling Green's first Martin Luther King March. He later moved to West Virginia, where he became the first African American elected to the Martinsburg City Democratic Committee and served as a charter member of the city's Human Relations Commission. Carr returned to Bowling Green and was elected the first African American president of the city's Young Democrats Club in 1995. Carr served as Secretary for the Georgia State Conference, NAACP, from 2005-2011. In 2009, Carr was elected the first African American president of the College Park (GA) Historical Society, and in 2011 became the first African-American president of the Historic College Park Neighborhood Association. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 8th-15th editions. In 2012, Kipley D. Carr ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Georgia General Assembly.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Board of Education
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Martinsburg, West Virginia / Atlanta, Georgia

Clement, Rufus E.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1967
Rufus E. Clement was born in Salisbury, NC; his family moved to Louisville, KY, when he was a small child. Clement would become the first dean of the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes (1931-1937) [subsumed by the University of Louisville], and later the longest serving president of Atlanta University (1937-1957 & 1966-1967). Clement was the author of many articles on Negro education, history, and politics as well as a published reviewer of current issues publications. In 1953, Clement was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, making him the first African American to be elected to public office in Atlanta since Reconstruction, and the first on the city's education board. He was the son of Emma Clement and George Clement, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Louisville. He was the brother of Ruth E. Clement Bond. Rufus E. Clement's records and papers are at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. The Louisville Municipal College archives are at the University of Louisville Archives and Record Center. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; [Dr. Rufus E. Clement] in the Statesville Daily Record newspaper, 05/15/1953; Worldwide Interesting People: 162 History Makers of African Decent, by G. L. Lee; and the video Rufus E. Clement and Horace M. Bond recorded in 1955 as part of the Chronscope Series by Columbia Broadcasting System.

See photo images and additional information about Rufus E. Clement at the University of Louisivlle website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration South, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Salisbury, North Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

Cofield, William, Sr.
Birth Year : 1940
In 1991, William Cofield was the first African American appointed to the Franklin County Board of Education; he was then elected to the board three times. Since 1986, he has been president of the Kentucky NAACP Conference, and has also served as president of the Franklin County NAACP Branch. In 2004, Cofield was named president of the National Caucus of Black School Board Members. Cofield was born in LaGrange, GA, and his family moved to Pennsylvania when he was a child, and they returned to Georgia when he was a teen. He is a graduate of Fort Valley State University, Tuskegee University, and worked on his doctorate [ABD] at Ohio State University. Cofield moved to Frankfort, KY in 1973, and was a professor at Kentucky State University. For more see In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and M. Davis, "An ardent advocate for kids, education," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/27/2004, City&Region section, p.C1.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Board of Education
Geographic Region: LaGrange, Georgia / Franklin County, Kentucky

Cosby, Laken, Jr.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2014
Laken Cosby, Jr. is a graduate of Lousiville Central High School, he was born in Alabama. In 1988, he became the first African American chairman of the Jefferson County School Board. Cosby was also appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education in 1994 by Governor Brereton Jones; Cosby was vice chairman of the board for three terms. In 2002, Cosby was not reappointed to the board by Governor Patton. Laken Cosby, Jr. was the son Maudie B. Cosby and Laken Cosby, Sr. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He was also owner of the Laken Cosby Real Estate Company. For more see "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 36; M. Pitsch, "Longtime advocate of school reform replaced on board," Courier-Journal, 05/11/2002, News section, p. O1A; and A. Wolfson, "Laken Cosby Jr., civil rights leader, dies at 83," Louisville Courier-Journal, 06/14/2014, online obituary.
 
See photo image and additional information about Laken Cosby, Jr. at Hall of Fame 2012, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Huntsville, Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Cross, William R.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1997
Born in Bardstown, KY, William R. Cross became the city's first African American school board member in 1960, and in 1971, he became the vice-chairman of the Bardstown Board of Education. William R. Cross was the son of Alexander "Thomas" Cross and Sally Duncan Cross. He was the husband of Evelyn L. Cross. William R. Cross was employed at the Early Times Distillery and the J. T. S. Distillery. For more see "36 city officials include mayor, police court judge," in Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1972], by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 16.

