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Adams, Cyrus Field
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1942
Cyrus Field Adams

By Reinette F. Jones



Cyrus F. Adams, born in Louisville, KY, was an author, a historian, a teacher, a newspaper man, a linguist, a businessman, a dedicated Republican, and a civil rights advocate who used the newspaper to speak out against racism and prejudices. He also served as the Assistant Register of the U.S. Treasury. Cyrus Adams was a teacher as early as 1879, when he taught at the Western Colored School [source: p.75 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville]. Cyrus was the brother of J. Q. Adams, with whom he assisted in the management of the Bulletin newspaper in Louisville, KY. The newspaper existed from 1879-1885. The brothers went on to manage newspapers in several other cities. Cyrus and John Q. Adams were two of the four children of Henry Adams (born in Georgia) and Margaret P. Corbin Adams (born in Virginia). Everyone in the family is listed as mulatto in the 1870 Census, and the household included Nancy Adams, age 64, and Mary Adams, age 60, both of whom were born in Georgia. Cyrus Adams had been a slave, his former owner's name, which may be German, is given on Cyrus' Freedman's Bank Record application dated December 23, 1867 [source: record in]. The application also has a description of Cyrus' complexion, noted as "very bright."


In June of 1884, Cyrus F. Adams applied for a passport for travel to Europe, and Felix W. Sweeny vouched for Adam's loyalty to the U.S. and his travel intentions [source: U.S. Passport Application in]. Cyrus' birth date on the application is give as 18 July 1858. His international travel plans would materialize later in his life, though, Cyrus F. Adams would leave Kentucky for brief stays in cities such as St. Paul, MN, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. It was in Chicago, IL, where Cyrus F. Adams would put down more permanent roots and become a teacher and a newspaper publisher. In 1888, he assisted his brother John Q. Adams with the distribution of the The Appeal newspaper that had been established in St. Paul, MN; Cyrus was the editor and manager of The Appeal newspaper operation in Chicago. The newspaper would become the most-read African American newspaper in Chicago during the late 1800s. After the turn of the century, the popularity of the newspaper began to decline, and the Chicago office of The Appeal newspaper closed in 1913 [sources: Freedom's Ballot by M. Garb, chapter 2: Setting Agendas / Demanding Rights, and the Black Press, pp.49-83; The Southern Argus, 12/31/1891, p.1, col.1, paragraph 10; Western Appeal, a website; and The Appeal newspaper was popular in 20th Century Black America, website].


While he was managing the newspaper office in Chicago in 1888, Cyrus F. Adams was also a lecturer and a teacher. He is listed in the city directory as a teacher who was boarding at 2974 Dearborn Street [source: p.117 in The Richardson and Boyton Company, The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago 1888]. He was known for his ability to speak fluent German, and his ability to teach German to adults in the classroom. In 1888, Cyrus F. Adams offered a six-week course in German language: reading, writing, and speaking [source: Fannie Barrier Williams: crossing the borders of region and race by W. A. Hendricks, p.55]. The German class met for four hours a day, five days a week. At the end of the six-week session, a reading was held at Lincoln Hall, hosted by Professor Cyrus F. Adams. He had also held German classes in Washington, D.C. in 1887, and in Louisville, KY in 1884 [source: "Cyrus F. Adams," Washington Bee, 05/28/1887, p.3; and "General news in brief," The State Journal (Harrisburg, PA), 06/14/1884, p.1, col.7, paragraph 8].


Cyrus F. Adams had big aspirations for moving ahead and going abroad using his linguistic skills. In addition to being able to speak fluent German, he also spoke fluent Spanish and other languages. In 1897, with very good recommendations, Cyrus F. Adams sought to become the first African American named U.S. Minister to Bolivia, South America [source: B. R. Justesen, "African-American consuls abroad, 1897-1909," Foreign Service Journal, September 2004, pp.72-76 ~ online at DocSlide]. But the time was not right for such a move and Cyrus F. Adams was denied the position. Charles Henry James Taylor had also sought to be the first African American named to a diplomatic appointment in Bolivia during the second term (1893-1897) of Democrat President Grover Cleveland. Taylor had served as the U.S. Minister to Liberia, Africa during President Cleveland's first term (1885-1889), and though he was selected to head the U.S. Mission to Bolivia, the U.S. Senate vetoed the move, and in consolation, Taylor was given the government job of Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia (D.C.). A few years later, when Cyrus F. Adams sought to become the U.S. Minister to Bolivia during Republican President William McKinley's term (1897-1901), there was still the fear and opposition to naming an African American diplomat to a white country. The McKinley administration considered Bolivia a white country.


