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Adams, Henry
Birth Year : 1802
Death Year : 1873
Henry Adams was a Baptist leader in Louisville, KY, where he established the first African American Church. He also set up a school for African American children; the school survived while other schools established for African Americans by white ministers were being destroyed. Rev. Adams was born in Franklin County, KY. He was the father of John Quincy "J. Q." Adams. For more see Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright; "Rev. Henry Adams" on pp.196-197 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas.

See photo image of Rev. Henry Adams in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Fathers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Franklin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

African American Communities in Warren County, KY
Sunnyside, Freeport, and Oakland were three African American communities in Warren County, KY, developed after the Civil War. In 2001, the city of Oakland was awarded a grant from the African American Heritage Commission to complete the study of the community Sunnyside. The resulting report, Writ Upon the Landscape: an architectural survey of the Sunnyside Community, reveals that the African American section of Sunnyside grew to the point that it merged with the white section of Sunnyside. There are presently 53 buildings and the Loving Union CME Church and its cemetery. The community also had a one room schoolhouse with grades 1-8 that was torn down in 1948. Sunnyside is located 5 miles southwest of Freeport, an African American community that had a two-room schoolhouse, Woodland School. One room held grades 1-3 and the other grades 4-8; the school was closed after integration, and the building was used as a restaurant and for social entertainment. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church, established in 1870, is still in use. The communities of Freeport and Oakland were separated by a railroad track, with Freeport on the north side. Mrs. Virgie M. Edwards was a teacher at the School in 1916; she was a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association. The names of other Oakland teachers are listed in the KNEA Journal from 1916-1935 [available online]. For more see Transpark: a collapse of dreams, by the City of Oakland, Kentucky; and the following articles from the News section of the Daily News - J. Dooley, "Oakland gets grant to fund study - work will cover history, heritage of Sunnyside," 07/26/2001; A. Carmichael, "Historic Oakland mill being dismantled - lumber will be used by famed Nashville-based builder," 08/30,2003; A. Harvey, "Black History: woman remembers Freeport's heyday," 02/22/2004; A. Carmichael, "A lifetime of teaching - Warren County woman has passion for education," 08/01/2005; and J. Niesse, "Freeport endangered by transpark project," Letter section, 04/25/2001.
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Sunnyside, Freeport, Oakland, Warren County, Kentucky

African American Schools in Christian County, KY
Start Year : 1845
End Year : 1952
Between 1845 and 1856, 40 school districts were sketched in Christian County, KY, by Enoch A. Brown, the County School Commissioner (who was white), according to Claybron W. Merriweather's, "Hopkinsville Colored Schools," pp. 293-295 in A History of Christian County, Kentucky, from Oxcart to Airplane, by C. M. Meacham. After the Civil War, the number of districts were increased from 40 to 84 by G. A. Champlin, the new commissioner. Between 1866-1870, there was a Freedmen School in Hopkinsville [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky]. By 1881 there were 41 colored school districts with 23 schools, most of which were log buildings in poor condition. The Booker T. Washington Colored School was located on 2nd Street in Hopkinsville. In 1884, G. A. Champlin wrote "The Colored Schools," an essay that appeared on p. 252 in Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky. According to Champlin, the first colored common schools in 1875 were located within five school districts, and there were 500 school-age children counted in the colored school census. The schools were a result of the Kentucky Colored School Law, which provided the bare minimum of school funding from taxes and fines collected from colored people. Similar information about the colored schools during the year 1876 was included in Charles J. Petrie's thesis, The History of Education in Christian County, pp.93-98. According to Petrie, the County Commissioner's report showed that there were only two teachers in the colored schools, and prior to 1881, most of the colored schools were not free and the best schools were located in Hopkinsville. The Booker T. Washington School was constructed in 1882, a two story frame structure, and in 1930 a third story was added [source: Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 5, File: Christian County, Christian County Education by Mrs. Mamie Hanbery, 11/14/1938, p. 11]. By 1889, there were 55 teachers at the colored schools, the male teachers earned an average of $44.76 and the female teachers earned an average of $35.70 [Petrie, p.96]. The leaders of the Christian County Colored Teachers Association in 1891 were Ephraim Poston, president; T. C. Woosley, vice president; Miss Augusta Brewer, secretary; T. S. Gaines, assistant secretary; and P. A. Hamby, treasurer [Petrie, p. 98]. In 1899 there were 54 colored school districts [source: Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 06/23/1899, p. 5], one of which was Crofton Colored School with teacher George Robinson [source: "Crime of Cain," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/31/1899, p. 1]. In 1890, A. H. Payne was principal of the Colored school in Hopkinsville and there were six teachers [Petrie, pp.135]. The school was considered the best colored school in the county, it operated within the common school system with a nine month term and with a Colored school board. In 1908, the school was placed under the white school board and supported by Negro property taxes [Petrie, p.122]. The school held grades 1-8 in a two-story building on E. Second Street. In 1912, the school was moved back under the county system and two years of high school were added. The trustees were Edward M. Glass, Frank Boyd, and Ned Turner. Julien Colored School was also a county school [source: Dr. Stanley Dean," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 04/17/1906, p. 8]. Teacher Nina Anglin was removed from the Lafayette Colored School in 1906, and she filed suit against the superintendent and the trustees [source: "Circuit court," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/25/1906, p. 1]. The Clarksville Colored School was one of three schools to receive an improved chemical fire extinguisher in 1910 [source: "Here and there," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/30/1910, p. 4]. The number of school districts had increased from 52 in 1890 to 54 in 1900, then to 75 in 1910 [Petrie, p. 132]. There was an average attendance of 2,034 students in 1909 [Petrie, p. 134]. Attucks High School was built in 1916 at First and Vine Streets and the school had the first four-year high school for Negroes in Hopkinsville [Petrie, p. 183]. The early principals were L. A. Posey, J. W. Bell, P. Moore, and B. E. Perkins [Kentucky Education Collection (KEC), Series 1, pp. 11-12]. The county school system contracted with the city school board for students to attend Attucks High School [KEC, Series 1, p. 9]. In 1939, the Attucks High School had 227 students, 11 teachers, and 35 students graduated [Petrie, p. 188]. The Male & Female College in Hopkinsville, KY, opened in 1883 [now Hopkinsville College of the Bible]. In 1896 there were 70 colored teachers in the county schools [source: "Colored institute this week," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 08/18/1896, p. 1]. During the 1911 election of colored trustees, Peter Postell and Lucian Dade were re-elected, and George Leavell became the newly elected trustee [source: "The Colored election," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 05/09/1911, p. 8]. In 1909, a colored graded school and high school were opened in Pembroke, and the school served as a training school for teachers up to 1924 [Petrie, p. 122]. In 1914, the legality of the staff election for the Pembroke Colored School was called into question, and the finding was in favor of the school [source: 2nd paragraph of "Railroad case begun," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 06/06/1914, p. 1]. In 1924, the Pembroke School was moved back to the county administration and the school's two-year high school course continued until 1929. The high school was re-established in 1936 and operated under the independent graded school system with one or two teachers and 20-25 students. At the end of 1911, the colored school house near Sinking Fork was burned by an incendiary [source: "Suspicious fire," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/07/1911, p. 8]. In 1912, Ephraim Poston had almost completed the school census of colored children and found that there were 1,396 students, which was 188 more students than had been incorrectly counted the previous year, all of which meant that the schools would receive about $800 more from the state [sources: "Colored school census," 05/11/1912, p. 5, and "1411 Colored children," 05/18/1912, p. 4, both articles in the Hopkinsville Kentuckian]. It was expressed in Petrie's thesis that the school census for colored children may have been "padded" [p.132]. The Zion Colored School was destroyed by fire in 1916, the fire started by a stranger in town who went by the name of Katherine Denton. She was badly burned and later died from her injuries [source: "Woman died Thursday," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 12/02/1916, p. 1]. In 1928, there were five male teachers and 51 female teachers in the colored schools, and in 1937, the average attendance was 1,055 students [Petrie, pp. 178 & 180]. The names of other colored schools in Christian County, KY, can be found on pp. 292-293 in A History of Christian County, Kentucky, from Oxcart to Airplane, by C. M. Meacham, who was also editor of the Hopkinsville Kentuckian newspaper. There is also a list of the schools and the names of the head teacher/principal during the 1938-39 school term, all on p.23 of Christian County Education by Mrs. Mamie Hanbery, 11/14/1938, within the Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 5, File: Christian County. In 1940, there were at least 90 Negro teachers in the schools of Christian County [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The names of the schools, including those that held classes in churches, are listed below. A later school, the Fort Campbell Dependent School, was the first school in Christian County to be listed in the Kentucky Public School Directory (1952-53, p.418) as having both white and colored students, though the term "integrated" was not used. The second school to be listed with students of both races was in the 1954-55 directory, the SS. Peter and Paul School, a parochial school in Hopkinsville [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1954-55, p.563]. Both schools are listed as integrated in the 1956-57 directory. All of the schools in Christian County are listed as integrated in the Kentucky School Directory, 1963-64, pp. 101-102.

  • Attucks High School
  • Banneker School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 848]
  • Barkers Mill School
  • Beech Grove School
  • Booker T. Washington School
  • Blue Springs School [photo image, p. 12, Rosenwald Schools]
  • Brent Shop School
  • Canton Heights School
  • Carver School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-61, p. 848]
  • Caskey School
  • Cedar Bluff School
  • Center Point School
  • Chopped Hickory School
  • Clarksville School
  • Crofton School
  • Dyers Chapel School
  • Durretts Avenue School
  • Elmo School
  • Edgefield School
  • Fairview School
  • Forks of Road School
  • Foston's Chapel School
  • Gainesville School
  • Garrettsburg School
  • Gee School
  • Gracey School
  • Hensleytown School
  • Herndon School
  • Hopkinsville Freedmen School
  • Hopkinsville School
  • Julien School
  • Kelly School
  • Kentucky Trade Institute Automotive Mechanics for Colored Men [source: "Announcing the opening of the Kentucky Trade...," Kentucky New Era, 08/24/1949, p. 10]
  • Lafayette School
  • Male & Female College
  • Massies Chapel School
  • Moonlight School
  • McClain's Chapel School
  • Mt. Herman School
  • Mt. Vernon School
  • New Zion School
  • Oak Grove School
  • Pee Dee School
  • Pleasant Green School
  • Pleasant Grove School
  • Pleasant Hill School
  • Pembroke School
  • Reeves Chapel School
  • Salem School
  • Sinking Fork School
  • Spring Hill School
  • Walnut Grove School
  • West Union School
  • White Oak Grove School
  • Zion Hope School

 

See the image of Attucks High School on postcard at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center.

 
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, African American Schools in Kentucky (Counties A-Z)
Geographic Region: Christian County, Kentucky

African Baptist Church (Henderson, KY)
Start Year : 1840
The African Baptist Church of Jesus Christ, located in Henderson, KY, held its meetings in fields, barns, or any location where they could gather. In 1840, the African Baptist Church received membership into the white Baptist Church, according to "African Baptist Church," pp. 476-480 in the History of Henderson County, Kentucky, by E. L. Starling. The group stayed within the white Baptist Church until 1845, when the African Baptist Church was organized, after which the group held services in the basement of the white Baptist Church. Willis Walker, a slave, was chosen as the pastor of the African Baptist Church, and the church purchased his freedom for $560. Rev. Walker died during a creek baptism and was replaced by Rev. Henry Green from Danville, KY. In 1866, the African Baptist Church split: 33 members left to form the Race Creek Baptist Church. In 1866, the African Baptist Church separated from the white Baptist Church and moved into its first building, the old Methodist Church building at the corner of Elm and Washington Streets. The church was renamed First Missionary Baptist Church, and several more churches would grow out of the congregation: St. Paul's Baptist Church in Corydon; St. John Baptist Church; New Hope Baptist Church; Walnut Hill Baptist Church; and Fourth Street Baptist Church.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

African Baptist Church (Paris, KY)
Start Year : 1857
The African Baptist Church in Paris, KY, grew out of the Baptist Church of Christ (for whites) that was constituted in Paris, KY, in 1818. The Baptist Church of Christ had begun in Tennessee in 1808 and spread to other southern states. During a revival in winter of 1827-28, 46 slaves were received into the Baptist Church of Christ in Paris, KY. In 1832, the Reformation Movement caused the church to split and in 1833 the church was reorganized with 48 white members. As the church grew, there would again be African American members, most of whom were slaves. In 1855, these African American members were separated from the Baptist Church of Christ by Elder J. B. Link, with their own church known as the African Baptist Church, that would be led by Reverend Elisha W. Green from 1855-1893. Rev. John Fisher was pastor for one year. Rev. Henry Battle Webster from Woodford County was pastor of the church beginning in 1896. The congregation built a church on 8th Street in 1858 and today the church is known as First Baptist at 128 W. 8th Street. The church was initially under the rule of the Baptist Church of Christ with the threat that if they attempted to act independently of the parent church, then the African Baptist Church would be closed. In the summer of 1884, a branch of the African Baptist Church split and became the Zion Baptist Church in Paris, KY. The split was due to the dissatisfaction of members who wanted church services to be held more than twice a month; Rev. Green was pastor of two churches and led services at each church twice a month. He refused to give up one church in order to have services every Sunday at the other church. He did, however, help organize the Zion Baptist Church with the help of Rev. M. M. Bell, the church was first located in Marble Hall on Main Street. The first pastor was Rev. W. R. Davis. Today the Zion Baptist Church is located at 312 W. 8th Street in Paris, KY. For more information see "New Baptist Church," The Bourbon News, 12/16/1910, p.3; A History of Baptists in Kentucky by F. M. Masters; and see "Rev. Henry Battle Webster, D.D." on pp.225-226, and "Zion Baptist Church, Paris, KY" on p.282 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.

