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The African American Borah Family
Start Year : 1810
In 1810, the Borah Family moved from Pennsylvania to Butler County, KY, led by the great great grandfather of Idaho Senator William Edgar Borah (1865-1940) and his eight sons. The family slaves, who also carried the last name Borah, were the ancestors of African American musician Harry Edison. Edison's great grandmother, Mariah Borah (born between 1810 and 1812, died 1876), was born in Ohio County, KY. Her mother's last name was Rogers. Mariah may have been the slave of Jacob Borah. She was later owned by George M. Borah in Butler County. Mariah had several children with Jesse Barnes [or Brookins or Brokins], a freeman from Maryland who had settled in Butler County prior to the end of slavery. It is believed that Jesse was at one time enslaved and migrated to Kentucky with the Barnes Family and then later freed. All of Jesse and Mariah's children carried the last name Borah because their mother was enslaved and carried the last name Borah, and the same applied to the children. Two of their daughters were Ellen and Julia Borah, one of whom was the mother of McDonald Porter. Their son, Larkin Borah, was the father of Katherine Meryl Borah Edison, who was the mother of Harry Edison. All information about the African American Borah family was submitted by Denyce Peyton. For more about the Borah family from Pennsylvania, see "Wisconsin at Washington," The Oshkosh Northwestern, 04/04/1936, p. 18: and Borah, by M. C. McKenna.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Pennsylvania / Butler County and Ohio County, Kentucky

Alexander, Henry
Birth Year : 1802
Henry Alexander was a slave from Mayslick, KY, who purchased his freedom when he was 21 years old. He was a merchant and is listed in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census as a free man. Henry and his wife, Lucy Alexander, had a daughter, Maria Ann Alexander, who graduated from Oberlin College with a Literary Degree in 1854 and taught for a while in Covington, KY. Maria married Mifflin W. Gibbs, and the couple moved to Vancouver Island, Canada. Mifflin Gibbs would become the first African American judge in the United States. Harriet A. Gibbs was one of the couple's five children. For more see F. Fowler, "Some undistinguished Negroes," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 5, issue 4 (Oct. 1920), p. 485.
Subjects: Fathers, Freedom, Migration North, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Mayslick, Mason County, Kentucky / Vancouver Island, Canada

Anderson, Sandford Woodford and Polly Ann
Sanford Anderson, Sr. (b.1836) was born in Kentucky, the son of a slave woman and her white master named Woodford. His mother was sold after he was born, and Anderson was given his freedom and his father's last name. When he was a young man, Sanford left his father's plantation and went to work on the Anderson farm; he then took the name Anderson as his last name. He married a slave named Polly Ann (b.1842) and established a blacksmith business. The family moved to [Springheld] Springfield, Ohio, in 1877 and Anderson supported his family with his new blacksmith business. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the couple is listed with nine children, and all living in the Mad River District in Ohio. Dorothy Evans Bacon was the great-granddaughter of Sanford and Polly Anderson. Highlights of the Anderson family history can be found in the article "The Bacons: a fighting spirit on the color line," Newsweek, Special: Fiftieth Anniversary Issue, vol.101, issue 10, February, 1983, pp. 33-34, 36. The article includes a photo of Dorothy Evans [Bacon] and her parents.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Blacksmiths, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kentucky / [Springheld] Springfield, Ohio

Arthur, Jane
Birth Year : 1828
Born in Knox County, KY, Jane Arthur was owned by Ambrose Arthur, one of the largest slave holders in the county. She was the mother of James and Henry Bond; their father was Rev. Preston Bond of Anderson County, KY. [Preston was the husband of Belinda Arthur, daughter of Ambrose Arthur.] Jane Arthur was the great-grandmother of Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former Georgia Representative and Senator. She died of a stroke when she was in her 90s. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams. *According to Carrie Stewart of Williamsburg, KY, Jane Arthur and her family also lived in Williamsburg.
Subjects: Mothers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Knox County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Williamsburg, Washington County, Kentucky