Access Interview Read the transcript and listen to the William R. Cross oral history interview by Dixie Hibbs, 09/27/1988, at the Kentucky Historical Society website.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Board of Education
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky

Dishman, Oscar, Jr.
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2000
Born in Scott County, KY, Oscar Dishmanm, Jr. began working with horses when he was a teenager, training thoroughbred horses for more than 40 years, including Silver Series and Golden Don. Dishman had been employed at Latonia and River Downs. He also filed suit against the Scott County Board of Education in 1956, leading to the desegregation of the public schools in Georgetown, KY. He was the son of Oscar, Sr. and Anna L. Henderson Dishman. The family lived in New Zion according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. For more see "Oscar Dishman Jr., thoroughbred horse trainer for more than 40 years, dies at 77," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, p. B2, 10/02/2000. For more about the school board lawsuit, contact Marilyn Dishman (his daughter).

 

Access InterviewRead about the Oscar Dishman, Jr. oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education, Court Cases
Geographic Region: New Zion, Scott County and Fayette County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Fields, Sharon B.
Birth Year : 1951
Sharon B. Fields was born in Paris, KY, she is an educator, politician, and a minister. She was also the first African American woman to become a city commissioner in Paris, KY. William B. Reed, the first African American commissioner in the city, was one of the candidates during Fields' first run for a seat on the commission in 1989. Fields was a new contender and had her supporters, but for some, her candidacy represented a split in the African American vote and it was feared that she would greatly decrease the chances of having at least one African American city commissioner. Others felt that one African American male candidate was most appropriate. Fields lost her first election by 3 votes. But, she was appointed to the commission when one of the commissioners stepped down. In 1990, she was a teacher at Paris High School and a city commissioner. She was a commissioner, off and on, for 10 years. Today, Rev. Fields is a member of the Paris Independent School Board of Education. She has also served as pastor of the Eminence Christian Church in Eminence, KY. Reverend Fields earned her undergraduate degree in education at Eastern Kentucky University, a masters in education at Georgetown College (KY), a masters in public affairs at Kentucky State University, and a divinity masters at Lexington Theological Seminary. She was the first African American woman vice moderator and moderator for the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. Reverend Fields is also an author, she has written numerous articles for religious magazines such as Just Women; articles for the Bourbon Times and The Bourbon Citizen; and an article for Essence Magazine on social security benefits for out-of-wedlock children. She is the co-author of In Other Words--; stories of African American involvement in the early years of the Stone-Campbell movement in Kentucky. This entry was submitted by Kellie Scott of the Paris Bourbon County Public Library. For more information on Sharon B. Fields as a city commissioner, see the commission records at the Bourbon County Clerk's Office; also contact Sharon B. Fields.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Gibbons, Harriet
Birth Year : 1924
Death Year : 1992
Harriet Gibbons was born in Louisville, KY. A graduate of Kentucky State University and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she taught black history at Albany High School, and in 1974 was named principal of the alternative high school, Street Academy, both in Albany, NY. Gibbons was selected to fill a vacancy on the city school board and in 1979 became the first African American woman elected to the post, remaining on the board for ten years. Also in 1979, Gibbons was named director of the Office of Equal Opportunity for the city of Albany, staying with the job till 1985. She next became director of the Affirmative Action Office at the New York Department of Health, retiring from the position in 1989. She had also been a caseworker with the Albany County Department of Social Services and was the first African American woman to head a city agency, the Albany (NY) YWCA. After her death in 1992, the Street Academy was renamed Harriet Gibbons High School. The school closed in 2010. In 2012, Harriet Gibbons was posthumously inducted into the Albany City School District Hall of Fame. For more see R. Wexler, "Harriet Gibbons, 68, Former Director of Albany Agency," The Times Union, 04/21/1992, Local section, p. B7.

See photo image and additional information about Harriet Gibbons in the article by C. Miller, "Keeping my promise...and then some," 06/28/2012, at timesunion.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Board of Education, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Albany, New York