See photo image of Zion Baptist Church in Paris, KY, on p.119 of Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

African Church (Danville, KY)
Start Year : 1846
The first Saturday of August 1846, the First Baptist Church for whites, separated its 126 African American members into their own independent church known as the African Church. The first pastor was Rev. Jordan Meaux, a property owner who was consider a good leader in the church. Rev. Henry Green was the second minister, followed by Rev. Isaac Slaughter who served for 26 years. For more information and a picture of the church, see Negro Baptist History, 1750-1930 by L. G. Jordan
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

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

Alexander, Kelvin E.
Birth Year : 1969
Kelvin Alexander was born in Clinton, KY, the son of Mildred Alexander. He now lives in Bowling Green, KY, where he is serving a second term as vice president of the American Postal Workers Union Local 453, the first African American to serve in that position. Alexander is a graduate of Hickman County High School and Western Kentucky University, where he earned a B.A. in mass communication and minored in public administration. He is a member of the Oakland Mount Zion Baptist Church in Oakland, KY, and will soon be a deacon. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Kelvin and his wife Diana are the parents of William Alexander. Information submitted by Mildred C. and Kelvin E. Alexander.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Postal Service, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Clinton, Hickman County, Kentucky / Oakland and Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Bell, J. W.
Rev. J. W. Bell lived in Louisville, KY, where he was one of the early pastors of the Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church. In 1873, he was elected secretary of the CME General Conference. That same year, he was named Book Agent of the CME Publishing House and editor of the Christian Index, the CME monthly news publication. The CME publishing operation had been moved from Memphis to Louisville. After a month, Bell was limited to editing the newspaper only, and W. P. Churchill, of Louisville, was named the new book agent. Bell produced the first issue of the Christian Index in Kentucky; the newspaper was six years old, having been first published in 1867. A few months later, a disagreement occurred between Bell and Bishop Miles, and Bell was relieved of his duties at the newspaper and at the Center Street CME Church. He was replaced by Alexander Austin. In 1884, Rev. J. W. Bell was a pastor in Hopkinsville, KY [source: Proceedings, Sermon, Essays, and Addresses of the Centennial Methodist Conference edited by H. J. Carroll et. al., p.17]. He had also been the pastor of the Israel Church in Washington, D.C. [source: Autobiography and Work of Bishop M. F. Jamison, D.D. ("Uncle Joe") by M. F. Jamison, p.170]. For more see The History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by C. H. Phillips.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Berry, Elder
Elder Berry opened the first theological school for African Americans in the Olivet Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. The school lasted only five months, but it led the way for other theological schools for African Americans. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bingham, Walter D.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2006
Rev. Walter D. Bingham became, in 1966, the first African American to lead the Kentucky Association of Christian Churches. Five years later, he became the first African American named to the top post of the Christian Church (Church of Christ) as moderator of the denomination of 1.5 million members. Bingham's first vice moderator was Mrs. H. G. Wilkes, the first woman moderator. Bingham was minister of the Third Christian Church [now Third Central United Christian Church] in Louisville, KY. A native of Memphis, TN, he was a 1945 graduate of Talladega College and earned his divinity degree from Howard University in 1948. He taught at Jarvis Christian College and was a pastor in Oklahoma before arriving in Louisville, KY in 1961. He was the husband of librarian Rebecca Taylor Bingham, and the son of Lena and Willie Bingham. For more see "Louisville minister heads church group," Lexington Herald, 04/21/1966, p. 1; "Born in slavery era; church elects first Black man national moderator," Lexington Herald, 10/20/1971, p. 31; and P. Burba, "Rev. Walter Bingham dies; was pioneer with Disciples of Christ," Courier Journal, 04/16/2006, News section, p. 4B.

See photo image and additional information about Rev. Walter D. Bingham at Find A Grave website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bobtown, Farristown, and Middletown (Berea, KY)
African Americans were able to buy land in the Bobtown, Farristown, and Middletown communities after the Civil War. This change was in part due to the influence of Rev. John G. Fee. Farristown was founded in 1835, named for the Farris families who lived in the area. Middletown is so named because it is about midway between Farristown and Berea. Bobtown is the oldest of the three communities, originally founded around 1769 when it was called Joe Lick. The name was changed around 1872 in honor of African American resident Uncle Bob Fitch. Each of the communities had an African American church: First Baptist Church in Middletown was organized in 1894, Farristown Baptist Church in 1883, and New Liberty Baptist Church in Bobtown in 1866. For more information and photos see Early History of Black Berea, by Berea College, or contact the Berea College Library.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Bobtown (was Joe Lick), Madison County, Kentucky / Farristown, Madison County, Kentucky / Middletown, Madison County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Bowling Green Academy (Bowling Green, KY)
Start Year : 1902
End Year : 1933
The Bowling Green Academy School opened in 1902 with 57 students in the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, KY. Rev. R. L. Hyde was the school's president. The school was later moved into a building on State Street. "The object of this school is threefold (1) education in general of all negro children, especially in Kentucky, who desire the advantage of a first-class institution at reasonable rates; (2) education along special lines which shall fit our young men to fill more efficiently the pulpits of our churches; (3) to develop the negro youth into good Christian citizens by educating the head, heart and hand." The school attendance grew to more than 150 students before it closed in 1933. For more information see "Bowling Green Academy" in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

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 Kentucky.gov 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 Sisters
The Brooks Sisters were a singing group with members Naomi, Ophelia, Carrie, and Susie Brooks, all from Zion Hill, Kentucky. These sisters were the daughters of Hannah Brown of Fermantown in Versailles, Kentucky (also spelled Firmatown) and Minister John Brooks. The Brooks Sisters were a gospel group that was invited to sing at Kentucky churches, and they also made a record. Susie Brooks, the group's piano player, also played for the Zion Hill Church; she taught herself to play the piano. She was the mother of the Raglin Brothers, also a gospel singing group. Information submitted by Ponice Raglin Cruse and her father, the Reverend Floyd B. Raglin. Contact Ms. Cruse for additional information about the Brooks Sisters.
Subjects: Fathers, Kentucky African American Churches, Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Zion Hill, Scott County, Kentucky / Firmatown (Fermantown), Woodford County, Kentucky

Broyles, Moses
Birth Year : 1826
Death Year : 1882
Moses Broyles was a slave who was born in Maryland, according to the 1880 U.S. Census. His mother's name was Mary and his father's name was Moses. Moses Jr. was sold at the age of three or four to a slave owner named John Broyles in Kentucky, and he lived in McCracken County, and later worked in Paducah to purchase his freedom for $300. White children he played with had taught him to read, and Moses Broyles also had the gift to recite, sing, and give speeches. While still a slave, he began preaching in Paducah, and helped build the first Colored Baptist meeting house in Paducah. Moses Broyles would become a religion leader and an education leader among African Americans in Indianapolis, IN. Broyles purchased his freedom when he was an adult and left Kentucky, he moved to Lancaster, IN, in 1854. He was a prominent student at Eleutherian Institute in Lancaster, where many of the students were from Kentucky. In addition to his education, Broyles also learned furniture-making. Broyles would become a minister and led the Second Baptist Church in Indianapolis from 1857-1882. He also led in the establishing of several other churches in Indiana, and helped found the Indiana Baptist Association. He also taught school in Indianapolis, teaching at one of the first schools in the city for African Americans. He is author of the 1876 title The History of Second Baptist Church. The church prospered under Broyles leadership, and the congregation increased from 30 to 630. Broyles was a Republican and pushed for African Americans to align themselves with the Republican Party. Moses Broyles was the husband of Francis Broyles, and in 1880 the couple had seven children [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived on Blake Street in Indianapolis. For more see J. C. Carroll, "The Beginnings of public education for Negroes in Indiana," The Journal of Negro Education, vol.8, no.4, Oct. 1939, pp.649-658; Second Baptist Church Collection, 1912-1985 at the Indiana Historical Society[user info .pdf]; T. Sturgill, "Celebrating Black History Month: Three stories of survival," The Madison Courier, 02/16/2011 [article online at The Madison Courier.com]; and see Moses Broyles in the various entries in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis by D. J. Bodenhamer and R. G. Barrows.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Maryland / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Lancaster and Indianapolis, Indiana

Burdette, Gabriel
Birth Year : 1829
Death Year : 1914
Gabriel Burdette was born a slave in Garrard County, KY. In the 1850s, he was a preacher at the Forks Dix River Church in Garrard County. In 1864 he enlisted in the 114th U.S. Colored Infantry at Camp Nelson, KY, and assisted in establishing the refugee camp at Camp Nelson. He was an associate of John G. Fee. Burdette returned to Camp Nelson after the Civil War to become a member of the group that established Ariel Academy. He was the first African American on the Berea College Board of Trustees. In 1877, Burdette left Kentucky for Kansas, a member of the Exoduster Movement to the West. For more see the Gabriel Burdette entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Garrard County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Kansas

Campbell, Alexander, Sr. (former slave)
Birth Year : 1818
Death Year : 1870
Not to be confused with the Second Great Awakening leader, Alexander Campbell, this Alexander Campbell had been a slave in Woodford County, KY. He took the name of Alexander Campbell after being purchased by the White Christian Church in Midway, KY, in the 1830s. Campbell was owned by the Fleming Family and by Abraham Buford. He was purchased for $1000 and became the first preacher of the newly formed Colored Christian Church. Both Campbell and Samuel Buckner are considered the fathers of the Colored Christian Church Movement in Kentucky. They were the founders of more Colored Christian churches than any other two persons. Alexander Campbell was a minister in Lexington, KY, in 1870, according to the U.S. Federal Census, and he had purchased his wife's freedom for $1000. Alexander Campbell and Rosa VanMeter Campbell (b.1829 in Fayette Co., KY) were the parents of several children, and one of the youngest boys was named John Stafford Campbell, born in 1869 and died in 1942, according to Stafford's death certificate. Stafford was pastor of the Colored Christian Church in Midway and in Paris, KY. He was the twin brother of Burbridge Campbell who left Kentucky for Boston, MA in the 1880s, according to an article in the "Colored Notes" of the Lexington Leader, 08/28/1911, p.5. The article mentioned that Burbridge was returning home to visit his mother who lived at 410 Campbell Street in Lexington. Rosa and her sons are listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Rosa was a widow and worked as a "cloths renovator". Alexander Campbell Sr. died in 1870, and Rosa Campbell died in 1916, according to information provided by Brenda Jackson of Versailles, KY: "Death of A. Campbell," Apostolic Times, 12/18/1870, pp.297-298, and the Kentucky Certificate of Death for Rosa Campbell - File No. 7316. Rev. Alexander Campbell, Jr. died in 1896 in Indianapolis, IN, and is buried in African Cemetery #2, Lexington, KY [source: Yvonne Giles - Certificate of Death #1406]. For more see Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925 (thesis), by C. Walker; "Old slave church remembered," Lexington Leader, 12/27/1976, p.A9; and Two Races in One Fellowship by R. L. Jordan.
Subjects: Fathers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Campbell, Madison
Birth Year : 1823
Death Year : 1896
Madison Campbell was born in Madison County, KY, about ten miles south of Richmond, KY. He was the slave of Edly Campbell. Madison Campbell was baptized in 1856 by Jacob Bush of the Richmond Colored Church. He purchased his freedom in 1863 and began preaching at a number of churches in the Richmond/Berea area, baptizing hundreds of African Americans. Campbell was instrumental in the development of churches such as the New Liberty Church, where he preached until 1873; Mt. Pleasant Church, built in 1873; and Otter Creek Baptist Church, built in 1876. Campbell was the first pastor of the First Baptist Church in downtown Richmond and also helped organize the Mt. Pleasant District Association in 1873. He is buried in the Old Soldiers Cemetery in Richmond. For more see Autobiography of Eld. Madison Campbell: pastor of the Untied Colored Baptist Church, Richmond, Kentucky, by M. Campbell.
Subjects: Authors, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Richmond and Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Cedar Creek and Mill Creek, KY
The Cedar Creek Black Cemetery is located in Hardin County, KY. Buried there are the descendants of the former slaves who lived in the area. After gaining their freedom, an African American community was established around the cemetery, along with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a school. There was a second African American community near Wright Cemetery. According to author Gary Kempf, there are two cemeteries behind the Wright Cemetery where African Americans were buried. The land that held the communities and the cemeteries was taken over for the expansion of Fort Knox Military Reservation. For more see The Land Before Fort Knox by G. Kenpf.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cedar Creek, MIll Creek, Fort Knox, Hardin County, Kentucky

Center Street Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church
The Center Street CME Church, first of its denomination in Louisville, KY, was led by several pastors, including Bishop Miles in the late 1860s and J. W. Bell in the 1870s. The church was host to the 3rd CME General Conference in 1874. In 1904, the church was moved and became the Chestnut Street CME Church. The church was renamed again in 1954: Brown Memorial CME Church. The church, located at 809 W. Chestnut Street in Louisville, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more see the entry for marker #1677 in the Kentucky Historical Society Marker Database.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Chiles, James Alexander [Chiles v. Chesapeake & O R CO]
Birth Year : 1860
J. Alexander Chiles was one of eight children, including his twin brother, John R. Chiles, who gave him financial assistance while he was a student at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) and the University of Michigan Law School. Chiles moved to Lexington, KY, in 1890 to open a law office at 304 W. Short Street. His business was a success; Chiles is sometimes referred to as the first African American lawyer in Lexington. By 1907, he was one of four African American lawyers in the city. Chiles argued in the Supreme Court case against the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad for desegregation of railroad coaches after he was removed by force to the Colored coach in spite of his first class ticket from Washington D.C. to Lexington. Chiles was also an active member of the Colored Seventh Day Adventist congregation in Lexington; he was a trustee, deacon, and treasurer of the first church built in 1906 at the corner of Fifth and Upper Streets. His wife, Fannie J. Chiles, was the first librarian for the church. Elder Alonzo Barry was pastor. James A. Chiles was born in Virginia, the son of Richard and Martha Chiles. In 1910, James and Fannie Chiles planned to move from Lexington to Richmond, VA. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; Chiles v. Chesapeake & O R CO, 218 U.S. 71 (1910) [full-text online by Justia]; and "Lawyer J. Alex Chiles" in the Colored Notes of the Lexington Leader, 01/02/1910, p.2.

*Name sometimes spelled Childes.*

See 1895 photo image of J. Alexander Chiles at Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Church Street (Walton, KY)
According to the history page at the Walton, KY, website, a small African American community was developed by former slaves in North Walton after the Civil War, and the community founded the Zion Baptist Church in 1872. The Steele and Ingram families are mentioned as long-time residents of the community. Walton is located in Boone County in Northern Kentucky. For more see the Walton, Kentucky, history page, 1850s-1890s.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Walton, Boone County, Kentucky

Clement, Emma C. Williams
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1952
Emma Clarissa Williams Clement lived in Louisville, KY. At the age of 71, she became the first African American to be named Mother of the Year. The recognition was made on Mothers Day, May 12, 1941, after Clement was select for the honor by the Golden Rule Foundation. Clement, born in Providence, RI, was the wife of George Clement, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Louisville, and the mother of Rufus E. Clement and Ruth E. Clement Bond. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and "News from our file: fifty years ago," Marysville Journal-Tribune, 05/02/1996, p. 4.