Asher v Huffman
Start Year : 1943
Seven-year-old Bruce Asher was the son of Boyd and Hattie Asher. His parents wanted him to attend the school for whites in Leslie County, KY. He looked to be what was considered a white child, but Roy Huffman, the school principal, refused to let Bruce attend the school because, according to Huffman, Bruce was colored. The Asher's sued Huffman, hoping that a mandatory injunction would allow Bruce to attend the school. It was determined by the Kentucky Court of Appeals that Bruce Asher was indeed a colored child because his maternal great-grandmother had been a Negro slave. The Kentucky Constitution, KRS 158.020 sec.187, was used to require that separate schools be maintained for white children and Negro children [children wholly or in part of Negro blood or having any appreciable admixture thereof, regardless of whether they show the racial characteristics of the Negro]. Judge Roy Helm of the lower court had ruled in favor of Huffman, and the Ashers appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed and adopted the lower court's decision, the injunction was refused, and Bruce Asher was not allowed to attend the school for white children. For more see Asher et al v Huffman, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 295 Ky. 312, 174 S.W. 2d 424, 1943 Ky; and KRS 158.020 - Separate schools for white and colored children. Repealed, 1966 (.pdf). [available online]
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Leslie County, Kentucky

Bond, James M.
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1929
James M. Bond was born in Lawrenceburg, KY. He was a slave the first two years of his life. When he was 16 years old, Bond walked to Berea College, where he was a student in the primary grades and continued up to the time he graduated from college in 1892. He was also a graduate from Oberlin College, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He returned to Kentucky and led the fund-raising for Lincoln Institute, the school provided for African Americans after the segregation of Berea College. He was in charge of the YMCA work with the soldiers at Camp Taylor. Bond was also the first director of the Kentucky Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and in that position he spoke out against segregation. James M. Bond was the brother of Henry Bond; they were the sons of Jane Arthur, a slave, and Reverend Preston Bond. James Bond was the husband of Jane A. Browne Bond, the father of J. Max Bond, Sr., Thomas Bond, and Horace Bond, and the grandfather of Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former Georgia senator and representative. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams; and the article and picture of James M. Bond and his three sons on p. 228 of The Crisis, vol. 27, issue 5 (March 1924) [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fathers, Freedom, Grandparents, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Breeding, Polly
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1939
Polly Breeding was born New Year's Day, 1849, in Lafayette, KY, the daughter of Phyllis Hiser, a slave, and Thomas Pound, a freeman. Thomas Pound's family had gained freedom when his grandmother, who was white, had a child by his grandfather, who was one of her slaves. According to the reprint from WPA Projects, "Aunt Polly Breeding was the oldest and most noted slave near Edmonton, Kentucky." A brief history of the family is in the Quarterly of the Metcalfe County Historical Society, vol. 4, issue 1 (Winter 1985). Polly Breeding died of influenza on March 12, 1939, according to her Kentucky Death Certificate #8186 file #87. She was a widow, her husband was Milton Breeding.
Subjects: Freedom, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lafayette and Edmonton, Metcalfe County, Kentucky

Brown (Byrd), Calvin
Calvin Brown is listed in the National Archives as Calvin Byrd; he changed his name after the Civil War. Brown had been a slave who ran away from his owner in Louisville, KY, on August 14, 1864, and three days later he enlisted in the 108th Infantry, Company A. He fought in the Battle of Vicksburg in 1865, where he was injured, then later fell ill due to an unrelated disease. In 1996, Brown and other African American Civil War soldiers were honored with the dedication of a national memorial site. Calvin (Byrd) Brown was the great-grandfather of Mr. Shirley Foley, Jr. For more see L. Wheeler, "The unseen soldiers get their due memorial to honor blacks who fought in Civil War," Washington Post, 09/03/1996, Metro section, p. B1. *Last name also spelled Bird in some sources.
Subjects: Freedom, Military & Veterans, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Vicksburg, Mississippi

Carr, Maria Powell
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1920
In 1912, Maria Carr became one of the first African American women library attendants in a Kentucky public library. She was hired to staff the Henderson Colored Library, the first library structure for African Americans in the United States. She was the wife of James A. Carr, who was a grocer when the couple married March 18, 1875 [source: Kentucky Marriage Records, Negroes, Henderson County, KY]. They were the parents of several children. Maria Carr died August 13, 1920 [Find A Grave photo image]. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.

Additional information received from Rebecca Bibbs on 11/16/2012: Maria Carr was the daughter of Elizabeth Powell and Robert Glass, and she was the grandmother of Junius Bibbs. Elizabeth Powell lived with her daughter, and is listed with the family in the U.S. Federal Census, 1880-1910. A photo image of Maria Powell Carr is available at the Henderson County, KY Families website.


Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Cole, James H. and Mary D.
When James Cole died, he was the wealthiest African American in Michigan. He had been a slave born in 1837 in Mississippi. He had escaped and settled in Detroit. On his way to freedom, Cole passed through Kentucky and was aided by a slave family. He had been in Detroit a few years when he met a young girl who was a member of the Kentucky family that had helped him during his escape. Cole and the 13 year old girl, Mary D. (born 1850 in Kentucky), were later married; they would become the parents of several children, one of whom was Thomas A. Cole, the father of Florence Cole Talbert, a noted concert and operatic soprano, who performed in Kentucky in 1922. She was sponsored by the Progressive Choral Society of Bowling Green, KY. The recital took place at State Street Baptist Church. Talbert was assisted by Charles R. Taylor, a Howard University student, and R. Lillian Carpenter was the pianist. The Cole family fortune was earned by James H. Cole who was a carpenter, blacksmith, and real estate investor. James and Mary Cole are listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. For more see P. Turner, "In retrospect: Florence Cole Talbert - Our Divine Florence," The Black Perspective in Music, vol.12, issue 1 (Spring, 1984), pp. 57-79. For more on Florence Cole Talbert, see "The Progressive Choral Society of Bowling Green, Ky...," The Crisis, April 1922, v.23, issue 6, p.274; Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919, by T. Brooks; and The Negro Trail Blazers of California, by D. L. Beasley.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Blacksmiths, Carpenters, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Mississippi / Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Conley, Nellie [Madam Sul-Te-Wan]
Birth Year : 1873
Death Year : 1959
Nellie Conley, an actress, was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Silas Crawford Wan and Cleo de Londa. In 1983, she was posthumously inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Conley went by the name Madame Sul-Te-Wan, acting in early films such as Birth of a Nation and later films such as Carmen Jones and Tarzan and the Trappers. Prior to moving to California and acting in films, Conley had moved from Louisville to Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, she formed "The Black Four Hundred," an acting company that employed 16 performers and 12 musicians. The company was successful, as was a minstrel company that Conley established. Conley soon married and eventually moved to California. Two years later, she had just given birth to her third son when her husband left her. Her money was gone, so for a period of time Conley had to rely on charity. Times got better when she was hired by Kentucky native D. W. Griffith for the movie The Clansman; her pay was three dollars a day and increased to five dollars a day. She and D. W. Griffith remained friends for the rest of their lives, and she had bit parts in seven of his films. She also continued to perform in vaudeville, silent films, and talkies [films with sound]. In 1949, Conley married Anton Ebenthur, who was French; the couple married five years before interracial marriages were legal in California. According to writer Victor Walsh, Conley and Ebenthur were active members of Club Miscegenation in Los Angeles. [It has also been written that Conley was the mother of Ruby Dandridge (1900-1987) and the grandmother of Dorothy Dandridge (1922-1965).] For more see Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 18: Sept. 1992-Aug. 1993; Directory of Blacks in the Performing Arts, 1st ed., by E. Mapp; The Negro Trail Blazers of California, by D. Beasley; and V. Walsh, "Women's History Month: Madame Sul-Te-Wan; Hollywood's first African American actress," Oakland Post, 03/19/1997, p. 8.

See photo image and additional information about Nellie Conley at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Businesses, Migration North, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grandparents, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Interracial Marriage and State Laws, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / California

Crawford, James Columbus and Henrietta Arnold
James (b.1872) and Henrietta Crawford (b.1873) were born in Fayetteville, Georgia. James' mother had been a slave and remained on the plantation after her freedom. James and Henrietta were married and had a family when they left Fayetteville some time after the year 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. They migrated north to Louisville, KY. Two of their grandchildren are Raymond Ponder and Alberta O. Jones. Information provided by Ms. Nicole M. Martin, the Crawford's great, great granddaughter.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Fayetteville, Georgia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Franklin Colored Benevolent Society No.1 (Franklin, KY)
Start Year : 1874
The Act to incorporate the organization was passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in February 1874, with R. R. Burnley as president; William Butts, vice president; John H. Perdue [or Purdue], secretary; and King Boisseau as treasurer. The organization purpose was "intellectual, moral, and social improvement of its members, and works of benevolence and charity." [John H. Purdue may be the great great grandfather of John J. Johnson. For more see Chapter 486 of the 1874 publication Acts Passed at the...Session of the General Assembly, pp. 543-544 [available at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Fraternal Organizations, Grandparents, Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky

Godfrey, Linda R.
Birth Year : 1947
Linda R. Godfrey, born in Lexington, KY, has been a leader on several fronts since graduating in 1965 from old Henry Clay High School [on Main Street], where she was a member of the second integrated class to graduate from the school. Godfrey, a nurse, has worked at several locations in Lexington and is presently a case manager and diabetes nurse specialist at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital off Cooper Drive, providing outreach and care coordination for returning combat veterans. She is a retired Army Nurse, having served (1985-2000) with the 475th MASH hospital unit out of Frankfort, KY. Godfrey also taught health education classes at multiple military hospitals throughout the U.S. and in Japan, Ecuador, and Barbados. She also served as an Army nurse in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. She received an Army commendation medal and has received a number of awards for her work with veterans, including the Federal Woman of the Year in 2000. In Lexington, Godfrey was a board member of Hospice when the program was being developed in 1977, coordinating the volunteers. For 13 years she taught pediatric nursing and basic medical surgical nursing at Kentucky State University and today is a part-time lecturer for the clinical labs and nursing programs. Godfrey also teaches health education and diabetes classes throughout the year at local churches. She has served two terms as president of the Northside Neighborhood Association, one of the oldest and largest neighborhood associations in Lexington. Godfrey, one of the original members, is past chairperson of the Historic Preservation Commission of the Fayette-Urban County Government and is completing her second term as vice-chair of the Fayette-Urban County Planning Commission. Linda Godfrey is a graduate of Appalachian School of Practical Nursing [which was on Warren Court in Lexington, KY], where she earned her LPN degree in 1968. In 1972, she earned her RN degree from Lexington Community College [now Bluegrass Community and Technical College] and in 1980 graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. She is a charter member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Delta Psi Chapter. Godfrey, who grew up in Kinkeadtown, attends the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Pricetown, founded by her great grandfather, Matthew Garner. Pricetown is one of the Negro hamlets founded at the end of slavery. This entry was submitted by William Anthony Goatley with detailed information from Linda Godfrey.

 

Access InterviewLisen to the online interview with Lind R. Godfrey (Part 1 and Part 2), interviewed by Mike Jones, 07/27/2002, at the Kentucky Historical Society website.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Communities, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kinkeadtown, Pricetown, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Iraq / Japan / Ecuador / Barbados

Gomez, Hazel E. J. Thompson
The following information comes from In Darkness With God, by A. L. Gomez-Jefferson. The author's mother was Hazel Gomez (1891- 1983), born in Toledo, OH, the wife of Bishop Joseph Gomez (1890-1979). Bishop Gomez [or Gomes], of the AME Church, was also a civil rights leader and pioneer; he was born in Antigua. Hazel Gomez's maternal grandfather was John Dent, a slave born in Paducah, KY. John escaped from slavery by taking his master's horse and riding to Ohio, a free state, where he met and married [Mt.] Sterling, KY, native Sara Jane Grubb. The Dents had twelve children; one of their daughters, Julia Anne, was Hazel Gomez's mother. On the paternal side of her family, Hazel Gomez's grandfather, George Henry Thompson, was born in 1804 in Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. His birth name was Hari Orara, but it was changed when he was sold into slavery in Kentucky. He escaped and settled in Philadelphia. In 1826, he married 14 year old Eliza Elizabeth Ford, who was white, and they moved to Canada, where they had eleven children. Their son, George Thompson, was Hazel Gomez's father.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Ohio / Madagascar, Africa / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Canada

Gough, John
Birth Year : 1816
Death Year : 1906
Gough had been a slave in Graves County, KY; he moved to Illinois and married Kentucky native Louisa Smith. One of their children, Belle Gough Micheaux (1856-1918), was the mother of Oscar D. Micheaux (1884-1951); Oscar was an author and later established the Micheaux Film and Book Company. He became a producer of films, the first of which was The Homesteader (a silent film). For more on Oscar D. Micheaux see African-Americans in Motion Pictures, the Past and the Present, by Long Island University Library; and The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker, 1884-1951, by E. J. Young.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Grandparents, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Graves County, Kentucky / Illinois

Hathaway, Quinella Watson
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 2000
Hathaway was born in Kentucky, the daughter of Thomas and Helen J. Watson. Her family moved to Indiana, Chicago, and then Maywood, IL, in 1907. She was the only African American student in both her elementary and high school graduating classes; the Watson Family was among the first African American families to live in Maywood. Hathaway was also one of the first African American students at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her husband, Walter Hathaway, was the first trustee in Maywood. Quinella W. Hathaway was the grandmother of Glenn "Doc" Rivers, former NBA basketball player and coach of the 2008 NBA champions, the Boston Celtics. For more see L. Roche, "Living legend hits 100," Maywood Herald, 06/16/1999, Local News section, p. 8; and the "Ruth L. Sampson" obituary in the Maywood Herald, 03/23/2005, news section, p. 69.
Subjects: Migration North, 1st African American Families in Town, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Maywood, Illinois