In spite of the setback, Cyrus F. Adams continued to be a staunch Republican with aspirations to advance as far as possible in Washing, D.C., at the same time, he was a dedicated newspaperman. Around 1900, he maintained a home in Chicago while also living in Washing, D.C. As early as 1888, he is listed in the Chicago city directory, and his name continued to be listed in the directory up to the 1947 South-West Street Guide published by the Chicago City Directory, Inc. Cyrus F. Adams always lived and worked in the Dearborn Street area of Chicago, and in 1947, he lived at 542 Dearborn. Meanwhile, in Washington, D. C., in the 1910 Census, Cyrus F. Adams is listed as a lodger at the home of Daniel A. Murray. Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, Daniel A. P. Murray was an assistant to the Librarian of Congress, which was a government job [source: Library of Congress website]. Cyrus F. Adams, who was single, also held a government job. He had been employed in Washington, D.C. since at least 1901, at a salary of $2,250 as the Assistant Register in the U.S. Treasury Office [source: p.89 in the Official Register of the United States, Containing a List of the Officers and Employees in the Civil, Military, and Naval Service, July 1, 1901, Volume 1]. Cyrus F. Adams had been living in Chicago when he got the job as Assistant Register at the U.S. Treasury, the appointment was made by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. While in Washing D. C., Cyrus F. Adams was named to a number of committees and attended functions given at the White House. In 1905, he was named to the General Committee in charge of the Inauguration Ceremonies for President Theodore Roosevelt who had been elected for a second term [source: "Committees in Charge of Inauguration Ceremonies," The Washington Post, 03/04/1905, p.5]. Cyrus F. Adams was on the Republican National Committee during the planning of the Inaugural Ceremonies in 1905 [source: "Inaugural Day music," The Washington Post, 01/26/1905, p.2]. In 1907, Cyrus, along with his brother and sister-in-law, John Q. and Mrs. Adams, all were in attendance at the Reception for Judges [source: "Reception to Judges: President and Mrs. Roosevelt greet the judiciary," The Washington Post, 01/18/1907, pp.1 & 12]. Cyrus F. Adams continued to be listed as the Assistant Register at the U.S. Treasury, in both the official register and the city directories [sources: p.37 in Official Register: persons in the civil, military, and naval service of the United States, and list of vessels, 1911, Volume I, Directory; and  p.105 in 56th Year of Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia 1914 ~ (published after Cyrus F. Adams' resignation in 1912)].


Also in 1905, Cyrus F. Adams was elected president of the newly formed Washington Philatelic Society [sources: "Philatelists organize," The Washington Post, 12/12/1905, p.3; and Washington Stamp Collection Club website]. The purpose of the society was to "encourage and promote the collection of all kinds of postage stamps and postal cards, and to meet at given intervals for the discussion of questions relating thereto." Cyrus F. Adams was re-elected as president of the society the following year [source: "Stamp collectors elect," The Washington Post, 12/12/1906, p.11]. In addition to stamp collecting, Cyrus F. Adams was a civil rights activist and a historian who documented the activities of civil rights organizations and the life of selected African American men. In 1902, he wrote the book The National Afro-American Council, Organized 1898: a history etc.; Cyrus F. Adams was secretary of the Council. That same year he wrote "Col. William Pledger," an article in the Colored American Magazine, June 1902," and he wrote "George L. Knox: his life and work," Colored American Magazine, October 1902. The following year he wrote the article "The Afro-American Council, the story of its organization -- What it stands for -- Its personnel," Colored American Magazine, March 1903.  In 1912, he authored the book title The Republican Party and the Afro-American: a book of facts and figures [available full-text online at]. His other organization work included being elected President of the National Afro-American Press Association in July of 1903 (the organization's first conference had been held in Louisville in 1880) [sources: Along the Color Line: explorations in the Black experience by A. Meier and D. L. Lewis]. Cyrus F. Lewis also served as the transportation agent of the National Negro Business League. 


Cyrus F. Adams' was loyal to the Republican Party, which lead to his resignation as Assistant Register in 1912. He was leaving to work on Republican President William H. Taft's re-election campaign. When President Taft first came into office in 1909, he had kept Cyrus F. Adams as Assistant Register until 1912. President Taft asked Cyrus F. Adams to resign his post and assist with the Taft re-election campaign, and there was a promise of future civil service employment. The request was a ploy by President Taft to get Cyrus F. Adams out of the U.S. Treasury Office, because President Taft had promised the Assistant Register's position to another African American supporter from Arkansas who had shown loyalty to the Republican Party and to President Taft [source: Racism in the Nation's Service: government workers and the color line in Woodrow Wilson's America by E. S. Yellin]. After the election, in July of 1913, Cyrus F. Adams received a civil service job in the Chicago Customs House, thanks to President Taft, who, as it turned out, lost the election to Democrat Woodrow Wilson [source: Catalogue of the Public Documents of the 63rd Congress, July 1, 1911 to June 30, 1913, Accounts Committee - Adams, p.5 ~ online at Google Books]. When President Wilson came into office, he replaced the Republican employees who had served during the Taft administration. John Skelton Williams, a southern segregationist who served as President Wilson's Comptroller of the Currency, ordered an investigation of Cyrus F. Adam's record as Assistant Register. It was an attempt to attack Cyrus F. Adams' career and his success as a black man. The result of the investigation was a supposed rumor from 1911 that Cyrus F. Adams had had an improper relationship with a white woman named Violet McKee. Cyrus F. Adams survived the accusations and kept his job at the Chicago Customs House. This was not the first time that Cyrus F. Adams had had to fight off rumors. In 1907, he was accused of passing for white in order to get and keep his job as Assistant Register in the U.S. Treasury [source: "Cyrus Field Adams not passing for white," Cleveland Journal, 06/22/1907, p.1 [clipping online at the African-American Experience in Ohio].   


Once back in Chicago full-time, Cyrus F. Adams continued as a shareholder (5 shares) of stock in the Washington Railway & Electric Co. [source: House Documents, 63rd Congress, 3rd Session, December 7, 1914-March 4, 1915, v.107, issue 6892, Document No.1545, "Washington Railway & Electric Co.," p.4 ~ online at Google Books]. In November of 1914, Cyrus F. Adams again applied for a passport [source: U.S. Passport Application in]. He gave his permanent address as Chicago. IL. and his occupation was Inspector of Customs. He applied for a passport in preparation for a pleasure tour of Cuba, Colombia, Panama, Jamaica, and Central America. The tour was only one of many for Cyrus F. Adams who continue to frequently travel to Central and South America, and to Europe, until about 1931. His name was among the returning passengers aboard the ship Fort St. George, sailing from Trinidad, B.W.I [British West Indies] on March 19, 1931, and arriving in New York, NY, USA, March 28, 1931 [source: Form 630, U.S. Department of Labor Immigration Service, Page 2, List of United States Citizens ~ in]. Cyrus F. Adams' name is on the passenger list, he was 72 years and 8 months old.