See photo image of Emma C. W. Clement and her family at the Corbis Images website.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Mothers, Migration South
Geographic Region: Providence, Rhode Island / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Colored Christian Church (Midway, KY)
Start Year : 1834
What is thought to be the first Negro Christian Church in the United States was founded as a congregation in 1834. It was later named the Midway Colored Christian Church, then renamed the 2nd Christian Church of Midway. According to former historian, Mrs. Katherine Johnson, the initial congregation was made up of colored members of the white churches at New Union, Grassy Spring, and Georgetown, KY. Meetings were held at the Kentucky Female Orphan School, where one of the members would volunteer to lead the weekly services. Alexander Campbell, a slave who was purchased by the white Christian Church for $1000 in order to become the preacher and manager of the congregation's affairs. A log cabin church was later built for the members on the banks of Lee's Branch. Under Campbell's leadership, the church soon had 300 new members and the congregation outgrew the log cabin. In 1872, the congregation purchased the Presbyterian Church building on Stephens Street, and that church was replaced by a new building in 1906. For more see Negro Disciples in Kentucky, 1840-1925 (thesis), by C. Walker; History of the Midway Colored Christian Church, by K. Johnson (1955); and "Old slave church remembered," Lexington Leader, 12/27/1976, p.A9. See also the entry for the Stone-Campbell Movement in Kentucky.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Midway, New Union, and Grassy Spring, Woodford County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

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

Colored Skating Rink (Earlington, KY)
In 1910, a Colored skating rink was located across the street from the Louisville & Eastern Interurban Rail line Station in Earlington, KY. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church Sunday School used the facility for its Christmas entertainment on December 24-25, 1910. Superintendent William Killebrew and his assistants were in charge of the arrangements. For more, see the paragraph about the celebration in the Colored News section of The Bee (Earlington newspaper), 12/16/1910, p. 4, and 12/23/1910, p. 4. By the beginning of the new year, several Colored churches and Colored persons in Earlington had signed a petition to condemn the dances and perceived rowdiness that had taken place at the skating rink. The indecent entertainment was said to be destroying the lives and character of young Negroes in Earlington. See the Colored Column paragraph "There is a petition signed...," in The Bee, 01/24/1911, p. 2. The Mt. Zion Baptist Church continued to use the skating rink for its events. The skating rink was also used for a banquet by the Zadok Lodge #80 F. & A. M. The organization paid honor to two visitors to the city, Professor E. B. Davis, Grand Master of F. & A. M. of Kentucky, and Ms. Maggie Freeman, Royal Grand Matron of the Eastern Stars. See the Colored Column paragraph "Prof. E. B. Davis...," in The Bee, 06/30/1911, p. 7.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Skating Rinks
Geographic Region: Earlington, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Colored Skating Rink (Paducah, KY)
In 1909, the Paducah Colored skating rink was up for sale. The 55 ft. lot, which had cost $4,000, was being sold for $2,500. In 1910, the rink was still in existence when the Colored revival was held there in September. The rink was located on Tenth Street. The revival was held by Lena Mason from Philadelphia, PA, with assistance from Reverend G. W. Robinson, pastor of the African Methodist Evangelical Church in Paducah. For more see "Real estate bargains," The Paducah Evening Sun, 04/03/1909, p. 5; and "Colored revival starts," The Paducah Evening Sun, 09/21/1910, p. 5.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Skating Rinks
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Cosby, Kevin Wayne
Birth Year : 1958
Born in Louisville, KY, Kevin W. Cosby is the son of the late Clora E. and Laken Cosby, Jr. Since 1979, Rev. Kevin W. Cosby has served as senior pastor of the St. Stephen Church in Louisville, the largest African American church in Kentucky and one of the largest churches in the United States. Cosby is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and United Theological Seminary. He is the 13th president of Simmons College in Louisville, serving in that position without a salary. Cosby is author of several books, including the co-authored Get Off Your Butt! messages, musings, and ministries to empower the African American Church. Rev. Cosby has received a number of awards, including his recognition in 1992 by the U.S. Senate for his dedication to community and race relations, and in 2007 he was one of the two recipients of the Louisvillian of the Year Award. For more see the Congressional Record, "Rev. Kevin Wayne Cosby," 05/13/1992, 102nd Cong. 2nd. Sess., 138 Cong Rec S 6615; "AdFed names Cosby, Kelly its Louisvillians of the year," at bizjournals.com, 07/17/2007; and Connections with Renee Shaw, program #303 - Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby [available online], 10/06/2007, at KET (Kentucky Educational Television).

See photo and additional information about Rev. Dr. Kevin Wayne Cosby, at speakers section of the 34th Annual Alexander/Pegues Minister's Conference at shawuniversity.edu.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Dickerson, William H.
Dickerson was elected State Evangelist of Kentucky in 1895 during the State Convention of the Christian Church in Hustonville, KY. He was a pastor at Millersburg, Mayslick, and Nicholasville (1895), all in Kentucky. Under Dickerson's directorship, Nicholasville had the most modern Christian church in the state; the building cost over $6,000. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Hustonville, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Mayslick, Mason County, Kentucky / Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Dixville and Other Communities in North Middletown, KY
One of the earliest mentions of the African American community of Dixville is a 1901 newspaper article in The Bourbon News. The community is also mentioned in Jacqueline Sue's book, Black Seeds in the Blue Grass. Dixville is located in North Middletown, KY, on the main road that heads toward Mt. Sterling. Albert B. Wess, Sr. was reared in Dixville: he was born on Deweese Street in Lexington and the family moved to Dixville when he was a small child. His father was a prominent member of the Dixville community, owning several homes and the Tom Wess Grocery Store. The store was in operation long before Albert Wess and his twin sister, Alberta, were born in 1923, and the store closed a year before Tom Wess died in 1936. The 2nd Christian Church was across the street from the store and nearby was a UBF&SMT [United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten] Lodge Hall. Tom Wess belonged to the lodge. The present day church in Dixville is Wiley Methodist Church. In 2007, the first Annual Dixville Picnic was held. Three other African American communities were located in North Middletown. One was Kerrville (1), on Highway 460 about one mile outside North Middletown. The Francis M. Wood High School, grades 1-8, was located in Kerrville (1), and Florence H. Wess (d.1932), mother to Albert Wess, was one of the schoolteachers and the music teacher; she also played piano at the church. Kerrville (2) was next to the other Kerrville; and Smoketown was one mile on the other side of North Middletown, heading toward Little Rock. A few of the families that lived in these communities had the last names of Carter, Cason, Mack, Kenney, Green, McClure, Butler, Fields, Dorsey, and Gibbs. This information comes from Albert B. Wess, Sr. See the article in The Bourbon News, 11/19/1901, p. 5. If you have more information about Dixville or the other communities, please contact Michell Butler.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Dixville, Kerrville, Smoketown, North Middletown, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Dowe, Jessica
Birth Year : 1956
From 2003-2005, Dr. Dowe practiced medicine in Munfordville, KY, the first African American to do so; she practiced with Dr. James Middleton at the Family Medicine Clinic of Hart County. Dr. Dowe is also one of the original board members of the Munfordville YMCA. She is also a speaker with the American Medical Association (AMA) Minority Affairs Consortium, "Doctors Back to School," a program that encourages elementary children to consider medicine as a career. Dr. Dowe has a number of publications and many years experience as a pharmaceutical and toxicology researcher, and she serves as an investigator in clinical pharmacology research for a number of companies. She has also served as Medical Services Director at the Jefferson County Department of Corrections. Dr. Dowe presently practices medicine in Elizabethtown, KY, and is a clinical instructor in Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville. She is also a charter member for the first Faith-based Recovery Program for Addiction in Elizabethtown; the program is associated with the First Baptist Church, which is led by Reverend B. T. Bishop. Dr. Dowe was born in Alabama and is the daughter of Jessie and Janie Dowe. She graduated in 1978 from Dillard University with a degree in chemistry, earned a Ph.D. in pharmacology at Howard University, and attended the University of Louisville, where she earned her MD in 1996. This information is taken from, with permission, the curriculum vita of Dr. Jessica Dowe. Contact Dr. Dowe at Xavier Healthcare in Elizabethtown, KY, for more information.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Researchers, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky / Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Alabama

Dupee, George W.
Birth Year : 1827
Death Year : 1897
George Washington Dupee was born in Gallatin County, KY, the son of Cuthbert and Rachael Dupee. When he and his two brothers were being sold as part of an estate in 1856, Dupee's freedom was purchased by his congregation at the Lexington Pleasant Green Baptist Church. He organized the first association of African American churches in 1864, the same year he became pastor at Washington Street Colored Baptist Church in Paducah. He began publishing the Baptist Herald in 1873; the newspaper's name was later changed to the American Baptist. Rev. Dupee also held the office of Grand Senior Warden and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Kentucky. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; "Rev. George Washington Dupee, D.D." on p.186 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; and Afro-American Encyclopaedia: Or, the Thoughts, Doings... by James T. Haley, pp. 611-612 [available online from the University of North Carolina University Library, Documenting the American South].

See photo image of George W. Dupee in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Gallatin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Ferguson, Andrew
Birth Year : 1828
Andrew Ferguson was a slave born in Paris, KY, owned by Dr. Andrew Todd. Ferguson was given his freedom with the condition that he live in Liberia, Africa. At the age of 24, his name is listed among the freeman, all bound for Liberia, in the 1853 publication of The African Repository, v.29, p. 70 [available full-text at Google Book Search]. Ferguson remained in Liberia for two years, then returned to the U.S. as a free man and settled in Louisville, KY, where he was employed as a janitor in the Hamilton Building. He was a member of the Board of Missions for Freedom Colored Church that had been holding services in a rented hall. When it came time for the church to find a permanent home, Ferguson confidentially encouraged Pastor J. R. Riley to consider a church on Madison Street that was for sale by a German denomination. Once the pastor had made up his mind, Ferguson, with the pastor in attendance, paid $4,880 in cash for the building. The deed was made out to the trustees of the church. After the purchase, Ferguson continued as an unassuming member of the congregation, holding no positions in the church. For more see "A Noble Deed of a Colored Man," The Presbyterian Monthly Record, vol. 32 (1881), pp. 321-322 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ferrill, London
Birth Year : 1789
Death Year : 1854
A slave from Hanover County, VA, London Ferrill became minister in 1820 of the Lexington First African Baptist Church, which became the largest church in Kentucky with 1,828 members. London Ferrill was born in 1789, the slave of Mrs. Ann Ferrill Winston, who gave him the name of her birth place, London, England [source: "Rev. London Ferrill; Kentucky's greatest Negro preacher" in the title Lore of the Meadowland by J. W. Townsend, pp.28-34]. All of the slaves had the last name Ferrill. Ann F. Winston died when London Ferrill was nine years old and he was sold to Colonel Samuel Overton for $600, separating him from his mother.  London Ferrill's wife purchased his freedom (it is assumed that she was already free) and the two left Virginia for Kentucky and settled four miles outside of Lexington. The family of three is listed in the 1820 and the 1830 U.S. Federal Census. London Ferrill began preaching in the homes of his congregation. He was eventually ordained by the Elkhorn Baptist Association. He requested and was granted permission to remain in Kentucky by the General Assembly [free Negroes were to leave the state, unless they were born in Kentucky]. At the age of 20, London Ferrill was baptized by Rev. Absalom Waller. When Lexington and Fayette County were hit by cholera, London Ferrill lost his wife on June 11, 1833. After the death of his wife, Ferrill moved into Lexington and would become the founder of the First Baptist Church for Colored People. The church was on the corner of East Short and Deweese Streets. London Ferrill died in Lexington on October 12, 1854, and is buried in the Old Episcopal Third Street Cemetery. He had no children when he died, but left a will giving his property to his adopted children. For more see Biography of London Ferrill, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Colored Persons, Lexington, Ky at the Documenting the American South website; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Hanover County, Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Fifth Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1815
The church was founded in 1815, known at that time as the First Baptist African Mission. In 1842 the congregation separated from the First Baptist Church of Louisville, forming the Colored Baptist Church of Louisville. It is one of the oldest African American churches in the city, and one of the oldest among African American Baptist churches. The church archive is available at the University of Louisville Archives and Record Center. Historical Sketch of The Fifth Street Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky, by G. A. Hampton, is included in the archive collection.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

First African Baptist Church (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1790
The First African Baptist Church is considered the first west of the Allegheny Mountains, and is said to predate the first Baptist Church for whites. The church was founded by Peter Durrett, who was a slave also known as Old Captain. Durrett was born in Caroline County, Virginia in the 1700s and arrived in what is now the state of Kentucky around 1785. He and his wife lived in Lexington and the First African Baptist Church was located at the corner of what would become known as Lexington and Euclid Streets. Durrett preached to the slaves who were allowed to attend his church, and there was a beginning congregation of 50 members. Today the First African Baptist Church is located at 465 Price Road in Lexington, KY. For more about the history of the church and it's preachers, the community, and other African American churches that developed from the First African Baptist Church, see One Grain of the Salt by Dr. L. H. McIntyre.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Freetown, Kentucky
Start Year : 1846
Located on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, around 1846 it became the first African American community in Monroe County, KY. The community members were the freed slaves of William Howard, who gave them 400 acres to build homes. Albert Martin gave the land for the church, which was also built in 1846. For more see Mount Vernon AME Church in African American Historic Places by B. L. Savage and C. D. Shull.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Freetown (Gamaliel), Monroe County, Kentucky

Gaddie, Daniel Abraham, Sr.
Birth Year : 1836
Death Year : 1911
Reverend D. A. Gaddie was born in Hart County, KY, the son of a slave owner whose last name was Jamison. He changed his last name to Gaddie after he was freed. Gaddie was a blacksmith and became an ordained minister in 1865. A very active member of the Association of the Kentucky Baptist, he was pastor of a number of churches in Louisville, including the Green Street Baptist Church during the 1870s. It is estimated that Rev. Gaddie baptized more than 1,000 people. Rev. Gaddie received an honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1887 from State University [later Simmons University] in Louisville, KY. Some sources say that he was a graduated of the school. Gaddie was also a member of the school's Board of Trustees for seven years, and of the Executive Board for 16 years. Rev. D. A. Gaddie's name can be found on a number of African American marriage certificates, including that of James Cambron and Lucenda Fry Cambron, married in 1895. For more see Afro-American Encyclopaedia: Or, the Thoughts, Doings..., by James T. Haley, p. 476 [available online at the UNC Library, Documenting the American South website]; the Daniel Abraham Gaddie entry in v.4 of the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and the Rev. Daniel Abraham Gaddie entry in Men of Mark by W. J. Simmons and H. M. Turner [available full view at Google Book Search].

See depiction of Reverend D. A. Gaddie on p.648 in Men of Mark by W. J. Simmons and H. M. Turner.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths
Geographic Region: Hart County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

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

 

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

Green Street Baptist Church [George Wells]
Start Year : 1844
George Wells (1788-1850), was born in Kentucky, and is listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census as a free man who is a Baptist minister in Louisville, KY. In 1844, he founded what is today named the Green Street Baptist Church, one of the oldest African American churches in Kentucky. The church was located on First Street in Louisville, KY, and moved to Green Street in 1848. It was first called Second African Church, then Second Colored Church, before being given the present name in 1860. Wells was pastor of the church from 1844-1850. The second minister was Rev. Sneathen, who died in the 1870s, and he was followed by Rev. Gaddie. Today the church is located at 519 E. Gray Street. For more see the Green Street Baptist Church Records in the University of Louisville Libraries Special Collections and Archives; Kentucky Historical Marker #1949, at the Kentucky Historical Society Markers Database; A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten by W. H. Gibson.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

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

Harvey, Wardelle G., Sr.
Birth Year : 1926
Wardell G. Harvey, Sr. was born in Booneville, IN, and is a graduate of Tri-State Baptist College. He came to Kentucky in 1962 to pastor at the Harrison Street Baptist Church in Paducah. In 1968, Rev. Harvey became the first African American to be appointed to the Paducah City Commission. He was also the first African American on the Paducah Housing Board and was mayor pro tem. Rev. Harvey was a Civil Rights activist, developing the Non-Partisan League in Paducah to push for the desegregation of public accommodations. For more see "Nine Blacks on City Councils, One Prosecuting Attorney," Human Rights News, January-February 1969; and Not without struggle, by J. B. Horton.

 

Access Interview Read the transcript to the Rev. Wardelle Harvey oral history interview by Betty Brinson, 08/16/2000, at the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Kentucky African American Churches, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Booneville, Indiana / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Heath, Andrew
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1887
Andrew Heath was a slave born in Henderson County, KY. He had become an ordained minister in 1867 and was an assistant pastor. Heath became a free man, and after the death of Rev. Henry Adams, he was named pastor at Fifth Street Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. Heath was also a member of the first Baptist Convention held in Kentucky and served in several leadership capacities with the General Association. He is said to have baptized 1,500 persons. Heath was well respected among the Baptists; thousands of people paid their respects when he died in 1887. For more see the Andrew Heath entries in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and in Men of Mark, by W. J. Simmons and H. M. Turner.

See photo image of Rev. Andrew Heath at the New York Public Library Digital Library.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1790
The Baptist Church was thought to have established the oldest African American congregation west of the Allegheny Mountains. The history dates back to 1790 when Rev. Peter Duerett founded the African Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. The name was changed to "Pleasant Green" in 1829. Today the church is located at 540 W. Maxwell Street in Lexington, Kentucky. For more contact the church at 859-254-7387.

