Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest

staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Community Centers and Cultural Centers>

Return to search page.

Allen, Bessie Miller and Henry
The Allens were the first African American social workers in Louisville, KY, they managed the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children. In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Henry (b.1877 in KY) is listed as the janitor of the home, and Bessie is listed as the matron and probation officer. The Allens were the parents of author and librarian Ann Allen Shockley. Bessie Allen was a graduate of State University [Simmons University in Louisville]. She started a nonsectarian Sunday School in 1902. She was also head of the Colored Department of Probation Work and opened the Booker T. Washington Community Center, which offered domestic classes for boys and girls. She also organized a marching band for African American children. Bessie Allen (1881-1944) was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Anna and John D. Miller. For more see "Ann A. Shockley" in A Biographical Profile of Distinguished Black Pioneer Female Librarians (selected), by L. G. Rhodes; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. Wright.
Subjects: Fathers, Mothers, Social Workers, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Anthony, Lillian D.
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2014
Lillian D. Anthony passed away June 26, 2014 in Louisville, KY.  Prior to her death, it was within her home in Louisville, KY, that she founded the first African American Heritage House. She was a collector of antiques and African art. The museum was only one of her many, many accomplishments, most of which took place outside of Kentucky. Just to name a few, in 1967, she was the first Civil Rights Director in Minneapolis, MN and left the position after two years to become the first regular faculty member of the newly established Afro-Americans Study Department at the University of Minnesota [sources: D. Hoium, "‘Tired of being angry, hostile,’ Lillian Anthony accepts post in Afro- American Studies" at the Minnesota Daily (online), 08/21/1969; and C. Hallman, "Remembering Lillian [misprinted Anderson] Anthony, Minneapolis' first civil rights director," MSR News Online, 08/03/2015]. She later founded an African American Studies program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Lillian D. Anthony also taught in Egypt, she lived and carried out research in Ghana, and traveled in several other African countries. She was ordained in 1993 at the Central Presbyterian Church in Louisville, KY, and was the Associate for Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action in the Human Resources Department in the Presbyterian Church national office in Louisville. She also received a number of awards and recognitions such as the Academic Merit Award from the Association of Black Women in Higher Education, and in 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the President's Disability Task Force. Prior to this, she had been the recipient of a $200,000 grant in 1983, it was funding for the national journal AWARE that focused on Black women's issues; one of Lillian D. Anthony's projects. She was a graduate of Lincoln University (Missouri); she was the first African American woman to earn a Masters of Religious Education at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; and she was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant that was used to earn her doctorate from the University of Massachusetts in 1976. Lillian D. Anthony was born in Indiana to Lamella and Joe Anthony, both of whom were from Mississippi.  For more see Rev. Dr. Lillian Anthony in the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper, 07/26/2014; The Rev. Dr. Lillian D. Anthony, my friend (online) by Marceline Donaldson, president of Bettina Network Foundation, Inc.; and A Service to Witness to the Resurrection and Celebration of the Life of The Reverend Dr. Lillian D. Anthony, the memorial service obituary (booklet), General Presbyterian Church, Louisville, KY, 07/11/2014. This entry was suggested by Elmer L. Allen, who also provided a copy of the memorial service obituary (booklet). 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Indiana / Minneapolis, Minnesota / Omaha, Nebraska / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Massachusetts / Egypt and Ghana, Africa / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Chappell, Roy M.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2002
Roy M. Chappell, a Tuskegee Airman, was born in Williamsburg, KY. Chappell attended high school in Monroe, Michigan; he was the only African American in his graduating class. He next attended Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] where he majored in chemistry; he left school his junior year to join the service during World War II. His aviation career began when he was a volunteer with the 477th Bombardment Group, and he later served at Godman Field at Fort Knox, KY. He participated in the Freedman Field Mutiny when 104 African American officers protested for equal treatment in the military. After his military service, Chappell settled in Chicago. He graduated from Roosevelt College [now Roosevelt University] and taught elementary school for 30 years; he was also a post office supervisor. The Roy M. Chappell Community Education Center at Kentucky State University was named in his honor. A historical marker, honoring Roy M. Chappell, is at the Briar Creek Park on South Second Street in Williamsburg, KY [note from Laurel West, Williamsburg City Council Member]. For more see HR1074 92 General Assembly and Roy Chappell Biography in The History Makers.
Subjects: Aviators, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Postal Service, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky / Monroe, Michigan / Chicago, Illinois

