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Abbington v Board of Education of Louisville (KY)
Start Year : 1940
When the Louisville Board of Education denied the petition for equal pay for African American teachers, a suit was filed by the NAACP on behalf of Vallateen Virginia Dudley Abbington. The case of Abbington v. Board of Education of Louisville was filed on December 5, 1940, in the Federal District Court. Abbington (1907-2003), a native of Indiana, was a school teacher in Louisville at the time. She was one of the African American teachers who received 15% less salary than white teachers. The case, brought by the NAACP, was argued by Thurgood Marshall. The School Board agreed that if Abbington would drop her lawsuit, the discrimination in salaries would cease. The lawsuit was withdrawn, and a retroactive clause in the suit gave African American teachers back pay. The equalization of teacher salaries was a campaign by the NAACP that began in 1936. Abbington v Board of Education of Louisville was the third case for the NAACP, the first such case in Kentucky. Abbington left Louisville and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where she is remembered as a social worker, civic leader, and civil rights leader. Vallateen Dudley (1907-2003)was born in Indianapolis, IN, the daughter of George (b. in KY) and Annie L. Dudley. For more see Papers of the NAACP, Part 3, The Campaign for Educational Equality: Legal Department and Central Office Records, 1913-1950 / Series B, 1940-1950 / Reel 8; see "Kentucky Cases" in The Negro Handbook 1946-1947, edited by F. Murray; "Alumna, 96, remembered as strong-willed activist," Exemplar (Eastern Michigan University), Winter 2004, Special Annual Report Issue; and "Vallateen Abbington, social worker, civic leader," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/19/2003, Metro section, p. D15.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Social Workers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Adam (slave of Justice G. Robertson)
Start Year : 1862
In the fall of 1862, during the Civil War, Colonel William L. Utley of the 22nd Wisconsin Volunteers was in Kentucky when a small Negro boy named Adam sought refuge in his camp. Adam was a runaway slave about 15 or 16 years old; he was small for his size and has been described as a crippled dwarf. Around his neck was welded a collar with eight inch spikes. The collar was removed, and Adam was cared for and employed in the camp. He had been there but a short time when his owner, former Chief Justice George Robertson (1790-1874), arrived to claim Adam as his property. Robertson was well known throughout Kentucky: he practiced law in Lexington and had been a Kentucky Representative, an Associate Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and a law professor at Transylvania University in Lexington. He would become a justice of the Court of Appeals in 1864. In spite of his prominence in Kentucky, when Justice Robertson arrived to claim Adam, Colonel Utley cited the article of war that would allow Adam to leave with Robertson on his own; however, Adam could not be forced to leave with Robertson, who left the camp empty handed. Both Utley and Robertson appealed to President Lincoln to help resolve the matter, but the President did not take either side and refused to get involved with the dispute. Justice Robertson proclaimed that an injustice had taken place, and he gave public speeches and wrote letters to newspapers stating his case. Colonel Utley was sent word that he would never leave Kentucky with Robertson's slave. As the 22nd Wisconsin Volunteers were marching through Louisville, KY, Colonel Utley warned the citizens that he intended to take Adam and all other refugees in their company, and if the townspeople attempted to attack them as they had other regiments with refugees, then the 22nd Wisconsin would follow orders to shoot to kill and the town would be burned to the ground. The 22nd Wisconsin marched through Louisville with loaded weapons and bayonets. Adam and another escaped slave were at the head of the line. There were no attacks from the townspeople. Colonel Utley, from Racine, Wisconsin, took Adam to Wisconsin, where he settled in Waukesha as a free person. The collar he had worn into Utley's camp was put on display in the Racine post office. Justice Robertson filed a civil suit in Kentucky against Utley for Adam's value, $908.06. The Kentucky newspapers carried story after story about the bold theft of Justice Robertson's slave. Prior to the settlement of the matter, and in an unrelated march, Utley was taken prisoner in Spring Hill, TN, by Confederates, and the matter of the stolen slave was all but forgotten. After the war and after all slaves had been freed, Justice Robertson still wanted to be paid for the value of his slave, $908.06, plus costs of $26.40. Robertson's lawsuit was brought to the Circuit Court of Wisconsin in 1868, and Utley was ordered to pay Robertson the total sum. In turn, Utley filed a claim with the United States Congress for reimbursement, and in 1873, the Senate voted in favor of the reimbursement and passed it on to the House for approval. Colonel Utley was reimbursed in full. For more see "Claim for the value of a Kentucky slave," Daily Evening Bulletin, 02/20/1873, issue 116, Col. B; and "Colonel William [F.] Utley and Adam the African American Slave," by Kevin Dier-Zimmel [online at community website].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Racine and Waukesha, Wisconsin

African American Schools in Bell County, KY
Start Year : 1892
End Year : 1956
According to journalist C. J. Harte, the first colored school in Middlesboro, KY, was established in 1892 and continued until 1907 [source: Harte, C. J., "Coming home, Lincoln School 100th Anniversary," The Middlesboro Daily News, 2008, front page]. Early on, the school was known as Middlesboro Colored School, and it is mentioned in the 1901 superintendent's report [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, July 1899-June 1901]. This Colored School was replaced by the newly erected Lincoln School in 1907. The Lincoln school continued until 1964 when the Middlesboro school systems were integrated. But long before integration, in 1921, the Middlesboro public schools' system expansion made provisions for a new school for the Negroes [source: History of Bell County Kentucky by H. H. Fuson]. In other parts of the county, in Pineville, John Moore led in the lawsuit against the city, demanding that the Pineville provide for the education of all colored children. The case of the City of Pineville et. al. v. John Moore et. al. was decided in the Court of Appeals of Kentucky in February of 1921. In 1925, there were 7 colored schools in Bell County; 4 teachers in the Middlesboro colored elementary school and 2 in the high school; and 2 teachers in the Pineville colored elementary school and 1 in the high school [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67-69]. Almost 15 years later, according to author H. H. Fuson, during the 1939-40 school term, there were three colored schools in Bell County, KY. One of the schools was Straight Creek Colored School and the school building was still standing in 1985 [source: "Classifieds Work, Tract No.II," The Daily News, 07/04/1985, p.4]. Straight Creek and the Pineville Independent Schools were the first schools in Bell County to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.420]. In 1939, the Pineville Colored School had grades 1-12 with four teachers, 110 students, and Alvantus Gibson was principal. In 1940, the Negro teachers in Bell County were Thelma Baughan, Earl Baughan, Maxine Baughan, Odessa Baughan, Mattie Belle Bryant, Oneil Bernas, John M. Burnside, Maud Colman, Alvantus Gibson, Hattie Hazely, M. C. McKenney, Evelyn Miller, Kayla Miller, Helen Michael, Frank Smith, Leddis Smith, and Nina Thompson [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1948, there were six high school students in the Roland-Hayes School in Pineville [source: William T. Gilbert's thesis titled The Administration and Organization of Secondary Schools for Negro Pupils in Eastern Kentucky]. According to Gilbert, the school for high school students in Middlesboro was named Lincoln [misnamed as Liberty in source], and the school in Pineville was named Roland-Hayes. The teachers at the Pineville school and the Middlesboro school are mentioned in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal.

  • Colored Schools (9)
  • Lincoln School (Middlesboro, 1907-1964)
  • Middlesboro School (1892-1907)
  • Pineville School
  • Roland-Hayes School (Pineville)
  • Straight Creek School

Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases, African American Schools in Kentucky (Counties A-Z)
Geographic Region: Bell County, Kentucky

African American Schools in Knott County, KY
Start Year : 1895
End Year : 1956
Knott County, KY, was formed in 1884. From 1885-1887, there were no colored schools in the county [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1886 and 1887]. Ten years later, there was a report of one colored school district with one school [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.474-477]. The school was taught for five months by one teacher. There was an enrollment of 37 students and the average attendance was 12. In 1925, there was still the one school with one teacher and with 83 students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1925, p.67]. Two years later, there were two colored schools, each with one teacher, and a total of 57 students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1926-1927, p.81]. July 1, 1930- June 30, 1931, Knott County was one of twelve counties to receive aid from the Rosenwald Fund for the extension of the school term to 8 months; $58 was received for the colored schools at Breeding Creek and Yellow Creek [source: "Counties Aided on the Extension of Terms," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.11, no. 2, January 1932, p.27]. In 1936, there were still 2 Negro teachers in Knott County, and they were members of the 7th District Negro Education Association [source: "District Education Association of the K. N. E. A.," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.7, no.1, October-November, 1936, p.57]. By 1955, the Yellow Creek School was closed and there were 38 students enrolled in Breeding Creek Colored School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.219]. Carr Creek High School for whites began to integrate the following year [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.437]. The elementary grades continued to be segregated until 1963 when the Knott County School Board came under federal court order [U.S. District Judge Mac Swinford] to integrate the schools [source: "Knott County Board told to integrate," Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 09/12/1963, p.9 - article online]. The lawsuit was filed by 14 Negro students who had been denied enrollment at the Carr Creek Elementary School for white children, the case was represented by attorney James A. Crumlin. Godloe Adams was the only Negro teacher in the county, he taught at the Breeding Creek School for Negro children, which had 11 students, grades 1-6.

  • Breeding Creek School
  • Yellow Creek School

Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases, African American Schools in Kentucky (Counties A-Z)
Geographic Region: Knott County, Kentucky

Anderson, John James [AKA James S. Anderson] [Anderson's Administrator v. Darland]
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1919
Known as James S. Anderson in Kentucky, Dr. Anderson was a doctor of herbal medicine. He was described by his daughter, Irene Anderson Elder, as part black and part Choctaw Indian. Dr. Anderson came to Somerset, KY, from Kingston, TN; he had also had a practice in Chattanooga, where he met Irene's mother, a nurse named Mary Bowman, who was white. Mary gave birth to Irene in 1914 in a home for unwed mothers in Chattanooga. Irene was reared by her maternal grandmother in Lenoir City, TN; she was Irene's protector. Several years later her grandmother died, and Irene went to live with a foster family. Her father, James Anderson, had moved to Somerset, KY, not too long after Irene was born. In Kentucky, he was sometimes regarded as a Negro and at other times as a Choctaw Indian. Anderson established a tuberculosis treatment clinic, Unity Hill Sanatorium, a three story structure with over 100 beds, 65 rooms, a parlor with a piano, and a grocery store in the basement. He came to be considered a wealthy man with $100,000 in the Somerset bank. When Mary Bowman came down with tuberculosis, she came to Somerset to be a patient at Unity Hill for six months. She was still alive when Dr. James S. Anderson died of hypostatic pneumonia or was murdered November 19, 1919; it is still unclear exactly how he died, though pneumonia is given as the cause on his death certificate. After his death, M. L. Jarvis was appointed curator of Anderson's estate. Unity Hill Sanatorium was sold to a group of businessmen who changed the operation to Watnon (or Watson) Sanatorium, a cancer treatment clinic with separate buildings for Negro patients. In 1924, the clinic had closed and the campus became the new location for the Somerset School of Business. Irene Anderson Elder never benefited from her father's wealth. This entry was submitted by Yvonne Giles. For more information see L. A. Kochtik, "Irene's journey: a good life and a bad life," Appalachian Life Magazine, issue 51 (February), pp. 6-8; "Cancer Sanatorium opened at Somerset, Ky.," The Somerset Journal, 01/30/1920, p. 8; and Anderson's Administrator v. Darland, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 192 Ky. 624; 234 S.W. 205; 1921 Ky.

Additional information: James S. Anderson's birth name was John James Anderson, he was born in Reidville, SC, February 12, 1872 [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; and Kentucky Death Certificate Registered #142]. He was the son of Henry and Dorcas Drummond Anderson. Dr. Anderson was the husband of Ann Mary Crumly; the couple married in 1897, filed for divorce in 1915, and the divorce was final in 1918 [source: Hart and Dudek Family Tree; and Kentucky Death Certificate Registered #142]. Dr. Anderson is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Harrodsburg, KY.
Subjects: Fathers, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Court Cases, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Reidville, South Carolina / Kingston, Lenoir, and Chattanooga, Tennessee / Somerset, Pulaski County, Kentucky / Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky

Anderson, W. H.
Birth Year : 1843
In 1852 the separate coach bill became law in Kentucky. In 1893, Rev. W. H. Anderson, from Indiana, and his wife, Sarah J. Steward Anderson, tested the law by sitting in the white section of the train and refusing to move. They were put off the train and subsequently filed a $15,000 lawsuit against L & N Railroad. U.S. District court ruled the law unconstitutional and void for interstate commerce, and the Andersons won their lawsuit. W. H. Anderson was a Civil War veteran, having served in the 13th Regiment U.S.Colored Infantry. He was the minister of McFarland Chapel in Evansville, IN, in 1889, when he became the first minister in the state to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from State University in Louisville, KY [Simmons University]. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; A. A. Marshall, "Kentucky's separate coach law and African American response, 1892-1900," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 98, issue 3 (2000), pp. 241-259; and "Rev. W. H. Anderson, D.D." on pp.36-42 in Our Baptist Ministers and Schools by A. W. Pegues.

See photo image of Rev. W. H. Anderson on p.299 in Sermons, Addresses and Reminiscences and Important Correspondence, With a Picture Gallery of Eminent Ministers and Scholars by E. C. Morris, online at Documenting the American South.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Vigo County, Indiana / Kentucky

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

Baker, Charles William
Birth Year : 1941
Charles W. Baker was the second African American to serve as a Jefferson County, KY police officer, [the first was William Parker Mitchell]. In 1977, Charles William Baker filed a discrimination lawsuit in the Federal District Court against Chief Edgar Helm, the Jefferson County Police Executive Board, and the Jefferson County Police Merit Board. The lawsuit was in response to the failure to hire and promote African American police officers within the Jefferson County Police Department. The case was handled by attorney Juanita Logan Christian with support from the Urban League [Juanita L. Christian had a private law practice in Louisville and now practices law in Michigan]. The suit was settled with a ten year consent decree that would increase the number of African American police officers hired and promoted, and open the rank for assistant chief. Though Charles W. Baker scored the highest on the exam for the promotion, he was still denied rank, and retired from the Jefferson County Police Department in 1982. Charles W. Baker was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Helen Keeylen Baker and Thomas Baker. He is a graduate of Male High School in Louisville; earned his associate degree and bachelor's degree in business administration while enlisted in the U.S. Marines; and earned his M.S. in political science at Eastern Kentucky University. He was a police officer in Washington D. C., and transferred to the City of Louisville Police Department in 1968. Baker transferred to the Jefferson County Police Department in 1972, he was hired by Chief Russell McDaniel. The lawsuit filed by Baker, and the consent decree signed by County Judge Mitchell McConnell, opened the door for more African American officers to be hired in Kentucky, and other southern states followed Kentucky's lead. In the Jefferson County Police Department, the first African American woman officer was Jackie Dulan, and Carol Hickman was the third woman officer to be hired. Information for this entry was provided by Charles W. Baker during a phone interview on February 14, 2012. For more information see, Charles W. Baker, et al., v. County of Jefferson et al., Case No. C-80-8039(L)(A) and the consent decree at the U.S. District Clerk of Court in Louisville, KY.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Corrections and Police, Urban Leagues, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Batson v Kentucky
James Kirkland Batson, of Jefferson County, KY, was charged with second-degree burglary and receipt of stolen goods. In jury selection for his trial, all African American candidates were excused. Batson insisted that the entire jury be removed because all of the African Americans had been removed, a violation of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The judge denied the motion, and Batson was convicted on both counts in 1984. The Kentucky Supreme Court denied Batson's appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision in 1986. For more see Peter W. Sperlich, "Batson v. Kentucky," in The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions, Kermit L. Hall, Oxford University Press, 1999; Oxford Reference Online; U.S. Supreme Court Batson v. Kentucky 476 U.S. 79 (1986); and Epstein and Swickard, "Court forbids rejection of jurors on basis of race," Detroit Free Press, 05/01/1986.
Subjects: Freedom, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Beam, Ulysses S. and John W. Beam
Dr. U. S. Beam (1868-1942) was the first African American physician to practice in Lima, OH. Born in Kentucky, he was an older brother of Dr. Augustus G. Beam. Both were graduates of the Louisville National Medical College and maintained a medical practice together in Lima, OH, for a brief period in 1906. Dr. U. S. Beam had previously practiced in Muncie, IN, moving to Lima in 1892. He was a wealthy doctor in Lima, where he spent the remainder of his life except for a brief period when he was forced to returned to Kentucky in 1909. Dr. Beam left Lima after his brother, John W. Beam (born in KY -d.1909), a lawyer and real estate agent, was arrested for the murder of widow Estella Maude Diltz, who was white. There were rumors of a lynching party being formed, and Dr. Beam, whose wife was white, feared there would be retaliation towards him. Also, the U.S. Marshall had a subpoena for Dr. Beam pertaining to another matter. Dr. Beam closed his medical practice and fled to Kentucky with his father, Hines Beam, who had come to Lima to secure an attorney for his son, John. In November 1909, John W. Beam was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the Ohio Penitentiary; it was reported that he committed suicide while in prison, December 1909. Dr. Ulysses Beam returned to his practice in Lima, where he is listed in the U.S. Federal Census for 1910, 1920, and 1930. He died at his home in 1942 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, OH. For more see "Dr. Beam Gone," Lima Times Democrat (05/26/1909), p. 8; and "Dr. Beam dies in home after long illness," The Lima News (10/12/1942), p. 4. For more on John W. Beam's case, see "Suicide faked by slayer to avoid possible lynching," Chicago Tribune (05/25/1909), p. 2; "Declare Beam sane in every single particular," The Lima Daily News (10/25/1909), p. 1; "Beam sentenced by Judge Bailey," The Lima Daily news (11/05/1909), p. 5; and "Thomas Dillion helped Beam pave way to eternity," The Lima Daily News (12/14/1909), p. 1.
Subjects: Lawyers, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases, Suicide
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Muncie, Indiana / Lima, Ohio

Berry, Ulysses
Birth Year : 1941
Death Year : 2013
In 2001, the then 60 year old Ulysses Berry, who was born in Lexington, KY, was the interim Chief of Police in Lexington, the first African American to hold the post. Berry, a 37-year veteran of the police force, had also been the first African American to become Assistant Chief of Police in 1990, the same year that his 1987 lawsuit was dropped. In 1987, Berry, the highest ranking African American on the police force, filed suit because he felt he had been passed over for promotion because he was African American. Berry was also the first African American from the Bluegrass region to attend the national FBI academy. He was a brother of Julius Berry. Ulysses Berry died July 10, 2013. For more see J. Cheves, "Interim Chief Berry is veteran of 37 years with police department," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/04/2001, Main News section, p. A8; T. Tolliver, "Black police major files racial discrimination suit," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/11/1987, City/State, p. B1; and N. Morgan, "Chief's post about trust, Berry says candidate plays down racial issue," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/14/2001, City & Region section, p. C1.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bourbon County (KY) Protective Union of Color
Start Year : 1880
The Bourbon County Protective Union of Color was formed in 1880 in reaction to the William Giles case. The article in the Weekly Louisianian referred to the group as representing the "manliness of the Colored citizens of Kentucky." Giles was charged with shooting with malicious intent to kill. Rev. George W. Hatton, pastor of the St. Paul M. E. Church, was the leader of the small group of African American men who sought legal representation for Giles, and noted that there were no African Americans on the grand jury for the case, and as a result the case was moved to the U.S. Circuit Court. To ensure that other African Americans received their rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, the Bourbon County Protective Union of Color was formed and it was to be a permanent organization. The initial members were Rev. Hatton as president; James Thomas, vice president; J. C. Graves, secretary; and the committee on banking, H. C. Smith, J. M. Porter, James Thomas, and W. C. Craig. Protective unions had been formed by African Americans in Kentucky prior to 1880, but these were in conjunction with workers' rights. For more see "Paris, Kentucky," Weekly Louisianian, 05/08/1880, p.1 [reprinted from the Ohio Falls Express].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fraternal Organizations, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Branegan, George [Poynts vs. Branegan]
According to author Charles Lindquist, it was reported in the Michigan Freeman on October 13, 1839, that slaveholders from Kentucky had tried and failed three times to seize a slave named George Branegan who was living in Adrian, Michigan, and later they failed in Jonesville. When the slaveholders took Branegan into custody in Jonesville, they were confronted by a vigilance committee that prevented them from taking him back to Kentucky. The case went to court: Poynts vs. Branegan. When the authenticated laws of Kentucky, showing that one man could own another, could not be produced in one hour as requested by the judge, Branegan was set free. For more see The Antislavery-Underground Railroad Movement: in Lenawee County, Michigan, 1830-1860 by C. Lindquist.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Jonesville and Adrian, Michigan