See photo image of the Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church at The Bluegrass and Beyond website.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hodge, W. J.
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2000
W. J. Hodge was born in Texas and came to Louisville, KY, in 1957 to become pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist Church. In 1958 he was elected president of the Louisville Chapter of the NAACP and in 1962 was elected president of the Kentucky Conference of the NAACP. Hodge helped organize the 1964 March on Frankfort in support of the Kentucky Civil Rights Law. In 1977, Hodge became the first African American president of the Louisville Board of Alderman; he resigned from the board in 1982 to become president of Simmons Bible College. For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 20; Y. D. Coleman, "First Black Alderman president recently honored with a resolution," The Louisville Defender, 03/12/1992, p. 4; and T. Shannon, "W. J. Hodge," Courier-Journal, 12/28/2000, NEWS section, p. 01A.

See photo image and additional information about W. J. Hodge at "Geat Black Kentuckians," a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Texas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Howard School / Normal Institute / Chandler Normal School / Webster Hall (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1866
End Year : 1923
At the end of the Civil War, the first schools for Negro children in Lexington, KY, were located in the churches: First Baptist Church, Pleasant Green Baptist Church, Main Street Baptist Church, Asbury CME Church, and Christian Church. Howard School opened in 1866 with an enrollment of 500 students and three Negro teachers. The school classes were held in the building called Ladies Hall, located on Church Street in Lexington, KY. It was a free school for the children who could not afford the tuition of a private school. The facility had been purchased from the money that was accumulated after a year of fund raising by Negro women in Lexington, KY. Howard School was named after Freedmen's Bureau director O. O. Howard. The school was supported by the Freedmen's Bureau, the American Missionary Association (AMA), and the Lexington Negro Public School Fund. AMA took over the school in 1866 and added six white teachers from the North. Two years later, the enrollment had increased to 900 students, and $540 was received from the public school fund to pay the teachers' wages. In 1870, the Freedmen's Bureau assisted in the funding for a new building located on Corral Street. Several other Negro schools were consolidated into Howard School, and it became the largest school in the region for Negro students. By 1874, the name of the school had changed to Normal Institute, and again public funding was used for a portion of the teachers' wages. A year later, AMA ceased supporting the school and the city of Lexington operated the facility as a public school. At some point prior to 1888, the school was closed. AMA had the building repaired and reopened the school, and added industrial classes. Soon the enrollment exceeded the capacity of the building. Mrs. Phebe Chandler, a philanthropist from the North, donated funding for the purchase of land away from the city, and for the construction of a new school building. The new school was named Chandler Normal School, it opened in 1890 on four acres of land on Georgetown Road. Webster Hall, a home for teachers and the principal was built around 1914, it was designed by African American architect Vertner W. Tandy Sr. The Chandler Normal School closed in 1923, but the building remained and an auditorium was added in 1960. Webster Hall was used as a parsonage for the National Temple of the House of God, at 548 Georgetown Street. In 1980, both the Chandler Normal School and Webster Hall were placed on the National Register of Historic Places [#80001509]. The property around Chandler Normal School and Webster Hall was used for the building of Lincoln Terrace Housing Projects. For more see "Normal Institute, Lexington, Kentucky" on pages 43-44 in History of the American Missionary Association by the American Missionary Association [available at Google Books]; A History of Blacks in Kentucky, by M. B. Lucas; and "Lexington: Chandler Normal School Building - Webster Hall" in Black Heritage Sites, by N. C. Curtis. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database. See Miss Apple: letters of a Maine Teacher in Kentucky, by E. W. Cunningham, for information about the white teachers from Maine who taught at the Chandler Normal School.

See photo image of Webster Hall c.1920 at the kentuckyexplorer.com website.



See photo image of Chandler Normal School c.1900, Lexington, KY, at the Amistad Research Center American Missionary Association website at the Louisiana Digital Library.


Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentuckky

Hutchinson, Jerome, Sr.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2007
Born in Louisville, KY, Reverend Hutchinson was the first African American to chair the Louisville-Jefferson County Planning Commission in 1979. He became a member of the commission in 1976. He was a graduate of Central High School and attended Louisville Municipal College. He was owner of Jerome Hutchinson and Associates, a marketing and real estate business. He also owned and was chairman of the television station WYCS-TV, the first African American-owned television station in Kentucky. Hutchinson had also been an associate minister at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Louisville. He was the father of Seretha Tinsley and Jerome Hutchinson, Jr. For more see P. Burba, "Businessman Jerome Hutchinson, Sr. dies," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 07/27/2007, News section, p. 6B.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Television, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ishmaelites of Kentucky
There are two discussions about the existence of the the Tribe of Ishmael.

According to earlier sources, between 1785 and 1790, an Islamic denomination called Ishmaelites was first noticed in Nobel County (now Bourbon County), KY. The group was led by Ben and Jennie Ishmael. Individual members were of a multiracial background of African, Native American, and poor whites. The first generation included escapees from slavery and the Indian Wars, all having made their way to Kentucky from Tennessee, North & South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. In the early 1800s, the Ishmael's son John led the group across the Ohio River to the area that today is part of Indianapolis; soon afterward the group became a nomadic community. They were viewed as odd and referred to as gypsies. The group was suspected of having a high infant death rate, and in the 1880s it was common for the children to be taken away from their parents. Adult members were arrested on an array of charges, then imprisoned, committed, or bound to servitude. By the late 1800s, three-fourths of the patients at the Indianapolis City Hospital (a mental institution) were from the Tribe of Ishmael. In 1907 the compulsory sterilization law was passed in Indiana, and the procedure was used to further reduce the number of new births by Ishmaelite members. For more see Black Crescent: the experience and legacy of African Muslims in the Americas, by M. A. Gomez, pp.196-200; and O. C. M'Culloch, "The Tribe of Ishmael: a study on social degradation," Proceedings of the National Conference of Charities and Correction at the Fifteenth Annual Session Held in Buffalo, NY, July 5-11, 1888, pp. 154-159. See also The Tribe of Ishmael: a group of degenerates... at the Eugenics Archive website.

According to more recent sources, the Tribe of Ismael is a myth, and Ben and Jennie Ishmael were Christians. One of the current sources is the 2009 title Inventing America's "Worst" Family by Nathaniel Deutsch. The book traces how the Ishmael Family, a poor Christian family that included a Civil War veteran, was used as a representation of the urban poor in the late 1800s, then during the 1970s, became a very much admired family credited with founding an African American Muslim movement and community. For additional information see E. A. Carlson, "Commentary: R. L. Dugdale and the Jukes Family: a historical injustice corrected," BioScience, vol.30, issue 8 (August 1980), pp. 535-539; R. Horton, "Tribe of Ishmael" in The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, by D. J. Bodenhamer, et al.; and E. F. Kramer, "Recasting the Tribe of Ishmael," Indiana Magazine of History, v.104 (March 2008), pp.36-64 [available online in IUPUI Scholar Works Repository].
Subjects: Communities, Early Settlers, Freedom, Hoaxes, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Nobel County (Bourbon County), Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Tennessee / North Carolina / South Carolina / Virginia / Maryland

Jones, Della M. Lewis
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 2009
Della M. Lewis Jones was the oldest African American librarian in Kentucky, she was also the oldest alumna of Kentucky State University and the oldest resident in Grant Count, KY. Jones was a 1957 graduate of Kentucky State University and she received a doctor of humane honorary letters degree from the school in May of 2009. She had earlier attended Lincoln Institute and her first teaching position was in Wayne County, KY. The following year she took a teaching job in Boone County. Jones later taught at a segregated school in New Liberty and other schools in Kentucky. After the schools of Kentucky were integrated, Jones became librarian of the Owen County High School. In recognition of her longevity and educational contributions, May 14 was proclaimed Della Jones Day in Williamstown, KY. She was the last surviving member of the Ogg's Chapel C. M. E. Church in Williamstown, KY. Della Jones was the daughter of Richard and Sarah E. Jackson Lewis. She was the wife of the late Bradley Jones (1902-1969) who was a barber in the 1930s when the couple lived on the Northside of Cynthiana Street in Williamstown, according to the U.S. Federal Census. They had lived in the home since 1921. Della Jones was the great aunt of Kentucky House Member Reginald Meeks. For more see J. Baker-Nantz, "Call her Dr. Jones," Grant County News, 05/21/09, p.21; Della Jones obituary at stanleyfuneralhome.com; and S. Hopkins, "Kentucky State's oldest grad dies at 106," Lexington Herald Leader, 07/17/2009, p.B5.


Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Williamstown, Grant County, Kentucky

Jones, Edward "Ned"
Death Year : 1865
Rev. Edward "Ned" Jones is considered the first African American Methodist preacher in Kentucky. He began preaching around 1830 in the white Methodist Church at the corner of Clay and Nashville Streets in Hopkinsville, KY. Ned was the slave of William Fee Jones, a Presbyterian minister. The Methodist Church purchased Ned's freedom so that he could preach to the slaves. When he attempted to form an African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in 1856, he was accused of trying to incite an insurrection among the slaves, and was jailed for three months. When released, Ned moved to Bowling Green, KY. The Hopkinsville Colored AME Church was established by the Southern Methodist soon after the Civil War ended. Ned would return to Hopkinsville, where he preached to both whites and Africa Americans, and he would become known as the most prominent preacher at Freeman's Chapel. Rev. Edward "Ned" Jones was the husband of Anna B. Jones, and the grandfather of Kentucky native Bishop E. W. Lampton (1857-1910) of the AME Church of Greenville, MS. For more see p.240 in Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky by W. H. Perrin [title available online at Kentucky Digital Library-Printed Books]; and H. D. Slatter, "Bishop Lampton's grandmother dead," Baltimore Afro-American, 02/20/1909, p.1.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

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


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

Jones, William A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1968
Jones was a minister who helped lead the Civil Rights Movement in Lexington, KY, via the Lexington Chapter of Congress of Racial Equity (CORE), which was developed in Jones' Pleasant Green Baptist Church - the oldest African American church west of the Allegheny Mountains. Jones' strategy - voting en bloc - helped to confirm the victory of Harry N. Sykes as Lexington's first African American City Councilman in 1963 and Mayor pro tem in 1967. Jones was thought to be  the first African American to be buried in the Lexington Cemetery [the first was actually Charles Skillman]. For more see 2001 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame - Inductees from Lexington; andThe one hundred seventy-fifth anniversary celebration of Pleasant Green Baptist Church, Lexington, Kentucky, Sunday, October 24 thru Sunday, November 28, 1965 ... William Augustus Jones, Sr., pastor.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Keas, Samuel G.
Birth Year : 1812
Samuel Keas was a land owner, farmer and cattle owner. Keas Street in Smithville [Montgomery County, KY] is named for him. In 1878 he became the first pastor and namesake for the Keas Tabernacle C.M.E. Church in Mt. Sterling. Along with Bishop Miles, from Louisville, and with the aid of Mrs. Eliza Magowan and Mr. Willis Magowan, the church was organized in a former school building. Future updates to this small church would be built around the existing structure, but the footprint remains the same, even today. Samuel Keas was a well-known and respected preacher prior to the Civil War, serving as a beacon to the black community in Montgomery County. On August 17, 1856 he conducted a baptism at Lublegrud Creek in Montgomery County. He performed the marriage of Patsy Magowan to Edward Howard on September 18, 1858. Samuel and his wife, Nannie [Rebecca], had three children: daughters Amanda and Betty and son Allen. This entry was submitted by Holly Hawkins of the Montgomery County Historical Society. Courtesy: Jane D. Hawkins, Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial. For more information, see online the National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form for Keas Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church [.pdf]; "Keas Tabernacle CME Church" on p. 245 in African American Historic Places, by B. L. Savage; and mention of Allen Keas and Keas Tabernacle in the column, "Religious," in the Mt. Sterling Advocate, 10/31/1899, p. 8, and 06/03/1902, p. 7. For information on Samuel Keas as pastor of the C.M.E. Center Street Church in Louisville, KY, see p. 156 in The History of the CME Church (Revised), by O. H. Lakey. For information on the prior history of the Keas Tabernacle C.M.E. Church, see the Mt. Sterling Station (Church) entry in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Smithville, Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky Slave Narratives
The memories of former Kentucky slaves were recorded as part of the 1936-1938 Federal Writers' Project, Slave Narratives: a folk history of slavery in the United States from interviews with former slaves - Kentucky Narratives. The title is available full-text online at Project Gutenberg and includes a brief glimpse of the lives of former slaves such as Eliza Ison, who lived in the African American community of Duncantown in Garrard County; George Scruggs of Calloway County, a slave of racehorse owner Vol Scruggs; and Reverend John R. Cox of Boyd County, minister of the Catlettsburg A.M.E. Church and also the city's first African American truant officer.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Kentucky

King, Alfred D. W.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 1969
The youngest brother of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Alfred King was pastor of the Louisville Zion Baptist Church (1965-1968); it became the largest African American Baptist church in Kentucky. He founded the Kentucky Christian Leadership Council and assisted in the organization of the Committee for Open Housing's nightly marches in Louisville. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lampton Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY) [Spencer Taylor]
Start Year : 1866
Spencer Taylor, a carpenter, organized the church and led the services of the Lampton Street Baptist Church, founded in 1866 in Louisville, KY. Services were first held in Taylor's carpentry shop, located at the intersection of Preston, Jackson, Breckinridge and Caldwell Streets. The church services were later moved to a house that was built on Caldwell Street between Preston and Jackson Streets. A later Lampton Street Baptist Church building was completed by architect Samuel Plato. When the National Baptist Convention was held in Louisville in September 1928, the assembly of women at the Lampton Street Baptist Church was seriously urged by Nannie Burroughs to vote for the Republican presidential candidate, Herbert Hoover. The women had gathered at the church to conduct the business of the National Baptist Women's Convention, an organization founded by Nannie Burroughs in Louisville, KY, in 1900. The present day Lampton Baptist Church is located on 4th Street in Louisville, KY. For more see the "Lampton Street Baptist Church" entry in Weeden's History of the Colored People of Louisville, by H. C. Weeden; and in Negro Baptist History, by L. G. Jordan. For more about the 1928 Women's Convention, see L. G. Materson, "African American women, prohibition, and the 1928 presidential election," Journal of Women's History, vol . 21, issue 1 (Spring 2009), pp. 63-86.