Hinnant, Ollen B., II
Birth Year : 1931
Hinnant was born in Lexington, KY. In 1955 he was the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky Law School, and in 1997 he was the first to be inducted into the school's Alumni Hall of Fame. He was the first African American lawyer for the State Farm Insurance firm in Montclair, NJ. Edmonds Street in Lexington, KY, is named for his grandfather, Rubin Edmonds. For more see M. Davis, "He's Proof that Kids Can Turn Out Fine," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/23/2001.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Lawyers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hooks, Julia Britton
Birth Year : 1852
Death Year : 1942
Julia B. Hooks was born in Frankfort, KY. A musician, social worker, educator, and juvenile court officer, she and her husband managed a juvenile detention home that was opened next to their house in Memphis. One of the wards killed her husband. Hooks went on to help found the Old Folks and Orphans Home. Julia Hooks was the daughter of Henry and Laura Marshall Britton. She was mother of photographers Henry and Robert Hooks, grandmother to Benjamin Hooks, and sister to Dr. Mary E. Britton. For more see Notable Black American Women, ed. by J. C. Smith; Julia Hooks entry in the Afro-American Encyclopaedia: Or, the Thoughts, Doings..., by James T. Haley, pp. 563-565 [from the UNC Library's Documenting the American South website]; and the Julia Britton Hooks entry by S. Lewis in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture [online version].

See photo image and additional information on Julia Hooks at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Corrections and Police, Social Workers, Migration South, Grandparents, Care of the Elderly
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee

Jones, Henry Wise, Sr.
Birth Year : 1873
Death Year : 1954
Rev. Henry Wise Jones, born in Knoxville, TN, was co-founder of Simmons Bible College in Louisville . He also served as pastor of the Green Street Baptist Church in Louisville and the Pleasant Green Baptist Church in Lexington. Rev. Jones was an advocate for African Americans' voting and education rights. He was a marble polisher who became an ordained minister on September 4,1892. Rev. Jones had attended Knoxville College and State University [Simmons College] in Louisville. He was the father of Rev. William A. Jones, Sr. and the grandfather of Rev. William A. Jones, Jr. and Louis Clayton Jones. In 2007, Rev. Henry Wise Jones was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see Rev. Henry Wise Jones in the 2007 Hall of Fame at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' website; and "Rev. Henry Wise Jones" on pp.238-239 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fathers, Voting Rights, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Knoxville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jones, Margaret Ellen Barnes
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2000
A major in the U.S. Army, Margaret E. B. Jones was with the only African American military women's unit (the 6888th Postal Unit) to go overseas during World War II. Her first post as an officer was in Kentucky, where she was over a unit of African American women assigned to clean floors and latrines in the Camp Breckinridge hospital. After that, she began lobbying for better work assignments for the women she commanded. She and Myrtle Anderson were the first African American women Army officers stationed in Kentucky. Jones' maternal grandparents had been slaves in Kentucky, and her mother, a well known community leader, was born in Monticello, KY; her name was Margaret E. Sallee Barnes. Margaret E. B. Jones, born in Oberlin, OH, was a graduate of Howard University. Her brother-in-law, Sam Jones, was athletic director at the school; he was also one of the first African American officers commissioned in the Navy. For more see C. Levy, "Maj. Margaret E. B. Jones Dies," Washington Post, 04/25/2000, Metro section, p. B7; The New York Times, 04/27/2000, late ed. Final, p. B13; To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race, by B. L. Moore; and "6 WACs Resign: WAC Clerks Decline to Scrub Floors," Philadelphia Afro-American, July 10, 1943, p. 1. For more about Camp Breckinridge, see the Camp Breckinridge entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia [available on UK Campus and off campus via the proxy server], and History of Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, by P. Heady. See also the entry about the WACs Protest at Camp Breckinridge, KY.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs), Grandparents
Geographic Region: Oberlin, Ohio / Fort Breckinridge [or Camp Breckinridge], Henderson, Webster, and Union Counties, Kentucky (no longer exists)