Brodis, James, Sr. "Jim" [Joseph M. Dorcy v. Maria Brodis et al.]
Birth Year : 1833
Jim Brodis, Sr. was a runaway slave from Kentucky. He escaped from his master while they were mining in California. Brodis fled to Pajaro Valley, California, where he eventually purchased a farm. A street there is named in his honor and memory in Watsonville. Brodis [or Brodies] is listed in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census as a farmer, also listed are his wife Maria (b.1843 in Nova Scotia) and their five children. In 1908, the Supreme Court of California denied a rehearing in the case of Joseph M. Dorcy v. Maria Brodis and others. James Brodis had passed away, leaving all assets to Maria and the children. A land dispute led Dorcy to file a lawsuit against Maria et al. over the ownership of a tract of land in Santa Cruz. The court had ruled in favor of Maria et al., and Dorcy sought a retrial. For more see Dorcy v. Bordis on p.278 of v.96, first series of the Pacific Reporter, July 6-September 7, 1908 [full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Santa Cruz, California

Bryant, Isabella
Birth Year : 1890
In 1917, United States District Court Judge John Raymond Hazel ruled that Isabella Bryant was a U.S. citizen because her father, a former slave from Kentucky, had become a U.S. citizen when slaves were emancipated in Kentucky. At the time, Isabella Bryant was living on Caledonia Avenue in Rochester, New York. Her case was represented by lawyer Edwin C. Smith, who had asked the courts to grant Bryant the writ of habeas corpus. Isabella Bryant knew that her father was born in Kentucky around 1854. His name was Henry Bryant, he was a Methodist, and was born in the United States [source: Canada Census, 1901]. He was the husband of Ellen Bryant and the family of seven lived in Hamilton, where Isabella was born around 1890. Her father was never naturalized as a Canadian citizen; therefore, the courts determined that he was an American citizen and so was his daughter; therefore, Isabella Bryant could not be deported from the United States. The U.S. Department of Labor had described Isabella Bryant as an unwed mother of two children; supposedly, the first child was born in Canada and the second in the United States. Isabella Bryant had visited her sister, Mrs. Matilda Taylor, in July of 1915. Her sister lived at 11 Egerton Street in Rochester, NY [source: Immigration Card 446-E ; 07/25/15]. Isabella Bryant's immigration card describes her as an African(Blk) woman standing 5 feet 8 inches tall. Also on the card is her mother's name and address: Ellen Johnson, 101 Carolina Street, North Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. It is not known how long Isabella Bryant stayed in the U.S. before returning to Canada, but in August of 1915 she immigrated to the U.S. She arrived at the port of Buffalo, NY, according to the List Or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission, Sheet No. 14, a U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service form. Isabella Bryant is listed as African (Blk), and her Canadian address is the same as her mother's address in North Hamilton. She entered the U.S. and lived in Rochester, NY, for two years, then the U.S. Department of Labor ordered her deported because she was said to be an undesirable alien who would probably become a public charge. Bryant refused to leave and hired lawyer Edwin C. Smith. The case was another example of the citizenship question concerning former slaves. Also, the Immigration Act of 1917 [info] had passed in February of 1917 to further ban undesirables from entering and/or remaining in the United States. In Isabella Bryant's case, having a child out of wedlock had made her an undesirable alien, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. This was the time period during World War I, just prior to the United States sending American troops into battle. The ruling by Judge John R. Hazel allowed Isabella Bryant to remain in the United States. She was still living in Rochester, NY, in 1920 and is included in the U.S. Census, where she is listed as white and single; she was employed as a domestic. There are no children listed with Isabella Bryant on the immigration forms or in the 1920 Census. For more see "Slave's daughter is an American," The Post Express, 04/12/1917, p. 33.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Hamilton, Ontario, Canada / Rochester, New York

Bush v. Kentucky (John Bush vs The Commonwealth of Kentucky)
Start Year : 1879
End Year : 1884
The murder trials of John Bush (c.1847-1884) were an ongoing "tug of war" for a few years; it was a matter of race and jury selection in Kentucky. In January of 1879, John Bush was accused of shooting 13 year old Anna Vanmeter in the thigh. Bush was a Kentucky-born African American who lived in Fayette County, KY. Anna Vanmeter, who was white, died a week or so after being shot. She had been sharing a bed with her sister who had scarlet fever. The defense claimed that Anna Vanmeter died from scarlet fever and not the wound to her thigh [source: "Special to the Courier-Journal," Lexington, Feb. 5., Courier-Journal, 02/06/1884, p. 4]. John Bush's case went to the Lexington grand jury and the all-white jury could not come to a verdict. In May of 1879, a second trial was held and an all-white jury convicted John Bush of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The case was appealed and the Kentucky Supreme Court reversed the verdict and ordered a new trial. Bush's attorney asked that the case be moved to the U.S. Circuit Court. The request was denied and John Bush was again found guilty and sentenced to death by an all-white jury at his third trial. Bush asked for a writ of habeas corpus for the U.S. Circuit Court for Kentucky. A motion was filed that the case be removed to a federal court on the grounds that Kentucky laws exclude Negroes from grand and petit juries. The federal court agreed with the defendant, and John Bush was released. When John Bush was taken back to Lexington, KY, he was arrested and placed in jail; he is listed as married and incarcerated in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. In December of 1880, the State of Kentucky charged John Bush with the same offense, and in May of 1881, Bush was tried for the fourth time by an all-white jury, convicted, and sentenced. An appeal was filed in 1882, and the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. The case was then taken up to the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in the reversal of the Kentucky Supreme Court's judgement on January 29, 1883. The Opinion of the Court by Justice Harlan: The defendant's conviction and sentence violated the Constitution because the laws of Kentucky expressly precluded Negroes from serving on grand and petit juries. While the U.S. Supreme Courts' decision in "John Bush v. The Commonwealth of Kentucky" is still recognized and discussed in the field of law, there is no mention of the fact that there was no enforcement of the decision and the state of Kentucky ignored the decision. On November 21, 1884, John Bush was hanged in the Lexington jail yard [source: "John Bush's execution," Lexington Leader, 01/06/1890, p.8]. John Bush's defense counsel was L. P. Tarleton, Jr., a lawyer, former sheriff, and a race horse owner in Lexington, KY. Jockey Isaac Murphy rode for Tarleton Jr., Swiney, and McIntyre. John Bush had been a domestic servant for Lexington lawyer William Preston, according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He is listed as a farmhand who lived at 167 Correll Street in Lexington, on p.55 in Prather's Lexington City Directory, for 1875 and 1876. For more see "Bush v. Kentucky" {107 U.S. 110 (1883)} on p.86 in the Encyclopedia of Capital Punishment in the United States by L. J. Palmer; Jury Discrimination by C. Waldrep; and Bush v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, a Cornell University Law School website.
Subjects: Executions, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Caroline (escaped slave) [Donnell v. State]
Start Year : 1847
End Year : 1852
Caroline was a runaway slave from Trimble County, KY, who made a daring escape with her four children in 1847. Escorts in the Underground Railroad helped the family reach the Greenbriar Settlement in Indiana (near the Decatur County/Franklin County line), where they were captured and locked in a livestock feed house. Owner George Ray had posted a reward for the family, and he sued Luther Donnell for rescuing the family from the feed house and helping them toward freedom in Canada. For more see Hoosier farmer gave costly help to fleeing slave and her children at Indianapolis Star Library Factfiles website,; and pictures of the historical marker at
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Trimble County, Kentucky / Greenbriar Settlement, Decatur County, Indiana / Canada

Casey, Dwane
Birth Year : 1957
Dwane Casey was born in Morganfield, KY. Casey, a 6' 2" guard, was on the University of Kentucky (UK) basketball team from 1976-1979; the 1977-1978 team won the NCAA Championship. Casey played in 95 games, scoring 125 total points. He served as an assistant coach under Clem Haskins for five years at Western Kentucky University until 1986, when he became an assistant coach at UK. Casey was the third former player to become an assistant coach at UK and the first African American to do so. In 1988 he filed a $6.9 million suit against the Emery Air Freight Corp. and the employees who claimed to have discovered $1,000 cash in a package Casey sent to the father of California basketball player Chris Mills. [The suit was eventually settled out of court.] Casey resigned from UK in 1989. He later served as an assistant coach overseas and in the NBA. From June 2005 - January 2007, Casey was head coach of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves. He was the third African American from Kentucky to be named a head coach in the NBA [the first was Bernie Bickerstaff, the second, Wes Unseld]. In 2011, Casey was named the head coach of the Toronto Raptors. For more see Dwane Casey at the Big Blue History website; J. Tipton, "UK names Casey coaching assistant," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/19/1986, Sports section, p. C1; M. Barnhill, "Kentucky basketball coach sues freight firm in Mills case," 07/09/1988, News section, p. N8, and "Kentucky charged by NCAA - investigators say L.A. basketball star's father was paid $1000," 07/26/1988, News section, p. N1, both in the Daily News of Los Angeles (California); and "Timberwolves hire Sonics' assistant," The Grand Rapids Press, 06/18/2006, Sports section, p. C1.

See photo image and additional information about Dwane Casey at "Mavs assistant Dwane Casey in line for Toronto head job," by T. Griffin et. al. at Spurs Nation website.
Subjects: Basketball, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Minnesota

Castleman, William Saffell Jr. "Will"
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1953
Will Castleman was a bartender in Frankfort, KY, in 1940, he and his wife Christine lived on Wilkerson Street [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. Will Castleman had a number of jobs during his life time, but he mostly ran pool halls, many times the only one open to African Americans in Frankfort. Will Castleman was not remembered for his accomplishments in life. His name was noted and very quickly lost to history after the death of Dr. T. L. Berry in 1944. Dr. Berry and Will Castleman had had an ongoing disagreement after Castleman's wife called another doctor for an emergency, rather than call Dr. Berry, or so that is the story that was printed in the newspaper. It was said that Dr. Berry had been making threats toward Castleman. It all came to a head on Wednesday, June 7, 1944, when Dr. Berry came to the liquor store in the Craw section of Frankfort, where he found Castleman. Dr. Berry drew his gun and fired a shot at Castleman [source: "Local Negro doctor shot," The State Journal, 06/08/1944, pp.1 & 6]. The shot missed Castleman and the bullet lodged in the wall over his head. Will Castleman drew his gun and fired several shots at Dr. Berry. One of the shots struck the doctor in the chest beneath the heart. Dr. Berry staggered across the street to the pool hall where he died. Judge L. Boone Hamilton wanted Will Castleman jailed until after an examining trial. Castleman went to jail for the night, and the following day he plead not guilty (self-defense), waived the examining trial, and was released from jail on a $2,500 bond [source: "Castleman is freed under $2,500 bond," The State Journal, 06/09/1944, p.1]. The bond was signed by J. P. Sullivan and Mike Deakins. Will Castleman's case was held over to the Franklin County Grand Jury. He would remain in Frankfort, his hometown, for the remainder of his life. Will Castleman was born in Frankfort around 1888, and in 1900, he, his brother Forest, and their mother Sue Smith lived with Sue's mother Emily Smith [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. The family lived in a rented apartment in Long Lone Alley. Sue Smith and her mother were employed as cooks for a family. Emily Smith was born around 1834 [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census] and she died in 1909 [see Find A Grave]. In 1910, William lived with his mother, and there was a roomer, all lived in a rented place on Washington Street in Frankfort and there was no mention of his brother Forest [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. At the time, Sue Smith was employed as a laundress and Will Castleman worked at a pool hall. He continued working at pool halls until he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1918 and was living and working in Dayton, OH, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card. By 1921, Will Castleman was back in Frankfort, KY, working at the pool hall located at 412 Clinton Street and living at 616 Washington Street [source: pp.68 & 320 in Caron's Directory of the City of Frankfort, Ky. for 1921-1922-1923]. His mother, Sue Smith, who was born in 1860, died in 1925 [see Find A Grave]. In 1930, Will Castleman was a janitor at the state capitol building in Frankfort, KY [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1932, he was a porter with the Railroad Commission at 408 W. Clinton St. [source: p.71 in Carson's Frankfort, KY. City Directory for 1932-1933]. One year after the death of Dr. Berry, William Castleman was running a pool hall at 420 Washington Street, and he and Christine lived at 420 W. Clinton St. [source: p.45 in Polk's Frankfort (Franklin County, KY.) City Directory, 1945-46]. Dr. Berry had died in Castleman's pool hall. Castleman was still managing the business in 1949 [source: p.5 in Polk's Frankfort Classified Business Directory, 1948-49]. In 1951, the pool hall was gone and Castleman was managing the George Taylor Liquor Store [source: p.49 in Polk's Frankfort (Franklin County, KY.) City Directory, 1951-52]. The liquor store would be his last job. William Castleman died of cancer on November 24, 1953 in Frankfort, KY [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File #116 53-24789]. His arrangements were handled by the Thomas K. Robb Funeral Home, and William Castleman was buried in Green Hill Cemetery in Frankfort, KY. He was the son of William Castleman Sr. and Sue Smith. At the time of his death, Will and his wife Christine still lived at 420 W. Clinton Street in Frankfort. 
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases, Pool Halls, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Chiles, James Alexander [Chiles v. Chesapeake & O R CO]
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1930
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. Bates 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. James Alexander Chiles died in Richmond, VA in April of 1930 [source: "Tribute is paid Negro attorney by local bar," Lexington Leader, 04/09/1930, p.1]. 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, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Virginia / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

[Clarissa] Street vs. Ferry
Start Year : 1853
In January 1853, Clarissa, a slave, was given her freedom by Judge J. Crenshaw of the Kentucky Court of Appeals; the decision was a new legal point of view. Clarissa, who was owned by Mrs. Trigg, had accompanied Mrs. Alexander to Philadelphia in 1838. Mrs. Alexander was a close relative to Mrs. Trigg. The laws of Philadelphia had been discussed prior to the trip: if a slave lived in the city for at least six months, then the slave became a free person. Mrs. Trigg was willing to take the chance that Clarissa and Mrs. Alexander might be in the city six months or longer (which they were), because she knew that Clarissa would not abandon her husband and children, who were slaves in Kentucky. Also, Clarissa, and all of the other slaves owned by Mrs. Trigg, were to be freed when Mrs. Trigg died. Clarissa returned to Kentucky and continued living as Mrs. Trigg's slave. Prior to Mrs. Trigg's death, she had taken a loan from Mrs. Ferry, her adopted daughter, and used Clarissa as collateral to secure the note. The debt was to be repaid from Mrs. Trigg's estate. However, when Mrs. Trigg died, there were not sufficient funds to repay the debt. All of the Trigg slaves except Clarissa were freed; Clarissa became the property of Mrs. Ferry. Clarissa sued Ferry to gain her freedom. For more see article 12 in the New York Daily Times, 01/31/1853, p. 6; "The Slavery agitation--will it never cease?," New York Daily Times, 02/01/1853, p. 4; and "Court of Apeals of Kentucky, January, 1853. Ferry vs. Street," The American Law Register (1852-1891), vol. 1, issue 5 (Mar., 1853), pp. 295-300.
Subjects: Freedom, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Claybrook v Owensboro
In the late 1800s, Edward Claybrook (1821-1896) and others sued the City of Owensboro, KY, and others to prevent a segregated method of using taxes to pay for public education. Only taxes collected from African Americans were to be used for educating African American children in the city. For white children, the sum of $9,400 was available for two well-built schools, 18 teachers, and the 9-10 month school session. For African American children, $700 provided the one inferior school, three teachers, and a school session of about three months. In 1883, U. S. Circuit Judge John Barr ruled that the method of distributing school funds was unfair. "If I am correct in my conclusion, all that colored children in Owensboro are entitled to is the equal protection of the laws, in that a fair share of this fund be applied toward the maintenance of the common schools especially provided for colored children. In this view the only remedy is in equity.... United States courts have heretofore enjoined state officers from obeying state laws which were declared to be unconstitutional." For more see Claybrook and others v. City of Owensboro and others, District Court, D. Kentucky, 16 F.297 U.S. Dist. 1883; and Claybrook v. Owensboro by L. A. Coghill (thesis).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Coles County, Illinois [Anthony and Jane Bryant]
The African American settlers of Coles County, Illinois, came from Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, all around 1840. The settlers from Kentucky included Isom and Lucy Anne Bryant (Lucy was from Kentucky); the Derixson (or Derrickson) Family, escaped slaves from Nicholas County, Kentucky; and Mr. and Mrs. George Nash (George was from Kentucky). A famous slavery case that took place in Coles County involved Anthony Bryant, a free man, and his wife Jane Bryant, a slave, and her four children [some sources say six children]. Slave owner Robert Matson, from Bourbon County, wanted to take Jane and the children from Coles County back to Kentucky, and he enlisted the help of lawyers U. F. Binder and Abraham Lincoln. Matson lost the case, and the Bryant Family moved to Liberia, Africa. For more see History of Negro Slavery in Illinois and of the Slavery Agitation in that State, by N. D. Harris (1904); and J. W. Weik, "Lincoln and the Matson Negroes," Arena, v.17, 1896-97 Dec-Jun, pp.752-758 [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Court Cases, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Nicholas County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Coles County, Illinois / Liberia, Africa

Colored Skating Rink (Winchester, KY)
Thanksgiving night, 1910, the Colored skating rink in Winchester, KY, was the scene of gunfire by deputy policeman, John Ballard, who was shooting at John Smith, an African American who worked at the skating rink. Ballard accused Smith of telling lies on him, and when Ballard drew his gun, there was a scuffle. Smith was able to get away without being injured. Ballard was charged with malicious shooting without wounding. The case was held over to the grand jury. For more see "Ballard held to grand jury," The Winchester News, 12/02/1910, p.1.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases, Skating Rinks
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Commonwealth v. Poindexter, &c.
End Year : 1909
The following is a summary of the Kentucky Court of Appeals opinion Commonwealth v. Poindexter, 133 Ky. 720, 118 S.W. 943 (Ky. 1909). ~ In 1909, C. H. Poindexter and Frank Moore, two African American men of the age of consent, were charged with the crime of sodomy in the Caldwell County Circuit Court. The men pled guilty, were found guilty by the jury, and were sentenced to two years each in the penitentiary.  But after the verdict was given, Poindexter and Moore’s counsel requested a new trial. The state had brought charges against them under an unnamed Kentucky statute that made sodomy a felony, but the statute did not define what acts constituted the crime. The men had engaged in what we would today term oral sex, and their attorneys had discovered new information that oral sex may not be included under the common law definition of the crime of sodomy. The circuit court set aside the verdict and granted the men a new trial.  Poindexter and Moore's counsel then submitted a motion to dismiss the indictment and the court sustained on the grounds that the acts charged did not constitute sodomy. The court dismissed the case and the Commonwealth appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. To determine the definition of sodomy, the appellate court relied on a highly regarded legal treatise from the period, Bishop's New Criminal Law, which stated that “[s]odomy is a carnal copulation by human beings with each other against nature, or with a beast” and that “penetration of the mouth is not sodomy” (2 Bishop’s New Criminal Law §1191, §1194).  Based on the treatise and other common law sources, the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court, ruling that the Caldwell Circuit Court properly dismissed the indictment. Oral sex was not sodomy.  C. H. Poindexter and Frank Moore were free of all charges.  ~ The case of C. H. Poindexter and Frank Moore is one of the earliest known cases of African Americans challenging the Kentucky sodomy law. How it was discovered that the two men were having oral sex is not included in the appellate court opinion, nor is it known who notified the authorities. Nothing more is known about the lives of C. H. Poindexter and Frank Moore at this time.


This entry was edited by Tina M. Brooks, Librarian at the University of Kentucky Law Library.