On July 28, 1938, Cyrus Field Adams made a life claim with the U.S. Social Security Office [source: U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index in]. A life claim is when an applicant applies for disability or retirement benefits. On the application, Cyrus F. Adams birth date is given as 13 September 1878; his actual birth date was 18 July 1858. There is a death record for Cyrus Field Adams in the Manitoba (Canada) Death Index, his birth date is given as 25 August 1857, and his death date is given as 18 February 1942. According to the death record at the Manitoba Vital Statistic website, Cyrus Field Adams died in the city of Winnipeg.


  See photo image of Cyrus F. Adams in the office of The Appeal newspaper in Chicago, IL. c.1888-1913.  Image in the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Washington, D. C. / Bolivia, South America / Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

"African American Heritage Guide: history, art & entertainment," Lexington, KY
Start Year : 2010
The African American Heritage Guide was published by the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum, Inc. in Lexington, KY, and funded in part by the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau. Included are 14 historic districts that may be viewed on a walking or driving tour. The majority of the districts are profiled in the publication, along with a map on the center pages. The latter pages contain horse racing history, including brief biographies of trainers and jockeys, cemetery entries, rural community entries, and information on public art and public events. The booklet also provides a very informative overview of the individuals who owned the homes and businesses featured in the publication. The African American Heritage Guide is available at the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum. See also M. Davis, "Booklet full of black history - Heritage Guide painstakingly researched," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/11/2010, City/Region section, p. A3. Copies of the African American Heritage Guide are available at the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Additional information provided by Yvonne Giles:

Subjects: Communities, Genealogy, History, Historians, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ballard, William H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1954
William Henry Ballard, born in Franklin County, KY, was one of the first African Americans to open a drug store in the state: Ballard's Pharmacy was established in Lexington, KY, in 1893. Ballard was also a historian; he is the author of History of Prince Hall Freemasonry in Kentucky, published in 1950. He came to Lexington when he was 17 years old, having previously lived in Louisville where he graduated from a public school. He was also a graduate of Roger Williams University [in TN]. Ballard was a school teacher in Tennessee and in Kentucky. He earned his B.S. in Pharm., D. in 1892 in Evanston, IL. In addition to owning his own drug store, Ballard was also director of Domestic Realty Company, and president of Greenwood Cemetery Company, both in Lexington. He served as president of the Emancipation and Civic League, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1898. He was the son of Matilda Bartlett Ballard and Dowan Ballard, Sr. He was married to Bessie H. Brady Ballard, and the couple had six children. Their oldest son, William H. Ballard, Jr. was a pharmacist in Chicago, and two of their sons were physicians. William H. Ballard is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY [photo]. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; W. H. Ballard, "Drugs and druggists," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 186-189; and Dr. William Henry Ballard, Sr. in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Black History Gallery [Emma Reno Connor]
The Black History Gallery is located in Elizabethtown, KY. The gallery items comprised the personal collection of Emma Reno Connor, a schoolteacher first in Kentucky and later in New York. She collected pictures, articles, biographies, and other materials pertaining to African Americans. The items were used in her classes because there was little information in school textbooks about African Americans. Since Connor's death in 1988, her family has managed the museum in her childhood home in Elizabethtown. Emma R. Connor was the author of a book of poems titled Half a Hundred. For more information, contact: Black History Gallery, 602 Hawkins Drive, Elizabethtown, KY 42701, 270-769-5204 or 270-765-7653. For more on Emma Reno Connor see the online video "A Teachers Legacy," Kentucky Life Program 905; and "Black history collection took lifetime to amass," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/12/1991, Lifestyle section, p. B6.
See the video "A Teachers Legacy" online at Kentucky Life Program 905.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Genealogy, History, Historians, Migration North
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / New York

Bradley, Mollie McFarland [Midway Colored School]
Birth Year : 1933
Mollie M. Bradley is a historian and writer who was born in Jefferson City, TN, the daughter of Leroy and Emma Cunningham McFarland. She is past matron of Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter, O.E.S., P.H.A. She is the author of A Bright Star: a biography of Cecelia Dunlap, and she wrote several articles for the Order of Eastern Star publication The Phyllis Magazine. The magazine is the voice of the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc., which was organized in 1983, and Mollie Bradley served as the first executive secretary. The Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society, PHA Inc. researches and studies the history of the Prince Hall Eastern Stars. Mollie Bradley is also a contributing writer for The Woodford Sun during Black History Month; her husband had been the Black History Month contributing writer, and after he died in 2004, Mollie Bradley took over the writing of the articles. Though born in Tennessee, Mollie Bradley was raised in Bourbon County, KY, by her aunt and uncle, Jennie P. Harris and Reverend James C. Harris, pastor of Zion Baptist Church [previously part of the African Baptist Church] in Paris, KY. Mollie Bradley is a graduate of Western High School in Paris, KY, and Central State University, where she majored in journalism. She was the wife of the late Walter T. Bradley, Jr. from Midway, KY; they owned the first laundrette in that city. Customers could leave laundry to be cleaned and folded, and the laundry would be ready to be picked up later in the day. Customers could also do their own laundry. Three washers and three dryers were available with a cost of 25 cents per wash load and 10 cents per dry cycle. The laundrette was located in the building that the couple owned and lived in, which had been the Midway Colored School, located in Hadensville from 1911-1954. The school had grades 1-8. Prior to being used as a school, the building was home to the Colored Baptist Church [later named Pilgrim Baptist Church], which had 900 members. The church building was constructed in 1872 by the Lehman Brothers, a German Company. The congregation outgrew the building and it was sold to Woodford County in 1911 to be used as the Colored School. In 1936, it was sold to the Midway Board of Education and became the Midway Elementary School for Colored children. In 1954, the school was closed and the children were bused to Simmons School in Versailles, KY. The Bradleys purchased the school building in 1959. They leased space within the building to a number of businesses, including a beauty shop and a shoe shop. There had also been a lodge hall, lodge offices, and apartments. Mollie Bradley also taught piano lessons; her mission was to provide lessons to those who wanted to learn but could not afford piano lessons. Her husband, Walter T. Bradley, Jr., and their sons also played the piano. On June 25, 2011, the Midway Colored School was honored with a Kentucky Historical Society Marker. Mollie M. Bradley is a member of the Midway Women's Club. For more information read the press release, KHS to Dedicate Historical Marker to Honor Midway Colored School, 06/13/ 2011, a web page.