Greene, Horace Henry
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1986
In 1961, Reverend Horace Henry Greene became the first African American to be elected president of the Louisville Ministerial Association. Green was the pastor of the R. E. Jones Temple Methodist Church in Louisville, KY. In 1966, Rev. Greene became the second African American named to the Lexington Board of Education; he filled the seat of the recently deceased Carl Lynem, who was the first African American named to the Lexington Board of Education. Rev. Greene was also the first African American to run for a Lexington City Commissioner's seat. Green was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Eva Bloomer Green and George Isaac Green. He had served as District Superintendent of the Lexington Conference, 1948-52, and was director of the Wesley Club at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] beginning in 1960. Green was a graduate of Gammon Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. For more see "Louisville Ministers Name First Negro President," Jet, vol. 20, issue 4 (05/18/1961), p. 45; "Horace Henry Greene" in Biographical Directory of Negro Ministers, by E. L. Williams; "Local minister named to city board," Lexington Herald, 04/21/1966, p.1 [photo included with article]; J. Hewlett, "Minister, civic leader H. H. Greene dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/23/1986, p.B1; and "Horace Henry Greene" by D. Puckett on pp.574-575 in The New History of Shelby County Kentucky.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Harriford, Robert L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2009
Robert L. Harriford, Sr. was born in Nobob, KY, the son of Willie and Grace Harriford. In 1930, the family lived on Upper Glasglow and Thompkinsville Road in Union (Monroe County) KY. In 1969, Robert Harriford became the first African American appointed to the Paducah City School Board, holding the post for 13 years. Harriford was also the first African American to serve on the executive board of the Kentucky School Board Association. He was president of Harriford Reproductions, located in Paducah, for 15 years. For more see Kentucky Black Elected Officials Directory [1970], p. 6, col. B, published by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; and B. Bartleman, "Harriford eulogized for work with youth," The Paducah Sun, 07/07/2009, State & Regional section.

See photo image and additional information about Robert L. Harriford, Sr. at the Woodlawn Memorial Gardens & Mausoleum website.
Subjects: Businesses, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Photographers, Photographs, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Nobob, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Haskins, Harriet Yevette Penick
Yevette Haskins, from Campbellsville, KY, attended Kentucky State University. In 1983, she became the first African American to be elected to the Warren County Board of Education (Bowling Green, KY). In 2004, she was appointed to the Board of Regents at Kentucky State University. Haskins was also chair of the African American Heritage Trail Task Force and a member of the Board of Directors of the Lake Cumberland Area Development District. She is the wife of Clem Haskins. Information provided by Kipley D. Carr; see also Yvette Haskins in the Kentucky government press release "Governor Ernie Fletcher announces appointments to the state university boards," 06/30/2004.

 

Access Interview Read the transcript and listen to the oral history interview of Yvette Haskins by Lynne Ferguson, 01/30/2006, at the Kentucky Historical Society.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Howell-Young, Joyce
Birth Year : 1934
The Louisville physician was appointed to the city's board of education in 1971, the first African American woman to serve on the board. She led in the integration of the patients' rooms in the Louisville St. Joseph Hospital in the 1960s. Dr. Howell-Young is president of the Falls City Medical Society. She is agraduate of Fisk University, where she earned a B.A. in Zoology, and Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. She completed her intern training at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, OH. Dr. Young-Howell had a private practice in Louisville, 1961-1967. She has had a number of posts including that of medical director of the Park DuValle Neighborhood Health Center, 1974-1976. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and many other organizations. Dr. Howell-Young was born in Cincinnati, OH, the daughter of Lloyd M.  Howell and Addie Belle Foster Howell. For more see "36 city officials include mayor, police court judge," in Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1972], by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 17; "Doctor says interns don't make living wage," Jet, 03/29/1962, p.27 [available online]; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1996-2009; and Joyce Howell-Young, M.D. in Who's Who in Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, p.112.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Medical Field, Health Care, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Cincninati, Ohio / Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky

Johnson, Harlan C.
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 1992
Harlan C. Johnson was born in Eminence, KY, to Elizabeth H. Cowherd Johnson and Joseph S. Johnson. He had an outstanding career in the military: two bronze metals from the Asian Pacific theater; a bronze star from the Philippines Liberation; a Good Conduct Medal; and a World War II Victory Medal. After his career in the service, Johnson was a business teacher at New York University and Southern University at Baton Rouge. He taught in the New York City school system, served on the Board of Education, and was a drug counselor with the Community Services Committee. He received the Humanitarian Service Plaque for his work with the pre-release program of rehabilitation at Green Haven Prison. Harlan C. Johnson graduated from New York University in 1950 with a B.A. and in 1952 with an M.A. He died March 5, 1992 in Bronx, New York [source: Social Security Death Index]. For more see Harlan C. Johnson in Who's Who Among African Americans, 1994-2004.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky / New York City, New York

Johnson, Thelma Banks
Birth Year : 1909
The first African American elected official in Henderson County was Thelma Johnson, she was elected to the Henderson County Board of Education in 1978 and served until 1986. She also served as chair of the Henderson Human Rights Commission. Johnson was born in Georgia, the daughter of Mary and Harry Banks, and she came to Henderson, KY, in 1946.