Subjects: Court Cases, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, ...
Geographic Region: Caldwell County, Kentucky

Corbin v Marsh (Nicholas County, KY)
Start Year : 1865
The Militia Act of 1862 [from Selected Statutes] initially authorized men of African descent as laborers for the Federal Army and Navy, but the men would become soldiers. The act granted freedom to the men and their mothers, wives, and children. In October 1865, the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Kentucky decided the act of Congress was unconstitutional. The case was to be taken to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court for final adjudication. But it was in Nicholas County, KY, where the case of Corbin v. Marsh was taken to the Kentucky Appeals Court. The judgment affirmed that the act was unconstitutional and not law on December 11, 1865. Judge Williams dissented from the majority of the court. No opinion was sought from the U.S. Supreme Court. For more see Select statutes and other documents illustrative of the history of the United States, 1861-1898, by W. MacDonald [full-text at Google Book Search]; "The Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Kentucky, has decided the act of Congress freeing the wives and children of colored soldiers, unconstitutional," Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 10/10/1865, issue 238, Col. C; and Corbin vs Marsh 63 Ky. 193; 1865 Ky. 2 Duv. 193.
Subjects: Freedom, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Montgomery County, Kentucky / Nicholas County, Kentucky

Crosswhite, Adam and Sarah
In 1844 the Crosswhites and their four children escaped from Carroll County, Kentucky, and made their way through the Underground Railroad to the African American community in Marshall, Michigan. The community was made up of about 50 residents, most of whom were escaped slaves from Kentucky; the town of Marshall had about 200 residents. By 1847, the Crosswhite family had been located by Francis Giltner, who intended to claim his slaves and return them to Kentucky. On behalf of Giltner, Francis Troutman led a party of four to the Crosswhite home. The party was confronted by a crowd of African Americans and whites that numbered more than 150 people. Troutman and his comrades would not back down, so they were arrested for assault, battery, and housebreaking. The Crosswhites escaped to Canada. Francis Giltner sued the leaders of Marshall for the cost of the escaped slaves. The U.S. Circuit Court of Michigan decided in favor of Giltner. The Crosswhites would later return to settle in Marshall. Adam Crosswhite was born around 1800 and died in 1878, and Sarah Crosswhite was born around 1796; the couple is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, still living in Marshall. For more see J. H. Yzenbaard, "The Crosswhite case," Michigan History, vol. 53, issue 2 (1969), pp. 131-143; J. C. Sherwood, "One flame in the inferno: the legend of Marshall's Crosswhite affair," Michigan History, vol. 73, issue 2 (1989), pp. 40-47; and Case No. 5,453 - Giltner v. Gorham et. al - in Book 10 of The Federal Cases, pp.424-433 [full text at Google Books].

See photo image of Adam Crosswhite and additional information about he and his wife Sarah Crosswhite, at the Seeking Michigan website.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Carroll County, Kentucky / Marshall, Michigan / Canada

Crumlin, James A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2004
Reverend James A. Crumlin, Sr. was born in South Carolina. He came to Louisville, KY in 1944. A graduate of Howard University, he earned his law degree from the Robert H. Terrell Law School in Washington, D.C. Crumlin is remembered for a number of successes, including the appeal to the Kentucky Legislature to amend the state law for African American doctors and nurses to be admitted to state hospitals for training. The bill was passed in 1948 while Crumlin was president of the Louisville NAACP. Crumlin was also one of the lawyers for the plaintiff in the lawsuit to integrate the University of Kentucky. He was the lawyer for a number of school integration cases in Kentucky. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and B. Paulastaff, "Rev. James A. Crumlin, Sr. dies," Courier-Journal, 08/28/2004, News section, p. O7B.

Access Interview Read about the James A. Crumlin, Sr. oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Nurses, Court Cases
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Davis, Ellen
Birth Year : 1843
Death Year : 1927
Ellen Davis was the daughter of John Davis, an Irishman [John J. Cummins is listed as the father on her death certificate]. She was from Fayette County, KY, and had been a slave belonging to the mother of wealthy horseman John T. Hughes (1840-1924) of Fayette County. When Davis was about 18 years old, she had a son by Hughes, who never married. Their relationship was temporarily interrupted during the Civil War, but resumed in 1872, when Davis became free and after J. T. Hughes' mother had died. The relationship continued until 1924 when J. T. Hughes died. In his will, he left $30,000 to various persons, and his faithful colored man, Alex Rankin, received 96 1/2 acres of land [Alex Rankin d.1935, his wife Nannie d.1939, they are buried in African Cemetery No.2]. Ellen Davis received the mansion Elkton and hundreds of acres of farmland plus all of the home belongings, farm equipment, and stock. Their son, Robert Henry Hughes, who had spent most of his life in Buffalo, NY, received 160 acres. The remainder of the estate went to the Midway Orphan's Home. The will was contested and the case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, December 1925. The will was allowed to stand as written and Ellen Davis, in a situation very similar to that of Margaret Pryor, was thought to be the wealthiest Negro woman in Kentucky. But unlike Pryor, 80 year old Davis sold the estate that neighbored thoroughbred farms that belonged to wealthy men such as John E. Madden, Samuel D. Riddle, and Joseph E. Widener, who bought 587 acres. Payne Whitney, a relative of J. T. Hughes from New York, bought the Elkton mansion and 277 acres. Ellen Davis died at the age of 84 in Fayette County, KY, on December 8, 1927. According to her death certificate, she is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. For more see "Bayless v. Hughes' EX'Rs et al. (Court of Appeals of Kentucky. Dec. 15, 1925)," South Western Reporter, vol. 278, pp. 162-163; "Made richest Negress in South by court," New York Times, 12/17/1925, p. 13; and "New property cost breeders $326,000," New York Times, 03/01/1926, p. 14. The Rankins' death dates and cemetery information provided by Yvonne Giles - "The Cemetery Lady".
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration North, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Davis, Van, Jr.
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 1991
Van Davis, Jr. was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Mannie and Van Davis, Sr. He was the leading plaintiff in a discrimination lawsuit against Los Angeles County. Davis became the first African American firefighter with the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1953. He was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy. For more see "Behind the Scenes, Van Davis, Jr.," a County of Los Angeles Fire Department website.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Firefighters, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Los Angles, California

Dishman, Oscar, Jr.
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2000
Born in Scott County, KY, Oscar Dishmanm, Jr. began working with horses when he was a teenager, training thoroughbred horses for more than 40 years, including Silver Series and Golden Don. Dishman had been employed at Latonia and River Downs. He also filed suit against the Scott County Board of Education in 1956, leading to the desegregation of the public schools in Georgetown, KY. He was the son of Oscar, Sr. and Anna L. Henderson Dishman. The family lived in New Zion according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. For more see "Oscar Dishman Jr., thoroughbred horse trainer for more than 40 years, dies at 77," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, p. B2, 10/02/2000. For more about the school board lawsuit, contact Marilyn Dishman (his daughter).


Access InterviewRead about the Oscar Dishman, Jr. oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Board of Education, Court Cases
Geographic Region: New Zion, Scott County and Fayette County, Kentucky / Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Eilers v Eilers [Anna F. Anderson]
Start Year : 1964
In September 1964, eight months after Anna F. Eilers married Marshall C. Anderson, the courts took her five children away. Anna, who was white, was from New Haven, KY. She had divorced her previous husband and father of the children, George Eilers, in 1963. Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Lyndon R. Schmid awarded custody of the children to Anna. In January 1964, Anna and Marshall C. Anderson, an African American musician and restaurant employee, were married in Chicago, IL. [Marriage between the races was still illegal in Kentucky and 17 other states.] When they returned to Louisville, KY, the couple lost their jobs in retaliation for their marriage. George Eilers sued to have the children taken away from Anna, and Judge Schmid had the children placed in a children's institutional home. Anna and Marshall moved to Indianapolis, IN, in 1964, by which time the two oldest children had been placed in foster homes. Prior to their move, the Andersons had retained Attorney James Crumlin of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. to help regain custody of the children. The custody case took place during the same time period that the Virginia Supreme Court had upheld the state's anti-miscegenation law in the Richard and Mildred Loving case [NY Times article]. The Andersons' custody case went to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1966, where the Appellate Court upheld the ruling of the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The case was next taken to the federal court where it became national news; it was the first appeal to the federal courts on constitutional grounds for child custody. The Andersons' case was temporarily linked to the Lovings' case, which was pending in the federal courts, and the results were expected to be landmark decisions. The link was broken when District Judge Henry L. Brooks declined to take jurisdiction over the Andersons' case because it was determined that the mother had not exhausted her appeals in the Kentucky courts, and the indirectness of the attack on the Kentucky miscegenation laws was a weakness of the case; therefore, there was no federal question. For a third time, the Anderson case was brought before the Kentucky Court of Appeals. The court reversed the judgment for proceedings consistent with the opinion. "No reason appears which would warrant interference with the custody order from which this appeal was taken. That order shall remain in effect until further order of the trial court or any court of competent jurisdiction." For more see F. Ward, "Mixed couple suffers ordeal," Jet, 04/07/1966, pp. 46-49, and "Mixed couple losses custody bid," Jet, 10/27/1966, p. 15 [both articles available full-text at Google Book Search]; B. A. Franklin's articles in the New York Times: "Kentucky facing race custody suit," 03/25/1966, p. 29, and "Judge bars case of miscegenation," 06/26/1966, p. 30; "N.A.A.C.P. to fight ruling on custody," New York Times, 07/08/1966, p. 12; and Anna Frances Eilers (now Anna Anderson), Appellant, v. George F. Eilers, Appellee, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 412 S.W.2d 871: 1967 Ky, March 17, 1967.
Subjects: Mothers, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases, Interracial Marriage and State Laws
Geographic Region: New Haven, Nelson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Eubanks, Charles Lamont [Eubanks v University of Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1924
In the fall of 1941, Eubanks, a 17-year old from Louisville, KY, was the plaintiff in the first Kentucky case the NAACP brought against a university. Eubanks had volunteered to be the subject in an attempt to integrate the University of Kentucky (UK); Eubanks was an honor student who had graduated from Central High School and applied for admission to the UK College of Engineering. His application was denied because Eubanks was an African American and the Kentucky Day Law did not permit African Americans and whites to attend the same schools. While the Eubanks' case was pending, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to establish a two year engineering course at the HCBU Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] for African American students seeking an engineering degree. Eubanks' counsel, Charles H. Houston and Thurgood Marshall, objected to the two-year makeshift engineering program and an amended complaint was filed with the Federal District Court in Lexington, with a request for $5,000 in damages. As the case dragged on, Eubanks suffered with depression, he was criticized for creating tension between Kentucky African Americans and whites, he was rejected from joining the Army, and his wife divorced him. Eubanks signed an affidavit asking that the case not be continued and the case was dismissed in 1945. Thurgood Marshall was disappointed at the outcome of the case. Charles W. Anderson blamed Kentucky State College President Atwood for weakening the case when he allowed the two-year engineering course to be created at the school. But in spite of all that happened, the Charles Eubanks v University of Kentucky case is still considered a landmark in the struggle for equal rights in higher education. For more see Making Civil Rights Law by M. V. Tushnet; Fifty Years of Segregation by J. Hardin; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright. See also Lyman T. Johnson, the case that desegregated the University of Kentucky.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

The Family of Jack and Sallie Foster [Blyew v. United States]
Birth Year : 1868
In Lewis County, KY, during the summer of 1868, five members of the Foster family were attacked by John Blyew and George Kennard, who used a carpenter's ax and some other bladed tool to hack at the bodies of the family members. Jack, his wife Sallie, and his grandmother Lucy Armstrong, who was blind, were killed outright. Richard, the Foster's 16 year old son, took shelter under his father's body. He later regained consciousness and crawled 300 yards to a neighbor's house for help. Richard died two days later. The two youngest children were the only survivors: Laura Foster, 8 years old, hid and was unharmed, while her 6 year old sister, Amelia, was hacked about the head but lived. A posse was formed and Blyew and Kennard were arrested and indicted on four counts of murder. The court hearings began October 26, 1868, with the following evidence presented: Richard Foster's dying statements, Laura Foster's written testimony [it was illegal in Kentucky for African Americans to give testimony against whites during criminal proceedings], and the testimony of those who investigated the crimes. One of the reasons given for the murders was retaliation for the Civil War and the potential for another war about African Americans. The trial was held in U.S. Court for the District of Kentucky before Judge Bland Ballard. The prosecuting attorney was Benjamin H. Bristow, who would later become the first U.S. Solicitor General and serve as Secretary of the Treasury in the Grant Administration before becoming a Republican presidential nominee in 1876. Two years prior to the Foster family murders, Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which gave jurisdiction to federal courts for all causes, civil and criminal, affecting persons who are denied or cannot enforce any of the rights secured to them in the courts or judicial tribunals of the state or locality, where they may be. The understanding of the provisions of the act was the reason Blyew and Kennard were tried in a federal court. Their case was presented to an all-white jury [it was still illegal to have African American jurors in such cases in Kentucky]. None of the jury members were from Lewis County. Blyew and Kennard were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court as a Writ of Error. Blyew v United States was one of the first cases for the full court to analyze the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. Kentucky Governor J. W. Stevenson called for a special legislative session, and funds were appropriated for use in the Blyew v United States case to hire the distinguished lawyer, Judge Jeremiah S. Black, to represent Kentucky's sovereign rights as a challenge to the constitutionality of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. It was determined by the governor and many of the Kentucky legislators that the 1866 Act exceeded the authority of Congress and was an unconstitutional intrusion of authority. The U.S. Supreme Court deliberated for more than a year before rendering a judgment on April 1, 1872, that reversed the convictions of Blyew and Kennard with a 5-2 majority. Prior to the decision, the Negro testimony law in Kentucky was repealed, and Blyew and Kennard were indicted and to be tried in the Lewis County Circuit Court in 1873. In Blyew's case, there was a hung jury, and the case was then to be prosecuted in federal court. But before the retrial could take place, Blyew escaped. In George Kennard's case, he was convicted and sentenced to hard labor for his natural life. He was pardoned by Governor Blackburn in 1885 due to his health. Kennard died of senility on April 5, 1923 in Carter County, KY, according to his death certificate. John Blyew was recaptured in 1890, and the Lewis County Circuit Court convicted and sentenced him to life in prison. Governor W. J. Worthington pardoned Blyew in 1896, and Blyew, his wife Emma, and granddaughter Mary, were residing in Cincinnati, OH in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. The surviving Foster sisters, Laura and Amelia, were taken in by a white family named Ruggles. It has been written that Laura, who was born around 1860, died of measles after living with the Ruggles for a few years, but according the U. S. Census, she was with the Ruggles' family as a servant up to 1880. Amelia (1862-1936), who was described as having horrendous scars on her head, was single and remained in Lewis County doing housework up until 1934 when she became ill, according to her death certificate. For more see Blyew v. United States, 80 U.S. 13 Wall. 581 (1871) [full-text at]; R. D. Goldstein, "Blyew: variations on a jurisdictional theme," Stanford Law Review, vol. 41, issue 3 (Feb. 1989), pp. 469-566; and Race, Law, and American Society, by G. J. Browne-Marshall.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Court Cases, Blind, Visually Impaired
Geographic Region: Lewis County, Kentucky

Fox, Robert and Samuel
The Fox brothers owned a grocery store and one of the three leading undertaking businesses in Louisville, KY. Their undertaking business would eventually be merge with that of J. H. Taylor. In 1870, the Fox brothers and Horace Pearce went against the public streetcar policies when they boarded the Central Passenger's car at Tenth and Walnut Streets. All three men were removed from the car and jailed and their case would be resolved in U.S. District Court. Robert Fox (b.1846) and Samuel Fox (b.1849 ), both born in Kentucky, were the sons of Albert and Margaret Fox. For more see History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.; and the entry Streetcar Demonstrations.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Jim Crow, Corrections and Police, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Garvin, Ananias Lorenzo
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1952
Ananias L. Garvin was the first African American hired by the University of Kentucky Agricultral Extension Service. He was hired in July of 1918 as a (Colored) Emergency Assistant County Agent for Mercer County with a one year contract - $100 per month - ($66 2/3 per month paid by Emergency Fund) [source: p.4, University of Kentucky, Board of Trustees Minutes.]. A. L. Garvin and his wife Effie Williams Garvin (1879-1934), both Kentucky natives, were school teachers in the colored school in Harrodsburg, KY [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. A. L. Garvin was the school principal and his wife was a school supervisor in 1920 when the couple lived on Price Avenue in Harrodsburg [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. A. L. Garvin had been serving as the school principal since 1903 and he left the school in 1920 [see NKAA entry African American Schools in Mercer County, KY]. He and his wife moved to Louisville and lived on Chestnut Street; A. L. Garvin was working for Standard Life Insurance Company as the director of agents, and his wife was a homemaker [source: p.624 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1924; and 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. Effie Garvin died October 16, 1934; she was from Lexington, KY, the daughter of Don W. Williams and Amanda Colerain Williams [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File#25359]. In 1940, A. L. Garvin was teaching in the Jefferson County Schools and he was married to Ana Garvin, a school teacher in Louisville who was born in Virginia [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1941, he was principal of Orell School in Louisville [source: A. L. Garvin letter and correspondence within Dargan House collection (online) at Indiana University]. A. L. Garvin was born in Munfordville (Hart County), KY, the son of Emmitt and Catherine [Brawner] Garvin; and A. L. Garvin died at Central State Hospital in Louisville, KY on May 23, 1952 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File#1165210218; and 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. His death occurred a year before the 1953 Kentucky Court of Appeals decision in the case of A. L. Garvin et. al., Appellants v. Pythian Mutual Industrial Association et. al., Appellees [info at FindACase]. The case concerned the 1935 transfer of the Pythias Mutual Association building, at the corner of 10th and Chestnut Streets in Louisville, to the Pythian Dependent Widows and Orphans Aid.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky / Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Gordon, James and Teresa (siblings)
Start Year : 1956
End Year : 1957
September 7, 1956, Mrs. Louise Gordon attempted to register her children for classes at Clay Consolidated School in Webster County, KY, and was turned away by a crowd of 100 or more people. September 10, 1956, Mrs. Gordon again attempted to register her children for school and her car was surrounded and rocked by the crowd that included Mayor Herman Z. Clark. On September 12, 1956, James and Louise Gordon's children, James and Teresa, began attending the previously all white elementary school in Clay, KY. The children were escorted to school by the national guard, and there were hundreds of guardsmen patrolling the school grounds during the day. On the second day of classes, the Gordon children and one white child were the only students in the school, the others had walked out in protest. More than half the teachers did not report to work, and Minvil L. Clark resigned. Clark was a school teacher and he was pastor of the General Baptist Church. In response to the attempt at integrating the school, it was ruled by the Kentucky Attorney General, Jo M. Ferguson, that the Gordon children should be denied admittance to the school because the Webster County Board of Education did not have an integration plan. Ferguson ruled the same applied to Sturgis, Union County, where Negro students attempted to enter the previously all white high school on the first day of classes and were turned away by a mob. To help keep the peace, Governor Happy Chandler had activated the Kentucky National Guard and the State Police. In Clay, KY, the Adjutant General of the National Guard, Major General J. J. B. Williams, was ignoring the news of the Attorney General's decision; until he heard from the governor of Kentucky, he planned to continue to take Mrs. Gordon and her children to and from school. On September 18, 1956, based on the Kentucky Attorney General's ruling, the Union and Webster County school systems voted to officially bar Negro students from their schools. Governor Happy Chandler withdrew the National Guard troops. Louisville NAACP Lawyer, James A. Crumlin, Sr. filed suit against the Sturgis and Clay school systems in the Federal District Court: Gordon, et. al. v. Collins, et. al. and Garnette, et. al. v. Oakley, et. al. The cases were represented by Crumlin and J. Earl Dearing. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation was unconstitutional. In December of 1956, the Sturgis and Clay school systems were directed by U.S. District Judge Henry L. Brooks to submit their desegregation plans by February 4, 1957. Both school systems complied and in September of 1957, Negro students were admitted to the schools. For more see "Kentucky bars two Negroes at Clay School," St. Petersburg Times, 09/14/1956, p.1; "Some teachers join in boycott at Clay School," Louisville Courier-Journal, 09/14/1956, p. 1; Wolfford, D. L., "Resistance on the border: school desegregation in western Kentucky, 1954-1964," Ohio Valley History, vol. 4, issue 2, Summer 2004, pp. 41-62; and J. M. Trowbridge and J. Lemay, Sturgis and Clay: showdown for desegregation in Kentucky Education.

See photo images of the Clay and Sturgis school inegration attempts in Sturgis and Clay: showdown for desegregation in Kentucky Education by J. M. Trowbridge and J. Lemay [.pdf].
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Clay, Webster County, Kentucky / Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky

Gowens, Henry Lytle, Jr.
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1953
Born in Lexington, KY, Henry L. Gowens, Jr. became an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon at the Mercy-Douglass Hospital in Philadelphia and served as president of the Pennsylvania Medical, Dental, and Pharmacy Association. He published several articles, including "Eserin in ophthalmology," Journal of Ophthalmology, Otology and Laryngology, vol. 20, 1914. He was among the first ten African Americans to become a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He was the husband of Beulah E. Gowens (b.1890) from Philadelphia, PN. The couple bought a home in what had been an all white neighborhood and a suit was filed by a former owner of the home. Judge Curtis Bok of the Common Pleas Court dismissed the suit. Dr. Gowens was the son of Henry L. Gowens, Sr. Prior to his marriage, Dr. Gowens was head of his family, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived on 13th Street N. in Philadelphia, PA. Henry Gowens, Sr. was a school professor; Dr. Gowens had a private medical practice; his sisters Modina and Virginia were school teachers; and his brother Willard was an artist. All of the family members were born in Kentucky. In 1920, Henry Sr. was a clerk with the U.S. Government, and he, his wife Florence, and daughter Modina were living in Washington, D.C. In 1930, Williard Gowens was also living with the family in D.C. Henry L. Gowens, Jr. was a graduate of Howard University and received his medical degree in 1908 from Hahnemann Medical College [now Drexel University College of Medicine]. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; see pp.310-311 in Anyplace But Here by A. W. Bontemps and J. Conroy; and "Dr. Henry L. Gowens, Jr.," New York Times, 01/04/1953, p.78.