Access Interview Read about the Mollie M. Bradley oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.

Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Communities, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Jefferson City, Tennessee / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Hadensville in MIdway, Woodford County, Kentucky

Brooks, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1940
Charles H. Brooks was born in Paducah, KY. A lawyer, businessman, and writer, Brooks wrote the official history of the Odd Fellows Fraternity and was a delegate to the International Conference of Odd Fellows in Europe in 1900. He was educated in the Colored school in Paducah [info NKAA entry], and after finishing his studies in 1876, he became a teacher at the school. He taught for five years, and was then named the school principal. While he was principal of the school, Brooks became a member of the Paducah Odd Fellows Lodge No. 1545. He served as secretary and was influential in the building of the Colored Odd Fellows Lodge in Paducah [info NKAA entry]. Brooks was State Treasurer, he was secretary of the B. M. C. and was Grand Director at Atlanta, GA. On the national level, he was Grand Auditor. Brooks' work with the Odd Fellows was also during the time he was Secretary of the Republican County Committee in Paducah, and Secretary of the First Sunday School Convention and Baptist Association. In 1889, he successfully passed the civil service exam, and Brooks left Kentucky to become a clerk at the Pension Bureau Office in Washington, D.C. While in D.C. he attended Spencerian Business College, completing a course in bookkeeping. Brooks left his job in D.C. and entered law school at Howard University where he completed his LL.B in 1892, which was also the year that he was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. As a lawyer, Brooks gained admission to practice before the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. He left D.C. in 1892 to work full time at the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, PA. He was there for ten years, and led the effort to pay off all debts, sustained a surplus of $50,000, and established a printing press and the publishing of a weekly journal. Brooks traveled extensively throughout the U.S. to visit the various Odd Fellows lodges. He also traveled to England; the Colored Odd Fellows dispensations came from England, and they were the only Colored organization with a regular affiliation to the English fraternity. When Charles Brooks retired from the Odd Fellows Office in Philadelphia, he operated a real estate and insurance office. He continued to be active in organizations such as the National Negro Business League, Gibson's New Standard Theater, Model Storage Company, and he was secretary of the Reliable Mutual Aid and Improvement Society, all in Philadelphia. He is author of The Official History of the First African Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa., published in 1922. Charles H. Brooks was the husband of Matilda Mansfield Brooks (1862-1945, born in KY). The couple married on August 24, 1880 in Paducah, KY [source: Kentucky Marriages Index]. Both are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in Paducah, KY [source: Find A Grave website]. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Official History and Manual of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows in America, by C. H. Brooks; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Charles H. Brooks," Freeman, 10/10/1896, p.5; and "Out of the depths," The Colored American, 09/19/1903, p.1.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Lawyers, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Brown, William W.
Birth Year : 1814
Death Year : 1884
William Wells Brown was born in Lexington, KY. His mother, Elizabeth, was a slave; his father, George Higgins, was white. Since his mother was a slave, Brown too was a slave. He eventually escaped and made his way north, where he participated in abolitionist activities. He wrote a play, poems, songs, and books, including Clotel, the first novel published by an African American. Brown was also a historian and practiced medicine. For more see From Slave to Abolitionist by W. W. Brown and L. S. Warner; and Narrative of William W. Brown, A Fugitive Slave. Written by Himself [full-text at UNC University Library Documenting the American South].

See image of William Wells Brown from frontispiece of the title Narrative of William W. Brown, a fugitive slave, at Documenting the American South website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Freedom, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Cheaney, Henry E.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 2006
Henry E. Cheaney was born in Henderson, KY. A leading authority on the history of African Americans in Kentucky, Dr. Cheaney retired from Kentucky State University (KSU), where he had been a professor for 46 years and is recognized for establishing its African American history collection. His personal collection was used for the writing of the history of Blacks in Kentucky, a two volume work. Dr. Cheaney received his undergraduate degree from Kentucky State in 1936, his master's degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1941, and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1961. In addition to being a professor at KSU, he also served as the boxing coach. For more see Dr. Henry E. Cheaney - Portrait of Dedication; "KSU history professor remembered as a legend," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/21 /2006, City&Region section, p. C1; and C. White, "Historian Henry E. Cheaney dies at 94: collected data on African Americans," Courier Journal (Louisville), 07/21/2006, News section, p. 6B.