Access Interview Read the transcript to the Thelma Johnson oral history interview in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Georgia / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Kentucky African American Girl Scouts
Start Year : 1940
In 1940 the Louisville Council formed an interracial committee for Negro Girl Scouting and a troop was formed. The troop was not allowed to attend camps; therefore, Mrs. Murray Walls, a member of the interracial committee, helped to organize camping for the African American scouts. The Paducah Council and the Bowling Green/Warren County Council also formed Girl Scout troops for African American girls. A temporary site, Camp Dan Beard (a Boy Scout camp in Jefferson County), was used for the first established camp for African American Girl Scouts; in 1945 a permanent campsite, Camp Lincoln Ridge, was established at Lincoln Institute. Also in 1945, Mrs. Murray Walls became the first African American to serve on the Girl Scout Council Board of Directors, and she led the movement against segregated Kentucky Girl Scout Troops. The programs and camps were integrated in 1956. Walls was also the first African American member of the Kentucky State Board of Education. For more see Kentuckiana Council History, by Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana; and Kentucky Commission on Human Rights names 39th member of the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians, 03/11/2005, at Kentucky.gov.
Subjects: Scouts (Boys and Girls), Board of Education
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky

Lynem, Carl Irving
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1966
Lynem was the first African American member of the Lexington Board of Education. He had also managed P. K. Sykes successful campaign for city commissioner in 1963. Lynem was a retired Major of the U.S. Army, having served during World War II, according to his U.S. Army Enlistment Record. He was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Marie Hayes Lynem and Rev. Sheeley Lynem, and according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived in Elmarch, KY. Lynem was an insurance man. He died in a car accident in Henry County, KY, in 1966 and is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. A picture of Lynem can be seen on p. 96 in Lexington, Kentucky, by G. Smith. For more see Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. [For more on Rev. Sheeley Lynem, elder of Lexington District in the Kentucky Conference of the AME Church, see p.187 in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.]
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Elmarch, Harrison County, Kentucky / Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Mason, Luther
Born in Scott County, KY, Mason was the first African American elected to the Scott County Board of Education, in 1976. He was re-elected in 1980. For more see "16 black school members serving in Kentucky," in 1982 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Sixth Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 33.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Scott County, Kentucky

Morton, Andrew W.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2009
Born in Madisonville, KY, Andrew W. Morton graduated from Louisville Central High School, Louisville Municipal College, and Meharry Medical College. He was an instructor at Meharry Dental School before establishing his dental practice in Paducah, KY, in 1946. Morton was also a captain in the U.S. Army Dental Corp from 1943-1945 and again from 1949-1951. After serving in the army, he returned to his private dental practice in Paducah and retired in 1995. He was a member of the Board of Regents at Kentucky State University for eight years and was the first African American in Paducah to run for the board of education. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education, Dentists
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Mullins, Pamela
Birth Year : 1953
Pamela Mullins, of Covington,KY, was one of the first inductees to the Holmes [High School] Hall of Distinction for 2000-2001. In 2007, she was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. Until Paul Mullins election in 2007, Mullins had been the last African American elected to the School Board in Covington; she served from 1990-1997 and resigned to become the first African American woman to be elected to the Covington City Commission. She brought forward the ordinance that created the Covington Human Rights Commission. Pamela Mullins is the daughter of the late Robert Mullins, who was a tenor in the "Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers," a male quintet that sang spirituals and gospel music. Pamela Mullins is also the mother of Paul Mullins, the second African American elected to the Covington School Board in 2007. A controversy clouded his election, but Paul Mullins was allowed to remain on the school board until a final decision was made: he was a school employee, a bus driver, when he won the election. For more see Pamela Mullins in the 2007 Hall of Fame at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website; and T. O'Neill, "Mullins defends his right to serve," The Kentucky Post, 03/28/2007, News section, p. A2.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Mothers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Parker, Walter Elwood, Sr.
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 2013
In 1974, W. Elwood Parker, Sr. became the first African American on the Paris, KY, City School Board. He was also the first African American on the Paris Police force. He was the son of Cordelia and Clara M. Gist Parker. He was a veteran of the Korean War and a graduate of Jackson State University. While in high school, W. Elwood Parker, Sr. was a member of the first football team at Western High School in Paris, KY [source: "Western High School" newspaper clippings provided by Lora Washington at the Kentucky African American Griots website]. The team was coached by William B. Reed. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, p. 25, and "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, p. 36, both by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. See the Walter Elwood Parker, Sr. obituary at the Lusk-McFarland Funeral Home webpage.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, Woodford Roy, Sr.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 2006
In 1958, Louisville, KY, native Woodford R. Porter, Sr. became the first African American elected to the Louisville Board of Education. He was later president of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. Porter, a mortician, was the owner of A. D. Porter and Sons Funeral Home. He was the first African American member of the YMCA Metropolitan Board. Porter was the son of Imogene Stewart Porter and Arthur D. Porter, Sr., the family is listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. Woodford Porter was a WWII veteran. He was the husband of Harriett Bibb Porter. For more see In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., Supp., edited by M. M. Spradling; "A Special Tribute to Woodford R. Porter, Sr.," Who's Who in Black Louisville, Inaugural Edition, pp.39-42; and E. M. Talbott, "Woodford R. Porter Sr. (1918-2006)," The Courier-Journal, 08/02/2006, Forum section, p.11A.