See photo image of Dr. Henry L. Gowens, Jr. at the "Images from the History of Medicine a the National Library of Medicine.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Court Cases, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Green, Elisha W. [Green v. Gould]
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1893
Elisha W. Green was born in Bourbon County, KY. He was a slave of John P. Dobbyns as well as a pastor in Maysville, KY, and Paris, KY. He was allowed regular travel between the two cities, traveling by train and stage, sometimes passing without incident but at other times denied admittance or attacked. After gaining his freedom, Green later had a whitewashing business and learned a number of skills in order to earn income for his family. He led in the building of an all African American community, Claysville, in Paris, KY. For more see A History of Blacks in Kentucky from Slavery to Segregation, 1760-1891, by M. B. Lucas; Life of the Rev. Elisha W. Green..., by E. W. Green [available online at UNC Documenting the American South]; and C. L. Davis, "Green v. Gould (1884) and the Construction of Postbellum Race Relations in a Central Kentucky Community," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 105, issue 3 (Summer 2007), pp. 383-416.

See image of Elisha W. Green on frontispiece page of Life of the Rev. Elisha W. Green... by E. W. Green, at Documenting the American South.
Subjects: Businesses, Civic Leaders, Freedom, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky

Hale v. Commonwealth of Kentucky (case)
Start Year : 1938
Hale v. Commonwealth of Kentucky was a 1938 U.S. Supreme Court case on discrimination in jury selections and criminal trials. Nineteen year old Joe Hale, an African American, had been convicted and sentenced to death in 1936 for the murder of a white man in Paducah, KY. No African Americans had been selected for the grand jury, nor in the past had there ever been an African American on a petit jury or grand jury in McCracken County, KY. After Hale's conviction and death sentence, the NAACP took the case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the judgment was confirmed. The NAACP next took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court with Charles H. Houston and Leon A. Ransom for the petitioner, and Mr. A. E. Funk for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. April 11, 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court decision was to overturn Joe Hale's conviction because his civil rights had been violated when the lower court excluded African Americans from the grand jury. Joe Hale was retried April 25, 1939 and convicted of a lesser crime for which he received a life sentence. For more see Hale v. Kentucky, 303 U.S. 613 (1938) (case summary online at FindLaw); see "Chapter 14. Bending the Color Line" in Paducah: Frontier to the Atomic Age by J. E. L. Robertson.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Hall, Henry E. [Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company]
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1936
Henry E. Hall, a Kentucky native, and William H. Wright, a lawyer from Alabama, were the founders of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. Hall was born in Henderson, KY, the son of Burell and Millie Hall. In 1880, the family of eight lived on Audubon Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Henry Hall attended the local colored school and worked in a tobacco factory. He was a graduate of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University]. Hall would return to Henderson, where he was a school teacher during the school year and worked in a tobacco factory when school was not in session. In 1911, Hall founded the insurance company National Benevolent Union of Kentucky. He did not have a license to operate an insurance company, and was forced to sell the business, which was purchased by Atlanta Mutual, and Hall was hired as the state manager for Kentucky. He would later take on the duties of manager of the health and accident department of the Standard Life Insurance Company of Atlanta until the company was forced out of Kentucky in 1914. Shortly after the company's exit from the state, Hall and Wright formed the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, but the state of Kentucky would not license the company. Hall and Wright took their case to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and won. The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company was officially launched July 12, 1915 at an office on 6th and Liberty Streets in Louisville, KY, with Hall, Wright, Rochelle Smith, and B. O. Wilkerson. The business prospered, and soon district offices were located in Lexington, Paducah, Bowling Green, and Hopkinsville. The main office was replaced by a three-story brick building at 422 S. 6th Street in Louisville. The business continued to prosper and a new six-story building was constructed at 604-12 W. Walnut Street in Louisville. In 1926, William H. Wright died and Henry Hall took over as sole president of Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. The company expanded with offices in Indiana and Ohio. In 1930, the Arkansas branch was sold to Southwestern Insurance Company of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The company weathered the depression years in the 1930s. Henry E. Hall died in 1936, and the company continued. It was the largest African American owned business in Kentucky. In 1992, the company merged with Atlanta Life and the Kentucky offices were closed. Henry E. Hall was the husband of Emma Hall; the couple had four daughters, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived on Chestnut Street in Louisville in their home, which was worth $5,000. For a more complete history about the business see "The Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company, Louisville, Kentucky" on pp. 150-156 in An Economic Detour: a history of insurance in the lives of American Negroes, by M. S. Stuart; Encyclopedia of Louisville by J. E. Kleber; and C. G. Woodson, "Insurance business among Negroes," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 14, no. 2 (April 1929), pp. 202-206. See also the NKAA entry for Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company.


  See photo image of Henry E. Hall, top of right hand column, on p.80 in Golden jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County

Hampton, A. S. ~ alias Alex S. Jackson [court case]
Start Year : 1893
End Year : 1895
Controversies over the extradition of African Americans from Ohio to Kentucky continued long after slavery ended. The case of Rev. A. S. Hampton is only one example of the ongoing struggles. In January of 1895, the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court handed down the final opinion on the extradition of Rev. A. S. Hampton [alias Alex Jackson]. Rev. Hampton was wanted in Kentucky for the shooting injury of  J. C. Durham in Green County, KY. In 1893, Durham had confronted Rev. Hampton about the raiding of Durham's orchard. During the disagreement, Rev. Hampton shot Durham then fled to Cincinnati where he was arrested. J. C. Durham had recovered from his wound. Family and friends sent word to Rev. Hampton that he would be lynched if he came back to Kentucky. This news was confirmed in the Cincinnati courtroom in 1894 by Deputy Sheriff W. W. Perin from Lebanon, KY. Deputy Sheriff Perin was acting on behalf of Kentucky in the attempt to extradite Hampton back to Kentucky. The judge in the case was Morris Lyons Buchwalter (1846-1924). Four months earlier Judge Buchwalter had received extradition papers for another prisoner, an Italian peddler who was charged with shooting at someone. The man was sent back to Kentucky and was lynched shortly after he stepped off the train. At the extradition hearing for Rev. Hampton, Judge Buchwalter refused to turn over Rev. Hampton to Deputy Sheriff Perin, and Hampton was returned to his Cincinnati jail cell. Judge Buchwalter requested assurance from Kentucky Governor John Young Brown, and the judge of the Kentucky trial court, that Rev. Hampton would be protected from violence and be given a fair trial. Governor John Young Brown of Kentucky was furious and took Judge Buchwalter's actions as an affront to state's rights and the Republican Party. No assurance would be forthcoming from Kentucky. So, in January of 1895, Judge Buchwalter delivered the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court opinion. With no assurance received from Kentucky, Rev. A. S. Hampton was set free. Hampton had been a school teacher in Whitewood, KY. He was confronted by J. C. Durham because the school children were eating fruit from Durham's trees. During the disagreement, Rev. Hampton shot J.C. Durham and fled to Cincinnati, where he was a Baptist minister when arrested by Deputy Sheriff  W. W. Perin. In Cincinnati, Rev. Hampton was going by the name Alex S. Jackson, he lived at 2530 Burnet Avenue [source: p.745 in Williams' Cincinnati Directory, June 1896]. The arrest warrant and the extradition papers for Rev. Hampton were signed by Ohio Governor William McKinley [who would become the 25th Presiident of the United States in 1897]. Rev. Hampton was brought before Judge Buchwalter for extradition to Kentucky, but Judge Buchwalter acted in contrast to the extradition document signed by Ohio Governor McKinley. The judge determined that "...extradition provisions of the Federal Constitution do not require a judge to become a party to probable mob violence." [source: "Morris Lyons Buchwalter," The Western Christian Advocate, 02/10/1897, p.162 (online at Google Books)]; the newspaper called the Hampton case "...the crowning glory of his [Morris L. Buchwalter's] record as judge."  For more see "Requisition denied," San Francisco Call, 01/06/1895, front page (online at the California Digital Newspaper Collection); "A New version of the old, old story," Cambridge Tribune, 01/05/1895, p.4 (online at Cambridge Public Library); "Judge Buckwalter, of the Hamilton County...," Ohio Legal News,  p.168 (online at Google Books), & "Judge Buckwalter...," Ohio Legal News, p.188 (online at Google Books), both articles are in v.II, Oct. 13, 1894 to October 13, 1895. See also "Judge Morris Buchwalter '69, President of first graduating class, Dies in Cincinnati," The Cornell Daily Sun, 03/13/1924, front page (online at The Cornell Daily Sun, Keith R. Johnson '56 Digital Archive).
Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Corrections and Police, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Green County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Hampton v. O'Rear (Montgomery County, KY)
Start Year : 1948
In 1944, Montgomery County resident L. E. Griggs left a charitable trust for the building of a hospital for African Americans as either an adjoined facility to the Mary Chiles Hospital or on the grounds of the hospital. When Mary Chiles Hospital refused to act as a trustee for the structure, and it seemed the trust would be discontinued, a lawsuit was filed asking that the trust be continued with new trustees and that the hospital be built at some other location. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and the defendants appealed. The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the defendants with Judge Simms dissenting. "...[I]t is clear that a mere substantial compliance with the conditions imposed would not serve the purposes for which the trust was created. That being true, the cy pres doctrine may not be applied; and, because the devisee duly disclaimed its rights under the conditions imposed, we have no alternative but to declare the purposes of the trust to have failed, and that neither the corpus of the estate nor the income therefrom may be used to establish a hospital for persons of Negro blood on any other property in the hospitalization area of Mt. Sterling." For more see Hampton et al. v. O'Rear et al. 309 Ky. 1; 215 S.W.2d 539; 1948 Ky.; and Cases on the Law of Trusts, by G. G. Bogert and D. H. Oaks. [Quotation from the opinion of Judge Van Sant.]
Subjects: Court Cases, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Hart v. Fanny Ann
Start Year : 1825
End Year : 1827
In Montgomery County, KY, the 1803 will of William Hart granted freedom to his slaves when they turned 30 years old, along with all of their children, should they have any. The slaves freed by his will were Alsy, Lucy, Anna, Selina, and Turner. Lucy turned 30 in 1825 when her daughter Fanny Ann was 10 years old. William Hart's heir interpreted the will to mean that Lucy was free, but Fanny Ann would not be free until she turned 30. Fanny Ann filed suit in the Montgomery Circuit Court and was granted her freedom in accordance with the terms of William Hart's will. The Hart heir appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky where the lower court's judgment was affirmed with costs on October 22, 1827. The point of contingency in the case was the word "with" and whether it denoted connection to. The courts were asked to determine whether, when a slave is promised freedom, the slave's children also should be freed at the same time. For more see Hart v. Fanny Ann, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 22 Ky. 49; 1827 Ky.; and "Hart v. Fanny Ann" in A Practical Treatise on the Law of Slavery, by J. D. Wheeler [full-text in Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Montgomery County, Kentucky

Hathaway, John [Hathaway v Commonwealth]
Death Year : 1905
John Hathaway had 79 wins in 1889, he was remembered as a prominent jockey by newspapers around the country when he was hanged in Winchester, KY, for the shooting death of his girlfriend, Etta Thomas. The couple had lived together in Jackson, KY, prior to the day that Thomas left Hathaway and moved to Winchester. She lived at a brothel managed by Alice Bean. In January 1904, Hathaway went to Winchester to retrieve Thomas, and when she refused to return to Jackson with him, he shot her several times. Hathaway was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but the case was appealed on the assignments of error and was heard by the Kentucky Appeals Court, where the judgment was affirmed. Hathaway was scheduled to hang on January 3, 1905, on an historic traveling scaffold. Hathaway's mother fell unconscious when he was hung and never recovered, she died a few days later. Though, there is a second article that says she died a few months later. John Hathaway was thought to be the first famous jockey to be hanged. For more see "Hathaway v Commonwealth," Kentucky Law Reporter, vol. 26 (July 1904/Jan. 1905), pp. 630-634 [available full-text at Google Book Search]; "Historic scaffold," Lexington Herald, 12/21/1904, p. 5; "She never recovered," Breathitt County News, 01/13/1905, p.1; "John Hathaway...," in the column "Interesting news notes" in the Cleveland Gazette, 01/07/1905, p.2; and "Mary Hathaway, an old colored lady,..." Breathitt County News, 05/05/1905, p.3.

Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Jackson, Breathitt County, Kentucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Iroquois Park (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1924
In 1924 two African American teachers, Margaret Taylor and Naomi Anthony, took their students to Iroquois Park for an outing. As they were leaving, the security guards and a group of whites informed the teachers that the park was for whites only. The teachers said that they were not aware of the restriction and would look into the matter. A scuffle of sorts occurred; after the teachers and students were roughly handled, it was termed a near riot, and the teachers were arrested. After several hours the women were taken to the downtown police station where a large crowd of African Americans had gathered. African American leaders and white city leaders debated the issues. The outcome -- the teachers were reprimanded by the school board, the courts fined Naomi Anthony $10 for attacking a park guard, and the Board of Park Commissioners adopted a resolution of segregation in the Louisville public parks. For more see Life Behind a Veil, by G. Wright.
Subjects: Parks & Resorts, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

"Jim Crow Car"
Start Year : 1902
In 1902, Mrs. Lulu Thurman won her lawsuit against Southern Railroad in the Lexington, KY, courts. She had originally asked for $10,000 in damages because the train conductor had thought Mrs. Thurman was a Negro and had forced her to ride in the Jim Crow car. Mrs. Thurman was able to prove to the courts that she was white and the jury awarded her $4,000. For more see "Woman gets $4,000 verdict," New York Times, Special to the New York Times, 04/18/1902, p.1.

  See photo image of a Jim Crow car for Negroes only, Fayetteville, NC, 1929, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Jim Crow, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Johnson, Lyman T. [Johnson v. Board of Trustees]
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1997
A teacher and assistant principal at Louisville schools, Lyman T. Johnson was a civil rights activist who fought for equal pay for African American teachers. He was head of the Louisville NAACP. His lawsuit desegregated the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1949. To commemorate the occasion, a historical marker was placed in front of Frazee Hall near the Student Center on the UK campus. Brother-in-law to Thomas F. Blue, Johnson was born in Columbia, TN, moving to Louisville in 1930 at the request of his sister, Cornelia Johnson Blue. He was a graduate of Knoxville Academy, Virginia Union College [now Virginia Union University], and the University of Michigan. The personal papers of Lyman T. Johnson are available at the University of Louisville Library. For more see The Rest of the Dream, by W. Hall; and S. Stevens, Historical Marker to be dedicated for African American Commemoration at the UK Public Relations' website.

See photo image of Lyman T. Johnson at KET Living the Story website.

Access Interview Read about the Lyman T. Johnson 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, Education and Educators, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Columbia, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Jones, Ida "Black Ida"
Birth Year : 1871
Ida Jones was said to be "the most dangerous and vicious woman in Denver" [source: Wild Women of the Old West by G. Riley, p.82]. It was also said that she was from Kentucky, according to author Anne M. Butler. The story of Ida Jones' has been hailed and retold in texts as that of a tough, trouble-making, black woman in the West. She had a long record of violence and arrests. Her nickname was "Black Ida," and she was also referred to as "Ida May" [source: "Is Stratton here?," The Denver Evening Post, 10/12/1899, p.2]. She was described as illiterate, tall, coarse, mean, and prone to have a bad temper with violent outbursts. With all that has been written about Ida Jones, nothing is known for sure about her past, where exactly she came from, her day to day life, her mental state, what happened to her or her child after she was release from prison in Canon City, or if Ida Jones was her real name. In 1889, Ida Jones lived in a rental house with several apartments, the building was located at 2043 Holladay Street in the red light district of Denver [source: Ballenger & Richard's Annual Denver City Directory, p.530]. She is not listed in the 1888 or earlier editions of Corbett & Ballenger's Denver City Directory. Ida Jones would have been in her late teens or early twenties in 1889. According to the city directory, she lived alone. As the reputation of Holladay Street became more identified as part of the vice community, the street was renamed Market Street [additional information]. According to author A. M. Butler, in her book Gendered Justice in the American West, pp.81-111, Ida Jones was a prostitute who had had countless run-ins with neighbors on Market and Blake Streets. There is no mention of her having parents, siblings, relatives, or close friends. In March of 1889, Ida Jones went to jail for making a violent scene in a dress shop; the dress she had made did not fit properly [source: O'Hare and Dick, p.18]. In the fall of 1889 she was arrested for running a house of prostitution, and when she was released, Ida Jones went on a rampage and wrecked the home of the woman who had turned her in to the authorities. Two weeks after her release from jail, she was arrested again for running a house of prostitution. There were many more arrests with different charges, all leading up to August 1, 1890, when Ida Jones stabbed Stephen Zimmer in the left thigh with a dirk that left a six inch cut from which Zimmer bled to death. Ida Jones claimed self defense, saying that Zimmer had thrown a brick at her and tried to cut her with his knife. Neighbors from the Market Street area testified against her. Ida Jones was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murder in the second degree [source: Freeman, 11/22/1890, p.7]. Subsequent pictures of Ida Jones show her with short cropped hair, there are several pictures on p.18 in the book Wicked Denver by S. O'Hare and A. Dick. There is little that is known about her time in prison. According to author A. M. Butler, Ida Jones did nine years of a 15 year sentence in the Colorado State Penitentiary and was released in August of 1899. The same release date is given by authors O'Hare and Dick, who noted that Ida Jones applied for a pardon in 1895. However, her name appears as early as 1896 in the city directory, she [or another Ida Jones or someone using her name] was living at 2034 Downing Avenue [source: Ballenger & Richard's Annual Denver City Directory, p.586]. Her name is listed in the annual directory up to the year 1900, when she was again living on Market Street. Not long after her return to the community, Ida Jones was arrested for fighting with a woman whom she struck with a baseball bat [O'Hare and Dick, p.20]. In 1901, she was arrested for stealing $200 from Charles Peterson, who was said to be one of her customers. Ida Jones was convicted in March of 1902 and was listed as a fugitive in August of 1902, according to author A. M. Butler, p.84. According to O'Hare and Dick, p.20, Ida Jones was pregnant and about 35 years old when she was convicted in March of 1902, then sentenced to 5-10 years in prison, and she served a portion of that time before being released July 9, 1908. Her release date is given as 1905 by author L. Wommack in Our Ladies of the Tenderloin, p.105, "Ida Mae Jones was the first female inmate at Canon City to be pregnant. Prison records report the birth of her child, but nothing further."