Kean, William L. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1958
While a student at Louisville Central High School, Kean was captain of the football, basketball, and baseball teams. The 5' 7" athlete weighed 140 pounds when he played football at Howard University, where he also earned letters in three other sports. He was one of the school's first 4-letter athletes and in 1922 was named to the Negro All-American Team as a quarterback. As a coach, he directed the Louisville Central football team to a 225-45-12 record. As the basketball coach, he led the Louisville Central Yellow Jackets to wins in 857 of its 940 games. Kean was the son of Alice E. and William T. Kean, and the maternal grandfather of NBA player Allen Houston, and a brother to Henry A. Kean, Sr. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lee, Everett, Jr. and Sylvia Olden
Birth Year : 1916
Everett Lee (1916- ), from Wheeling, WV, was the first African American to direct a white orchestra, the Louisville Philharmonic in 1953; the audience was integrated. Everett was also the first African American to conduct a Broadway show. He was the husband of Sylvia O. Lee (1917-2004), who was born in Mississippi. She was a pianist and vocal coach, the first African American professional musician at the New York Metropolitan Opera. Sylvia's paternal grandfather, George Olden, had served in the Union Army when he was a teen after running away from slavery at the Oldham Plantation in Oldham County, KY. Her father, Rev. J. C. Olden, was living in Louisville, KY, when he arranged for Everett to conduct the Louisville Philharmonic. For more see "Schiller Institute Dialogue with Sylvia Olden Lee, Pianist and Vocal Coach," 02/07/1998, [reprinted from Fidelio Magazine, vol. 7, issue 1 (Spring 1998)]; and W. M. Cheatham, "Lady Sylvia speaks," Black Music Research Journal, vol. 16, issue 1 (Spring 1996), pp. 183-213.

See photo image of James C. Olden and his then son-in-law, Everett Lee, at the Courier-Journal.com "Black History Month | 1953 Everett Lee," 02/01/2010.
Subjects: Freedom, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Wheeling, West Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mississippi / New York / Oldham County, Kentucky

Micheaux, David
Micheaux was a slave in Calloway County, KY, who was later sold to an buyer in Texas. His wife was Melvina Micheaux. David was the father of Calvin Swan Micheaux, Sr. (1847-1932), who was the father of Oscar D. Micheaux (1884-1951). Oscar was an author and later established the Micheaux Film and Book Company. He became a producer of films, the first of which was The Homesteader (a 1919 silent film). For more on Oscar D. Micheaux, see The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker, 1884-1951, by E. J. Young. For more on David Micheaux, see The Conquest, by O. D. Micheaux. David Micheaux was the father of Andrew Jackson Micheaux, who was the great, great grandfather of pro football player Austin Wheatly. See an Andrew Jackson Micheaux photo.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration West, Grandparents, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Calloway County, Kentucky / Texas

Micheaux, Melvina
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1916
Micheaux was born in Alabama. She and her husband, David Micheaux, were slaves in Calloway County, KY. Melvina and her three children moved to Illinois, later joining other Exodusters in the move to Nicodemus, Kansas. One of her children, Calvin Swan Micheaux, Sr. (1847-1932), was the father of Oscar D. Micheaux (1884-1951), an author who established the Micheaux Film and Book Company. He became a producer of films, the first of which was The Homesteader (a silent film). For more on Oscar D. Micheaux, see The Life and Work of Oscar Micheaux: Pioneer Black Author and Filmmaker, 1884-1951, by E. J. Young. Melvina Micheaux was the mother of Andrew Jackson Micheaux, the great, great grandfather of pro football player Austin Wheatly. See Andrew Jackson Micheaux and Melvina Micheaux photos.
Subjects: Migration West, Mothers, Nicodemus, Grandparents, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era], Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Alabama / Calloway County, Kentucky / Nicodemus, Kansas

Miller, William M., Sr. and Anna Mae Stuart
William M. Miller, Sr. (1872-1920), born in Kentucky, was a lawyer. In 1902, he arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, where he had been promised the position of advisor to Governor Robert M. LaFollette, Sr. But Miller could not practice law and his job title was not that of advisor but rather messenger. Anna Mae Stuart (1875-1963), a school teacher from Kentucky, came to Madison in 1902 to marry William Miller. They were among the first African American residents of Madison. The Millers were fairly well off; according to their granddaughter, Betty Banks, the Millers owned their own home as well as a boarding house and a summer home, and they employed a cook, a nanny and a housekeeper. The boarding house was used to lodge African Americans who were new arrivals from the South. The Betty Banks interview in the State of Wisconsin Collection speaks of the Millers as civil rights activists; William Miller was a friend of W. E. B. DuBois, who would often visit the Miller home. William Miller started the Book Lover's Club, a precursor to the Madison NAACP. He helped found the St. Paul AME Church in Madison and was a member of the Niagara Movement. Anna Mae spoke before the Wisconsin Legislature on women's and children's issues. At the age of 86, Anna Mae Miller took part in the sit-in at the Wisconsin Capitol Building in support of the bill that would eliminate housing discrimination in Wisconsin. For more see "Madison sit-in enters 4th day," Corpus Christi Times, 08/03/1961, p. 5.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), 1st African American Families in Town, Grandparents, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Madison, Wisconsin