See photo image of the Lampton Baptist Church in Louisville and the Zion Baptist Church in Georgetown, both on p.99 in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lexington Conference (Methodist Episcopal Church)
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1964
The Lexington Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was established in Harrodsburg, KY, in 1869. It was the third missionary conference for African Americans [the first was the Delaware Conference and the second was the Washington Conference, both established in 1864]. African Americans had been members of the Kentucky District of the Methodist Episcopal Church as early as 1787 when there were 64 Colored members, according to author F. Ockerman, Jr. When the Lexington Conference was established, it was originally a part of the Kentucky Annual Conference; beginning in the spring of 1866, a few Negro preachers were admitted into the traveling connection as a trial. New members were added as the preachers met as a group over the next three years. At the annual session in Newport, KY, in 1868, the preachers forwarded a resolution asking for their own conference, named the Lexington Conference; the resolution was approved. The conference founders were Henry Hopkins Lytle (1802-1890), from Maryland; Israel Simms (1819-1912), from New Castle, KY; Zail or Zale Ross (1824-1892), from Georgetown, KY; William Lawrence (d. 1900 in Anchorage, KY); Marcus McCoomer (1834-1899); Peter Booth (d. 1873), from Kentucky; Hanson Talbott (d. 1870), from Harrodsburg, KY; Nelson Saunders (d. 1879 in Louisville, KY); Paris Fisher; Andrew Bryant (d. 1870 in Paris, KY); Adam Nunn (b.1820), from Oberlin, OH; George Downing (1807-1880), from Virginia; Willis L. Muir (d. 1911 in Louisville, KY); and Elisha C. Moore (d. 1871), from Alabama. The first Lexington Conference was held in the Jackson Street Church in Louisville in 1870, with the membership initially including churches in Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The women's divisions of the conference were formed after the turn of the century: Women's Home Missionary Society (1900), Ladies Aid Society (1914), Minister's Wives (1919), and Women's Society of Christian Service. The Lexington Conference was held most often in a Kentucky location, and as the membership increased, it also shifted northward with the Great Migration, after which the conference was held more in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. In 1946 the membership was over 17,000, with close to half from the Chicago area. The Lexington Conference was held each year until June 1964 when the conference was merged into the Cleveland district of the North East Ohio Conference. For more see Forty Years in the Lap of Methodism: history of Lexington Conference, by W. H. Riley; History of Lexington Conference, by Dr. D. E. Skelton; Black People in the Methodist Church: Whither Thou Goest?, by W. B. McClain; The Tapestry of Faith: the history of Methodism in the Cleveland District of the East Ohio Conference, by G. S. Moore and J. C. Trimble; and First United Methodist Church, Lexington, Kentucky: bicentennial history by F. Ockerman, Jr.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Indiana / Illinois / Ohio

Library of Congress Collections
The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world. The research arm of congress, it also makes resources available to the American people. It is an agency of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government. The library began in 1800 and is located in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. There are millions of items in the collections, including many items pertaining to Kentucky African Americans. Examples: the emancipation documents from Edmund Lyne that freed his slaves in the late 1790s; "The two ways," an 1896 sermon by Rev. J. W. Mayes, pastor of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in McGowan, KY; photographs of students and buildings at Berea College, collected by W. E. B. Dubois and Thomas J. Calloway for the American Negro Exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition; and the digital copy of the 1883 National Convention of Colored Men (held in Louisville, KY) program [available online]. Visit the Library of Congress and their website to find additional resources.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, National Resources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / McGowan, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Paris, France / Louisville, Jefferson 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

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

Local Sources
See also Source Index and Authors' entries.

Bardstown/Nelson County
From out of the dark past their eyes implore us: the black roots of Nelson County, Kentucky / research by Patricia Craven and Richard Pangburn, P. Craven and R. Pangburn, Bardstown, KY, 1996.

Bowling Green/Warren County
Warren County, Kentucky marriages (1866-1962): blacks, 2 volumes, compiled by Warren County Court Clerk's Office, Bowling Green, KY, 1992.

Mt. Moriah Cemetery: A history and census of Bowling Green, Kentucky's African-American cemetery, J. Jeffrey et al., Landmark Association, Bowling Green, KY, 2002.

Brooksville/Bracken County
African-American records: Bracken County, Kentucky 1797-1999 / compiled by African-American Records Committee; Caroline R. Miller, chairperson, funded by Kentucky African-American Heritage Commission and Kentucky Heritage council, Bracken County Historical Society, 1999.

Burlington/Florence/Boone County
African-American persons present at the time of the 1880 census in Boone County, Ky, T. M. Hartman, [S.l. : T.M. Hartman], 1993.

Calhoun/McLean County
McLean County, Kentucky, 1908 - 1914 African American marriages A. L. McLaughlin, Sacramento, KY, 1993.

Camp Nelson/Jessamine & Garrard Counties
The first free spot of ground in Kentucky: the story of Camp Nelson, P. A. Schechter, Honors Paper, Mount Holyoke College, 1986.

Casey County
Free African Americans in Casey County during the era of the Underground Railroad, D. Wilkinson.

Coe Ridge/Cumberland County
The saga of Coe Ridge: a study in oral history, W. L. Montell, University of Tennessee Press, 1970. See also Coe Colony.

Covington/Elsmere/Kenton County
Afro-American residents of Kenton County, Kentucky: the 1900 Kenton County, Kentucky census, T. H. H. Harris, Covington, KY, 1991.

Mary E. Smith Negro Cemetery, Elsmere, Kentucky, S. H. Meyer, New Port, Kentucky 1968.

Danville/Boyle County
Boyle County's black physicians, R. C. Brown, prepared for publication in the Advocate-Messenger, 1992.

Elizabethtown/Hardin County
The Bond-Washington story: the education of black people, Elizabethtown, Kentucky / as told by Lottie Offett Robinson, L. O. Robinson, [S.l.: s.n., c1983].

Eminence/New Castle/Henry County
Who's who among African-Americans of Henry County: past and present, sponsored by Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and First Baptist Church (Eminence, Ky.), [S.l.: s.n.], 1997.

Florence/Boone County
A brief history of slavery in Boone County, Kentucky: A paper read before a meeting of the Boone County Historical Society, Florence, Kentucky, June 2, 1957, by M. S. Caldwell. Florence, Ky.: The author, 1957.

Frankfort/Franklin County
A brief history of the colored churches of Frankfort, Kentucky, E. E. Underwood, Bugle Pub. Co., Frankfort, KY, 1906. See also Edward E. Underwood.

Community memories: a glimpse of African American life in Frankfort, Kentucky, W. L. Fletcher et al., Frankfort, Ky.: Kentucky Historical Society ; Lexington: Distributed by The University Press of Kentucky, 2003.

Georgetown/Scott County
Involvement of blacks in Scott County commerce during the postbellum period (1865-1918), A. B. Bevins, Prepared for Georgetown-Scott County Joint Planning Commission and Kentucky Heritage Council, 1989.

Glasgow/Barren County
Barren County, Kentucky: African-American male marriage index book, surnames A through L, 1799 through 1932, and female marriage index book (married to those with surnames A through L), 1799 through 1932, M. B. Gorin, Gorin Genealogical Pub., Glasgow, KY, 1995.

Greenville/Muhlenberg County
Muhlenberg County, Kentucky black marriage bonds, 1866-1875, G. R. Carver, Greenville, KY, 1993.

Henderson/Henderson County
Henderson Kentucky black births of the city, 1896-1910, Henderson County Historical and Genealogical Society, 2001.

Hopkinsville/Christian County
The dark side of Hopkinsville: stories, T. Poston, annotated by Kathleen A. Hauke, University of Georgia Press, c1991. See also Poston, Theodore R. A. M.

Jamestown/Russell County
Russell Co., Kentucky, Black marriages, C. L. Sanders, Blue Ash, Ohio, 1987.

Lebanon/Marion County
A history of Negro education in Lebanon, Kentucky, 1869-1956, K. Parks, Thesis, University of Louisville, 1956.

Lexington/Fayette County
Black marriage bonds of Fayette County, Kentucky, 1866-1876, Gwendolyn Garrison, Kentucky Tree-Search, Lexington, KY, 1985.

Kinkeadtown: archaeological investigation of an African-American neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky, N. O'Malley, Lexington, KY, University of Kentucky, Program for Cultural Resource Assessment.

Lexington, Kentucky, G. Smith, Arcadia, S.C., 2002.

Negro business directory and fair souvenir: a miniature list of trades, businesses and professions among the Negroes of Lexington, Kentucky, Standard Print Company, Lexington, KY, 1899.

The Negro population of Lexington in the professions, business, education and religion, L. Harris, Lexington, Kentucky, 1907.

Louisville/Jefferson County
African-American life in Louisville, B. M. Tyler, Arcadia, S.C., 1998.

Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1890-1930, G. C. Wright, Thesis, Duke University, 1977.

Brick Yard Holler and a History of the Black Community of West Point, Kentucky, G. Goldsmith, 1999.

A history of Louisville Central High School, 1882-1982, T. C. Tilford-Weathers, General Printing Company, Louisville, KY, 1982.

Life behind a veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930, G. C. Wright, Louisiana State University Press, 2004, 1985.

The policies and purposes of black public schooling in Louisville, Kentucky, 1890-1930, B. F. Jackson, Thesis, Indiana University, 1982, 1976.

The Presbyterian colored missions: Louisville, Kentucky, 1909, J. Little, 1909.

Weeden's History of the colored people of Louisville, H. C. Weeden, Louisville, KY, 1897. See also Henry C. Weeden.

Madisonville/Hopkins County
A study of drop-out students in the colored high school of Madisonville, Ky., 1931-1937, W. E. Lee, Thesis, Hampton Institute, 1938.

Monterey/ Paris/ Bourbon County
"Archeological Investigations at Monterey," H. McKelway, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc., Lexington, KY.

Owensboro/Daviess County
"...Born With a Purpose..." Interviews with African Americans in Owensboro, Kentucky, vol. 2, H. Hinton, N. Johnson, H. Midkiff, and C. Swift. A Project of the H. H. Neblett Center Work World Preparation Program, JTPA Summer Challenge '98 Program, Owensboro, Kentucky, 1998.

Interviews with African Americans in Owensboro, Kentucky, vol. 3; bridging our past to our future, H. Hinton, N. Johnson, L. Owens, K. Rowan, K. Taylor and D. Thames. A Project of the H. H. Neblett Center, Owensboro, Kentucky, 1999.

Pikeville/Pike County
Curriculum resources: African American history in Pike County, Kentucky, with emphasis on the historical African American section of the Dils Cemetery, M. F. Sohn and K. K. Sohn, Pikeville-Pike County Tourism Commission, Pikeville, KY, 1996. See also Dils' Cemetery.

Richmond/Madison County
Connections: the Richmond, Kentucky area African-American heritage guide, Richmond, Ky.: Richmond Tourism & Visitor Center, 1998.

First and last years of Richmond High School, R. K. Ferrell, 1998.

Russellville/Logan County
Colored marriage bonds, Logan County, Ky. to 1900, M. Vanderpool, Russellville, KY, 1985.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History
The Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History is located in Special Collections of the University of Kentucky Libraries. It houses recordings of personal recollections, for many of the recordings, the information is not available anywhere else. There are thousands of hours of memories in the oral recordings collections, including African American Farmers; the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989; the Black Church in Kentucky Oral History Project, 1978-1985; Race Relations in Owensboro-Daviess County, Kentucky, 1930-1970; and the Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project. For more information about the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History call (859) 257-0189. See also the research guide, Civil Rights in Kentucky - Oral Histories.

 

Access InterviewView the complete list of oral history recordings, including those in reference to African Americans, at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History online database, SPOKE.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Maddoxtown (Fayette County, KY)
Start Year : 1871
The unofficial date for the community's beginning has been given as 1871, though the Maddoxtown Baptist Church was established in 1867, so the community may very well have been established prior to 1871. Maddoxtown is named for Samuel Maddox, a landowner who sold his subdivided land of 1 1/2 - 2 acre lots to African Americans. The community is located along Huffman Mill Pike in Fayette County. By 1877 seven African American families populated the community, and over time larger lots were sold and the community continued to grow. Mattie and George Clay were two of the first homeowners. Nearly 100 people lived in the area in the early 1900s, but many have left the rural community for the city. A picture of the new Maddoxtown Colored School, dated 1929, along with several other pictures of the school and students, are available in the Kentucky Digital Library - Images. For more see M. Davis, "Settlement tales part of Fayette heritage," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/10/1999; Negro Hamlets and Gentlemen Farms: a dichotomous rural settlement pattern in Kentucky's Bluegrass Region, by P. C. Smith; and R. Rochelle, "Land of the free," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/09/2000.


Subjects: Communities, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Maddoxtown, Fayette County, Kentucky

McCoo, Edward Jordan (the first)
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1930
McCoo was a minister at the AME Church in Newport, KY. He is recognized for writing, publishing, and producing the play Ethiopia at the Bar of Justice. The play was first performed at the General Conference of the AME Church in Louisville, KY, May 1924. It would gain popularity and become a must-see during Negro History Week. The 24 page play was published in Memphis. McCoo was born in Alabama, the son of William and Elizabeth McCoo, and he died of tuberculosis in Newport, KY, and was buried in Cincinnati, OH, according to his death certificate. He was married to Jennie McCoo and the couple lived at 210 W. 7th Street in Newport, KY. McCoo and his first wife, Lillian (b.1884 in IL), and their two children, had lived in Springfield and Chicago, IL, prior to his move to Kentucky some time after 1920. For more see "[Edwin] McCoo" on p. xxxiv in Plays and Pageants from the Life of the Negro, by W. Richardson.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Authors, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Alabama / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

McFarland, Richard L., Sr. "R.L."
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 2002
Richard L. McFarland, Sr. was born in Owensboro, KY. He was valedictorian of his 1935 graduating class at Western High School in Owensboro. McFarland was the first African American to be elected to the Owensboro City Commission, in 1985, and he served six terms. He was pastor of the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church for 46 years, and he and his wife owned McFarland Funeral Home. In 1975, Rev. McFarland was among the group of ministers who traveled to Monrovia, Liberia, Africa where they baptized more than 800 persons [source: 2012 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, p.15]. In 1992, the Owensboro Human Relations Commission created the Rev. R. L. McFarland Leadership Award in his honor. In 1998, a tree and a plaque were placed in the Owensboro English Park to honor Rev. McFarland. For more see R. L. McFarland within the article "Middlesboro city councilwoman top vote-getter," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 28; J. Campbell, "Williams' bid opened door for black leaders, he earned a spot on fall ballot," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 10/28/05, p. 19; and K. Lawrence, "McFarland, former mayor pro tem dies at 85 minister opened door for Black politicians," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 09/14/2002, p. 1.

Access Interview Read about the Richard L. McFarland oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Businesses, Kentucky African American Churches, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

McKinney, James O.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2008
McKinney was appointed to the Auburn, KY, City Council in June 1971 and was the first African American elected official in the city. For 43 years he was pastor of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Russellville, KY, retiring in 2007. McKinney was born in Sugar Grove, KY, the son of Eliza Beason McKinney and Benjamin R. McKinney. He served as president of the NAACP and Human Rights in Logan County. For more see "36 city officials include mayor, police court judge," in Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials [1972], by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 10; McKinney in "Church News," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 03/16/2007, Feature section; and "The Rev. James O. McKinney," Daily News, 04/25/2008 & 04/27/2008, Obituaries section.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Sugar Grove, Warren County, Kentucky / Auburn, Simpson County, Kentucky / Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky

Miles, William H.
Birth Year : 1828
Death Year : 1892
William Henry Miles was born in Springfield, KY, the slave of Mrs. Mary Miles, who died in 1854 and willed William his freedom--but he was not freed until 1864. He was licensed to preach in 1857 and married Frances E. Arnold in 1859. Miles had been a member of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church, a black church, but he later returned to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and developed the Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, a denomination separate from the white church. In 1870, Miles was elected to the episcopacy, the highest position of any African American in the church, and during his lifetime was the senior Bishop of the CME Church. He is credited with organizing conferences and strengthening the CME Church. He helped organize the Louisville Colored Cemetery Association and served as the organization's first president. Miles Memorial College [now Miles College], in Birmingham, Alabama, was named in his honor; the plans for the school began in 1898, and it began operating in 1900. Miles Tabernacle in Washington, D.C. was renamed Miles Memorial Church [now Miles Memorial CME Church] in 1894; Bishop Miles had purchased the land for the church. There was also a manuscript, Autobiography of Bishop Miles, which was to have been published by the CME Publishing House. Bishop William H. Miles was buried in the Louisville Colored Cemetery. For more see The History of the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, by C. H. Phillips [available online at the UNC Documenting the American South website]; Miles College: the first hundred years, by Miles College Centennial History Committee; and The Rise of Colored Methodism, by O. H. Lakey.

See photo image of William Henry Miles at the Dickinson College website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Birmingham, Alabama / Washington, D.C.