Subjects: Migration West, Corrections and Police, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Denver and Canon City, Colorado

Jones v Van Zandt (1847)
Start Year : 1842
End Year : 1847
The case was the second of four major slave cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1842, a civil suit was brought by Wharton Jones for $500, the value of an escaped slave who had left Kentucky with eight other slaves and traveled into Ohio. The slaves had been aided by abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor, John Van Zandt, who had been born in Fleming County, KY. Van Zandt later moved near Glendale, Ohio, where Van Zandt was caught transporting the nine escaped slaves from Boone County, KY. One of the slaves, Andrew, thought to be worth $500-$600, escaped, and the others were placed in jail. Van Zandt and the eight remaining slaves were extradited to Kentucky, where Van Zandt was charged with harboring and concealing the escaped slaves. His attorneys, Salmon P. Chase and William H. Seward, unsuccessfully argued that in Ohio all people were presumed free, and Van Zandt could not have known that he was transporting runaway slaves. The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case in 1847 and upheld the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. The slaves remained in bondage, and Van Zandt was ordered to pay the fee. For more see Paul Finkelman "Slavery," The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Kermit L. Hall, Oxford University Press, 2005; Oxford Reference Online; Jones v Van Zandt, 46 U.S. 215 (1847); and the Jones v Van Zandt case, full text at
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Fleming County, Kentucky / Boone County, Kentucky / Glendale, Ohio

Kentucky v Dennison (1861)
Start Year : 1859
End Year : 1861
This was the last of four major slave cases heard by the U. S. Supreme Count. The case involved Willis Lago, a free African American who lived in Ohio; in 1859 he had helped a slave named Charlotte escape from Woodford County, Kentucky, into Ohio. Charlotte's owner, C. W. Nuckols, filed an indictment against Lago, and the state requested, via Kentucky Governor Beriah Magoffin, that both Charlotte and Lago be returned to Kentucky. Lago was to be extradited to stand trial for seducing and enticing Charlotte to escape. Ohio Governor William Dennison refused to extradite Lago or Charlotte. The case went before the Supreme Court in 1861: Dennison was admonished, but there were no orders that Lago and Charlotte be extradited to Kentucky. "Taney ruled that interstate extradition was a matter of gubernatorial discretion, to be performed out of comity and good citizenship. This precedent remained good law until 1987." For more see Paul Finkelman "Slavery," The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, Kermit L. Hall, Oxford University Press, 2005; Oxford Reference Online; and Kentucky v Dennison 65 U.S. 66; 16 L. Ed. 717; 1860 U.S. LEXIS 376; 24 HOW 66.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Ohio / Woodford County, Kentucky

Kentucky Vagrancy Law [Ben Burton]
Start Year : 1899
In 1899, the Kentucky vagrancy law was ruled unconstitutional by Judge Scott in Richmond, KY. The law had been in effect for 30 years, allowing any person charged with vagrancy to be sold at auction for a predetermined number of years of servitude. [See the Aunt Charlotte and King Solomon NKAA entry.] In April 1899, the constitutionality of the law was challenged in court for the first time in the case of African American Ben Burton, from Richmond, KY. His lawyer, John H. Chandler, who was white, argued that vagrancy was a misdemeanor and not a crime. Also, the selling and enslaving of individuals was in violation of the 18th Amendment. Chandler, from Campbellsville, KY, was a new attorney who had been assigned to Burton's case by Judge Scott. After hearing Chandler's argument, Scott sustained the demurrer, and Ben Burton was released. The Kentucky vagrancy law was later repealed and replaced by a new law. For more see "A Young lawyer wins his first case and upsets a thirty year practice," Richmond Climax, 04/26/1899, p. 2; and History of Kentucky, by Kerr, Connelley, and Coulter [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Court Cases
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Lanier, Shelby, Jr.
Birth Year : 1936
Lanier was born in Louisville, KY, and is a graduate of the University of Louisville. In 1971 he organized the Black Police Officers Organization and was its first president. In 1974 he organized the National Black Police Association and pushed for a discrimination suit against the Louisville Police Department. A consent decree resulted in compensation, hiring, promotions, assignments, and change in disciplinary practices, with $3.5 million awarded to 98 African Americans who had been denied employment. For more see African American Biographies 2: profiles of 332 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1992-2006.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Legal Status of Slaves in Early Kentucky (court cases)
Start Year : 1792
End Year : 1875
Within the first constitution of Kentucky (1792) are contained laws that were enforce in the state of Virginia, one being the Virginia acts of 1705 and 1727 that recognized slaves as real estate [source: Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro edited by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall, v.1, Cases from the courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, 1926, pp.269-469]. Both acts would eventually be repealed and slaves would be deemed "chattels personal." Thus, slaves would no longer to be considered as stationary property like land, but instead, slaves were to be regarded as personal property that was moveable like furniture and domestic animals. There would be many court cases that would further shape the laws in reference to the status of slaves and freed persons in Kentucky. Contained within the title Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro edited by Helen Tunnicliff Catterall, v.1, are Kentucky cases dating from 1795-1875. The cases may, however, be in reference to incidents that took place before 1795, such as the case of Cook v. Wilson, Litt. Sel. Cas.437, December 1821, in reference to the fulfillment of payment in slaves confiscated during the American Revolutionary War [p.299].   
Subjects: Court Cases
Geographic Region: Virginia, Kentucky

Lewis (slave)
In 1850, a slave named Lewis escaped from Alexander Marshall's ownership in Fleming County, KY. Lewis went to Columbus, OH, where he hid for three years. Marshall Dryden captured Lewis in 1853 and attempted to take him back to Kentucky, but instead, Dryden was arrested in Cincinnati for kidnapping. John Jollife and Rutherford B. Hayes defended 19 year old Lewis when the case went before Commissioner Samuel S. Carpenter. Carpenter insisted that in Ohio, "a black person was free until proven a slave." At the trial there was a large crowd of blacks and whites, which made Carpenter nervous, so he spoke in a whisper. So many people filled the courtroom that while the proceedings were taking place, Lewis eased through the crowd. Someone placed a hat on his head, and he slipped out the door before anyone opposed to his leaving was able to take notice. Lewis got help from members of the Underground Railroad: dressing as a woman, he escaped to Canada. After the trial, Carpenter confessed that he would not have forced Lewis to return to Kentucky; Carpenter resigned from his post the following year. For more on Lewis and other Kentucky African American fugitives who were not quite so lucky, see S. Middleton, "The Fugitive Slave Crisis in Cincinnati, 1850-1860: Resistance, Enforcement, and Black Refugees," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 72, issues 1/2 (Winter - Spring, 1987), pp. 20-32.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Fleming County, Kentucky / Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio / Canada

Linguistic Profiling [Charles Clifford v Commonwealth of Kentucky]
Start Year : 1999
In the 1999 case of Clifford v. Kentucky, the Kentucky Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Charles Clifford based on linguistic profiling. In the Campbell County Circuit Court, a white police officer named Darin Smith testified that he heard a black man's voice [that of Clifford] making the sale of drugs in an apartment. Officer Smith was in a nearby apartment and had heard the voice through a wire worn by an undercover agent. Charles Clifford was the only black man in the room where the sale was taking place and was thus determined to be the drug seller. Linguistic profiling has been accepted as legal in some instances and illegally discriminatory in others. The U.S. Supreme Court has not ruled on linguistic profiling. For more see Charles Clifford, Appellant v Commonwealth of Kentucky, Appellee, Supreme Court of Kentucky, November 18, 1999 - Rendered [online at FindLaw]; J. Baugh, "Racial identification by speech," American Speech, vol. 75, issue 4 (2000), pp. 362-364; and John Baugh, "Linguistic Profiling," chapter 8 in Black Linguistics by S. Makoni et. al. [online .pdf].
Subjects: Court Cases
Geographic Region: Campbell County, Kentucky

Lockett Lynch Mob (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1920
The first resistance to a lynch mob by local officials and troops in the South took place in Lexington, KY. In 1920, 10-year old Geneva Hardman, a little white girl, was killed. Will Lockett, an African American World War I veteran, was the suspect. While he was in police custody and without council, Lockett confessed to the murder and other crimes. His trial was set in Lexington for February 9, which was also Court Day, when a large number of people would be in the city. Governor Morrow ordered out all law enforcement officers and state troopers. Several hundred people showed up for the trial. Lockett was sentenced to die in the electric chair. The crowd outside got rowdy, and there was an exchange of gunfire between the crowd and the troopers. Six people were killed and 50 injured. U.S. troops were sent to Lexington. A second surge was building and Brigadier General Francis C. Marshall declared martial law, which remained in force for two weeks. Four hundred troops escorted Lockett to Eddyville Penitentiary, and state guards were detached to nearby Leitchfield, KY, to guard against violence. Lockett died in the electric chair on March 11. Kentucky later became the first state to pass an anti-lynching law. For more see J. D. Wright, Jr., "Lexington's Suppression of the 1920 Will Lockett Lynch Mob," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, 1986, vol. 84, issue 3, pp. 163-279.
Subjects: Lynchings, Military & Veterans, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Leitchfield, Grayson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Lyons, Charles
Birth Year : 1826
Death Year : 1853
Charles Lyons was born a free person in Kentucky around 1826. He was said to be the son of a free Black man and his mother was a Seneca Indian. In 1846, Charles Lyons was arrested in St. Louis, MO, because he did not have a license; it was an 1835 Missouri law that required all free Blacks and Mulattos have a license in order to live in the state. For more about the law see "Freedom Licenses in St. Louis City and County, 1835-1865" by Ebony Jenkins, available online .pdf at Charles Lyons was a boatman, he worked on riverboats, and when home in Missouri, he lived among the other free African Americans in St. Louis. He felt that as a free man, he was entitled to the same rights as other free persons who were not required to purchase a license to live in Missouri. Charles Lyons, represented by attorney C. C. Carroll, challenged his arrest and the state law that required he purchase a license: State v. Charles Lyons. Attorney Henry Geyer represented the state and argued that Charles Lyons rights had not been impinged by law because Lyons was not a citizen of Kentucky where he was born a free person. [Attorney Geyer would use the same argument in the Dred Scott case.] Charles Lyons lost his case when Judge John Krum denied his constitutional challenge, and in December of 1846 Lyons purchased a license, a copy of which is online at the Missouri Digital Heritage website. A second case involving Charles Lyons concerned the $50 fee his lawyer paid to get him out of jail, and then passed the cost on to Lyons. Charles Lyons made application to Judge Krum for discharge of the $50 fee under the habeas corpus act [see Charles Lyons' petition for habeas corpus in the St. Louis Circuit Court Records, December 9, 1846]. The fee went unpaid and attorney Carroll attempted to collect his fee from the City of St. Louis [see Carroll vs. The City of St. Louis on p.444 in Reports of the Cases Argued and Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri, Volume XIII, 1849]. For more about Charles Lyons case and how his case influenced the Dred Scott case, see Mrs. Dred Scott: a life on slavery's frontier by L. V. Velde; see also "Opinion in the case of Charles Lyons, a free Negro: determined in the St. Louis Circuit Court, November term, 1846" printed by the Union Press in St. Louis, MO.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

McCoy v Commonwealth
Start Year : 1912
Around midnight on September 24, 1911, Will McCoy was supervising the dance hall at the Bourbon County Colored Fair being held in Millersburg, KY. The lights at the dance hall went out, and a young man named Frazier White lost his hat and started cursing and demanding his hat back. A man by the name of Darnall was the floor manager, and he confronted White about his behavior. Will McCoy took over the situation, cautioning White about his foul language in the presence of women. Darnall left the matter in the hands of McCoy and walked away. Frazier White then directed his insults toward McCoy, and when all was said and done, McCoy had shot White, severing his spine. White was rushed to the hospital and died during surgery. McCoy was arrested and found guilty of murder by the Circuit Court of Bourbon County. McCoy's case was taken to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky. His attorney, John J. Williams of Paris, felt that McCoy should be charged with manslaughter at most; McCoy had shot White but had not killed him. According to Attorney Williams, White's death was due to the surgery. Williams also felt that the final statement of the Commonwealth's Attorney in the first trial "was highly prejudicial to his client's defense." During the appeals process, Attorneys General James Garrett and M. M. Logan argued that White would have died if the surgery had not been performed. September 25, 1912, the Court of Appeals affirmed McCoy's 1st degree murder conviction. It was also decided that no infringements had taken place during the Commonwealth Attorney's final statement. The case of McCoy v Commonwealth has been frequently cited in cases where there is question of "the act causing death" in a homicide, and in cases questioning the prejudicial influence of final statements. For more see McCoy v Commonwealth, pp. 903-904 in the Southwestern Reporter, vol. 149 (1912) [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Colored Fairs, Black Expos, and Chautauquas, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Millersburg and Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Milldale Colored School (Covington, KY)
Very little is known about the Milldale Colored School. In 1883, there was a one sentence notice in the Daily Commonwealth newspaper seeking a teacher for the Colored school at Milldale [see article "The City, p.2, col.1]. This may or may not be the same school that is listed in the Williams Covington and Newport Directory for 1890 and 1892. The school was located on Williamson Street in Milldale, KY, and was one of the primary schools for African American children found throughout Kentucky. In 1890, Martha Butler was the teacher, and in 1892, Susie Taylor was the teacher. Milldale, previously known as South Covington District, was classified as a 5th class city, then unclassified in 1896. For more about the status of the community of Milldale see "Stephens, etc. v. Felton etc." on pp. 248-249 in Kentucky Law Reporter, vol. 18, July 1896 to June 1897 [available at Google Book Search]. See also entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database. 
Subjects: Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Milldale (Covington), Kenton County, Kentucky

Minnifield, Frank
Birth Year : 1960
Frank Minnifield was born in Lexington, KY. At 5'9" and 140 pounds, he was an outstanding high school football player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, playing tailback and safety; the team made the playoffs his senior year. It was thought that he was too small to play college football; nonetheless, Minnifield, 40 pounds heavier, was a walk-on his first year with the University of Louisville (KY) football team in 1979, earning scholarships his three remaining years. In 1981, he led the team in punt returns and led the nation as the number one college kick returner with 30.4 yards per return. Minnifield began his pro career in 1982 playing for the Chicago Blitz, a U.S. Football League (USFL) team that would become the Arizona Wranglers. The team was runner-up in the USFL Championship game in 1984. That same year, Minnifield filed suit against the Arizona Wranglers over the Wranglers' attempt to prevent him from playing with the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League (NFL) team. Minnifield signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1984 and retired from the team in 1992. He played in 122 games and was a four time pro bowler (1986-1989) and three time All-NFL choice by the Associated Press. Minnifield was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from the NFL, he took advantage of years of preparation: having earned a real estate license in 1988 and sold real estate during the off-season, Minnifield returned to Lexington and established Minnifield All-Pro Homes. In 1993, he became the first African American executive elected to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board. He was the only African American home builder in Lexington in 2000. In 2011, Frank Minnifield was named chair of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Frank Minnifield on the University of Louisville football website; J. Clay, "Minni, Lexington's Frank Minnifield, knew he'd make it as a pro," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18/1984; and J. George, "Building for the future ex-NFL star Frank Minnifield wants more blacks in industry," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/12/2000.

See photo image and additional information about Frank Minnifield in article "Frank Minnifield elected chairman of U of L trustees," 09/14/2011, at [Lexington Herald-Leader].


Access Interview  Read about the Frank Minnifield oral history interview available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Cleveland, Ohio

Mitchell, Lewis
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1927
In 1904, much was written about the attempted murder of the Mulligan family at Maxwell Place in Lexington, KY. The University of Kentucky (UK) purchased the property in 1917 for $40,000 [source: History of the President's Residence, Maxwell Place, a UK website]. The attempted murder case in 1904 is still talked about and written about from time to time, but not much of anything has been written about Lewis Mitchell who was at the center of the case. Lewis Mitchell was an African American servant at Maxwell Place, and he was accused of putting arsenic in the baked salmon on September 24, 1904. As he was about to serve the dish, Lewis Mitchell warned the family not to eat the salmon. The dish was sent to the chemistry department on the UK campus and it was found to contain a large amount of arsenic. Lewis Mitchell was arrested. During his questioning, Lewis Mitchell revealed that James J. Mulligan (the son), who lived in Chicago but was visiting his home, had agreed to pay Lewis Mitchell $100 to poison the family. Lewis was to get his money after the funerals. Judge James H. Mulligan (the father), the head of the household, was absent from the mid-day meal on September 24th. At some point prior to serving the salmon, Lewis Mitchell changed his mind about poisoning the family. After Lewis Mitchell's arrest, and at James J. Mulligan's (the son) insistence, Chicago detective Luke P. Colleran was summons to Lexington, KY to help with the investigation. The court exonerated James J. Mulligan (the son) of any wrong doing. There was a hung jury at Lewis Mitchell's trial. In June of 1905, Lewis Mitchell was acquitted and set free. The story and the private lives of the Mulligan family were front page news for months in the Republican newspaper the Lexington Leader. The name Lewis Mitchell had never been mentioned so often in the local newspaper, not even when he was accused of murder back in 1898.


Lewis Mitchell, born in Lexington, KY, was the husband of Alma "Allie" Mitchell, the couple lived at 167 Montmollin Street when the attempted murder took place at Maxwell Place in 1904 [source: p.455 in Lexington City Directory, 1904-1905]. Lewis' job is listed in the directory as coachman. He and his wife were also listed in a much earlier directory when Lewis worked at the O&CRR [Ohio and Chesapeake Railway] and the couple lived at 42 Prall Street [source: p.636 in Emerson & Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. Lewis and Alma had married in 1897 [according to the information given in the 1910 Census]. The following year in January of 1898, Lewis Mitchell and his brother, Henry Mitchell, were accused of murdering John Sanders in front of Bradley's saloon in Pralltown, and a special session of police court was held for their trial [source: "Heldover," Lexington Leader, 01/28/1898, front page]. John Sanders was African American. William S. Bradley was white, and his saloon was located at 33 Prall Street [source: p.981 in Emerson & Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. The saloon was on the same street as the home of Lewis and Alma Mitchell. Lewis' brother, Henry Mitchell, was a laborer who lived at home with his parents at 50 Sellers Alley [source: p.636 in Emerson & Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. Others in the parents' home were their sister Minnie Mitchell, a cook, and Benjamin Mitchell a hostler (p.635). The father, Armstead Mitchell, was a porter at Stoll, Vannatta, and & Co., and his wife's name was Lou [Loulia] (p.635). All of the Mitchells lived near each other; Prall Street and Montmollin Street T into Sellers Alley and the streets are in the Pralltown neighborhood located across the street from the University of Kentucky campus. Pralltown is the oldest African American "neighborhood" in Lexington, KY.


It is not known if the Mitchell family and the Mulligan family knew of each other before 1904. In several articles, Lewis Mitchell is referred to as the "long trusted" servant of the James H. Mulligan family. Perhaps he was a trusted employee. According to writer Jamie Millard's account of the story in the Smiley Pete article "(Attempted) Murder Most Foul," Lewis Mitchell was on parole from prison when he was working for the Mulligan family in 1904. Lewis is listed twice in the 1900 U.S. Census: as a prisoner making brooms at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Frankfort, KY, where he was serving time for the murder of John Sanders; and a second listing has both Lewis and Henry living at home with their parents. Henry worked as a farm hand. At some point between 1900 and 1904, Lewis Mitchell was employed at Maxwell Place. The question that has not been answered is whether Lewis Mitchell, who had been sentenced to prison for murder in 1898, was paroled in 1900 to work at Maxwell Place due to the influence of Judge James H. Mulligan, and if it was during this period that Lewis Mitchell became a "long trusted" servant of the Mulligan family, which swayed positively on his acquittal in 1905. There is not a record of any reprisals from the Lexington community toward Lewis Mitchell, though African American men were still being lynched in Kentucky in 1905 [see Kentucky Lynchings at; and Racial Violence in Kentucky by G. C. Wright].


After the attempted murder trial, Lewis Mitchell remained in Lexington, KY, and both he and his wife are listed in the Lexington City Directory, 1906-1907, p.385; they were still living at 167 Montmollin Street in Pralltown. A few years later, they were living in Indianapolis where Lewis was a shovel man on a dredge boat, and Alma was a washerwoman [source: 1910 U.S. Census]. They would return to Kentucky and by 1930, Alma was a widow living on Prall Street in Lexington. Lewis Mitchell died in Lexington, KY, on February 26, 1927, and is buried in African Cemetery #2 [source: Kentucky Death Certificate File No.3251, Registered No.130].  Alma "Allie" Mitchell died in 1953, she was born around 1877 [sources: "Woman dies at home," Lexington Leader, 12/17/1953, p.6; and 1900 U.S. Census]. Henry G. Mitchell died in Muncie, IN, on September 16, 1946, he was born around 1876 [sources: Indiana Certificate of Death Local No.504, Registered No.26307; and 1900 U.S. Census]. Henry and Lewis Mitchell were the sons of Loulia Boulder Mitchell and Armstead Mitchell.  For more see (Attempted) Murder Most Foul by Jamie Millard at; and several articles in the Lexington Leader: "A plot to poison the Mulligan family" 09/25/1904 front page - "Negroe's story discredited" & "Mitchell's confession" 09/27/1904 front page - article 09/28/1904 front page - "Will not talk" 10/04/1904 p.8 - "Mitchell on trial" 10/07/1904 - "Mitchell held to the grand jury" 10/08/1904 front page - "No new light" 10/09/1904 front page - "Nobody but Mitchell" 10/13/1904 front page - aticle 01/05/1905 p.2 - "Goes free" 06/28/1905 front page. 


*Lewis Mitchell's name is sometimes spelled "Louis Mitchell" in the newspapers, census records, and city directories.  


[Armstead Mitchell, the father of Lewis Mitchell, was born in 1858 during slavery, and he died February 21, 1933 [source: Find A Grave]. He is buried in African Cemetery #2. Armstead was the son of George and Ellen Mitchell [source: 1870 U.S. Census]. George Mitchell was a farmhand and his wife worked at home. The couple had eight children. In 1898, the year that Lewis and Henry were standing trial for murder, their father, Armstead Mitchell, worked at Stoll, Vannatta, & Co. The company distilled Old Elk Whiskey and was a wholesaler of whiskey, wine, and other spirits [source: p.769 in Emerson & Dark's Lexington Directory 1898-9]. The company office was located at 43 and 45 W. Main Street in Lexington with James S. Stoll was president.]