Colored Clinics (Bowling Green, KY)
The Warren County Colored Health Clinic is listed in Caron's Bowling Green (Kentucky) City Directory for 1937-38. The clinic was located at the State Street School at 204 State Street. G. M. Wells was director and Sophia Smith was the nurse. Few cities in Kentucky had a separate clinic facility for African Americans, before and after the 1930s. Listed in the 1941-1949 directories is the State Street Baptist Church Child Health Conference for Colored Children at 350 State Street, it is listed as an association and as a welfare organization. In 1941, Dr. Lewis Fine was listed as being in charge of the conference. State Street Baptist Church was led by Rev. R. H. Johnson in 1941. The Colored Welfare and Community Center was located at 229 State Street.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Daniel, Wilbur N.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1999
Wilburn N. Daniel was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Fannie and Nathan Daniel. Reverend Wilbur N. Daniel was the first African American student to be accepted at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, from which he graduated with honors in 1957. The school's African American Cultural Center is named in Daniel's honor. Daniel was a civil rights activist and a pastor of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN. Prior to enrolling in the graduate school at Austin Peay, he had earned an undergraduate degree from American Baptist Theological Seminary [American Baptist College] in Nashville and another from Tennessee State University. Daniel would leave Tennessee for Chicago, where he was pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church and served two years as president of the Chicago NAACP. He sponsored a housing development in Chicago and and in Fort Wayne, IN. He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress in 1964. For more see Austin Peay State University African American Cultural Center; A. Ritchart, "Supporting heroes," The Leaf-Chronicle, 02/16/2006, Local section, p. 1B; Biographical Directory of Negro Ministers, by E. L. Williams; and the Rev. Wilburn Daniel entry in Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather.

See photo and additional information at "Biography of Dr. Wilburn N. Daniel," Austin Peay State University website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Clarksville, Tennessee / Chicago, Illinois

Gamble, Joseph Dunbar
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2005
Gamble, born in Browder, KY, the son of Bessie Breckner Gamble. The family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Joseph was a child. Around 1960, Gamble and his mother, Bessie, were on their way to a church revival in Phoenix, Arizona, when their car broke down in New Mexico. Gamble liked the area so much that he went back to Fort Wayne, packed up his family, and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1961. He became the first African American licensed contractor in the city, sole owner of Abdullah Construction from 1967-1986, incorporating the company as Gamble, Gamble, Gamble, and Gamble Construction Company in 1986. Joseph Gamble was also president of the Albuquerque branch of the NAACP from 1962-1966, advocating for fair housing legislation. He was founder and director of the Albuquerque Afro-American Cultural Center. In 1999 he was awarded the Carnis Salisbury Humanitarian Award. For more see L. Jojola, "Contractor was Noted Civil Rights Activist," Albuquerque Journal, 06/23/2005, Obituaries section, p. D13.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Historians, Migration North, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Browder, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gaylord, Ruth A. Burton
Birth Year : 1938
Born in Richmond, KY, Ruth Gaylord graduated from Richmond High School in 1956, Berea College in 1962, and the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Library and Information Science in 1984. She was first a library assistant for the Lexington (KY) Public Library's "InMobile," a bookmobile that provided library services to children in the Lexington inner-city areas. The service was headquartered at Black and Williams Cultural Center on Georgetown Street. While working full-time, Gaylord was also raising four children and caring for her critically ill husband, who was frequently in the hospital; Mr. Harry Gaylord passed away in 1981. Ruth completed her M.S. in Library Science in 1984, becoming the eight African American to graduate from the UK Library Science program (at the time the College of Library and Information Science) and the first to be employed at the Lexington Public Library. Gaylord said that being the first and only African American librarian at the Lexington Public Library was more of a challenge earlier in her career, but she was determined to succeed. Ruth is not bitter about the past because it was a wise decision for her to attend library school, and she loved being a librarian. She was the Assistant Manager at the Eagle Creek Branch in 2006 when she was nominated by the Lexington Public Library for the Lyman T. Johnson Award. Gaylord was selected by the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Science as one of two recipients to receive the Lyman T. Johnson Award for her many years of service as a librarian and for her perseverance, dedication, and contributions to the profession. Ruth Burton Gaylord retired from the Lexington Public Library, May 2008. She is the mother of librarian Harry A. Gaylord. For more information see "Profile on Ruth Gaylord," News from Lexington Public Library, Sept./Oct., 1984, p. 3; and "Frye, Gaylord receive Torch Award," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/06/2006, Communities section, p.D2.