  See photo image of Henry E. Cheaney on p.19 of the 1957 Thorobred yearbook, Kentucky State University.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Historians
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Crump, Steven
Birth Year : 1957
Steven Crump, a news reporter and an award-winning documentary filmmaker, was born in Louisville, KY. He has won a number of awards for his work. Crump is a reporter with WBTV 3 in Charlotte, NC. He has produced more than 20 documentaries that focus on African Americans and the Civil Rights Era. The titles include Forgotten at the Finish Line, Souls of Passage, Nickles from Heaven, Airmen and AdversityLessons from the Lunch Counter, and Louisville's Own Ali, which was recognized as a 2008 NABJ Salute to Excellence Award title. The documentaries are aired at WTVI (Charlotte, NC) and have also aired on other educational and public television stations around the U.S. Crump is a graduate of Trinity High School in Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University. This entry was submitted by Suzanne D. Cordery. For more see M. Washburn, "Steve Crump's documentary takes us to landmarks of Civil Rights Era," The Charlotte Observer, 01/18/2009, Carolina Living section, p.1E; "New ASC Award honors lifetimes of creativity," The Charlotte Observer, 09/21/2008, Carolina Living section, p.3E; and L. M. Imuhammad, "Louisville's own Ali," The Courier-Journal, 01/15/2007, Features section, p.1E.

See photo image and additional information about Steven Crump at
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Television, Migration East, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Charlotte, North Carolina

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

Giles, Yvonne Y.
Birth Year : 1944
Born in Lexington, KY, Yvonne Giles was the first African American woman elected to the La Grange City Council, in 1986, and then re-elected in 1987. She is the director of the Isaac Hathaway Museum, that was located in the Lexington History Center [the old court house] in Lexington. In July 2011, the Museum moved to Georgetown Street in the Robert H. Williams Cultural Center that is housed in the building that served as the Lexington Colored Orphan Industrial Home. Yvonne Giles is also known as the "Cemetery Lady" because she is one of the leaders in the effort to preserve the history and integrity of African American cemeteries in Lexington. She is the author of Stilled Voices Yet Speak, a history of African Cemetery No.2 in Lexington, KY. She has published many  brochures on African American history in Lexington, and made significant contributions to Lexington tourism publications. For more see "Hopkinsville has 3 blacks on city council," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 25; Y. Giles, "African American Burials; Fayette County's storied past," Ace Weekly (April 26, 2007), p. 9; and M. Davis, "Search for the dead," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/06/02, Main News section, p. A1. Also see entries for Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum and African Cemetery No. 2.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Historians, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / La Grange, Oldham County, Kentucky

Gore, Jerry
Birth Year : 1947
Death Year : 2016
Jerry Gore was born in Maysville, KY. An Underground Railroad historian, he was also a founding member of the National Underground Railroad Museum, Inc. and founder of the Freedom Time Company and the Kentucky Underground Railroad Association. He was a consultant on the history of the Underground Railroad for a number of projects and programs and was featured on the History Channel's "Save Our History: The Underground Railroad." He was the great-great-grandson of Addison White, famous Ohio fugitive of the Underground Railroad. In 2012, Jerry Gore was the recipient of the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award.

See video with Jerry Gore receiving the 2012 Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award, at the Freedom Time website.
Subjects: Freedom, Historians, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky

Hardin, John A.
Birth Year : 1948
John A. Hardin is presently Assistant to the Provost for Diversity Enhancement at Western Kentucky University (WKU), where he has served in several capacities, including associate professor of history. He is author of numerous articles and has published two books: Fifty years of Segregation: Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1904-1954 and Onward and Upward: a Centennial History of Kentucky State University, 1886-1986. His primary research interests are 20th Century African American history, Kentucky history, and the history of higher education. For additional information contact Dr. John A. Hardin on the WKU Department of History.

See photo image and additional information about Dr. John A. Hardin at the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Hayden, John Carleton
Birth Year : 1933
Born in Bowling Green, KY, John C. Hayden has been a clergyman, activist, educator, and historian. He is the son of Otis Roosevelt and Gladys Gatewood Hayden. He is a 1955 graduate of Wayne State University (BA); a 1962 graduate of the University of Detroit [at Mercy] (MA); a 1972 graduate of Howard University (PhD); and a 1991 graduate of the College of Emmanuel (MDiv). In the 1970s, he was an activist for African Americans and social issues. Hayden has taught at several schools, including as a history professor at Howard University and a lecturer at Montgomery College. He has written extensively on African American church history and is the author of Struggle, Strife, and Salvation, the Role of Blacks in the Episcopal Church and a co-author of Black American Heritage through United States Postage Stamps. For more see Who's Who in the World (2001); and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.