Short, Rodman J. and Myrtle Render
Born in Rockport, KY, Rodman Short (1883-1936) was the son of Kate E. and John Waltrip Short, the owner of a bit of farmland in Muhlenberg County, KY. Rodman, who left Kentucky for Danville, IL, was a brother of Nancy Short, who settled in Detroit, and John Will Short, who remained in Kentucky after his siblings left, and two younger brothers. Rodman was a coal miner in Danville, IL, and he later returned to Lynch, KY, without his family to find work in the mines during the Depression. He became ill from the mine work and died in Kentucky. His wife, Myrtle Render Short (1888-1971), also a Kentucky native, took his body to Danville, IL, to be buried. Myrtle and Rodman were the parents of cabaret singer and pianist Robert Waltrip "Bobby" Short (1924-2005), the ninth of their ten children. For more see the Bobby Short entry in Current Biography; Music legend Bobby Short's jazzy legacy, an NPR.org website; and Black and White Baby, by B. Short.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Rockport, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Danville, Illinois / Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky

Taylor, Marshall W. (Boyd)
Birth Year : 1846
Death Year : 1887
Born in Lexington, KY, Marshall W. Boyd was educated by private teachers and at private schools. (He later changed his last name to Taylor.) He organized the first school for African Americans in Hardinsburg, KY, in 1866, and armed himself in an effort to keep the school open; the school was bombed on Christmas Day, December 25, 1867. The following year, Taylor was elected president of the Negro Educational Convention, which was held in Owensboro, KY. He was licensed to preach in 1869 and was also a lawyer with the Kirkland and Barr law firm in Louisville, KY. Taylor edited the Southwestern Christian Advocate. He is most remembered for compiling the early African American hymnal, Collection of Revival Hymns and Plantation Melodies (1882). He was also author of Handbook for Schools and The Negro in Methodism. According to his entry in Herringshaw's National Library of American Biography, volume 4, Taylor died September 11, 1887 in Louisville, KY. Taylor was the grandfather of jazz saxophonist Sam Rivers (1923-2011). For more see History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880, by G. W. Williams [available full view at Google Book Search]; Out of Sight: the Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895, by L. Abbott and D. Seroff; and Forty Years in the Lap of Methodism: history of Lexington Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church, by W. H. Riley.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Hardinsburg, Breckinridge County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

The Thomas Alexander & Laura Virginia Crawford Family (Canada)
The Alexander-Crawford family members were educators in Ontario, Canada. They were among the descendants of escaped slaves from Kentucky who established a community in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada as early as 1817. Thomas Alexander (1815-1890) had escaped from slavery in Kentucky and made his way to Amherstburg, where he married an English woman, Catherine Harding [source: Ontario Deaths Index]. Thomas and Catherine were the parents of at least two boys, Phillip Harding Alexander (1851-1930) and John Henry Alexander (1858-1935) [source: Ontario Deaths Index]. John Henry Alexander was a school teacher at the King Street Public School in Amherstburg. On July 24, 1883, he married Annie Louise Crawford (1860-1935) [sources: Ontario Marriages and Ontario Deaths Index]. Annie L. Crawford was the daughter of George M. Crawford, a Cherokee, and Laura Virginia Crawford, an African American woman from Kentucky. Annie and John H. Alexander had several children, three of whom were school teachers hired by the Six Nations of Grand River School Board: Nina Mae, Ethel (b. 1888), and Arthur Alexander (b. 1886) [source: Race, Gender and Colonialism: Public Life among the Six Nations of Grand River, 1899-1939 [thesis], by A. E. Norman, pp. 82-92; and Canada Births and Baptisms Index]. Ethel Alexander would become a missionary teacher in British Honduras [later named Belize]. More information about her can be found in A. E. Norman's thesis, along with a family photograph and school photographs, and the history, success, and racial challenges faced by the Alexander siblings during their tenures as teachers.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada / British Honduras [Belize], Central America