[Judge James H. Mulligan (1844-1915), born in Lexington, KY, was an attorney, a judge, a writer, an orator, and he had served in the Kentucky House of Representatives (1881-1889) and the Senate (1889-1893). In 1894, U.S. President Grover Cleveland appointed James H. Mulligan consul-general to Samoa, a position he held for two years before returning to his home in Lexington. James H. Mulligan and his first and second wife and all eight of his children lived with his parents at Maxwell Place. Judge James H. Mulligan's political career ended at the close of the 1904 attempted murder trial. Read more about James H. Mulligan in The Kentucky Encyclopedia pp.660-661. Ellen McCoy Mulligan and Dennis Mulligan (1818-1900) were Judge James H. Mulligan's parents. Dennis Mulligan was an Irish immigrant who came to the United States in 1833. Dennis Mulligan was a grocery store owner who became a Democratic Party leader in Lexington. The Daily Press (1870-1890), an early iteration of the Lexington Leader newspaper, was viewed as the organ of the Mulligan machine. Dennis Mulligan built Maxwell Place in 1870, which was the same year that African American men got to vote as a result of the ratification of the 15th Amendment. Read more about the political influence, tactics, and favors of Dennis Mulligan among the Irish and African Americans in Lexington, KY, in Bossism and Reform in a Southern City: Lexington, Kentucky, 1880-1940 by James Duane Bolin.] 


  See photo image that includes African American house staff who worked at Maxwell Place in 1924, images at Explore UK.

Subjects: Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Morrell, Benjamin F.
Birth Year : 1841
Death Year : 1930
Benjamin F. Morrell was born in Madison County, KY. On December 1, 1872, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in New Orleans, LA, at the age of 31 [source: U.S. Army Register of Enlistments]. He served with the 25th Infantry, Company A, and was the best marksman in the company. Sergeant Morrell received an honorable discharge on December 1, 1877, and would re-enlisted in the U.S. Army several times. In 1889, he was stationed at Ft. Greble on Dutch Island in Rhode Island. Morrell would remain in Rhode Island, where he was quite prosperous and owned several properties on Clark Street in Jamestown. He was frequently mentioned in the local newspapers during his lifetime, and after his death, there were articles for several years concerning the settling of his estate. The Sergeant Morrell House is on the Newport County (RI) Historical Register. According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Benjamin F. Morrell was the husband of Nannie A. Morrell, and they had an adopted son, Frederick G. M. White. The couple had been in Rhode Island since at least 1889 and were considered prominent in the Jamestown community [source: "Shiloh Church Anniversary," Newport Mercury, 08/20/1892, p. 1]. Nannie A. Morrell was born around 1846 in North Carolina and died November 1904 in Jamestown, RI [source: "Deaths," Newport Mercury, 12/03/1904, p. 4]. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, there were 956 persons in Jamestown, RI, including an all time high of 81 Blacks (of which Benjamin F. Morrell and Gabriel B. Miller were the only two from Kentucky) and two Mulattoes. Very, very few free Blacks from Kentucky had settled in the state of Rhode Island, one of the first being 26 year old Fanney Birkshire, who is listed as a free woman in the 1850 Census. By 1900, Benjamin Morrell was one of 18 Blacks from Kentucky living in Rhode Island and one of two in Jamestown. In 1906, Benjamin Morrell married Lucy J. Morrell; the couple lived on Clark Street. They are listed in the 1910 and the 1920 Census. Lucy J. Morrell was born around 1865 in Virginia. In 1899, Benjamin Morrell was considered the best choice when he was appointed the administrator of the James Walker estate [source: "Jamestown," Newport Daily News, 12/27/1899, p. 5]. By 1910, Benjamin Morrell had retired from the Army a commissioned officer, according to the census. Both Benjamin and Lucy Morrell were property owners; on September 30, 1914, Lucy ran an ad in the newspaper offering to lease a six-room tenement at 66 John Street [source: "TO LET," Newport Daily News, p. 17]. In 1917, Benjamin Morrell was in the hospital in Newport, RI, recovering from an illness, and his wife Lucy had moved to the city to be near him [source: "Sergeant B. F. Morrell...," Newport Journal and Weekly News, 12/14/1917, p. 4]. The couple would return to their home in Jamestown, and in 1929, Benjamin Morrell was one of the guests of honor at the American Legion Post and Auxiliary celebration [source: "Tuesday evening at the town hall...," within the article "Jamestown," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 09/27/1929, p. 7]. Sergeant Benjamin F. Morrell died February 8, 1930, and was given a military burial at Cedar Cemetery in Jamestown, RI. According to the obituary notice, Sergeant Morrell was a member of the 9th Cavalry [source: "The funeral of Sergeant B. F. Morrell..." within the article "Local Briefs," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 02/14/1930, p. 5]. In November of 1930, a petition was posted in the newspaper seeking the appointment of a guardian for Lucy J. Morrell and her estate [source: "The petition..." within the article "Jamestown," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 11/07/1930, p. 8]. By 1932, Lucy Morrell had died, and in June of 1933, the Rhode Island Supreme Court ruled that the Morrell estate was to go to the next of kin of Benjamin F. Morrell [source: "Supreme Court gives opinion in will case," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 06/30/1933, p. 1]. The land and buildings on John Street, which had belonged to Lucy Morrell, were transferred over to Marcus F. Wheatland [source: "According to a deed filed...," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 09/22/1933, p. 5, column 3]. In 1941, the Benjamin F. Morrell estate was was back in the newspapers, the case was to be heard in the superior court [source: "In the Newport Trust Company...," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 07/11/1941, p. 3, column 7]. For more see the Benjamin Morrell entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldiers II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; see the Sergeant Morrell House -74- entry at the Newport County Historical Register website; "8 - Sergeant Benjamin F. Morrell died, 83," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 01/09/1931, p. 6, top of column 4; and "Three local cases in Superior Court," Newport Mercury and Weekly News, 08/01/1941, p. 3.
Subjects: Migration North, Military & Veterans, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Dutch Island and Jamestown, Rhode Island

Mudd, Celia
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1940
Born in Nelson County, KY, Celia Mudd was the aunt of Kentucky's first African American senator, Georgia D. Powers. Mudd's story is told in Powers' book, Celia's Land, which relates how Mudd, a former slave, came to be the recipient of the 840-acre farm of her former owners. It was after Sam Lancaster's death that Mudd learned that he had willed her the farm. Sam's brother contested the will and the case went to court. For more see Celia's Land, by G. D. Powers.
Subjects: Freedom, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Nelson County, Kentucky

Negro Jury in Danville, KY
Start Year : 1887
March of 1887, what is thought to be the first all African American jury was held in Danville, KY. The case was the State against Tom Elmore for the malicious shooting and wounding of John Forris. Both Elmore and Forris were African Americans. Elmore's attorney was James W. Schooler. Elmore was found guilty and sentenced to a year in prison. For more see "Unusual trial at Danville, Ky," Cleveland Gazette, 03/19/1887, p.3.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Oliver, Joel Peter, Jr. and Wilma
Start Year : 1939
In January of 1939, Dr. Joel P. Oliver, Jr. (1903-1958) and a woman named Wilma, who was white, were arrested in Louisville, KY, for violating the Kentucky statute that prohibited interracial marriage. The couple may not have known that there was an anti-miscegenation law in Kentucky. The more they explained why they were in Kentucky, the more their story changed. With a reminder about the law, the couple told the police that they had not gotten married in Kentucky, but rather, they had married in New Mexico two years earlier. Both Dr. Oliver and Wilma were taken into custody from the Negro hotel where they were guests. Since the mid-1800s, Kentucky laws prohibited whites from marrying Negroes within the state [the statute was repealed in 1967]. The law did not apply to those who had married outside Kentucky. The couple explained that they were not from Kentucky, but that they were just passing through the state; they were driving from Lubbock, TX, to Chicago, and had stopped to rest in Kentucky. Dr. Oliver, who practiced medicine in Texas, told authorities that he had just passed the Illinois medical examination and was moving to Chicago to establish his new practice. Nonetheless, both he and Wilma were put in jail, each under a $5,000 bond, and there would be additional charges. Louisville authorities contacted the Lubbock authorities for background information on the couple. It was found that they each owned the car that they had driven to Kentucky. Dr. Oliver's car, however, bore a license plate that came from another car that he owned. When police searched the cars, they found weapons, drugs, and a large sum of money. It was also found that Wilma was not Dr. Oliver's wife [her last name was not printed in the newspaper articles]. Dr. Oliver was born in Texas, and had practiced medicine in New Orleans before moving to Texas with his actual wife, Frances Mouton Oliver, a beautician who was the youngest sister of Jelly Roll Morton. Dr. Oliver had a medical practice and a sanatorium in Lubbock, TX. His wife Frances (1900-1982) had owned a beauty parlor, and the couple lived at 2112 E. Avenue B, according to the 1936 Lubbock City Directory. The news of the arrest of 35 year old Dr. Oliver and 27 year old Wilma had spread quickly in Louisville; Dr. Oliver knew a few people in the city. When the couple appeared in police court, the room was packed with Negro supporters. To the spectators' surprise, the couple was cleared of four misdemeanor counts: violating Kentucky's prohibition against interracial marriage; adultery; carrying concealed weapons; and disorderly conduct. There were no further questions about the money since Dr. Oliver was a respected physician who treated both Negroes and whites in Lubbock. The crowd cheered in response to all the good news. However, Dr. Oliver and Wilma remained under a $5,000 bond for violating the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 and were to appear in court on February 7, 1939. Dr. Oliver returned to his wife and home in Texas. He died in 1958, according to the Texas death index, and after his death, his wife Frances moved back to New Orleans. For more see "Negro doctor and white wife held in Kentucky," The Coshocton Tribune, 01/27/1939, p. 12; "Negro doctor, companion held," Lubbock Morning Avalanche, 01/27/1939, p. 2; and "Negro doctor, white wife cleared of misdemeanors," The Coshocton Tribune, 01/31/1939, p. 1. For more on Francis Oliver see P. Hanley, "Jelly Roll Morton: an essay in genealogy."
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Court Cases, Interracial Marriage and State Laws
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New Orleans, Louisiana / Lubbock,Texas

Owens, Edward, III
Birth Year : 1957
In 1984, Owens was the first African American to be appointed Assistant Commonwealth Attorney in Fayette County, KY. Owens was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Ollie Bell and Ed Owens, Jr. He is a 1984 graduate of the University of Kentucky Law School and also earned his undergraduate business degree at the school. Owens had worked with the law firm of Shirley Cunningham and John Merchant, located on Georgetown Street, prior to his appointment to the Commonwealth Attorney's Office. Owens had also been in private practice. In 1987, Owens left the Commonwealth Attorney's Office. He was suspended from practicing law in 1988 due to the mishandling of a real estate deal when he was in private practice. Owens would leave Kentucky and become senior vice-president of affordable housing with American Residential Mortgage. He was a commissioned examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In 2003, he became the director of community affairs with Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, OH, and in 2005 was named Senior Vice President of Fifth Third Bancorp. For more see M. Davis, "Prosecutor takes nothing for granted," Lexington Herald-Leader, 12/26/1984, City/State section, p. B1; T. Toliver, "Ex-Fayette Prosecutor suspended from practicing law," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/28/1988, City/State section, p. B5; "Owens heads Fifth Third Department," The Cincinnati Post, 03/01/2003, Business section, p. B8; and "Fifth Third promotes Ed Owens III," The Cincinnati Post, 11/05/2005, Business section, p. B8.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Lawyers, Migration North, Court Cases, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Page, Lucy and Edward (Ned)
Lucy and Ned Page were slaves from Lexington, KY. Their quest for freedom was the first case to test the Ohio Constitution concerning slaves, fugitive slaves, and indentured persons. In 1804 Lucy and Ned were brought to Ohio along with the family and slaves of Colonel Robert Patterson, founder of Lexington, KY, and Cincinnati, OH. Both Dr. Andrew McCalla and Patterson had bought land near Dayton on which they planned to have a permanent home for their families and their slaves. The Ohio Constitution prohibited slavery but allowed for fugitive slaves to be recaptured, and stated that only free persons could become indentured. The constitution had more than a few ambiguities as to when a slave would become a free person in Ohio in reference to slaves visiting the state for an undetermined time period, as well as for enforcing the time period a slave (now indentured freeman) would be bound for service. Slave owners from Virginia and Kentucky who moved to Ohio had not had a problem keeping their slaves/indentured servants indefinitely. So, McCalla and Patterson planned for their slaves, once in Ohio, to be referred to as indentured persons, and knowing that Lucy and Ned Page would attempt an escape, had a bill of sale showing that Patterson had sold Lucy and Ned to McCalla. Less than a year after Patterson's first load of belongings arrived in Ohio, the plan began to unravel. Patterson's slave, William Patterson, went before the Court of Common Pleas clerk to have his name placed in the Record of Black and Mulatto (free) Persons. Sarah Ball did the same. In 1805, whites in Dayton encouraged Moses and two other slaves to leave Patterson's farm. With the help of attorneys George F. Tennery and Richard S. Thomas, Moses filed an affidavit saying that he was being held as a slave and forced to work at the Patterson farm. Patterson challenged Moses' claim, stating that Moses, a slave, had helped with the move to Ohio, but that he actually belonged to his brother-in-law, William Lindsay, and under the contract terms, Moses was to return to Kentucky to his life as a slave. The court decided in Patterson's favor, and within days Lindsay arrived in Ohio and took Moses back to Kentucky. Lucy and Ned Page also filed an affidavit, but unlike Moses' case, there was evidence that Lucy and Ned Page were Patterson's slaves before leaving Kentucky. When the case went to court, Patterson changed his story, saying that the Pages were actually indentured servants. The courts decided in favor of the Pages. Patterson and McCalla devised a plan to take the Pages by force back to Kentucky, as had been done with Moses. But, when McCalla and slave catcher David Sharp arrived in Dayton, their efforts were resisted by a group of whites and Ned Page, who had armed himself with a pistol. Sharp was arrested for breach of peace and McCalla filed civil suits in the federal district courts. Lucy and Ned Page left Dayton for an unknown location. McCalla's suits were tied up in the courts for ten years. For more see E. Pocock, "Slavery and Freedom in the Early Republic: Robert Patterson's Slaves in Kentucky and Ohio, 1804-1819," Ohio Valley History, vol. 6, issue 1 (2006), pp. 3-26; and for what was thought to be the first case (1808), see The First Fugitive Slave Case of Record in Ohio, by W. H. Smith.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio

Pickard, Joseph
Pickard, a barber, was an escaped slave from Kentucky. He had settled in Lockport, NY, when in the fall of 1823, two slave catchers from Kentucky took him into custody. The people of Lockport would not allow Pickard to be taken back to Kentucky, and the case went to court. Lockport had a number of Quaker residents who were opposed to slavery. When Pickard attempted to escape from the courtroom by jumping out a window, he was aided by Irish canal workers, employees of the Quaker brothers Joseph and Darius Comstock. The prior year the Christmas Eve Riot in Lockport was blamed on the Irish workers having had too much to drink and getting rowdy. John Jennings was killed, which led to the first trial in Lockport. The case of Joseph Pickard took place the following year, and it almost led to a second riot. When Pickard jumped out the window, the Kentucky slave catchers went after him with pistols drawn. There was a brief standoff between the canal workers and the slave catchers before Pickard was again taken into custody and returned to the courtroom. After the case was heard, Pickard was released due to lack of proof that he was the property of a Kentucky slave owner. The slave catchers promptly left Lockport. The Joseph Pickard case is believed to be the first and only fugitive slave case in Lockport, NY. For more see Lockport: historic jewel of the Erie Canal by K. L. Riley; and 1823b. Fugitive Slave Case, Lockport on The Circle Association's African American History of Western New York State, 1770-1830 website.
Subjects: Barbers, Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Lockport, New York

Poindexter, Henry, Sr. [Anderson v Poindexter]
Birth Year : 1826
Death Year : 1889
The decision in the Anderson vs Poindexter case, made by the Supreme Court of Ohio, was viewed by some as in direct opposition to the U.S. Constitution. In the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of the Dred Scott case, Scott, who had temporarily lived in a free state, was denied his freedom because it was concluded that all African Americans, slaves and freemen, were not citizens of the U.S., and therefore could not sue in federal court. In a somewhat similar case, Henry Poindexter, the slave of John Anderson in Campbell County, KY, was given his freedom by the Supreme Court of Ohio. For many years, Poindexter had been allowed to hire himself out in Ohio with Anderson's permission. In 1848, Poindexter made an agreement with Anderson to purchase his freedom. Poindexter received promissory notes from Anderson that specified the cost of Poindexter's freedom; he was valued at about $1,000. Poindexter was the principal of the notes and the sureties were Thomas C. Gowdy, Jackson White, and Francis Donaldson. Once in Ohio, Poindexter and the cosigners refused to pay Anderson the amount of the notes, and Poindexter declared his freedom because Ohio was a free state. Anderson filed suit in the state of Ohio to regain his slave. In 1856, the Supreme Court of Ohio found that Henry Poindexter was a free man. Contrary to the U.S. Constitution, Poindexter was not an escaped slave, nor was he passing through Ohio to another destination; in Ohio he was a free person, and in the opinion of Justice Ozias Bowen, Poindexter had been free since the first time he set foot on Ohio soil; returning to Kentucky had not made him a slave again. He was free when he made the contract with Anderson, and in Kentucky, contracts were not legal between a master and his slave; therefore the contract was void. Henry Poindexter was born in Alabama and was the husband of Harriet Poindexter (b. 1828). The family is listed as free and living in Fairfield, OH, then Hamilton, OH, beginning with the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Henry was employed as a laborer. According to the U.S. Colored Troops enlistment records, on January 30, 1865, in Dayton, OH, Henry Poindexter enlisted as a private in Company B, 16th U.S. Colored Infantry. After his service in the Union Army, Poindexter returned to Hamilton, where he died December 10, 1889 and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. His grave is part of the African American Civil War Memorial. A headstone was provided by the U.S. Government at some point prior to 1903. For more see An Imperfect Union, by P. Finkelman; the second paragraph of "The News" in the Syracuse Daily Courier, 05/18/1857, p. 2; and "In the Supreme Court of Ohio. Poindexter et al. vs Anderson, et al.," The American Law Register (1852-1891), vol. 6, issue 2/3 (Dec., 1857 - Jan., 1858), pp. 78-122.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Alabama / Campbell County, Kentucky / Hamilton, Ohio

Price, John
In the winter of 1856, John Price and another slave, Frank, fled from owner John P. G. Bacon in Mason County, KY. Price was injured during the escape, so he and Frank had to lay up in Oberlin, OH. Slave catchers learned of their whereabouts in 1858, and Price was captured in East Oberlin and taken to the town of Wellington, Ohio. A rescue party made up of abolitionist whites, free blacks, and fugitive slaves confronted the captors, and after a small riot Price was rescued. Price made his way to Canada and was never heard from again. The rescue party faced court hearings, fines, and imprisonment. The entire incident is referred to as the Wellington Rescue. For more see The 1858 Oberlin-Wellington Rescue: a reappraisal, by R. M. Baumann.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Mason County, Kentucky / Oberlin and Wellington, Ohio / Canada

Pryor, Margaret
Birth Year : 1835
Death Year : 1910
Margaret Pryor was the richest African American woman in Kentucky as a result of the fortune she inherited from her former owner, horse breeder Major Barak G. Thomas (1826-1906). Thomas, who also raced his horses, had left smaller inheritances to others, including $1,000 to his African American jockey and trainer, John T. Clay, and another $1,000 to Clay's sons, Johnnie and Barak. The will was protested by Thomas's family and friends but was allowed to stand as written. Maj. B. G. Thomas had been born in South Carolina; in 1912 his family moved to Lexington, KY. After making his wealth in the horse industry, and with the onset of failing health, Thomas had sold his stud farm and settled in his city home at 194 West Main Street, where he passed away in 1906. His home was next door to the Henry A. Tandy family home. After Maj. Thomas's death, Margaret Pryor remained in the home and welcomed visitors from throughout the U.S. When she died in 1910, she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery [now Cove Haven Cemetery] in Lexington, though Maj. Thomas had stipulated in his will that she be buried beside him in the then segregated Lexington Cemetery. Margaret Pryor's will was challenged in the Fayette Circuit Court by her heirs, Mary Walker and others. The will was allowed to stand as written. The wills of both Maj. Thomas and Margaret Pryor were reported in all of the major newspapers and many smaller papers in the United States. In 1911, the Atlanta Constitution newspaper reported that Pryor had no children and four women who lived in Macon and Eatonton, GA, were claiming to be Pryor's sisters and were seeking to claim $50,000 that the sisters said was left to them by Pryor. All of the sisters were supposedly once owned by Skelton Napier of Macon, GA. For more see "Major Barak G. Thomas is dead," The Thoroughbred Record, 05/19/1906; "Will of Major Thomas," The Thoroughbred Record, 05/26/1906; "Death of rich ex-slave," Washington Post, 05/13/1910, p. 11; "Margaret Pryor's will," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/14/1910, p. 6; and "Negroes claim estate of wealthy sister," Atlanta Constitution, 01/24/1911, p. 5.

