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Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<Scouts (Boys and Girls)>

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Baker, Bettye F.
The following information comes from Dr. Bettye F. Baker, a native of Louisville, KY, who lived on South Western Parkway; the family home was built by Samuel Plato. Dr. Baker was a member of the first African American Girl Scout Troop in Louisville, Troop 108. The troop leader, Ms. Sarah Bundy, lived in the 27th Street block of Chestnut Street. Dr. Baker was the first African American to represent Kentucky at the Girl Scout National Encampment in Cody, Wyoming, and the first African American president of the Kentucky State Girl Scout Conference. She won 3rd prize in the Lion's Club essay contest, "Why I love America," in 1951, but was denied entry into the Brown Hotel to receive her prize at the Lion's Club luncheon. The luncheon was moved to the Seelbach Hotel so that Dr. Baker could receive her prize [see Time article online]. Dr. Baker was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Louisville (U of L), where she earned her undergraduate degree. She was the first African American voted into the U of L Home Coming Queen's Court in 1958. She earned her doctorate in educational administration at Columbia University, her dissertation title is The Changes in the Elementary Principals' Role as a Result of Implementing the Plan to Revise Special Education in the State of New Jersey. Dr. Baker is the author of What is Black? and has published a number of articles, poems, and two juvenile novels that are currently in-print. Her most recent book, Hattie's Decision, will be published in 2010. Dr. Baker has been a columnist with Vineyard Gazette since 2005, she writes the Oak Bluffs column, opinion, and book reviews, all under the byline Bettye Foster Baker. Dr. Baker lives in Pennsylvania. See "Kentucky: sweet land of liberty," Time, 04/16/1951. For more information contact Dr. Bettye F. Baker.

See photo image of Dr. Bettye F. Baker by Gettysburg College, a flikr site.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Homecoming Queens, Pageants, Contests, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cody, Wyoming / Pennsylvania

Brooks, Corrinne Mudd
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2008
Brooks organized the first African American girl scout troop in Fort Wayne, IN. The history of African American girl scout units has not been thoroughly researched, and it is not known how many units existed in the U.S. Up to the 1950s, girl scouts were segregated by race. In the state of Indiana, the first girl scouts were formed in New Albany in 1919, which became a council in 1923. Brooks was an active member of the Limberlost Girl Scout Council, as well as the Urban League, the Commission on the Status of Women for the State of Indiana, and the YWCA. She was also the comptroller at the YWCA. Corrinne Brooks was the wife of James W. Brooks. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Loretta Douglas Mudd (1897-1928), who was born in Fort Wayne, and James Mudd (1881-1968), who was born in Springfield, KY. The family moved from Kentucky to Fort Wayne in 1915 and lived on Wallace Street, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. When Loretta Mudd died, Corrinne became the mother of the household; she was the oldest of her six siblings. She was also an athlete, the first girl in her high school to receive a sweater for her participation in basketball and soccer. She graduated from Central High School in 1933. She won the Civic Men's Scholarship, which was used for her courses at Indiana University Extension, located in downtown Fort Wayne. Brooks took a turn at politics: an unsuccessful candidate for the Indiana House of Representative in 1954 and 1956, she went on to become a coordinator for the Indiana voter registration drive in preparation for the 1960 presidential election, helping to register over 43,000 voters; Senator John F. Kennedy invited her to a National Conference on Constitutional Rights and American Freedom in New York. She was also founder of the Martin Luther King Living Memorial. For more on Corrinne Brooks, see her entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Corrinne Brooks always active in helping others," The Journal Gazette, 02/06/1996, People section. A picture of Corrine Brooks is on p. 120 in Ebony, 09/1983 [available in Google Book Search]. For more on the girl scouts see the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana website; and for a more detailed accounting of African American girl scout history, see the "Josephine Groves Holloway" entry in Notable Black American Women, by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Civic Leaders, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky

Johnson, Mildred Bell
Birth Year : 1905
Death Year : 1972
Mildred Bell Johnson, an educator and civil rights activist, was the first African American to be elected assistant moderator of the United Church of Christ, in 1963. She pushed for the church to participate in the Civil Rights Movement. Johnson was born in Middlesboro, KY, the daughter of Rev. George W. and Elgatha Bell. She was the wife of Robert C. Johnson and was living in Birmingham, AL, when she was named to the two-year term of assistant moderator. Johnson was a 1926 education graduate from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], and after graduating, she moved to Birmingham for a teaching job. She married her husband in 1936. Mildred Johnson served as a representative in the National Council of Churches, 1954-56. She founded the first girl scout troop for African American girls in Alabama and was a girl scout district adviser in Birmingham. The Mildred Bell Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award, of the Cahaba Girl Scout Council is named in her honor. She was the mother of Alma Johnson Powell, the wife of Colin Powell. For more see "Slave's daughter elected U.C. Assistant Moderator," The Calgary Herald, 07/06/1963, p. 30; "Mrs. Robert C. Johnson...," The Christian, v. 101, issue 52, p. 958; "Mildred Bell Johnson: Deep are the Roots," in Rhetoric, Religion, and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965, by D. W. Houck and D. E. Dixon; E. Hooper, "Foundation in scouting; a reporter's lyrical bent," St. Petersburg Times, 03/12/2003, p. 3B; and the "Mildred Bell Johnson" entry in They Too Call Alabama Home: African American Profiles, 1800-1999, by R. Bailey.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Religion & Church Work, Migration South
Geographic Region: Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky / Birmingham, Alabama