Tubman, Sylvia A. E.
Sylvia Tubman was one of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman and sent to live in Liberia, Africa. Sylvia was the wife of William Shadrach Tubman, the mother of Alexander Tubman, and the paternal grandmother of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. Emily Tubman was a slave owner who grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa

Tubman, William Shadrach
One of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman, William was sent to live in Liberia, Africa after he was freed. Emily Tubman grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage she spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. William S. Tubman was the husband of Sylvia A. E. Tubman, the father of Alexander Tubman, and the grandfather of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Fathers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa

Washington, Isam
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1903
Isam [or Isom or Isham] Washington was born in North Carolina and brought to Lovelaceville, KY, as a slave. He was a Civil War veteran who served with the 8th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery, Company "L" from Paducah, KY; he was honorably discharged in 1866. He returned to Ballard County, where he later acquired 55 acres of farmland to produce tobacco. Washington later lost his land, then in 1900 moved his family to Massac County, Illinois, where he died in 1903. He had also been a minister. Isam Washington was the father of Isam Mack Washington, the grandfather of Roy L. Washington, Sr., and the great-grandfather of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Massac County, Illinois / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Washington, Isam McDaniel "Mack"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1957
Isam [or Isom] M. Washington was born in Lovelaceville, KY. He was the youngest son of Rebecca Neal Washington and Isam Washington. Isam M. Washington married Arbella Weeks from Massac County, Illinois; they were the parents of Roy L. Washington and the grandparents of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. Isam M. Washington was a minister at several churches in Illinois; he helped raise funds for the building of the St. James Church in Lawrenceville and the St. Peter A.M.E. Church in Decatur. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Massac County, Illinois / Lawrenceville and Decatur, Illinois

Washington, Rebecca Neal
Death Year : 1885
Rebecca Neal Washington was born a slave in Lovelaceville, KY. She was the first wife of Isam Washington, the mother of Isam McDaniel Washington, the grandmother of Roy L. Washington, and the great grandmother of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington. For more see The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987), by C. G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Mothers, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky

Wilson, Atwood S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1967
Atwood S. Wilson was a chemist, educator, civil rights leader and community leader in Louisville, KY. He was born in the California neighborhood of Louisville to Allen and Mary Wilson. A 1910 graduate of Central High School in Louisville, he graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University in 1915 with a major in science and mathematics. He went on to earn a B.S. in chemistry (in 1920) and a M.S. in education (in 1934) from the University of Chicago. He first taught at State Street High School, located in the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green, KY, beginning in 1915, then left the school in 1917 to serve as a chemistry researcher at the American University Experiment Station during World War I. After the war, Wilson returned to Louisville and served as secretary-treasurer of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) from 1922-1942. He also chaired the organization's Merger Committee, which led in the integration of Kentucky's education organizations, the KNEA and KEA. In 1928, Wilson was named the first principal of Madison Junior High [the school was later named Russell Junior High]. In 1934, Wilson became principal of Central High School and led the planning and building of the new Central High School, which opened in 1952; it was the first comprehensive high school in Kentucky. Wilson was also principal of the Central High Adult Night School, grades 1-12, from which he retired in 1963. During his tenure, he also held a number of appointments, including membership on the executive committee of the National Youth Administration in Kentucky. In 1944, Wilson was appointed a trustee on the Board of the Louisville Free Public Library, and in 1948 he presented the resolution that abolished segregation at the main library building. Wilson was the first African American in the South to be recognized with a citation for his service on a library board. He received many other awards, including the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service to the Boy Scouts of America, presented to him in person by President Hoover in 1933. Wilson also received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Simmons University [Kentucky] in 1954. In recognition of his contributions, in 1974 the Kentucky Education Association co-named an award in his honor: "The Lucy Harth Smith-Atwood S. Wilson Award for Civil and Human Rights in Education." Atwood S. Wilson is mentioned in several biographies on the life of Muhammad Ali; Wilson encourage Ali [then known as Cassius Clay] to finish high school, though he was at the bottom of his class. Wilson was impressed by Ali's dedication and work ethic toward becoming a world boxing champion. In 2000, Wilson was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' Hall of Fame, and, in 2005, was among the first inductees to the Central High School Distinguished Hall of Fame. Atwood S. Wilson was the grandfather of Kentucky Appeals Court Judge Denise Clayton. Information for this entry was submitted by Mrs. Susie M. Guess, daughter of Atwood S. Wilson. See also pp. 20-21 in Muhammad Ali. by A. O. Edmonds.

See photo image of Atwood S. Wilson at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Chemists, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Grandparents, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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