Million, Camellia
Million was the first African American to be employed as a city worker by the City of Frankfort. She was hired as clerk in the Police Department in 1961 at a salary of $200 per month. Million is included in the Temple Choir at Corinthian Baptist Church photo in the Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections. For more see The State Journal (Frankfort, KY) 04/17/61.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Corrections and Police, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Monroe County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes, 1850-1870
Start Year : 1850
End Year : 1870
Monroe County is located in south-central Kentucky on the Tennessee state line and is bordered by four Kentucky counties. It was formed in 1820 from portions of Barren and Cumberland Counties and is named for James Monroe, fifth president of the United States. Tompkinsville, which became the county seat in 1820, is named for Daniel Tompkins, who was Vice President during the Monroe administration. Tompkinsville was first known as Watson's Store, founded in 1809, receiving its present name in 1819. The land for the town was owned by Thomas B. Monroe, a cousin of President James Monroe. The 1820 county population was 723 [heads of households], according to the U.S. Federal Census, and the population increased to 7,629 by 1860, excluding the slaves. Below are the number of slave owners, slaves, and free Blacks and Mulattoes for 1850-1870.

1850 Slave Schedule

  • 190 slave owners
  • 697 Black slaves
  • 134 Mulatto slaves
  • 17 free Blacks [most with last names Fulkes and Howard]
  • 7 free Mulattoes [last names Speakman, Page, Kingrey, Fulkes, and Bedford]

1860 Slave Schedule

  • 200 slave owners
  • 775 Black slaves
  • 150 Mulatto slaves
  • 9 free Blacks [last names Howard, 1 Jackson, 1 Taylor]
  • 9 free Mulattoes [most with last name Speakman, 2 Howard, 1 Colter, 1 Chism]

1870 U.S. Federal Census

  • 599 Blacks
  • 143 Mulattoes
  • About 15 U.S. Colored Troops listed Monroe County, KY as their birth location.

Freetown

  • Around 1845, Freetown (or Free-town) was established for the freed slaves of William Howard, a wealthy slave owner in Monroe County. Freetown was the first African American community in the county, established on the land that had been provided by William Howard. A roadside historical marker has been placed near the Mount Vernon Church, which also served as a school for the Freetown community. There is also a cemetery near the church.

 
For more see Monroe County in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by J. E. Kleber; South Central Kentucky Vital Statistics, by M. B. Gorin; The Saga of Coe Ridge, by W. L. Montell; Black Heritage Sites, by N. C. Curtis; and the Cora Mae Howard oral history interview by James Kelly Shirley (FA 474), at Western Kentucky University, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Slave Owners, Slaves, Free Blacks, Free Mulattoes in Kentucky, 1850-1870 [by county K-M]
Geographic Region: Monroe County, Kentucky

Morton, Lena B.
Birth Year : 1901
Death Year : 1981
Lena Beatrice Morton, an educator and a scholar, was born in Flat Creek, KY, the daughter of Susie and William Morton. The family temporarily settled in Winchester, KY, where Morton's maternal grandfather, Reverend H. A. Stewart, was pastor of the CME Church. They later moved to Cincinnati, OH, where Lena Morton graduated from high school and was a two time graduate of the University of Cincinnati (UC). While at UC, she was a founding member of the school's first African American Greek organization, Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Morton earned her Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1947. She taught English at the high school level and the university level, where she also held leadership positions such as head of the division of humanities at Texas College. Morton authored a number of works, including several books: Negro Poetry in America, Farewell to the Public Schools, Man Under Stress, Patterns of Language Usage (a study), My First Sixty Years, and The Influence of the Sea Upon English Poetry. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky, by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright; and "Lena Beatrice Morton" in vol. 6 of African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Flat Creek, Bath County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Mozart Society (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1852
The Louisville Mozart Society, considered the first African American musical society in the city, was organized in 1852 and included German musicians. The society, which gave concerts and performed at the local churches, is credited with introducing classical music to the African American community. W. H. Gibson, Sr. had introduced the first musical instrument, a violin, in a Louisville African American church in 1847. The first organ was placed in Quinn Chapel, but was quickly removed when the church sisters threatened to throw it out into the streets. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky: from slavery to segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; and The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Mt. Sterling Station (Church) [Colored Members]
Start Year : 1839
End Year : 1878
Prior to the establishing of Keas Tabernacle Church in 1878, in Smithville [Montgomery County], KY, Rev. William H. Miles was the pastor of the colored church named Mt. Sterling Station. The earlier Mt. Sterling Station Church, led by white members, existed in 1839, and according to the 1840 Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, for the years 1829-1839, Volume II, p. 85, the Mt. Sterling Station Church was within the Kentucky Conference. It had a total church membership of 251 persons: 167 whites and 84 colored (slaves). In 1867, following the end of the Civil War and slavery, the former slave members of the Methodist Episcopal Church separated from the parent church and organized the Kentucky Colored Conference. It was the second annual conference established by former slave members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. At the 1869 Kentucky Colored Conference, held in Winchester, KY, Rev. William H. Miles was named the Presiding Elder of the Mt. Sterling District and pastor of the newly formed Mt. Sterling Station Church for the colored people. A year later, in 1870, William H. Miles was one of the reserve delegates of the Kentucky Colored Conference, where he was named Sunday School Agent and Missionary Supervisor for Kentucky. He was elected a bishop of the newly established Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) in 1870. Eight years later, the Mt. Sterling Station Church for colored people was renamed Keas Tabernacle Church in honor of Samuel G. Keas, who was Bishop William H. Miles' friend and cohort. Keas also became the new pastor at the church. It was Keas, a former slave from Montgomery County, who had been named pastor of the CME Center Street Church in Louisville in 1869, and he was able to regain possession of the church building from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), which put an end to an ongoing controversy between the two churches. For more see The History of the CME Church (Revised), by O. H. Lakey.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling and Smithville, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Murrell, Peter
Birth Year : 1823
Peter Murrell was born in Virginia and lived in Glasgow, KY. He was a wagoner and a church leader. He had attended the white Baptist Church in Glasgow, led by Rev. Nathaniel G. Terry, whose family had also come to Kentucky from Virginia. In 1843 the question of creating a separate church for the Negro members was put to a committee with no action, but the question would come up again and again for more than 20 years. Finally, in 1867 Peter Murrell was ordained a minister by Rev. Terry and put in charge of an African American church with 69 members. He also led in the formation of the Liberty Organization. Peter Murrell died between 1880 and 1900. For more see "Rev. Peter Murrell" in The Jubilee History and Biographical Sketches of the Liberty Association by G. R. Ford. For more on Reverend Nathaniel G. Terry see pp. 1616-1617 in A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians, by E. P. Johnson [available full-text at Google Book Search].

See photo image of Peter Murrell (lower half of the page) at Barren County Church Biographies, a Kentucky African American Griots website.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Virginia / Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Negro Churches in Georgetown, KY
Start Year : 1866
According to B. O. Gaines History of Scott County, the first Negro Churches in the county were the Wesley Chapel - M.E. Church (1866) on Mulberry Street and the First Colored Baptist Church (1869) on Jefferson Street. Reverend C. J. Nichols had served as pastor of the Methodist Church, which had a membership of 236. By the early 1900s, the membership had decreased to 113 and Reverend J. H. Ross was the pastor. Reverend Reuben Lee was the pastor of the Baptist Church. By the turn of the century, the church had grown to a membership of 600 and Reverend R. H. Porter was the pastor. Later there were three additional churches: Zion Baptist on Mulberry Street, led by Rev. D. W. Seals [see photo image of church on p.99 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky]; Wayman Chapel, a Methodist church near the Negro school, led by Rev. S. Lee; and the Christian Church, led by Rev. A. W. Davis. A lot had been purchased on Mulberry Street for a new church building. For more see p. 328, vol. 2 of B. O. Gaines History of Scott County, by B. O. Gaines (1905) [vols. 1-2 available full text in the Kentucky Digital Library- Books Collection].
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Nutter, Homer
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1989
Reverend Homer Nutter was a minister, an undertaker, and civil rights leader who fought to end discrimination at downtown businesses in Lexington, KY. He was born in Harrison County, KY, and raised in Paris, KY; in 1900, the Nutter Family lived on 8th Street in Paris, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Rev. Nutter was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Lexington for 50 years; he replaced Rev. Robert Mitchell in 1926 and retired in 1976. He was a two-time graduate of Simmons University [Simmons College]. Kentucky Governor Wetherby appointed Rev. Nutter to the Governor's Advisory Committee on Education Desegregation. He was also a member of the Board of Regents at Kentucky State University and the Board of Trustees at Simmons University. He served in the U.S. Army during WWI as a company clerk. Homer Nutter was the husband of Ida B. Coleman Nutter and the son of Harrison and Ameila Nutter. For more see "Lexington Civil Rights Leader Dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/10/1989, City/State section, p. B1.

 

Access Interview Read about the Homer Nutter oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Kentucky African American Churches, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Harrison County, Kentucky / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Parker, Noah
Birth Year : 1850
Noah Parker was an African American minister born in Kentucky around 1850 to Cato and Winnie Parker. Noah Parker died after 1880, and according to the U.S. Federal Census, he was a preacher. In the rural area of Clintonville, Kentucky, in the late 1800s it was rare to find an African American male listed with an occupation other than farm hand or laborer. Clintonville, KY. was established around 1800 by George and John Stipp. First known as Stipp's Crossroads, this community was later named Clintonville in 1831. Noah Parker was instrumental in organizing the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church that is located on Clintonville Road. The actual congregation was formed in 1860 by residents of what would become the community of Boonetown, an African American community also located on Clintonville Road. The land was given to local African Americans after the Civil War by George Boone. Noah Parker was the first minister to this religious group of African Americans, even before there was a church building. Around 1873, the residents of Boonetown built the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church. According to population statistics from the 1870 U.S. Federal Census there were approximately 339 blacks and mulattoes in the Clintonville, KY precinct. This population number grew to approximately 446 by 1880 according to the U.S.Federal Census. Today the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church is still in the original building and, according to Mrs. Ora Mae Jacobs, the eldest member of the church, there is still a small and active congregation. Few personal or historical facts have been found about Noah Parker. However, he was an early African American minister who showed leadership skills and was able to read and write. Led by men of such strong leadership, it was not uncommon for African American churches to become the foundation for early black schools in rural areas of Kentucky. Churches such as Pleasant Valley Baptist Church served as a benevolent organization, caring for the ill and indigent, and a meeting place to discuss community issues.

Sources: 1870 and 1880 U. S. Federal Census for Bourbon County, KY; Kentucky Place Names by Robert M. Rennick; Historic Architecture of Bourbon County, Kentucky by Historic Paris-Bourbon County, Inc. and The Kentucky Heritage Council; Interview with William Brown of Paris, KY; oral history interview with Ora Mae Jacobs, longtime resident of Clintonville, KY; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky: from slavery to segregation, 1760-1891 by Marion B. Lucas. This entry was submitted by Kellie Scott of the Paris-Bourbon County Public Library.
Subjects: Communities, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: (Boonetown) Clintonville, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Parrish, Charles H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1931
Charles H. Parrish, Sr. was born into slavery in Lexington, KY, to Hiram, a teamster, and Henrietta Parrish, a seamstress. Charles Parrish became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Louisville, KY; president of Eckstein Norton College; and later president of Simmons University (KY). He founded the Kentucky Home Society for Colored Children. In 1905, he attended the World Baptist Alliance in London, England, and in 1912 was named a fellow in the British Royal Historical Society as a result of his research in Palestine. For more see Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000 [electronic version available on the University of Kentucky campus and off-campus via the proxy server]; Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams; and "Reverend Charles Henry Parrish" in Who's Who Among the Colored Baptists of the United States, by S. W. Bacote.

See photo image of Charles H. Parrish, Sr. and students in the 1920s, in the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Collections website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Plymouth Congregational Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1877
The Plymouth Congregational Church was established in 1877; members initially met in a home in Louisville until an older Jewish synagogue was purchased on Jefferson Street. In 1891, Rev. Everett G. Harris became pastor, and the American Missionary Association purchased land at the corner of Seventeenth and West Chestnut Streets, where a church was constructed in 1902. In addition, the Plymouth Settlement House was completed in 1917; it was a social welfare agency that served children, had a dormitory for young women new to the city in search of work, and provided services to the community. The Plymouth Congregational Church was a meeting place for African Americans of the middle and upper classes. A new church was constructed in 1930, referred to as the "New Plymouth." It has been said that the church was the most exclusive Negro church in Louisville. For more see B. D. Berry, Jr., "The Plymouth Congregational Church of Louisville, Kentucky," Phylon, vol. 42, issue 3, pp. 224-232.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Polk, James Knox (former slave)
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1918
This entry was submitted by Yvonne Giles, with additional research and sources provided by Brenda Jackson.

James Knox Polk, according to his obituary, was born into slavery January 21, 1845, on the Bosque Bonita farm, owned by Abraham Buford in Woodford County, KY. His mother, Margie Johnson, chose to name him for the newly elected President of the United States. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Abraham Buford joined the Confederacy, taking James Polk with him to serve as a hostler - handler of the horses. He remained throughout the war with Buford. Polk returned to Woodford County and married Mary Bohannon in 1868. They were parents of Reuben Buford, Ellen, James Henry, Lee Christy, John Knox and Dolly Polk. James K. Polk studied and became an ordained minister in 1871. He founded the Pilgrim Baptist Church at Midway, KY, on the second Sunday in January, 1872. He also became a pastor at the African Baptist Church of Christ in Mortonsville around 1873. The church's name was changed to Polk Memorial to honor the minister who served the congregation for 45 years. Polk was a member and served as moderator twice of the Kentucky General Association of Baptists and served as a delegate to the Colored People's Convention of 1898 at Lexington during the Separate Coach Protest. Comment in his obituary: "Reverend James K. Polk was faithful and devoted to his ministry, a good citizen, a man of integrity and force of character, of kindliness, humility and courtesy." Polk died January 27, 1918, and was buried in Woodford County.

Sources:
Death Certificate #5945, Woodford County, KY.
Obituaries - Lexington Leader, January 29, 1918, p. 5, col. 3; Woodford Sun, January 31, 1918, plus photo.
Polk Memorial Baptist - Woodford Sun, October 30, 2003, p. A3.
Kentucky Historical Society Highway Marker Program, June 22, 2008, Marker #2239.
Brenda Jackson, researcher and family member

Note:
Brenda Jackson found an 1870 census record indicating a James Polk serving in the USCT, 25th Infantry in Texas. No mention of his service was made in his obituary.
1880 Woodford County Census Index, p. 408.
1900 Woodford County Census Index, p. 167A.
1910 Woodford County Census Index, p. 238B.

Additional Sources:
"The degree of D. D. was conferred on Rev. J. K. Polk...," Blue-Grass Clipper, 02/03/1903
"Mrs Margie Johnson, colored, aged 76..." in the column "In and About Versailles.," Woodford Sun, 02/10/1898.
"Polk Memorial Church Celebrating 98th Year," Woodford Sun, 10/04/1951.
"Zebulah Baptist Church (Disbanded)" on p. 34 in Scott County Church Histories: a collection, edited by A. B. Bevins and J. R. Snyder.
More on Confederate General Abraham Buford in Marking Time in Woodford County, Kentucky. by D. C. Estridge and R. D. Bryant; and Dr. M. Myers, "General Abraham Buford: fearless cavalryman," Kentucky's Civil War, 1861-1865, 2011 Sesquicentennial Edition, pp. 32 & 36-38.