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

Liggin, Jennie B.
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1977
Liggin, born in Louisville, KY, organized and founded the first AME girl scout troop in Kentucky. The troop was sponsored by the St. John AME Church in Louisville. Jennie Liggin had been a school teacher, she graduated from Louisville Normal School in 1923 and attended Louisville Municipal College 1925-27. She was the wife of Rev. Clyde Absalom Liggin (1902-1980), pastor of Trinity Church in 1947, and principal of the Virginia Avenue School, both in Louisville. Rev. Liggin organized the first boy scout troop at St. John AME Church, which was the second AME troop in Kentucky. The Liggins were active members of the Louisville Branch of the NAACP, they were two of the four persons recognized for their efforts in the successful membership campaign in 1938. Jennie and Clyde Liggin last lived in North Carolina. For more see Mrs. Jennie Liggin and C. A. Liggin in The Crisis, Jan 1938, p.21 [online at Google Book Search]; and Mrs. Jennie B. Liggin in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Negro Boy Scouts
Start Year : 1916
On July 31, 1916, the first official Boy Scouts Council-promoted Negro Troop was formed: Troop 75 in Louisville, KY. It was not the first troop of Negro Boy Scouts; five years earlier, in 1911, the first Negro Boy Scouts Troop was established in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. By the late 1920s, there were over 200 all-Black troops, with more than 500 Scouts in Louisville. For more see Historical Boys' Uniforms, United States Boy Scout Uniforms: 1920s, by Christopher Wagner; and The History of the Boy Scouts of America, by W. D. Murray.
Subjects: Scouts (Boys and Girls)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Elizabeth City, North Carolina

O'Neal, Arnetta Black
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1984
O'Neal was the first African American administrator at the Fayette County Central Office of Education. She became the coordinator of elementary language arts in 1965 and retired in 1975. O'Neal began her teaching career in Richmond, KY, and later taught at the segregated Douglass Elementary School in Lexington in 1937. She would become one of the first African American teachers at a previously all white elementary school. In the community, she was a girl scout leader, and chaired the board of the Bob W. Brown Housing for the Handicapped. She was also chair of the Trinity Baptist Church Blind Buddies Program. O'Neal was born in Madison County, the daughter of John and Viola Black; the family of eight lived on East Main Street in Richmond, KY, in 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. O'Neal was the wife of Damon S. O'Neal. She was a graduate of West Virginia State College [now West Virginia State University] and the University of Kentucky. For more see J. Hewlett, "Educator, volunteer Arnetta O'Neal dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/10/1984, Obituaries section, p.D10.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Plymouth Settlement House (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1917
The 1890s mark the beginning of the Settlement House Movement in the United States, but for African Americans the movement began at the turn of the century with the Frederick Douglass Center in Chicago, 1904. More than a decade later the Plymouth Settlement House in Louisville became a part of the movement. The building was located at 1624-26 W. Chestnut Street, next door to the Plymouth Congregational Church. It had taken the church pastor, Reverend Everett G. Harris, six years to raise funding for the Settlement House. The three-story structure included an auditorium, an assembly room, classrooms, a kitchen, and a 14-room dormitory and parlor for the young women who lived on the third floor. The women were considered "decent" and were selected renters who had come to the city seeking employment. Their weekly room charge was $1.75, and the dormitory was accessible from a separate entrance on the side of the building. There was an employment service in the Settlement House that placed the women in homes as domestic helpers. In 1919, the Settlement House became part of the Louisville Welfare League. The center offered classes that prepared young women for domestic service, marriage and motherhood. Plymouth Settlement House also included a day care for children, a Boy Scout program, and a community Sunday School. As a part of the Welfare League, the Settlement House no longer came under the direction of the church, so a new governing board was established. Rev. Harris, a Howard University graduate from Virginia, remained superintendent of the Plymouth Settlement House and pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church. For more see Everett G. Harris in the Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; G. D. Berry, Jr.; "The Settlement House Movement and the Black Community in the Progressive Era: the example of Plymouth Settlement, Louisville, Kentucky," Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, vol. 21 (1990), pp. 24-32; and Plymouth Settlement House and the Development of Black Louisville,1900-1930 [dissertation], by B. D. Berry.
Subjects: Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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