See photo image and additional information about John Carleton Hayden at The Archives of the Episcopal Church website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Hudson, J. Blaine, III
Birth Year : 1949
Death Year : 2013
Born in Louisville, KY, J. Blaine Hudson, III was an activist for social change and a historian with an extensive knowledge of the history of African Americans in Kentucky. He is the former chair of the Pan-African Studies Department at the University of Louisville and was the appointed Chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission. In 2005, Hudson was named Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Louisville, one of the first African Americans to be named dean at a predominately white college in Kentucky. Hudson authored a number of academic articles and was a contributing author, and he was the sole author of Fugitive Slaves and the Underground Railroad in the Kentucky Borderland and other books. Hudson earned his B.A. and M.A. at the University of Louisville and his doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Kentucky. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2007; Hudson recommended to lead College of Arts and Sciences, a University of Louisville website; Directory of American Scholars, 10th ed., vol. 5: Psychology, Sociology, & Education; Blaine Hudson interview and biography, at KET Living the Story; and "J. Blaine Hudson, ex-U of L dean, dies," Louisville Courier-Journal, 01/06/2013, p.A001.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jackson, Luther Porter
Birth Year : 1892
Death Year : 1950
Born in Lexington, KY, Luther P. Jackson was full professor and head of the history department at Virginia State College [now Virginia State University] beginning in 1922. He founded the Virginia Negroes League to encourage African Americans to vote, and he spoke out in his writings for racial equality. He delivered a paper on Virginia and the Civil Rights Program during the annual meeting of the Virginia Social Science Association in 1949. He authored a number of books, including The Virginia Free Negro Farmer and Property Owner, 1830-1860 (1939). He was also on the editorial staff of the Journal of Negro History and Negro History Bulletin. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; Luther P. Jackson at the University of Virginia website; Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, 2nd. ed., edited by C. Palmer, vol. 3, p. 1142; and a more detailed biography, Luther Porter Jackson (1892-1950), at Encyclopedia Virginia [online].

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Historians, Voting Rights, Migration East
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Petersburg, Virginia

Jett, Alta M. and Richard E. Jett
Alta Margaret Boatright Jett (1920-2004) was born in Lancaster, KY; her family later moved to Indiana. She held a number of jobs, including domestic servant, credit officer at Montgomery Wards, and janitor. She was also president of the Mary B. Talbert Club and Vice Precinct Committee person for the Democratic Party, as well as a worker with the Girl Scouts, YMCA, and a mother's study group. Jett wrote obituaries and spoke on African American history. She was the daughter of Charles and Annie Farley Boatright, and the wife of Richard Ezekiel Jett (1917-2006), a carpenter and musician from Booneville, KY. Richard was the son of James and Mattie Jett. The Alta M. Jett Collection is housed at the Indiana Historical Society. For more see "Alta M. Jett in Guide to African-American History Materials in the Manuscript Collections at the Indiana Historical Society; "Obituaries," Palladium-Item, 05/23/2004, p. 3B; and Richard E. Jett in the Obituary section of the Palladium-Item, 07/23/2006, p. 3C.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Historians, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Carpenters, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky / Booneville, Owsley County, Kentucky / Richmond, Indiana

Jones, Carridder "Rita"
Carridder Jones was born in South Carolina and lived in Indiana before moving to Kentucky. A playwright and historian, Jones's research has included African American communities in Kentucky, especially the black hamlets in Lexington and Louisville. Her play, "Black Hamlets in the Kentucky Bluegrass," was a finalist in the New York Drama League's New Works Project in 2002. Another of her plays, "The Mark of Cain," was chosen by the University of Louisville's African-American theater program for the Second Annual Juneteenth Festival of New Works. She has presented her research at conferences, programs, workshops, and as productions. She is the co-founder and Director of Women Who Write. In 2006, Jones received the Sallie Bingham Award. She is author of the 2009 book A Backward Glance. For more see "Free Black Hamlets," Courier Journal (Louisville) News, 04/19/04; and "Filmmakers hope to save Bluegrass freetowns," Lexington Herald Leader, 08/10/03.

See photo image and additional information about Carridder Jones at the Oldham County History Center website, 2009.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Historians, Migration West, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Livingston, Valinda E. Lewis
Birth Year : 1937
Born in Lexington, KY, Valinda E. Lewis Livingston was an educator in the Lexington schools for 37 years. She is a graduate of old Dunbar High School and one of the top academic achievers in the school's history. She graduated from Kentucky State University (KSU) with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, then earned a master's degree in elementary education from the University of Kentucky and principalship and supervision certificates from Eastern Kentucky University. Her teaching career began at Booker T. Washington Elementary School prior to the full integration of the Lexington city school system. She taught at two other elementary schools before being named head principal of Russell Elementary. Prior to her retirement, Livingston was a district administrator for six years, overseeing the students' at-risk programs. Her post-retirement career includes serving as a member of the Board of Examiners of Kentucky's Education Professional Standards Board, chair of the Board of Regents at Kentucky State University, President of the Baptist Women State Education Convention, vice-president of the Lexington Chapter of the KSU National Alumni Association, and Sunday School Superintendent and Music Committee Chair at Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. Livingston is also a professional singer, a soprano with the Lexington Singers. She is also a key resource for historical researchers looking to make a connection to past events in the Lexington African American community with present day people. The Valinda E. Livingston Endowed Student Scholarship for Teacher Education Majors has been established at Kentucky State University. For more see "Retired educator leaves legacy for future educators," Onward and Upward, Fall - Summer 2005 - 2006, p. 3.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Historians, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Logan, George L.
Birth Year : 1929
George Leslie Logan, an historian, fought to make Martin Luther King Day a state holiday in Kentucky. He was one of the first African American students at the University of Kentucky and the first African American professional in the Kentucky Department of Education to be the state Director of Drivers Education Supervisors. Logan was born in Stanford, KY, the son of James and Mary Woodford Logan. He is a graduate of Kentucky State University and UK. For more see 2001 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame - Inductees from Lexington.

  See the video and read the transcript of the George Logan inerview in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project.