 

  See photo image of James Knox Polk, bottom left, on p.163 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Midway and Mortonsville, Woodford County, Kentucky

Porter, Benjamin F.
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1911
Dr. B. F. Porter was 3rd Assistant Physician at the Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum in Louisville, KY, in 1896; he was the first African American doctor at the facility. Porter was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the husband of Elizabeth Porter (1843-1910, born in CT) and the father of Wiley Porter (b. 1877 in KY). Dr. Porter received his medical degree in 1878 and was an 1899 graduate of the College of Hypnotism. The family had lived in Columbia, SC, where Dr. Porter was a minister before coming to Kentucky, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The Porter's employed two African American servants who worked at their home. While Dr. Porter was employed at the asylum, he and his family lived in the housing provided by the institution. The Central Kentucky Lunatic Asylum had been established in 1874 as a state house for "feeble minded children." A third of the appropriations for the facility were to be used for the Colored inmates, who were to be kept in a separate ward from the white inmates. The facility had formerly been the State House of Reform for Juveniles. Dr. Porter's appointment to the institution by Kentucky Governor William O. Bradley caused a bit of alarm throughout the state when it was reported that Dr. Porter would be treating both Colored and white children. An article by the asylum superintendent, H. F. McNary, was published in The Medical News, reassuring all that Dr. Porter would only be treating the more than 200 Colored patients. With McNary's published letter, The Medical News editor gave the journal's approval to the hiring of Dr. Porter. In addition to his medical duties, Dr. Porter was also pastor of the African Methodist Church in Louisville, KY. By 1910, the Porter Family had left Kentucky for Carbondale, IL, where Dr. Porter practiced medicine, was minister of the Bethel A.M.E. Church, and was a member of the Knights and Daughters of Tabor. The family employed one African American servant. Dr. Porter was also a veteran; he was a barber when he enlisted in the Union Army on February 10, 1864, and served with the 5th Massachusetts Colored Calvary, according to his military service records. For more see "Colored Medical Doctors as Attendants in Insane Asylums," The Medical News, vol. 68, January-June 1896, p. 622 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; "Rev. B. F. Porter," The Daily Free Press, 12/22/1911, p. 5; and Marie Porter Wheeler Papers at the University of Illinois at Springfield. For more about the Asylum see Acts Passed at the ... Session of the General Assembly for the Commonwealth, Regular Session, December 1873, Chapter 287, pp. 29-30 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Barbers, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Williamstown, Massachusetts / Columbia, South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Carbondale, Illinois

Sheppard, William Henry
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1927
William H. Sheppard was born in Waynesboro, Virginia. He was a devoted Presbyterian whose parents were freed slaves; his father was a barber and his mother managed a women's health bath. Sheppard became a minister, then found a way to go Africa, even though at that time African Americans were not chosen to head African missions. Sheppard was an evangelist who fought to improve the living conditions of Africans. He was also the first American to collect African art. Sheppard referred to himself as "The Black Livingston." In his final years, Sheppard resided in Louisville, KY, where he was a leader in the community as well as pastor of the Grace Hope Presbyterian Church (1912-1927). The Smoketown housing development, Sheppard Square, is named in his honor. William Sheppard was featured during Family Saturday at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY, February 2003. The African art collection included items donated by Sheppard's family. In 2007, William H. Sheppard was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see M. Larry, "Speed will showcase William Sheppard's life," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/14/03; M. Lewis, "Jewel of the Kingdom," Mission Frontiers; and William Sheppard: Congo's African American Livingstone, by W. E. Phipps.

See photo image of William H. Sheppard at the Wikipedia website.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Barbers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Waynesboro, Virginia / Africa / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Smith, Kevin L.
Birth Year : 1967
Kevin L. Smith is the pastor of the Watson Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. In 2006, during the Kentucky Baptist Convention, Bill Henard nominated Smith for vice president, and Smith won the election. It was thought to be the second time that an African American was elected as a state convention officer. Smith is an assistant professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For more see T. Henderson, "Ky. Baptists pick young leaders for top offices, celebrate giving," Associated Baptist Press Archives (11/20/2006).

See photo image of Rev. Kevin L. Smith at the Watson Memorial Baptist Church website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Smith, Thomas J.
Birth Year : 1871
Smith was born in Ballard County, KY. He was principal at the Colored high school in Versailles, KY (1896-1917) while serving as a pastor in Dayton, OH. He was also pastor at Zion Baptist Church in Paris, KY (1912-1917). Smith served as historian for the Kentucky State Teachers Association (1900-1917). He wrote The Boy Problem in Church, School, and Home, published by State Normal Press in 1903. African American men within the Baptist denomination made it their mission to better guide African American boys and young men for the sake of the race as a whole. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; and A. M. Hornsby, "The Boy problem: North Carolina race men groom the next generation: 1900-1930," The Journal of Negro History, vol.86, issue 3 (Summer, 2001), pp.276-304.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Ballard County, Kentucky / Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio / Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Snowden, Leanna C. Holland and John B.
Leanna Snowden, born Leanna C. Holland in 1880 in Lexington, KY, was married to John B. Snowden, Jr. (1875-1944), one of the very few African American U.S. mail carriers in Kentucky. John Jr., also born in Lexington, KY, was the son of John Sr. and Ellen Buckner Snowden. He and Leanna were married in 1889. She was a teacher in the Lexington public schools for Negro children and also a community leader. Leanna was president of the Allen C. E. League and was an active member of several organizations connected to the St. Paul A.M.E. Church in Lexington. She was the first president of the City Federation of Women's Clubs in Lexington and the first vice-president of the State Clubs. John and Leanna had a daughter, Leland Weldon Snowden (1900-1921), who attended Kentucky Negro Industrial Institute [now Kentucky State University]. For more see Centennial Encyclopedia of the American Methodist Episcopal Church..., by Richard Allen and others, Philadelphia, PA (1816), at the Documenting the American South website. Birth and death dates for the Snowdens were found in the Kentucky Death Records and the U.S. Federal Census (1900-1930).

See photo image of Leanna C. Snowden on p.211 in the Centennial Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church by R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Kentucky African American Churches, Postal Service, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Spurgeon, Samuel J. W.
Birth Year : 1861
Spurgeon, who came to Kentucky from Tennessee, was the minister at Mt. Sterling, KY, Christian Church, then later relocated to the Constitution Street Christian Church in Lexington, KY. Spurgeon founded and edited the Christian Worker and was a correspondent for other journals. He was also a contributing editor of The Messenger, a weekly published in Lexington. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

St. Augustine Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1870
The first African American Catholics were slaves who arrived in Kentucky with the settlers from Maryland in 1785. In 1869, Father John L. Spalding was appointed to organize African American Catholics in Louisville, KY. Worship was held in the burial crypt in the basement of the Cathedral of the Assumption. By 1870, Father Spalding had raised enough money for the building of a new church, St. Augustine, on Broadway between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets. St. Augustine is the oldest African American Catholic church in Louisville; when it opened in 1870, it was one of six in the United States. St. Augustine School opened in 1921; the name later changed to Catholic Colored High School and then changed again to Catholic High in the 1940s. The present St. Augustine Church, dedicated in 1912, is located at 1310 W. Broadway. For more see Centennial 1870-1970: St. Augustine Church, 1310 Broadway, Louisville; B. Pike, "Long-closed school not forgotten," The Courier-Journal, 02/28/99; and S. Edelen, "Looking Back; 135-year-old St. Augustine plans museum,"The Courier-Journal, 01/26/05.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Maryland

St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church (Cynthiana, KY)
Start Year : 1852
According to an article by Marilyn Wash in the Harrison Heritage News, the St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church was already established when the first house of worship was built in 1852 on Pleasant Street in Cynthiana, KY. In 1854, abolitionist Minister R. A. Graham from Ohio spoke to the congregation of free persons and slaves during an evening service. Graham was accused of keeping the slaves out too late with his talk of escape and finding freedom in Ohio. The following day, Graham was ordered out of Kentucky. He refused to leave until his tractor was sold; the tractor was the initial reason given for his visit to Cynthiana. When Graham attempted to ride a horse over into the next county (Bourbon County) he was attacked by a mob of slaveholders and chased through the streets until he was finally placed in the Harrison County jail for his own protection. The following day, he was to be escorted to the train station for his exit from Kentucky. A few members of the mob got to Graham while he was in jail and blackened his face with lunar caustic. After Graham's departure, services at the African Methodist Church continued. One of the early pastors was Rev. Levi Evans, who led the building of the present St. James AME Church structure beginning in 1872. Evans, a leader in the AME Church, was a free man (not a slave) who had been a trustee of the Fourth Street Colored Methodist Church in Louisville, KY, in the 1840s. He also dug the first shovels of dirt for the foundation of Quinn Chapel in Louisville. Evans was at St. James for a brief period and continued the work that had begun when the first pastor arrived around 1865. The St. James AME Church is one of the oldest African American Churches in Harrison County. For more see M. Wash, "St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) - 153 years in Cynthiana," Harrison Heritage News, vol. 6, issue 2, February 2005; the Black Methodist Churches section of "African-American life in Cynthiana - 1870-1940," Harrison Heritage News, vol. 5, issue 2, February 2004; History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson; and "Slaveholders mob," Frederick Douglass' Paper, 09/15/1854, p.3.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky

St. Paul United Methodist Church (Paris, KY)
Located at 1117 High Street in Paris, KY, it is thought to be the oldest African American Methodist church in Kentucky, the building having been constructed some time between 1870 and 1876. For more information contact the Paris Bourbon County Tourism Commission.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Stafford, Frank
Birth Year : 1937
Stafford, a retired coal miner, is the mayor of Mortons Gap, KY. As of 2008, he has been mayor for 18 years, which is longer than any current mayor in Hopkins County. He was initially an appointed interim mayor, fulfilling the unexpired term of the previous mayor who stepped down due to controversy. Stafford then ran against the previous mayor's brother, in 1991, and was elected [only 4% of Mortons Gap residents are African American]. Stafford is also a pastor at Lively Stone Church in Nortonville, KY. For more see A. Cross, "Rural Democrats think Obama can win state," Courier-Journal, 06/08/2008, Forum section, p. 3H.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Mayors
Geographic Region: Mortons Gap and Nortonville, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Stone-Campbell Movement in Kentucky
Start Year : 1800
Also referred to as the Restoration Movement, the Stone-Campbell Movement began in the early 1800s. The name refers to Barton W. Stone and Alexander Campbell, two leading figures of independent movements which were merged. As a result of the merger, a new way of preaching and teaching developed. The roots of the movement were planted at The Great Revival held at Cane Ridge (Bourbon County), KY, in 1801. African Americans, most of them slaves, were among the thousands who attend the revival. Samuel Buckner, a slave and a preacher, was a member of the Cane Ridge Church; he was ordained in 1855. The first African American congregation in the movement was the Colored Christian Church in Midway, KY (1834), followed by Hancock Hill Church in Louisville, KY (1850s), and Little Rock Christian Church in Bourbon County (1861). The College of Scriptures was established in Louisville in 1945, providing correspondence course work for African Americans not allowed to attend the school. The school was located in Louisville because "this location was considered not too far North and not too far from its primary constituents, would-be preachers for African American congregations." In 1971, Walter D. Bingham was elected moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) by the General Assembly meeting in Louisville. Bingham was the first African American Disciple named to the post. For more see In Other Words... Stories of African-American Involvement in the Early Years of the Stone-Campbell Movement in Kentucky, by M. A. Fields and S. B. Fields; and The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement, edited by D. A. Foster, P. M. Blowers, A. L. Dunnavant, and D. N. Williams [quotation taken from p. 227].
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cane Ridge and Little Rock, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stoney Point (Warren County, KY)
Start Year : 1848
According to author J. W. Cooke, the African American community of Stoney Point actually began in 1848 when John White died; six of his slaves were freed, and they were allotted land, livestock and other necessities needed to establish their independent livelihoods. In 1866, some of previously freed families were still living in the area that had become known as Stoney Point, though the boundaries of the community had continuously changed as lots and adjoining lands were bought and sold. Other former slaves from the local area who were Civil War veterans were among the new landowners. The Stoney Point Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1866 and also served as a school before the new schoolhouse was built in 1908. The schoolhouse was used for a couple of decades before it was closed and the children of Stoney Point began attending school in Smiths Grove. For more see J. W. Cooke, "Stoney Point, 1866-1969," The Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 50, issue 4 (1976), pp. 337-352.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Stoney Point and Smiths Grove, Warren County, Kentucky

Straws, David
Birth Year : 1799
Death Year : 1872
Straws, born in Kentucky, purchased his freedom from slavery and was listed as a freeman in the 1840 U.S. Federal Census. (He was also listed in the 1830 U.S. Census). Straws moved to Louisville, KY, where he opened a barbershop. He also had real estate holdings and provided funds for the establishment of the Fourth St. Colored Methodist Church. He was the husband of May Straws. Author W. H. Gibson, Sr. gives Straws' death date as 1868. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Taylor, Bartlett
Birth Year : 1815
Taylor, a slave born in Henderson County, KY, was the son of a slave woman and her owner, Jonathan Taylor. Both of Bartlett Taylor's parents had come to Kentucky from Virginia. When he was a small child, the sheriff withdrew a portion of the slaves as payment toward Jonathan Taylor's financial debts. Included in the roundup were Bartlett Taylor's mother, her baby, and her four oldest sons. Jonathan Taylor left Henderson County and settled in LaGrange, KY. He had brought with him his remaining slaves, which included Bartlett and his sisters, all of whom were eventually sold as payment for more of Jonathan Taylor's debts. Bartlett hired himself out in Louisville, KY, with the intention of purchasing his freedom. He was sold, but he managed to get his emancipation papers with the promise of payment; Bartlett finalized the payment in 1840. He learned to read and write and also became a butcher. Bartlett owned a retail and wholesale business that packaged and shipped meat and traded and shipped livestock. He became a fairly wealthy man who owned several homes and lots on East Market Street in Louisville. He was also an African Methodist Episcopal [AME] Church minister who contributed financially toward the founding and building of churches. Bartlett Taylor was considered the church builder of the Kentucky AME Conference. In 1872, he built the largest AME Church in the state in Bowling Green, KY. In 1881, while a pastor in Shelbyville, KY, he negotiated with the city for a permit, then paid for a school building for African American children and the employment of teachers. Bartlett Taylor also served as treasurer of Wilberforce University beginning in 1864 and was a trustee for sixteen years. Bartlett Taylor and his wife, Marian [Mary] Taylor (b. 1826 in Indiana) are listed as living in Louisville in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see the Bartlett Taylor entry in the following sources: Afro-American Encyclopedia; History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson; and Men of Mark, by W. J. Simmons.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

Taylor, Preston
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1931
Preston Taylor was born in Louisiana; his parents, Zed and Betty Taylor, were slaves who moved (or were brought) to Kentucky a year after he was born. In 1864 Preston Taylor enlisted in the army. After his service years, he went to Louisville, KY, where he was employed in the marble yards. He later became a pastor at the Christian Church in Mt. Sterling, KY. He was chosen as the General Evangelist of the United States by his denomination. Though African Americans had been excluded from Reconstruction efforts, Taylor was able to secure a contract to build sections of the Big Sandy Railway from Mt. Sterling to Richmond, Virginia. He also purchased property in New Castle, KY, where he established the Christian Bible College. Around 1884 Taylor moved to Nashville, TN, where he was one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the city. For more see Preston Taylor (1849-1931), by the Tennessee State Library; "Elder Preston Taylor, co-founder. First Treasurer, One Cent Savings Bank and Trust Company," The Tennessee Tribune, 04/22-28/2004, p. 2D; and "The Athens of the South: pen picture of the life of Rev. Preston Taylor," Freeman, 07/04/1896, p.1.