See photo image of Woodford R. Porter, Sr. and additional information at the U of L Today website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Board of Education, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Smith, John W.
Smith was the first African American elected to the Henry County, KY, Board of Education. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 25.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Henry County, Kentucky

Towles, Jeffrey
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2004
According to his death notice by the Associated Press and newspaper sources, Jeffrey Towles was born and raised in Kentucky. He was the surgeon who helped save the life of Vernon Jordan in 1980. Jordan, then president of the Urban League, had been shot in the back by a sniper. Jordan had been standing in a hotel parking lot in Fort Wayne, IN, when he was shot. Towles led the surgery team that operated on Jordan. Towles was also active in the Fort Wayne community and served on the school board before becoming the first African American president of the school board in 1987. He was a veteran of the Korean War and a graduate of West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University] and the University of Louisville Medical School. For more see "Towles, surgeon and Fort Wayne community leader, dies at age 74," The Associated Press; and J. Creek, "Black leader, surgeon for Vernon Jordan dies," The Journal Gazette, 01/26/2004, p. 1A.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Board of Education, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana

Travis, Oneth M., Sr.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1991
Travis was born in Albany, KY, the son of Jacob and Nanny Overstreet Travis. He graduated from Lincoln Institute. He owned a family dry goods store and was also an educator and community leader in Monticello, KY. Travis purchased a bus from Wayne Taxi Company to establish the first school transportation system in Wayne County, KY. Travis also purchased land and established the Travis Elementary and High Schools in Monticello. In 1955, Travis and Ira Bell helped facilitate the integration of the Monticello and Wayne County Schools. In 1965, Travis was appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education by Governor Simeon S. Willis, and was the first African American to be named to the post. Later, Bell was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Travis also developed a recreation center in Wayne County. He was a World War I veteran and a Kentucky delegate to Republican national conventions. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias and a Mason. Travis moved to Pittsburgh in 1986, where he passed away in 1991; he is buried in the Monticello Cemetery. He was the uncle of Thomas J. Craft, Sr. and the father of Oneth M. Travis, Jr. For more see "Oneth M. Travis," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 08/20/1991, OBIT section, p. B4. See also African American Schools in Wayne County, KY; and Mr. Oneth Morview Travis in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database. See photo image of Negro school and gymnasium in Monticello, KY, Kentucky Digital Library - Images.

Subjects: Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education, Bus Transportation: Employees, Owners, Segregation, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Albany, Clinton County, Kentucky / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Williams, Earl
Birth Year : 1885
Williams was born in Cynthiana, KY. A physician and surgeon, he was also the president of the Board of Education in Lovejoy, Illinois. He was the force behind two new schools being built and an increase from four to 17 in the number of teachers in the school system. Williams was employed on the staff of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Granite City, Illinois. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Board of Education, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lovejoy and Granite City, Illinois

Young, Hortense Houston
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1977
Young was the first African American woman admitted to the University of Louisville Law School, which she attended from 1951-1953 before leaving the program. She was also a librarian at the Louisville Municipal College, 1937-1943. Young was the second person to chair the newly formed KNEA Librarian's Conference, in 1938. In 1947, she ran unsuccessfully for the Louisville Board of Education. She was also a civil rights activist; in 1949 she made a proposal to Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley's Legislative Committee to amend the 1908 Day Law, which had been passed to keep the education of African Americans and whites segregated in Kentucky. Hortense Young, born in Texas, was the mother of Dr. Coleman Milton Young, III. For more see "Hortense Houston Young," on the University of Louisville's website; Central Law School, 1890-1941; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Texas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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