See photo image of Ruth B. Gaylord receiving the Lyman T. Johnson Award in 2006 (with Emmett "Buzz" Burnam and Frank X Walker), a flickr site by nonesuchkid.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Grundy, Chester
Birth Year : 1947
Chester Grundy was born in 1947 in Louisville, KY. He is a 1969 graduate of the University of Kentucky (UK), where, as a student, he helped establish the school's Black Student Union. Grundy had been an administrator with UK for more than 30 years, serving as the director of the Office of African American Student Affairs  and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center. He was the Director of Multicultural Student Programming. Over the years, Chester has been a mentor, counselor, role model, and friend, one who clearly recognizes factors outside the classroom that can impact a student's goal to graduate from the University of Kentucky. Chester Grundy also helped establish the nationally recognized UK "Spotlight Jazz Series" and arranged for a number of nationally and internationally renowned speakers to visit the University of Kentucky campus. In the Lexington community, Chester Grundy co-founded the annual Roots and Heritage Festival and the Martin Luther King annual celebration. For more see Chester Grundy on the HistoryMakers website; the Chester Grundy entry in the 1997 Leaders Awards, by the Lane Report; and many articles in local newspapers. Listen to the Chester Grundy sound recording interview in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries. There is also a sound recording of his interview online at the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society. See L. B. Blackford, "UK lays off Chester Grundy, long-time director of MLK Cultural Center," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/11/2012 [no longer available online].

Access Interview Read about the Chester Grundy oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Access Interview  Listen to recordings and read transcripts online at Kentucky Historical Society

  See photo image and additional information about Chester Grundy at HistoryMakers

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum
Start Year : 2002
The museum is "dedicated to establishing a public facility to highlight individual biographies and display artifacts, art and written work" of "distinguished African-American artists, writers and others contributing to the community." The Isaac Hathaway Museum is now located at 644 Georgetown Street in the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center in Lexington, KY. The museum was organized in December 2002, and an office was opened on North Broadway, then moved to the Heritage Art Gallery in April 2005. The museum opened in the Lexington History Center in April 2007 and moved to the Georgetown Street location in July 2011. The Robert H. Williams Cultural Center is housed in the building that served as the Lexington Colored Orphan Industrial Home. For more see J. Hewlett, "Black history museum gets new home - will move into history center," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/25/2006, Main News section, p. A1. See also the NKAA entry for Isaac S. Hathaway.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

John Little Mission (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1897
The John Little Mission was one of the first community centers in the United States for African Americans. It was founded in 1897 when students at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary [now Louisville Seminary] started offering services to African Americans in the Smoketown neighborhood in Louisville, KY: Sunday School, worship services, domestic arts classes for women, and trades classes for men. John Little, who was white and from Alabama, was one of the founders of the seminary. In 1904 he began supervising the mission and added another site and more services, including vocational training. For more see the history page at the Louisville Seminary website; and R. E. Luker, "Missions, institutional churches, and settlement houses: the Black experience, 1885-1910," Journal of Negro History, vol.69, issue 3/4 (Summer-Autumn, 1984), pp. 101-113. The notes at the end of the Luker article contain a list of additional sources.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky African American Museums, Cultural Centers, Trails & Tours, Heritage Sites, and Annual Events
Listed below are museums, culture and heritage centers, and other types of dedications to the history of African Americans in Kentucky that includes artifacts, government documents, manuscripts, art, archival materials, annual events, performances, and travel tours. This list will continue to be updated as new data is received.