Access Interview Read about the George L. Logan oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.      
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Historians
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Nelson-Johnson, Esther Byrd
Birth Year : 1931
Death Year : 2008
Nelson-Johnson was born in Hickman, KY, one of the six children of Louis and Hestella Holmes Byrd. In 1982, Nelson-Johnson became a part of the history of the female leadership of the Sacramento NAACP: she was the fourth woman elected president of the Branch, serving four terms. For 30 years, she was a counselor at the American River College. She had taught school in Virginia and Missouri before moving to California in 1963. Nelson-Johnson is remembered for her leadership and advocacy for women, young people, and African Americans, and the programs she developed to assist students. She is also remembered for her research and the resulting exhibits she created to show the contributions of African Americans and women. When the NAACP Office in Sacramento was bombed in 1993, the organization's history was safe with Nelson-Johnson. She was a historian and collected resources that documented the history of civil rights in Sacramento. She was the author of A Model Community Counseling Program for Ethnic Minority Low Income Women, Leaving on the Black Star Line and Cotton Patch Cooking. Nelson-Johnson was the first person in her family to attend college, earning a bachelor's degree at Kentucky State University, a master's at Chapman University, and a doctorate at Nova University. For more see R. D. Davila, "Former NAACP chief fought for education and civil rights," Sacramento Bee, 02/13/2008, Metro section, p. B4.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Hickman, Fulton County, Kentucky / Sacramento, California

Powell, Ruth M.
Birth Year : 1912
Powell was born near Madisonville, KY. She published Lights and Shadows, a comprehensive history of the American Baptist Theological Seminary, in 1964. In 1979 she published Ventures in Education with Black Baptists in Tennessee. Powell graduated from J.C. Smith University in 1940 and Tennessee State University in 1953. For more see Who's Who in Religion, 2nd ed.
Subjects: Authors, Historians, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Madisonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Slaughter, Henry P.
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1958
Born in Louisville, KY, Henry P. Slaughter was a leading journalist and the editor of the Lexington Standard. He also edited The Odd Fellows Journal, a Philadelphia newspaper. A holder of law degrees from Howard University, Slaughter was employed as compositor by the Government Printing Office (GPO) in D.C. He also collected papers and publications on the life and history of African Americans. The large collection (over 10,000 volumes) was sold to the Clark Atlanta Library. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. R. L. Logan and M. R. Winston; and Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, DC

Smith, Gerald L.
Birth Year : 1959
Born in Lexington, KY, Gerald L. Smith is a history professor and fomer director of the African American Studies and Research Program at the University of Kentucky (UK). Smith is a three time graduate from UK, having earned bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. He has had more than 30 items published in history journals and reference books. Smith is the author of a number of books, including A Black educator in the segregated South: Kentucky's Rufus B. Atwood and the Black America series title, Lexington, Kentucky. Smith is also an ordained minister. For more see Gerald L. Smith, Ph.D.

Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Smith, Leslie S.
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1997
Smith was born in Pleasant Ridge, KY. A schoolteacher in Kentucky and West Virginia, she published short stories, poems, and her book, Around Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, A Black History (1979), which covers 1795 to 1979. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Poets
Geographic Region: Pleasant Ridge, Lewis County, Kentucky

Smith, Lucy W.
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1889
Lucy Wilmot Smith was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Mrs. Margaret Smith. She began teaching in 1877 in Lexington and became a journalist in 1884 with The American Baptist. She provided sketches of women journalists for the New York newspaper, Journalism. She served as an editor and wrote special columns for Our Women and Children and was also on the staff of the Baptist Journal. She spoke out on women's rights and voting. Smith was a graduate and a teacher at State University [later Simmons University] and was the private secretary of school President William J. Simmons. She was a historian for the Negro Baptist. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and "Lucy Wilmot Smith," in Noted Negro Women: their triumphs and activities, by M. A. Majors; see p.9 in Negro Baptist History, 1750-1930 by L. G. Jordan [bio & picture]; and see Lucy Wilmot Smith in "The Death Roll," Lexington Leader, 12/03/1889, p.2.

Subjects: Education and Educators, Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Snorton, Hickman Matthew "Matt"
Birth Year : 1942
Death Year : 2016
Matt Snorton was an athlete who was born in Crofton, KY in 1942. He would eventually return to Christian County to become the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. His family left Kentucky when Matt Snorton was a child and they would settle in Detroit, MI, where Matt attended high school. He was a gifted athlete in baseball and football, he also played basketball, and was a musician in the marching band. Matt Snorton's high school baseball team won Detroit's Public School League Title in 1959 [source: R. Bak,"Northwestern Field in Detroit launched many great baseball careers," 08/03/2014 at ]. He received scholarship offers for both football and band, and he was offered a contract to play professional baseball. Considering all of the offers, Snorton settled at Michigan State University, where he played wide receiver on the football team from 1961-1963. He was selected by the Detroit Lions in the second round of the 1964 NFL Draft, and selected in the third round of the AFL Draft. Snorton decided to play professional football with the Denver Broncos, an AFL team. His career was cut short after five games due to an injury. Snorton changed his career to banking. He returned to Christian County in 1994 and was hired as the Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. Snorton also worked at the radio station WHOP in Hopkinsville and he became a historian who researched African American history in Christian County. He developed one minute segments on African American history that were aired on WHOP during Black History Month. Hickman Matthew Snorton was the son of Flem and Mary Whitney Snorton, and he was the nephew of Charles C. Snorton. For more see S. Burnside, "Matt's journey," Kentucky New Era," 04/28/2004 [online]; "Community icon Matt Snorton will be missed by Christian County,"The Eagle Post, 01/03/2017 [online]; Matt Snorton at the NFL profile website; Matt Snorton's college stats at; and KY House of Representatives 17RS BR 1017 honoring Matt Snorton.


  See Matt Snorton picture and obituary at Gamble Funeral Home website. 

Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Baseball, Football, Historians, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio, Other
Geographic Region: Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Wesley, Charles H.
Birth Year : 1891
Death Year : 1987
Charles H. Wesley was born in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Matilda Harris Wesley, who was mistakenly listed as a widow in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census when she and her son Charles lived on 9th Street with Matilda's father, Douglas Harris, and other family members. Matilda Harris Wesley was not a widow in 1900; her husband (or ex-husband) Charles Snowden Wesley is listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as a single man; he was living with his parents, Mary H. and J. H. Taylor, on 9th Street in Louisville and was employed at an undertakers' business. Charles S. Wesley died in April of 1902 [according to information provided to Ms. C. P. Uzelac of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc.] His death date is given as April 28, 1904 in the Kentucky Death Index for Jefferson County, KY. His son, Charles H. Wesley, received his B.A. from Fisk University in 1911, his M.A. from Yale in 1913, and a Ph.D in history from Harvard. Wesley was the third African American to receive a doctorate in history from Harvard. As a professor, he taught history and modern language at Howard University. He later became president of Wilberforce University and Central State College [now Central State University] in Ohio. Wesley was president of the Study of Negro Life and History, 1950-1965, and executive director up to 1972. He was an AME Church minister and elder. Wesley wrote a number of articles on the problems of Negro education in the United States. In 1927 he published Negro Labor in the United States, 1850-1925, and, in 1935, Richard Allen, Apostle of Freedom. Wesley wrote the history of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity for seven decades. His last book was The History of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs. For more see Who's Who Among Black Americans, 6th ed.; Notable Black American Men, by J. C. Smith; and Current Biography. Additional information provided by C. P. Uzelac, Executive Director of the Dorothy Porter Wesley Center, Inc.

See photo image of Charles H. Wesley and additional information at
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / New Haven, Connecticut / Cambridge, Massachusetts / Washington, D.C. / Wilberforce, Ohio

Weston, Alice Victoria Henry and William Julius Sr.
In 1948, Alice Weston was buried in Paducah, KY. She was born in 1882 in Perry, NY, the daughter of Henry and Clara E. Henry Thomas. Her father had been an escaped slave from Mississippi, and her mother was the sister of distinguished Judge Edward W. Henry (1871-1946) in Philadelphia. Alice Weston was married to Dr. William Julius Weston (1875-1936) from Henderson, KY; they met while students at Howard University. The couple moved to Kentucky, where Dr. Weston practiced medicine at Hickman, Henderson, and Paducah. Victoria Weston completed her college degree at Kentucky State University and taught at Lincoln High School in Paducah for 20 years. She was one of the most influential teachers in the city and the state. Weston, who taught history, was the first teacher in Kentucky to develop and teach a formal course in African American history that was required of all students at Lincoln High. She served in several leadership positions within her church and led general church activities held in Paducah. She was an active member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association and served as president of the Kentucky State Association of Colored Women, which was established in 1903. Victoria and William Weston had three children, all born in Kentucky: Clara Elizabeth (b. 1904), Alice Victoria (b. 1915), and William Julius, Jr. (1906-1945); William was a police officer in Washington, D.C., who was killed in the line of duty. For more see C. G. Woodson, "Alice Victoria Weston and her family," Negro History Bulletin, vol. 11, issue 9, pp. 195-198; William Julius Weston in A Historical, Biographical and Statistical Souvenir, by D. S. Lamb [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Perry, New York / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Williams, Pauline L.
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2005
Pauline L. Williams was born in Trenton, KY. She moved to Chicago in 1927 and later became the first African American woman to serve on the Evanston Plan Commission. Williams was also president of the Woman's Auxiliary at the Community Hospital and later became president of the board of directors at the hospital. She was also president of the board of directors of the Evanston Historical Society and creator of the African American exhibits, "The Sick Can't Wait" and "Your Presence is Requested." For more see J. Bourke, "Pauline Williams," Evanston Review, 09/08/2005, News section, p. 151.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North
Geographic Region: Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky / Chicago and Evanston, Illinois

Woolfolk, George Ruble
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1996
Woolfolk was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Theodosia and Lucien Woolfolk. He was a graduate of Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, Ohio State University, and the University of Wisconsin. Woolfolk was head of the history department at Prairie View A&M and was the first African American elected as a Fellow of the Texas State Historical Association. The Political Building at Prairie View was renamed the George Ruble Woolfolk Building in his honor, and the Woolfolk Lecture Series is in recognition of his contributions to public higher education in Texas. Woolfolk was a scholar, an educator, and a historian. He was the author of numerous articles and several books, including The Cotton Regency; the northern merchants and reconstruction, 1865-1880 and The Free Negro in Texas, 1800-1860: a study in cultural compromise. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1980-1999; and Directory of American Scholars, 1974-1982.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Migration West
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Prairie View, Texas

Wright, George C.
Dr. George C. Wright was born in Lexington, KY. He received the Governors Award from the Kentucky Historical Society for his book, Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940. According to his research, at least 353 lynchings took place in Kentucky up to 1940. Though Wright states that it is impossible to accurately count the number of African Americans lynched, his research shows that the majority of the lynching victims were African American men. More than one-third of the lynchings occurred between 1865 and 1874. Wright is the seventh president of Prairie View A & M University in Texas. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky (B.A & M.A.) and Duke University (Ph.D.). For more see Racial violence in Kentucky, 1865-1940; lynchings, mob rule, and "legal lynchings," by G. C. Wright; and Dr. George C. Wright a Prairie View website. 

Access Interview Read about the George C. Wright interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Historians, Lynchings
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky


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