  See photo image of Preston Taylor at "Anniversary Edition: House Divided," a Dickinson College website.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Louisiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee

Tucker, Amelia Moore
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1987
Ameiia Tucker was born in Alabama, and she came to Louisville, KY, with her husband in the 1920s. In 1930, the family of three lived on 12th Street, according to the U. S. Federal Census. Amelia Tucker would become the first African American woman elected to the Kentucky State Legislature (in 1961). She worked to pass a bill that would make it illegal for businesses to discriminate based on race. She was on President Nixon's advisory council on ethnic groups. Rev. Amelia Tucker was the wife of Bishop Charles E. Tucker, and after his death in 1975, she moved to California where she died in 1987. She was educated at Alabama State Teachers College [now Alabama State University] and the University of Louisville. She was a minister at Brown Temple AMEZ Church, today located at 3707 Young Avenue, in Louisville. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Tucker, Charles Ewbank
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1975
Charles Ewbank Tucker was a lawyer, a civil rights advocate, and a leader in the AMEZ Church. He also was co-editor of The Herald Tribune, a Louisville newspaper with co-editors William Warley and Huron Clark [source: The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan, p.528]. Tucker led early civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins in Louisville, KY, in the 1940s through the 1960s. Tucker also delivered the benediction at Nixon's Inauguration (1960). He was the husband of Rev. Amelia M. Tucker. Charles E. Tucker was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Olivia and William Tucker. The family lived in Jamaica. He was a 1913 graduate of Beckford and Smith's school in Jamaica and a 1917 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He was the pastor of the Stoner Memorial AMEZ Church [at 1127 West Oak Street] in Louisville and completed the Kentucky Bar Exam in 1929. His son, Neville Tucker, was also a lawyer in Louisville. Charles E. Tucker became a bishop in 1956. He was a Republican. For more see Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright; and the Charles Ewbank Tucker biography in The Last Public Execution in America, by P. T. Ryan.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Baltimore, Maryland / Jamaica / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Vinegar, Alexander C. "Peter"
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1905
Alexander C. "Peter" Vinegar is believed to have been born free in Midway, KY. Peter came to Lexington, KY, after the Civil War and was made pastor of the Main Street Colored Baptist Church, where he remained for 20 years before leaving to preach in other locations. In later years he had no church but would preach every Sunday in the Lexington courthouse yard, in front of the Phoenix Hotel, or other parts of town. Huge crowds of both whites and blacks would gather to hear him speak. He also held revivals in surrounding counties. He was remembered for his sermons: "When Gabriel Blow Dat Ho'n," "Kill Old Speck," "Hold Dat Tiger," and "Down Where de Columbine Twineth, and de Whangdoodle Moaneth for Its Mate." Peter Vinegar is buried in the 7th Street Colored Cemetery No. 2 in Lexington. For more see P. B. Estes,"The Reverend Peter Vinegar, Southern Folklore Quarterly, vol. 23, issue 4, pp. 239-252.

See photo image of Alexander C. "Peter" Vinegar in Explore UK.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Walker, Thomas Vaughn
Birth Year : 1950
Walker, born in Heathsville, Virginia, is the oldest son of the late Thomas and Mary Walker. He is a minister, an educator at the college and secondary school levels, and a community leader. He was the first African American appointed to a regular professorship in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1986 when Walker became a faculty member at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. Now a tenured professor, Walker oversees both the Doctor of Ministry program in Black Church Leadership and the Ph.D. program in Black Church Studies. Since 1984, he has also been the Senior Pastor of the First Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville. The church, founded in 1910, has grown in membership, missions outreach, and vision; it was chosen as one of the 13 congregations included in Dr. Thom Rainer's research and the resulting 2005 book titled Breakout Churches. Walker has been an active member of a number of community organizations and overseas missions in countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Israel, Jordan, Germany, and the Bahamas. Walker has written a number of journal articles and his book chapters include the co-authored work "Minorities and Spirituality" in the title Becoming Christian by B. Leonard. Walker is a 1972 graduate of Hampton University; he earned a M.S. from Eastern Illinois University and a M.Div/C.E. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and he earned his Ph.D. from Oregon State University. Vaughn Walker Way, a street in Louisville, was named in his honor. In 2000, he received both the Community Service Reconciliation Award, and the Heritage Award, Black Church Development Divisions. In 2006, Walker was recognized by the Kentucky Senate [SR 209]. This entry was submitted by Cheryl Walker, wife of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker. Additional information is used with permission from the vita of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Heathsville, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wallace, Bonnie Goddard and Theodore "Cal" Sr.
Activist Theodore Calvin Wallace, Sr. (1914-1987) was a pioneer in radio and television in Lexington, Kentucky. He was born in Patton, AL, the son of Eula Wallace Williams (b.1898 in AL) and the stepson of Allen "Baby Bush" Williams (b.1883 in MS). According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Allen Williams was a coal miner in Parrish, AL. The family of four lived on Jasper Road. Theodore Calvin Wallace was known as Cal. He grew up in Parrish, AL, and later came to Kentucky to work in the coal mines in Harlan. While in Harlan, he met his future wife, Bonnie J. Goddard (1920-2002), the daughter of Lee D. (b.1875 in KY) and Edward Goddard (b.1864 in TN). Ed Goddard was a circuit-ridding preacher of the Christian Church/Church of Christ. Bonnie Goddard was born in Harlan, KY. She and her husband left Kentucky for West Virginia and Virginia, where Cal Wallace worked in the coal mines. He eventually left the coal mines and moved his family to Cincinnati, OH, where he had various jobs and also worked for a radio station. He was sometimes on the air at WZIP in Covington, KY, and was one of the first two African American disc jockeys (DJs) in the state. [The other was Ernie Waits.] Cal Wallace moved his family to Lexington, KY in 1954, and they all lived in the home purchased on Whitney Avenue in the Forest Hill area. The school-age children attended Booker T. Washington School. Cal Wallace had come to Lexington the year before his family arrived; he was employed as a DJ with WLEX Radio (AM). He was a DJ at night and sold accounts [air time] during the day. The radio station had another African American employee named Nancy Webb, she had a half-hour program called "Webb Presents." When WLEX expanded to television, Cal Wallace had a weekend program, he was on the air live and showed films. He was the first African American to have a program on television in Lexington, KY. Cal Wallace was also in accounts at WLAP Radio (AM), and it was there that he came up with the idea of developing the commercial station WLAP FM. He then went to a local store named Barney Miller's and ordered a truck load of FM radios, and gave them to people in the community, because most of his potential audience members had only AM radios. WLAP FM, with Cal Wallace as general manager, proved to be a hit. Several of Cal Wallace's sons and his wife were on the air. Bonnie Wallace had a popular program called "The Sweet Chariot." The station also had a DJ contest for teenagers, and two of the winners were Sam Jones and Raymond Ross, both of whom would become successful broadcasters. Cal Wallace was the first African American to manage a radio station in Lexington. He also established The Lexington Chronicle newspaper in the 1960s, and the entire family helped to publish each issue. The newspaper was a free publication made available to the African American community. The newspaper was published for about five years. In 1978, Cal Wallace's sons, Edgar and Bernard, resurrected the newspaper with the new title Bluegrass Chronicle. In 1963, Cal Wallace ran unsuccessfully for the Kentucky House of Representatives. His son Edgar Wallace would become a Lexington City Council Member, and his son, Theodore (Ted) Calvin Wallace, Jr. was a House Member of the Michigan Legislature for four terms and he also served as judge of the 36th District Court for seven years. The leadership role of their father extended into the community; Cal Wallace served as director of the Lexington Community Action organization, and he worked with Micro City Government. Cal Wallace was also a minister, he was pastor at Prall Street Church of Christ in Lexington. The church was founded by Cal and Bonnie Wallace, and began as a Bible class in their living room. Today, the church is located on Russell Cave Road. Cal Wallace would become a bishop and overseer in the Church of Christ, he was over seven churches that were located in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Cincinnati, OH, and Lexington and Harlan, KY. Cal Wallace's communication skills had been well groomed when he was a high school student in Alabama where he also competed in oratorical contests. He attended Lincoln Normal School for Colored Students [today Alabama State University], then returned to his high school as a teacher and he coached the football team. For additional information listen to the Edgar Wallace interview [info.], and the Thomas C. Wallace interview [info.]; see "Fayette radio pioneer 'Cal' Wallace dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/04/1987, p.C7; and "Bonnie G. Wallace, ex-DJ at WLAP, 81" Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/23/2002, p.C4. See also the NKAA entries for Thomas C. Wallace, Ted Wallace, and Leula Wallace Hall.

Access Interview Read about the Theodore Calvin Wallace, Sr. oral history interviews available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Radio, Religion & Church Work, Television
Geographic Region: Patton, Alabama / Harlan, Harlan County, Kentucky / West Virginia / Virginia / Cincinnati, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wallace, Thomas Cicero "Little Bee"
Birth Year : 1943
Thomas C. Wallace was an extremely popular and successful radio personality in Lexington, KY for ten years. He was a disc jockey [DJ] known as "Little Bee." He was voted the number one night time DJ in Lexington. Many remember him for his rhythm and rhyming, and he is often referred to as an early and original rapper. "You and me and Little Bee on WLAP," the "Little Bee" program, went on the air at WLAP FM in 1964 and ended in 1974. The format was the first urban contemporary [soul music] program in Lexington. The targeted audience included African Americans in Lexington and surrounding counties, and there were thousands of faithful followers. WLAP FM was managed by Theodore "Cal" Wallace, Sr., the father of Thomas C. Wallace. For many of the former audience members, the "Little Bee Show" is aligned with memories of the civil rights era of activism in Lexington, along with the broadcasts of Alex Williams. But at the time, the program was not considered a civil rights show, according to Thomas C. Wallace. "I was just a Black DJ on a Black station where young folk could tune in and hear Black music." In 1974, Thomas C. Wallace left radio to go into the ministry. He is a bishop in the Church of Christ, sharing the duties with his brother: they are over five of the churches that their father oversaw during his tenure as a bishop. Thomas C. Wallace is also pastor of the New Birth Church of Christ, Christian Ministries, Inc., located on Russell Cave Road in Lexington, KY. He was born in Virginia, the fourth child of the late Bonnie Goddard Wallace and Theodore C. Wallace, Sr. For more information listen to the three Cal Wallace interviews [info.], and the Edgar Wallace interview [info.]; and see "WLAP-AM History" website by Scott Willis. See also the NKAA entries for Ted Wallace and Leula Wallace Hall.

  See photo image of Rev. Thomas C. Wallace and other church pictures at the Facebook page for New Birth Church of Christ, Christian Ministries, Inc.

Access Interview Read about the Thomas C. Wallace oral history interview available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Radio, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ware, William, Sr.
Birth Year : 1872
Ware was born in Lexington, KY. He was a fraternal worker at Main St. Baptist Church in Lexington and Antioch Baptist Church in Cincinnati. He founded the Welfare Association for Colored People of Cincinnati in 1917, serving as president 1917-1920. He was also a long-time president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) of Cincinnati, beginning in 1920. He was the husband of Lucie Ware, born 1878 in KY; in 1920 the family of 11 lived on Barr Street in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The family moved to Cincinnati in 1903. William Ware, Sr. was the son of Alfred and Jane Ware. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29, and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio

West Chestnut Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1886
The West Chestnut Street Baptist Church was organized in 1886 in Louisville, KY, with Reverend William Johnson as pastor. Reverend Johnson was pastor for more than 30 years and he was respected as a leader. The church was known to have a number of professional men within the congregation such as doctors and lawyers who supported church efforts. The church also became known for its fine Black gospel music, the West Chestnut Street Baptist Church Choir performed in the 1986 film Aida. From the 1950s-1970s, the church served as a training center for civil rights protests. In the 1980s, when Reverend C. Mackey Daniels was leading the church, there was a partnership developed with the Highland Presbyterian Church, which was predominately white and led by Reverend James O. Chatham. The two church congregations worked together to speak out for racial unity in Louisville. For more see a picture and brief history of the church in Negro Baptist History, U.S.A., 1790-1930 by L. G. Jordan; and "A Tale of Two Congregations" in Sundays Down South by J. O. Chatham.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wilson, Daniel
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1917
Rev. Daniel Wilson was born in Barren County, KY and died in Kingfisher, OK. He was a Baptist minister and organized the first Colored Baptist church in Horse Cave, KY in 1866. Wilson had been a slave until 1864 when he joined the Union Army, and that same year he married Lydia Watkins. After receiving an Honorable Discharge, Wilson returned home and joined the white Baptist church in Horse Cave, KY, and later organized the Colored Baptist church where he was a deacon for seven years. Wilson was ordained in 1874 and was a pastor at churches in Horse Cave, Hicksville, and Seenoria. He was also a missionary of the Liberty Baptist Association of Kentucky. In 1888, Wilson moved to Kansas where he was pastor at several churches. He then moved to Lincoln, NE to become pastor of the J Street Baptist Church, and soon resigned and moved to Kingfisher, OK, where he organized and was pastor of the First Baptist Church until his death. Kingfisher was a two year old town in the Oklahoma Territory when Wilson arrived there in 1891. After two years, he estimated that his church had 300 members, and that there were 400 Colored home owners who were served by seven stores, three Colored attorneys, two Colored physicians, and The Oklahoma Constitution newspaper. In addition to being pastor of his church, Wilson also served as president of the Oklahoma Territorial Baptist Convention, and moderator of the Western District Association. He was a member of the school board and a trustee of the National Baptist Training School for Women in Washington, D.C. that was directed by Nannie Burroughs. Rev. Daniel Wilson is buried in the Kingfisher Cemetery. For more see "Rev. Daniel Wilson," Plaindealer, 06/01/1917, p.4; and "Oklahoma Territory" on p.236 in The Baptist Home Mission Monthly, v.15-16, 1893 [available at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Kentucky African American Churches, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Horse Cave, Hart County, Kentucky / Kansas / Nebraska / Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Zion Hill (Scott County, KY)
Also referred to as a village, Zion Hill is located in the southern part of Scott County off of Paynes Depot Road, near the Woodford/Fayette County line. The community was developed prior to the end of slavery, according to Ponice Raglin Cruse, a former resident and collector of the community's history. Lenerson was the original name of the community. The land had been deeded to the African American residents by a farm and slave owner named Harris, who was from Virginia. Lenerson grew to include over 200 acres with approximately 45 homes and two stores, one of which housed the post office that existed from 1900-1903. With a population of 250 or more persons, it remained a fairly well-off African American community until the late 1990s. Whitney Young, Sr. attended the colored grade school in Lenerson; later the community had a one-room schoolhouse, Rosenwald School. It is thought that the community name was changed to Zion Hill while the post office was still in operation, perhaps around the time that the original Zion Hill Baptist Church was constructed. In 1945, the Zion Hill Rosenwald School was closed and the children were bused to the White Sulfur Elementary School and the Ed Davis High School, both in Scott County (see Betty W. Davis). Today, Zion Hill receives phone service from Fayette County; mail from Woodford County; and water, police, and fire department services from Scott County. Information submitted by Ponice Raglin Cruse and her father Reverend Floyd B. Raglin. Contact Ms. Cruse about pictures, deeds, and other historical information pertaining to Zion Hill.
Subjects: Communities, Kentucky African American Churches, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Zion Hill (Lenerson), Scott County, Kentucky

 

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