Eighth of August (Emancipation Celebrations) Allensville, Crofton, Hopkinsville, Paducha, Russellville 1868
African American Art Exhibiton Actors Theatre [Jefferson County] 2003
African American Forum, Inc. Lexington [Fayette County] 1993
African American Heritage Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Group Tours  
African American Heritage Center Franklin [Simpson County]  
African American History in Danville, Kentucky Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau [Boyd County]  
African American Museum / Bowling Green Area Bowling Green [Warren County] 2010
African American Theatre Program University of Louisville [Jefferson County] 1993
African Americans in the Bluegrass Lexington Visitors Center [Fayette County] 2008
African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing Kentucky Derby Museum [Jefferson county]  
African Heritage Festival Bridge Kids International [Jefferson County]  
Berea College & Berea College Special Collections  Berea [Madison County] 1855
Black History at Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave National Park [Edmonson County] - National Park Service 1838
Camp Nelson, Civil War Heritage Park Camp Nelson Restoration and Preservation Foundation [Jessamine County] 1863 
Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA) Kentucky State University [Franklin County]  
E&S Art Gallery Louisville [Jefferson County]  
Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [North Carolina]  
Freedmen's Bureau Field Office Records - Kentucky (Online) FamilySearch provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1865-1872
Hotel Metropolitan The Upper Town Heritage Foundation [McCracken County]  
Kentucky African American Heritage Commission Frankfort [Franklin County] 1994
Kentucky Center for African Heritage Louisville [Jefferson County] 2009
Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Kentucky State University [Franklin County] 2000
Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives Frankfort [Franklin County]  
Kentucky Histoical Society Frankfort [Franklin County]  
Kentucky State University (HBCU)  Frankfort [Franklin County] 1886
Kentucky's African American Hamlets National Public Radio website 2000
Laurel County African American Heritage Center London [Laurel County] 2004 
Lincoln Institute (Simpsonville, KY) Lincoln Foundation [Jefferson County] 1910
Louisville Civil Rights History Tour, Self-Guided Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research, University of Louisville [Jefferson County]  
Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center Lexington [Fayette County] 2009
Muhammad Ali Center Louisville [Jefferson County] 2005
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Cincinnati, Ohio 2004
National Underground Railroad Museum in the Bierbower House Maysville [Mason County] 1994
Roots and Heritage Festival Lexington Roots & Heritage Festival [Fayette County] 1989
Simmons College of Kentucky (HBCU) Louisville [Jefferson County] 1879
Slave Deeds, Slaves in wills, Emancipation Papers, Colored Marriages, etc.  County Clerk Offices in Kentucky (120)  
Western Branch Library Louisville Free Public Library [Jefferson County] 1905
West Kentucky African American Heritage Center Historic Russellville [Logan County]  

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Start Year : 1903
The National Association of Colored Women was established in Washington, D.C., in 1896 and incorporated in 1904. The Kentucky chapter was represented by the Kentucky State Association of Colored Women's Clubs, organized in 1903 and boasting a membership of 2,500 women in 112 clubs. Kentucky's membership was second only to Tennessee among the 21 states reporting statistics in 1935. The NACW adopted the motto "Lifting As We Climb" and was dedicated to the "moral, mental and material progress made by our people. " The Kentucky clubs specialized in "Fostering Day Nurseries, Hospitals, Old Folks Homes; Homes for Delinquent Girls, Building Club Houses and Community Centers." The Lexington chapter was responsible for founding the Phillis Wheatley Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), which participated in the nationwide "Good Homes Movement" and still operates in Lexington today. The Good Homes Movement encouraged home ownership and the maintenance of clean, comfortable living quarters. Better Homes Week was held in the spring and sponsored programs that included such activities as selecting, furnishing, and opening a model home; reconditioning older homes; teaching about home finance; and encouraging such community projects as the paving and lighting of streets and the construction of playground and recreation centers. An important department of the NACW was the "Mother, Home and Child Department." During the 1920s, the national chairmanship of this department was held by a prominent Lexington woman, Mrs. Lizzie B. Fouse. Under her leadership, pamphlets were produced on various subjects; one pamphlet declared "Around Mother, Home and Child is woven the web of civilization," and suggested that mothers organize into block circles or local clubs, adopt a slogan, read progressive literature on modern child-rearing practices, and "get busy and do something at once." From the Fouse Family Papers, M-839, Special Collections, King Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington. See also, Pictorial Directory of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women, by L. H. Smith [available full-text in the Kentucky Digital Library - Books]. For information on more current clubs, see M. Davis, "Women's Clubs past, present fills needs," Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/11/2004, Free Time section, p. E2.
This entry was researched, written and submitted by

Nancy O'Malley, Assistant Director []
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archaeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968

See photo image of the Artistic Ten, the club formed in 1909 in Frankfort, KY. Image on p. 12 in Pictorial Directory of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women.
Subjects: Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Community Centers and Cultural Centers, Care of the Elderly
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Knight, Mattye Breckinridge Guy
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 1986
Knight, a teacher, civic and community leader, and musician, is remembered for leading the drive to get new homes to replace those lost in the mudslide at Sanctified Hill in Cumberland, KY. Knight had also lost her home in the slide. She received a number of awards for her leadership, including a HUD award in 1979. Knight taught for more than 30 years in Franklin County, Lebanon, and Harlan County. She taught English, history and music in the public schools and was the minister of music, director of education, and a Sunday school teacher at her church. Knight also founded the Greater Harlan County Community Center. She was a graduate of Mayo-Underwood High School and Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], both in Frankfort, and Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] in Virginia. For more see J. Hewlett, "Mattye Knight Dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/28/1986, Obituaries, p. B15. Also see the entry Sanctified Hill, Cumberland, KY.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Communities, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Cumberland, Harlan County, Kentucky

Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home
Start Year : 1892
End Year : 1988
The Colored Orphan Home was incorporated with E. Belle Mitchell Jackson as president; Emma O.Warfield, vice president; Ida W. Bate [wife of John W. Bate] secretary, Priscilla Lacey, treasurer, and 11 other women members of the Ladies Orphans Home Society. Captain Robert H. Fitzhugh, who was white, was a professional philanthropist for the home. Support came from bequests, fund raising, and donations. The home was located on Georgetown Pike [Georgetown Street] in Lexington, KY. The board members served as matrons of the home and donated food and supplies. The home took in orphaned and abandoned children, a few elderly women, and half orphans (children with one parent). The parent of a half orphan was charged for the child's board at the home. Board members determined when a child would be returned to its parents, and there were a few adoptions and foster care placements, but the goal was to educate the children and teach them an industrial trade in preparation for adulthood. In addition to classwork, house chores, and gardening, the children were taught kitchen duties, cooking, carpentry, chair-caning, laundry, sewing - the children made all of the clothes and linen at the home, and did shoe-making and repairs - shoes were made for the children and also sold to the community. The home continued in operation until 1988 when it became the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. For more see Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home: building for the future, by L. F. Byars. See also Colored Orphan Industrial Home Records, 1892-1979 at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

    See the photo images of the Colored Orphan's & Industrial Home at the Kentucky Digital Library - Images.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Martin, William
Birth Year : 1931
Death Year : 1997
Martin was born in Covington, KY. He was Northern Kentucky's best-known advocate for the rights of African-Americans. Martin appeared before the Covington City Commission to argue for better housing and youth programs. In 1975, he became the executive director of the city's community center. He had been a pianist and a high school music teacher at Lincoln-Grant and Holmes Hall. The community center, which would become the Martin Community Center, was moved into the Lincoln-Grant building; the school closed following integration. For more see J. C. K. Fisher and P. Kreimer, "Civil Rights advocate Martin dies," Cincinnati Post, 04/14/97.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Ponder, Flora B.
Birth Year : 1930
Born in Elkton, KY, Ponder was head nurse of Recovery and the Intensive Care area at Louisville (KY) General Hospital from 1957-1959 and head nurse at the Louisville and Jefferson County Health Department from 1959-1965. She was director of nurses at Park-Duvalle Community Health Center. Ponder also assisted in establishing health services in western Louisville. In 1955, Ponder was one of the first African American registered nursing students at Louisville General Hospital, and was the first to live in the student nurses home. She is the wife of Raymond Ponder. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; and the NKAA Database entry for Louisville General Hospital School of Nursing, Integrated.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Presbyterian Community Center Records
Start Year : 1898
Founded in 1898 by seminarians as Hope Mission Station, a summer Sunday school for African American children, the center evolved into a settlement house for the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, KY, and was joined by Grace Mission. The collection pertaining to the mission includes a biographical sketch of the Rev. John Little (1874-1948), founder and director of the center for 50 years, and documentation of the center's activities and its role as an outpost in the federal government's war on poverty. The records are available at the University of Louisville Libraries' Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Robert H. Williams Children's Home and Cultural Center
Start Year : 1980
The name Robert H. Williams is probably best known in connection with the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center at 644 Georgetown Street in Lexington, KY. The building was formerly the Lexington Colored Orphan Industrial Home from 1892-1980. Robert H. Williams, a farmer, was a trustee of the orphan home, and he left the bulk of his estate to the home. In 1980, the name of the home was changed to the Robert H. Williams Children's Home, and in 1988, when there were no longer any children at the home, the name was changed to the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center. For more see "Williams Cultural Center plans open house today," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/09/1990, p. B3; and "Kids wanted: home offers to provide care for children of single parents," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/18/1984, pp. B1 and B2.