*Maj. Barak G. Thomas's home at 194 West Main Street had been renumbered to 646 West Main Street by 1907. The property faces the corner of present day Main Street and Old Georgetown Street.
Subjects: Freedom, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration North, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Macon and Eatonton, Georgia

Reid, Daniel Isaiah
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1950
Daniel I. Reid was a journalist, politician, and school teacher in Lexington, KY. He was one of the first African American news reporters for the Lexington Herald, as early as 1939 and up to his death in 1950, according to Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky) City Directory. Daniel Reid was born in Lexington, the son of Edward and Lizzie Eubank Reid [source: Death Certificate]. In 1905, when the local media reacted to the death of James Piersall with advice on how best to improve Negro society and decrease crime, Daniel Reid advocated that Negro school teachers teach from the Bible so that Negro students could become moral and responsible adults. In 1907, Daniel Reid, an unapologetic Democrat, wrote an editorial praising the good deeds of the city leaders and administrators [Democrats] toward Colored people in Lexington. Reid was a member of the Colored branch of the Democratic Party in Lexington. From 1907-1910, he was principal of the short-lived Forest Hill School in Lexington. He had taught at other schools in Lexington, and would do the same after Forest Hill School was closed in 1910. In 1909, Daniel Reid was at the center of the injunction W. D. Johnson had filed against both Reid and Wade Carter. Johnson, a dedicated Republican, was editor of the Lexington Standard and had leased the newspaper plant from Wade Carter up to May of 1910. Following the election of President Taft, W. D. Johnson was assigned to the General Land Office in Washington, D.C., and on a return visit to Lexington, Johnson found that Wade Carter had taken possession of the newspaper plant and turned it over to Daniel Reid, who was publishing the Lexington Standard as a campaign publication for the Democrats. Fayette Circuit Court granted an injunction against Daniel Reid stopping him from having anything to do with the newspaper plant or the newspaper. During the days that the Lexington Standard was closed due to the injunction, the newspaper was printed by the Lexington Leader. W. D. Johnson was not able to resume the newspaper and was forced to suspend it indefinitely because the building where the paper was printed was slated for other purposes. In 1911, Daniel Reid attempted to revive the Lexington Standard as a Democrat newspaper but was unsuccessful; the Lexington Standard would never be revived. In March of 1912, Reid established The Lexington Weekly News with Edward D. Willis as publisher and A. W. Davis as his business officer. The following year, Reid purchased a meat store at 753 N. Limestone and moved it to the corner of 7th and Mill Streets. Six months later, he attempted to open a night school for Negroes. In October of 1913, a branch of the Negro Business League was formed in Lexington, and Daniel Reid was named the temporary secretary. The Lexington Weekly News had closed, and Reid had established a new newspaper, The Colored Citizen. [There had been two earlier African American newspapers with the same title in 1866, one in Cincinnati and one in Louisville.] Daniel Reid had also served as editor of the Colored column in the Tribune, and he was the printer for the Christian Soldier newspaper and had served as chair of the Sunday School Convention of the Colored Christian Churches. Daniel Reid was the husband of Cora Reid, and the couple had several children. They lived at 705 Dakota Street. Daniel Reid died July 5, 1950 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. For more, see "People's Views," Lexington Leader, 02/10/1905, p. 7; "Negro teacher," Lexington Leader, 10/21/1907; the injunction articles in the Lexington Leader - 10/25/1909, p. 7 - 10/26/1909, p. 3 - 10/27/1909, p. 9; "Editor Johnson," Lexington Leader, 11/06/1909, p. 2; "Democratic Negro editor," Lexington Leader, 09/01/1911, p. 1; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 06/09/1912, p. 8; "Night school for Colored people," Lexington Leader, 01/22/1913, p. 3; National Negro Business League," Lexington Leader, 10/05/1913, p. 2; "New Colored paper," Lexington Leader, 10/22/1913, p. 11; "Colored paper," Lexington Leader, 10/26/1913, p. 7; and "The Lexington Weekly News...," Freeman, 03/30/1912, p. 2.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Roberts, Turner W. [Turner Roberts v. Commonwealth]
Birth Year : 1808
Reverend Turner Roberts was an early challenger to Kentucky laws against free African Americans migrating to Kentucky. Rev. Roberts was a free man from Indian, he was an African Methodist Episcopal minister who was ordained in 1845. He had been active in the church for several years. In 1848, he was visiting Louisville, KY, where he had stayed for 30 days. He was arrested under the Kentucky statute that prohibited the migration of free Negroes into Kentucky. Rev. Roberts had also not given bond and therefore could not leave the state; a $500 bond was required of free Negroes coming into Kentucky for brief periods of stay. Rev. Turner Roberts had stayed too long. The punishment was that Rev. Roberts was sold for a 12 month term of servitude. Rev. Roberts appealed his case, Turner Roberts v. Commonwealth, contending that the law was unconstitutional and void due to its conflict with the 2nd section of the 4th article of the Constitution of the United States. "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of the several States." Rev. Roberts lost his appeal [source: "The Case of Turner Roberts," Niles' National Register, v.74, July 1848-January 1849, pp.248-250 (online at Google Books); and "The Kentucky Slave Law," The Friend: a religious and literary journal, edited by Robert Smith, 1849, v.22, p.43]. According to The North Star newspaper, as transcribed within the Accessible Archives Database, Rev. Turner Roberts was freed in 1848 because the Kentucky law had been declared unconstitutional [source: "The Kentucky Negro Preacher," The North Star, 10/06/1848]. Rev. Roberts may have been freed from servitude in October of 1848, but this has not been verified; however, the law concerning free Negroes migrating to Kentucky was not found unconstitutional in 1848. What is known for sure is that by 1850 Rev. Turner Roberts was a free man, he is listed as a mulatto in the 1850 U.S. Census. Rev. Turner Roberts was born around 1808 in North Carolina. He and his wife Louisa had four children: Charles, James, Mary, and Catherine. Rev. Roberts' brother, Jack Roberts, lived with the family in Indianapolis, IN. In the 1860 Census, Rev. Roberts was a barber in Indianapolis. His home was located at 54 Blackford Street [source: p.219 in the Indianapolis Directory and Business Mirror for 1861]. In 1867, he lived at 216 N. Blackford Street [source: p.352 Edward's Annual Directory of the City of Indianapolis 1867]. For more about Rev. Turner Roberts see Reclaiming African Heritage at Salem Indiana by C. D. Robbins, pp.85 & 87.


*Generous assistance with this entry was provided by University of Kentucky law librarians Franklin L. Runge and Beau Steenken. They provided the following time line and sources that can be found in the University of Kentucky Law Library.



  • Turner Roberts would have been charged under the law from 1808 (as amended in 1838).
  • February 1808: In the December 1807 session, which spilled over into February 1808, the Kentucky Legislature enacted legislation to "prevent migration of free negroes and mulattoes to this state."
  • 1834: This document is included as a statutory update to see if there had been any changes to the law from 1808 to 1838. It appears as if the statutory language remained consistent. There was an additional law passed about free citizens that might be of interest.
  • 1838: There was an amendment to the statute on migration. The amendment allowed for a jury trial and expanded the types of courts that could hear these cases. Additionally, in 1840, there was a statute passed about helping runaway slaves.
  • 1850: Kentucky adopts a new constitution. The 10th article is about slavery, and commands the Kentucky Legislature to deny free blacks the ability to migrate to the state.
  • 1851: The Kentucky Legislature "refreshes" its laws on slaves and free blacks. The last section re-commits Kentucky to denying the migration of free blacks to Kentucky.


  1. The Statute Law of Kentucky, V.3. XVI Year of the Commonwealth. Chapter DI. An ACT to prevent the future emigration of Free Negroes and Mulattoes to this State. Approved February 23, 1808. pp.499-501.
  2. Digest of the Statute Laws of Kentucky, v.2, 1834. Title 124. Mulattoes and Free Negroes. pp.1219-1223.
  3. Digest of the Statute Laws of Kentucky, 1842. Title 77. Mulattos and Free Negroes. pp.463-464.
  4. Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Article Tenth. [1850]. Concerning Slaves. Section 1. pp.27-28.
  5. Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, November Session, 1850, V.1. Chapter XV. Slaves, Runaways, Free Negroes, and Emancipation. pp.291-308.
  6. The Passenger Cases and the commerce clause: immigrants, blacks, and states' rights in antebellum America by T. A. Fryer.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Court Cases
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Indianapolis, Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Rudder, John Earl, Jr. [John Rudder and Doris Rudder v United States of America]
Birth Year : 1925
John E. Rudder, Jr., born in Paducah, KY, was the first African American to receive a regular commission in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a graduate of the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Rudder had enlisted in 1943 and served with the 51st Defense Battalion. He was discharged in 1946 and enrolled in Purdue University, where he was awarded an NROTC midshipman contract. He received his commission in 1948, was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant, then sent to Marine Corps Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. Rudder resigned his commission in 1949; the resignation was handled quietly by the press and the Marine Corps. Rudder's commission had come at a time when the Marine Corps was being challenged about its segregation policies. Rudder, his wife Doris, and their children settled in Washington, D.C., and in 1952 lived in a two bedroom apartment in the Lincoln Heights Dwellings. John became a cab driver; he would have a hard time keeping a job and eventually was expelled from Howard University Law School. In 1953, the Rudders were one of more than a million tenants of the federal housing projects required to sign the Certificate of Non-membership in Subversive Organizations. Families who refused to sign the certificate and refused to leave the premises were served with an eviction notice and a suit for possession. The Rudders filed suit against the action. The lower courts decided in favor of the National Capital Housing Authority [manager of the property owned by the United States]. The Rudders filed an appeal; in 1955 the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington affirmed a judgment for the Rudders, and the eviction notice was withdrawn. By 1967, the FBI had accumulated eight volumes of surveillance materials on the Rudders. John was labeled a Communist. The Rudders had participated in anti-discrimination and anti-war rallies and marches and picket lines in front of downtown D.C. stores and restaurants. John Rudder said that he had refused the FBI's offer to become a government informant. Rudder was a Quaker and his wife Doris was white and Jewish; they had five children. Their sons Eugene and Karl grew up to become activists. In 1977, their daughter Miriam was denied clearance by the FBI for a research aide position with the congressional committee investigating the assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. The clearance was denied because of her parents' protest activities. In 1978, their daughter Beatrice became the first female firefighter in Washington, D.C. John and Doris had become teachers and actors. John had appeared in the plays "Black Like Me" and "The Great White Hope." In 1981, two weeks before John and Doris were to appear in the play "Getting Out," they appeared on the television show 60 Minutes with their daughter Miriam to discuss what they saw as government harassment, including Miriam's employment denial. John E. Rudder, Jr. is the son of John Sr. and Beatrice Rudder. For more see African Americans and ROTC, by C. Johnson; "The Postwar Marine Corps," chapter 10 of Integration of the Armed Forces 1940-1965, by M. J. MacGregor, Jr. [available online at Project Gutenberg]; John Rudder and Doris Rudder, Appellants v. United States of America, Appellee , No. 12313, 226 F.2d 51, 96 U.S.App.D.C. 329 [online at]; T. Morgan, "Family of 'Subversives' pays a high price," Washington Post, 04/06/1981, First section, p. A1; J. Lardner, "John and Doris Rudder," Washington Post, 03/15/1981, Style, Show, Limelight section, p. K3; and J. Stevens, "First woman dons uniform of District Fire Department," Washington Post, 04/06/1978, District Weekly D section, p. C5. See also the 60 Minutes transcript v.XIII, no.24, as broadcast over the CBS Television Network, Sunday, March 1, 1981 [online]: with Morley Safer, John Rudder, Doris Rudder, Miriam Rudder, and U.S. Representative Louis Stokes (1925-1996) - titled " 'Sins" of the Fathers...," pp.6-11, at the Harold Weisberg Archive Digital Collection at Hood College.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Education and Educators, Fathers, Firefighters, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Court Cases, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Scearce, Simon
Birth Year : 1889
In 1904, Scearce, a 15 year-old from Lexington, KY, was the first African American in Kentucky to be publicly whipped since before the Civil War. Scearce's crime was hitting a white boy. Police Judge John J. Riley ordered Scearce's mother to take him to the public square and give him twenty lashes with a buggy whip. There was a large audience for the whipping. The story of the whipping was printed in major city newspapers in states such as New York, Illinois, Ohio, Nebraska, and Iowa. For more see "Court orders boy whipped," New York Times, 06/14/1904, p. 1.
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Shobe, Benjamin F.
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2016
Born in Bowling Green, KY, Benjamine F. Shobe was a civil rights attorney who served as a counselor to Lyman T. Johnson in the lawsuit that forced the University of Kentucky to integrate. Shobe was also hired by the NAACP as an attorney in Sweeny v. The City of Louisville, which was pursued to open public accommodations. He was the first elected city police judge in Louisville, KY, in 1976 and retired from the bench in 1992. He was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and the University of Michigan Law School. Shobe was also a recipient of Anderson-Mayer Funds. He is a member of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' Great Black Kentuckians. He was the son of W. L. Shobe , who was principal of Lynch West Main High School, 1939-1956. For more see The American Bench. Judges of the nation, 2nd ed., ed. by M. Reincke and N. Lichterman; and Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Judges, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Slave Riot Scare (Harlan County, KY)
Start Year : 1842
In September 1842, David Todd and William S. Westervelt, both white students from Oberlin College, were on trial in Harlan County, KY, charged with attempting to incite a slave revolt. David Todd was the son of Captain James Todd, who was against slavery and was known for successfully leading the 2nd Regiment's 1st Brigade of the Pennsylvania Militia during the War of 1812. The charges against David and William stemmed from the facts that they were white men in Kentucky without a good enough reason for being there; they were seen talking to slaves in a friendly manner; and they had come from Ohio and were students at Oberlin College, where a large number of abolitionists resided. The circumstantial evidence was supposedly the sign that led to the discovery of a planned slave insurrection that alarmed the county. For more see John Todd and the Underground Railroad, by J. P. Morgans.
Subjects: Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Harlan County, Kentucky

Strader v. Graham
Start Year : 1850
Three African American slaves, George, Henry, and Reuben, were often allowed to travel with a man named Williams; the three men were musicians in Williams' band and they received musical training from Williams. The men belonged to Christopher Graham, from Harrodsburg, KY. In 1837, the band left Kentucky aboard the steamboat Pike (owned by Jacob Strader, James Gorman, and John Armstrong) and traveled into Ohio and Indiana. In 1841, George, Henry, and Reuben escaped to Canada. Graham sued Strader, Gorman, and Armstrong for the loss of his slaves. The prominent legal question became whether the three slaves had become free men by virtue of their travel into a free state. In 1851, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the status of slaves depended on the laws of the state; thus, the three men were still considered slaves according to Kentucky Law. The case would be used to argue the fate of other African Americans in prominent cases such as Dred Scott v. Sanford and Rachel v. Walker. For more see Jacob Strader, James Gorman, and John Armstrong, Plaintiffs in Error, v. Christopher Graham. Supreme Court of the United States, December Term 1850. 51 U.S. 82, 10 How. 82, 1850 WL 6936, 13 L.Ed. 337 [available full text at].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Ohio / Indiana / Canada

Streetcar Demonstrations (Louisville, KY) [R. Fox v. The Central Passenger Railroad Company]
Start Year : 1870
The streetcar companies in Louisville, KY, had discriminating policies toward African Americans and in 1870 it led to a protest movement. Horace Pearce and the brothers, Robert and Samuel Fox, boarded a Central Passenger streetcar at Tenth and Walnut Streets, they deposited their fares and sat down. They were told to leave, but refused. Other streetcar drivers were called to the scene, and the Fox brothers and Pearce were kicked and knocked about, then thrown off the streetcar. Outside, a crowd of African Americans hurled mud clods and rocks at the car and encouraged the men to reboard because they had a federal right to ride the streetcars. When the police arrived, the three men were taken off the car, put in jail, and charged with disorderly conduct. Reverend H. J. Young posted their bail. At their hearing, no African Americans was allowed to testify, and each of the three men was fined $5. A lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court: R. Fox v. The Central Passenger Railroad Company. At the trial, the jury decided in favor of the three men and they were each awarded $15 for damages. In spite of the decision, as more African Americans tried to board the streetcars, they were thrown off, leading to more protests and near riots. Louisville Mayor John G. Baxter called a meeting and it was decided by the streetcar companies that all persons would be allowed to ride any of the routes. For more see M. M. Noris, "An early instance of nonviolence: the Louisville demonstrations of 1870-1871," The Journal of Southern History, vol.32, issue 4, (Nov., 1966), pp. 487-504.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sweeney, Pruitt Owsley, Sr.
Birth Year : 1893
Death Year : 1960
Born in Boyle County, KY, P. O. Sweeney became a dentist and later president of the Louisville, KY, Dental Association. He was also president of the Louisville NAACP branch and the Teachers' Equalization Committee. In 1947 he filed a lawsuit against the city of Louisville for operating a segregated public golf course. The suit was settled in 1952 when the city-owned golf course was opened to all citizens. Sweeney, a Kentucky native who was born in Junction City, KY, was the son of Edgar and Florence Sweeney. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and Who's Who in Colored America 1927. For more general information see African American golfers during the Jim Crow Era by M. P. Dawkins and G. C. Kinloch; and Forbidden Fairways: African Americans and the game of golf, by C. H. Sinnette.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Golf and Golfers, Medical Field, Health Care, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Dentists, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Junction City, Boyle County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Theophanis v. Theophanis
Start Year : 1932
On June 24, 1932, the Court of Appeals of Kentucky affirmed the judgment and cross-appeal of the Franklin Circuit Court in the case of Theophanis v. Theophanis wherein Lillian Theophanis was given absolute divorce from George J. Theophanis. She was awarded $1,000 alimony and $100 in attorney's fees. The couple had been married in Cincinnati, OH, December 14, 1922, when George was 32 years old. Born in Elova, Greece, he came to the U.S. in 1905. He had lived in Frankfort, KY, since 1909 and became a U.S. citizen in 1914. Lillian was about 22 years old at the time of their marriage; she was previously married to Ralph Myers of Cleveland, OH. Her family was from Richmond, KY. Lillian was the daughter of Betty Walker Foos and Edward Foos, who was white. Betty Walker Foos was the daughter of Joel J. Walker, who was white, and Mary Jane, a former "servant" who had belonged to Joel Walker. Joel and Mary Jane Walker had several children, some of whom had African American spouses, and some had white spouses. Mary Jane Walker and here children had been considered Colored by the people of Richmond. Kentucky Statutes, Section 2097 (2) forbids marriage between a white person and a Negro or mulatto. In recognition of the law, George Theophanis had prosecuted a cross appeal to the Franklin Circuit Court judgment, stating that he and Lillian were never legally married because she was a mulatto; therefore, the courts had erred. At the same time, Lillian challenged the courts judgment by seeking to increase the alimony to $14,000 and the attorney's fees to $1,500. The Court of Appeals of Kentucky found that there was no evidence that Lillian was of pure Negro blood. Her grandmother, Mary Jane Walker, may have had Negro blood, but she was not of pure Negro blood based on her physical traits: long straight hair, a straight nose, high cheek bones, and thin lips. Since Mary Jane Walker was not of pure Negro blood, her granddaughter, Lillian Theophanis, could not be considered a mulatto and her marriage to George was deemed valid, and the Frankfort Circuit Court's judgment in the divorce case was affirmed. The Court of Appeals of Kentucky also found that Lillian's estate was sufficient enough that the Franklin Circuit Court's allowances were justified and therefore affirmed with no increase in payments. For more see Theophanis v Theophanis, Court of Appeals of Kentucky, 244 Ky. 689; 51 S.W.2d 957; 1932 Ky.
Subjects: Court Cases, Interracial Marriage and State Laws
Geographic Region: Elova, Greece / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Thompson v City of Louisville [Shuffle Dancing]
Start Year : 1959
On January 24, 1959, Sam Thompson, an elderly African American man, was arrested for loitering while doing a "shuffle dance" in the Liberty End Cafe in Louisville, KY, and for disorderly conduct. Thompson was waiting on a bus and had been in the cafe for about half an hour, dancing by himself. The dance was neither vulgar nor disrespectful. The cafe owner said that Thompson had not purchased anything, but that he did not object to his presence; Thompson had been in the cafe several times before and had caused no problems. Regardless, two police officers, doing a routine check, approached Thompson and asked him to explain why he was in the cafe. Thompson said that he was waiting on a bus, then gave his address, showed that he had money, and presented the bus schedule. Thompson was arrested for loitering while doing a "shuffle dance"; the cafe did not have a license for dancing. When Thompson became argumentative while being led from the cafe, he was charged with disorderly conduct. Thompson did not raise his voice or use offensive language nor did he engage in any type of a physical altercation. He had been arrested 54 times prior to the January 24 arrest. Thompson hired an attorney and demanded a judicial hearing because of what he described as prior baseless charges by the police. During his hearing, it was found that Thompson had actually purchased food and drunk a beer while in the cafe. He owned land and had worked for the same family for 30 years. The Louisville Police Court found Thompson guilty of loitering and disorderly conduct and charged him $10 per charge. Thompson's appeals for the case to be thrown out and for a new trial were denied, so Thompson took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. It was found that a "shuffle dance" was not illegal in Louisville, and the criminal convictions were reversed on due process grounds because the convictions were devoid of evidentiary support. The action was remanded to the lower court. The case was decided on March 21, 1960. When news of Thompson's case being taken to the U.S. Supreme Court was reported in newspapers around the country, there were articles that exaggerated the number of times that Thompson had been arrested, some depicting him as a vagrant and loitering drunk and others poking fun at the Kentucky "shuffle dancing" case before the Supreme Court. For more see Thompson v City of Louisville ET AL., No. 59, Supreme Court of the United States, 362 U.S. 199: 80 S. Ct. 624; 4L. ED. 2d 654; "Court of last resort," Times Record, 01/18/1960, p. 12; and "Shuffle dancing case before the Supreme Court," Stevens Point Daily Journal, 01/13/1960, p. 9.
Subjects: Alcohol, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thompson v. Wilmot
Start Year : 1805
End Year : 1809
In Maryland in 1790, Ruth Wilmot exchanged her slave, Will, for a slave named Harry who belonged to Thomas A. Thompson. Part of the written agreement was that in addition to the swap, Will would be freed within seven years. Thompson took Will to Kentucky, and after more than seven years, Will was still a slave. Thompson had reneged on the agreement, so Wilmot sued on Will's behalf for his freedom. The Kentucky lower court ruled in Wilmot's favor and awarded her $691.25 in damages; the money was to go to Will. [Slaves could not file a law suit in Kentucky.] Thompson appealed the case to the higher court [Thompson v Wilmot] and lost his case when the lower court's decision was affirmed in 1809. The case set a standard for contractual agreements for the future emancipation of a slave, and allowed the original slave owner to file suit for the emancipation of the slave when the terms of the contractual agreement were not honored. For more see Fathers of Conscience by B. D. Jones; "In Kentucky" in The Encyclopedic Digest of Virginia and West Virgina, volume XII [full view in Google Book Search]; and "Thompson versus Wilmot" in the Afro-American Encyclopedia.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration South, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Maryland / Kentucky