See photo image of the historical marker in front of the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center, at the Tom Eblen blog site.
Subjects: Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Semmes, LaVaughn "Bonnie" Taylor
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 2006
Semmes was born in Carrollton, KY, the daughter of Paul B. and Lucille Jackson Taylor. She grew up in Lafayette, IN. In 2000 she was named the Woman of the Year by the Fort Quiaterion Chapter of the American Business Women's Association. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash by then Governor Joe Kernan; it is the highest award given by an Indiana governor. Semmes was also awarded the Marquis De Lafayette Award for Community Service. For more than 50 years she served as director of the Hanna Community Center, the Southside Community Center, and the Lincoln Community Center. She was also a board member of the Lafayette Housing Authority. Semmes was treasurer of Church Women United and was awarded the organization's Valiant Woman Award. She was an officer of the Dorcas Chapter No. 14, Order of Eastern Star and a former president and treasurer of the Mary L. Federated Colored Women's Club. For more see Journal and Courier articles, "Woman of the Year," 01/19/2000, Communities section, p. 3B; and "LaVaughn Bonnie Taylor Semmes," 12/21/2006, Obit section, p. 2B.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Carrollton, Carroll County, Kentucky / Lafayette, Indiana

Tandy, Charlton H.
Birth Year : 1836
Death Year : 1919
Charlton Hunt Tandy, born in a house on Main Street in Lexington, KY, was the son of John L. (b.1805) and Susan Tandy (b.1815), both Kentucky natives. The family was listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. John is listed as a whitewasher, he had purchased his freedom in 1833. His son, Charlton, born three years later, was named after Lexington's first Mayor, Charlton Hunt (the son of John W. Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains). Charlton Hunt Tandy was listed as one of the family's nine children in 1850, he was raised in Lexington, and as a young man, he and family members assisted escaped slaves across the Ohio River into Ohio. Charlton moved to Missouri in 1859, where he would become captain of the 13th Missouri Colored Volunteer Militia, Company B, known as Tandy's St. Louis Guard. After the war, he fought for equal access on public transportation in St. Louis, which allowed African Americans to ride inside the horse-drawn streetcars rather than riding on the outside by hanging onto the rails. In 1879, Tandy helped raise thousands of dollars to help former slave families who were moving to the West [Exodusters]; Tandy was president of the St. Louis Colored Relief Board. In 1880 Tandy testified before the Congressional Voorhees Committee about the exodus of African Americans from the South. He became a lawyer in 1886 by passing the Missouri Bar Exam and was permitted to practice law in both the district court and the U. S. Supreme Court. President Grant appointed Tandy to the St. Louis Custom House, making him the first African American to be employed there. Tandy was also a U.S. Marshall under President Harrison's administration, serving as special agent of the General Land Office and as a timber inspector. He served as vice president of the Missouri State Republican League and in 1894 was elected to a House seat by the Republicans of the Thirty-second Senatorial District, but he was not allowed to serve. Charlton Tandy was the husband of Anna E. Tandy, who was also born in Kentucky. A community center, a park, and a St. Louis Zoo train engine [of the Zooline Railroad] have been named in Tandy's honor. For more see The New Town Square, by R. Archibald; The St. Louis African American Community and the Exodusters, by B. M. Jack; Missouri Guardroots [.pdf]; news clippings about Tandy in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Western Historical Manuscript Collection; "A great exodus of Negroes," New York Times, 08/12/1880, p. 5; and "Lexington Negro," Lexington Leader, 08/01/1906, p. 5.

 See photo image and additional information at
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Lawyers, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era], Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Thurman, Alfonzo
Birth Year : 1946
Alfonzo Thurman was born in Mayfield, KY, moving to Racine, Wisconsin, with his family when he was 7 years old. As an undergraduate at Wisconsin State University [now the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Pointe] in La Crosse, he was a member of the group that helped organize the campus black cultural center and was active in raising local public awareness of racial justice issues. In 1996 he was named Dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University, the first African American dean at the school. Thurman is currently Dean of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Chancellor Deputy for Education Partnerships. Alfonzo Thurman is the son of Togo and Georgia May Jones Thurman. For more see the oral history interview with Alfonzo Thurman, available at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Library's Special Collections & Area Research Center. See also the Directory of American Scholars, 9th & 10th ed.; and Who's Who Among African Americans, vols. 5-18.

See photo image of Alfonzo Thurman and additional information at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Racine, La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin / DeKalb, Illinois

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

Yarbrough-Jumoke, Nailah
Yarbrough-Jumoke is a writer, poet,  and activist. In 1999 she was the first African American candidate for governor of Kentucky. She ran on the Natural Law Party (NLP) ticket and received a little more than 1% of the vote. In 2000 she won the Preservation Award from the Louisville Historic League for developing the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center. For more see "Ex-candidate fosters culture," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/18/200, p. B3.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Poets, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky


Return to the search page.