Tolbert, Hardin
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1966
Hardin Tolbert was an outspoken newspaper publisher, journalist, and civil rights activist. On more than one occasion, he was also accused of getting the story or the facts wrong. Tolbert was publisher of the Frankfort Tribune and The Star and was a correspondent for the Freeman (Indianapolis, IN). He was said to be the only African American in Kentucky who earned his living solely from his work as a newspaper correspondent [source: "Hardin Tolbert...," Freeman, 06/21/1913, p. 1]. Tolbert's office was at 425 Washington Street in Frankfort in 1911, and he later conducted business for the State Bureau at the People's Pharmacy at 118 N. Broadway, Lexington, KY. His business was also known as the Tolbert Publicity Bureau. In 1912, Tolbert expanded the operation and appointed William Baxter as regular correspondent of the Freeman in Shelbyville, KY, with headquarters in the Safell and Safell Funeral Home [source: "Mr. Baxter...," Freeman, 05/04/1912, p. 1]. In 1914, Hardin Tolbert established the Colored Bureau of Education, an employment agency for Negro teachers [source: first paragraph of "Kentucky's Capital," Freeman, 01/31/1914, p. 4]. In November of 1914, Hardin Tolbert was arrested for publishing an article that criticized President Green P. Russell of the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute [now Kentucky State University]; President Russell had senior student Willie Mea Toran arrested for her speech and petition against Russell's rule over the school, and student Vera Metcalf from Hopkinsville, KY, was kicked out of the dorm for not signing a petition that was in support of President Russell [source: "Kentucky's Capital," Freeman, 11/14/1914, p. 2]. Tolbert also criticized three white men on the school board who endorsed President Russell's actions: Dr. C. A. Fish, George L. Hannon, and former mayor J. H. Polsgrove. All four men, Russell, Fish, Hannon, and Polsgrove, swore out warrants for the arrest of Hardin Tolbert, and he was jailed. State Superintendent Barksdale Hamlett provided the bail of $250 for Tolbert's release. Tolbert was charged with making false statements and fomenting trouble, all of which was summed up in the courtroom by the Commonwealth Attorney who said that Tolbert, a black man, had no right to criticize a white man; Tolbert was fined $10 and costs [source: "Calls colored editor "Nappy Headed Black Brute," Cleveland Gazette, 11/28/1914, p. 2]. Tolbert continued his criticism and also participated in the attempt to desegregate the Ben Ali Theater in 1915 and the Strand Theater in 1916, both in Lexington, KY. Hardin Tolbert would eventually leave Kentucky. In 1920, he was editor of the Cincinnati Journal [source: "Editor Hardin Tolbert...," Cleveland Gazette, 07/03/1920, p. 3]. The newspaper was located at 228 W. 8th Street; Tolbert also had a room at 636 W. 9th Street [source: William's City of Cincinnati Directory, 1919-1920, p. 2013]. Hardin Tolbert was born in February, 1880 in Shelbyville, KY, according to his World War I and World War II draft registration cards; he died June 3, 1966 in Martinsburg, WV, according to the West Virginia Certificate of Death #66008064.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Employment Services, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Corrections and Police, Migration East, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Martinsburg, West Virginia

United States v. Reese, et al, 92 U.S. 214
Start Year : 1875
This case was the first big test of voting rights under the 15th Amendment of 1870 that gave African American men the right to vote. In Kentucky, an African American man named William Garver had been denied voting rights in a municipal election, and the voting official was indicted. The indictment was based on the Enforcement Act of 1870, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Enforcement Act unconstitutional: Congress did not have the power to seek punishment for the denial of voting rights on any grounds and could only legislate against discrimination based on race. The decision allowed southern states to deny voting rights to African Americans due to poll taxes, literacy and other tests. The indictment of election officials and others was considered an error of the Circuit Courts of the United States (Kentucky). For more see United States v. Reese, 92 U.S. 214 (1875) [full text online at].
Subjects: Voting Rights, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Vaughn, George L.
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1950
George L. Vaughn was born in Kentucky, where he attend both elementary and high school. He was a graduate of Lane College and Walden University Law School [located in Tennessee, closed in 1925], and was later a 1st Lieutenant in the Artillery during World War I. Vaughn moved to St. Louis, where he practiced law and in 1916 became the first president of the Mound City Bar Association, a bar association for African American lawyers; the St. Louis Bar Association did not admit African Americans. In 1919, Vaughn helped found the Citizen Liberty League to help identify and elect more African Americans to public office. In 1936, Vaughn was appointed Justice of the Peace for the 4th District of St. Louis. Vaughn is most remembered for taking on the Shelley Restrictive Covenant Case, a landmark civil rights case involving J. D. Shelley, an African American who had purchased a home in a white neighborhood in 1945. The neighborhood association served Shelley with an eviction notice, and the St. Louis African American real estate brokers association hired Vaughn to fight the notice. Vaughn won the trial, but the case was then taken to the Missouri Supreme Court, which upheld the eviction. With the support of the real estate brokers association, Vaughn appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in 1948 the Supreme Court ruled in Shelley's favor. In 1957 the 660-unit George L. Vaughn Public Housing Project was named in Vaughn's honor. For more see "George Vaughn," in The Journal of Negro History, vol. 34, issue 4, (Oct., 1949), pp. 490-491; Lift Every Voice and Sing, by D. A. Wesley, W. Price and A. Morris; and "George L. Vaughn," in West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edited by S. Phelps and J. Lehman, vol. 10, 2nd edition. See the U.S. Supreme Court, Shelley V. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948), at the FindLaw website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Housing Authority, The Projects, Lawyers, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Judges, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Kentucky / St. Louis, Missiouri

Veney, Anderson
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1894
Veney was born in Kentucky. When he was a child, the Veney family members were slaves who eventually escaped from Kentucky to Canada, led by Anderson's stepfather, Levi Veney. The family settled in Amherstburg, Upper Canada; the city of Amherstburg had been a major tobacco growing territory that attracted escaped slaves from Kentucky who had knowledge of raising tobacco. As an adult, Anderson Veney remained in Amherstburg, where he had been a barber, but not making much money in that trade, he became a ship steward. When his first wife died, he moved in with a woman named Mattie or Martha, and she took his last name. In 1892, while in Cleveland, OH, Anderson Veney began having severe headaches, was forgetful and had a difficult time sleeping. He became convinced that his wife was cheating on him, and a few months after he returned to Amherstburg, he killed her. In court, Anderson was defended by African Canadian lawyer Delos Rogest Davis of Amherstburg and Mahlon K. Cowan of Windsor. Veney's sanity was argued back and forth, and the final verdict was that he was sane when he killed Mattie and should therefore be hanged. In one version of the story, the federal cabinet reviewed the case, and rather than hang an insane man, it commuted Veney's sentence to life in prison; in less than a year he died of phthisis in the Kingston Penitentiary hospital. In another version, Veney was hanged in 1893. For more see Anderson Veney in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online [free, full-text on the Internet]; Smith: New Canaan Black Settlement, Ontario, Essex County at; and Disorder in the court: trials and sexual conflict at the turn of the century, by G. Robb and N. Erber.
Subjects: Barbers, Executions, Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

WACs Beaten in Elizabethtown, KY
Start Year : 1945
In 1945, three African American members of the Women's Army Corps (WAC) were beaten by police officers for sitting in the waiting room for whites at the Greyhound bus station in Elizabethtown, KY. One of the women, PFC Helen Smith of Syracuse, NY, was taken to jail and released a few hours later, bleeding from her injuries. PFC Georgia Boson, from Texas, and Pvt.Tommie Smith, were also beaten. The women continued on their return to Fort Knox. When they arrived on base, they were summonsed by the commanding office, then lectured about obeying the supposed segregation laws of Kentucky pertaining to public buildings and transportation. The women were court-martialed. They were defended by Lieutenant W. Robert Ming, base legal officier at Godman Field under Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. The charges were later reduced to disorderly conduct. Helen Smith spent a week in the hospital recovering from her injuries. For more see Harry McAlpin, "Beat by cops: WACs to stand trial, violated Ky. Jim Crow," Indianapolis Recorder, 08/04/1945, p.1; "Wac's Beating Case" in The Negro Handbook, 1946-1947 edited by F. Murray; Creating GI Jane by L. D. Meyer; To Serve My County, To Serve My Race by B. L. Moore; and "Council demands investigation of WACs' beating," Baltimore Afro-American, 08/11/1945, p.12.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs), Court Cases, Bus Transportation: Employees, Owners, Segregation
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Fort Knox, Bullitt, Hardin, & Meade Counties, Kentucky / Syracuse, New York

Warford, Reggie
Birth Year : 1954
Born in Drakesboro, KY, Reggie Warford became the first African American basketball player to graduate from the University of Kentucky. He was a 6'1" guard who played in 50 games from 1972 to 1976, scoring 206 total points by the end of his college career. Warford went on to become an assistant coach at Pitt, Iowa State and Long Beach State, and also was head coach of the Harlem Globetrotters in 2003. While at Pitt in 1986, Warford sued the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper, claiming that it had defamed him in an article about improper recruiting offers in college basketball, specifically in reference to Steve Miller, a forward from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY. An article published October 28, 1985, quoted Miller as saying that Warford told him he would get a raise if he signed Miller and that Miller "would benefit from that raise also." The law suit was settled out of court in 1991. For more see articles related to the case in the Lexington Herald-Leader, from 1986-1991.

See photo image of Reggie Warford at
Subjects: Basketball, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / Ames, Iowa / Long Beach, California

Warley, William [Buchanan v. Warley]
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1946
Warley fought for African Americans' right to vote and wrote about African Americans' contributions to history. He was editor of the Louisville News, which he founded in 1913, using the paper to speak out against segregated street cars and school inequality. Warley was also president of the NAACP Louisville, KY, Chapter in 1917 when he and Charles H. Buchanan challenged the legitimacy of the Louisville ordinance that mandated segregated housing. Warley won the U.S. Supreme Court decision giving African Americans the right to acquire, own, and live on property without race discrimination. In 1937, he was co-editor of the The Herald Tribune; the newspaper existed for a brief period, it was published in Louisville with co-editors Charles E. Tucker and Huron Clark [source: The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan, p.528].  For more see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000; and R. Wigginton, "But he did what he could: William Warley leads Louisville's fight for justice, 1902-1946," Filson History Quarterly, vol. 76, issue 4 (2002), pp. 427-458.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Court Cases, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Webb, Christopher
Birth Year : 1825
Webb was a waiter at the Gothic Hall Saloon in Buffalo, NY, when in September 1847, two slave catchers from Covington, KY, claimed that Webb was an escaped slave and attempted to take him back to Kentucky. Webb declared that he was free. Members of the community came to Webb's rescue and the slave catchers fled. African Americans in the community formed a vigilante committee to watch for other slave catchers, and legal action was taken against the town constables and a lawyer who had assisted the slave catchers. Webb was awarded $90 for damages and his court costs were paid. Webb's rescue was the second of two successful attempts by the community to prevent slave catchers from capturing African Americans in Buffalo. According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, the following persons were within 25 year old Christopher Webb's household: 28 year old Ann Webb from Kentucky; 41/2 month old Richard, born in New York; 25 year old Sarah Andrews from Connecticut; and a 26 year old man named Charles from Kentucky. In the 1860 Census, Christopher was a cook and Ann was a washerwoman, they had two sons, Richard and Henry, and the family lived in Middletown, NY. For more see J. Richardson, "Buffalo's Antebellum African American community and the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, vol. 27, no. 2 (July 2003), pp. 29ff.; and chapter 5 of The Teachers Voice, by R. J. Altenbaugh.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Buffalo, New York

Winny (slave) v Whitesides
Winny was the slave of Phebe Whitesides. The family had moved from Carolina to Kentucky. In 1795, Winny's owners took here from Kentucky to the Indiana Territory, then on to the Missouri Territory, where Winny filed a civil suit for her freedom in April 1821 [case no. 190]. Slavery was prohibited in the Indiana Territory, in accordance with the 1787 Northwest Ordinance; therefore, Winny felt that she had become a free person. In 1824 the Supreme Court agreed, and Winny's case set the standard for determining slave freedom cases up to the 1850s. For more see Winny's story in the Missouri State Archives: Guide to African American History, a Missouri Digital Heritage website; and "Winny v Whitesides alias Prewitt," Supreme Court of Missouri, St. Louis District, 1 Mo. 472, November 1824 Decided.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Carolina / Kentucky / Indiana / Missouri

Wood, Henrietta
Birth Year : 1816
Submitted by Reinette F. Jones, 08/19/2016


Henrietta Wood was a mulatto slave born in Boone County, KY. Her 1870 case in the federal court is noted as one of the earliest seeking restitution for being a free woman who was re-enslaved. She was owned by Jane Cirode who was born in England around 1797 and was a widow according to the 1850 U.S. Census. Jane White Cirode had been the wife of William Cirode from France, the couple married in Fayette County, KY, August 1, 1818 [source: Kentucky Marriages Index, 1802-1850]. Their children were born in Kentucky and the family was fairly well-off. In 1830, the family lived in Louisville, KY, and William Cirode owned 7 slaves, according to the U.S. Census. In 1840, no slaves were listed with the family in the census record. Around 1847, William Cirode had died and Jane moved her family to Cincinnati, OH. Her slave, Henrietta Wood, moved with the family and was given her freedom once in Ohio, though the children of Jane Cirode did not agree with their mother's decision. Henrietta Wood continued living as a free woman in Cincinnati until shortly after the death of Jane Cirode around 1852.


A year or so after their mother's death, Jane Cirode's children hired Zebulon Ward (1822-1894) who was a Kentucky sheriff in northern Kentucky and a slave owner in Woodford County, KY. Ward was to capture Henrietta Wood and re-enslave her. The children of Jane Cirode still considered Henrietta Wood a part of their mother's estate and thereby part of their inheritance. Rebecca Boyd (b.1814 in TN) was Henrietta Wood's employer in Cincinnati. Rebecca Boyd had Henrietta Wood to accompany her into Kentucky and the two were joined by Franklin B. Rust (1816-1873) (Find A Grave), who lived in Northern Kentucky with his family, and another man. Once across the Ohio River, waiting was Zeb Ward who claimed Henrietta Wood as his slave, the men restrained her, and Zeb Ward had her sent to Lexington, KY to the private slave prison owned by Lewis C. Robards [* see image icon below]. While imprisoned, Henrietta Wood filed a petition for her freedom in the Fayette County Circuit Court on June 10, 1853. Henrietta Wood's petition was dismissed due to a lack of standing; slaves could not sue their masters. In the Criminal Court of Cincinnati, Ohio, indictment charges for kidnapping were brought against Rebecca Boyd, Frank Rust, and John Gilbert - "State of Ohio vs. Rebecca Boyd and Franklin Rust, impleaded with John Gilbert"; the jury returned a verdict of acquittal [sources: "In the Criminal Court, Cincinnati...," Anti-slavery Bugle, 01/07/1854, p.3; and "That Kidnapping Case," Anti-slavery Bugle, 01/14/1854, front page].


One of the men who helped kidnap Henrietta Wood was Frank B. Rust who is listed in the census records as a farmer, but he was also a slave trader. In 1848, he had purchased three slaves in Grant County, KY: a mother, father, and child. He brought the family to Covington and placed them in jail with the intent of soon shipping them down south where they would be sold. But the next morning after placing them in a cell, the jailer found all three members of the family with their throats cut. The wife and child were dead. The parents had preferred death to being sold down south as slaves. The father was also expected to die. - - [source: "Bloody Tragedy," The Lancaster Gazette," 06/02/1848, p.2].  Frank B. Rust was part of the group to enslave Henrietta Wood because he was a slave trader. 


Henrietta Wood was said to be about six feet tall, it had taken all three men to subdue her. Once jailed, she attempted to continue the fight from behind bars. After her case was denied in the Fayette County Circuit Court, Henrietta Wood appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals - "Henrietta Wood v Zeb Ward." The Court of Appeals found no error in the previous judgement and Henrietta Wood's appeal was denied. She was once again a slave. Henrietta Wood was held in prison by Zeb Ward for seven months. He then sold her to William Pulliam [* see image icon below], who then sold her to **Gerard Brandon (see name below) in Mississippi, who eventually took her on to Texas where she and other slaves worked the fields on his plantation. Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, OH, the will of Jane Maria Cirode was probated on January 27, 1857 [source: Ohio Wills and Probate Records, Hamilton County, Wills v.9-10, p.202]. Zeb Ward continued to climb the political ladder in Frankfort, KY, and increase his wealth by leasing prisons and as a slave owner. During the Civil War, he had owned 27 slaves, seven or more of them escaped to join the Union Army [more at Random Thoughts on History blog].


After 15 years or so of being enslaved, Henrietta Wood was freed around 1867; according to newspaper reports, she continued to be held in bondage even after the Ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865. She was said to be about 60 years old. Henrietta Wood returned to Cincinnati in 1869 and the following year sued Zeb Ward for $15,000 in damages for kidnapping and selling her as a slave when she was a free person. Zeb Ward was then living in Little Rock, AR, were he was leasee of Arkansas State Penitentiary. He had also leased prisoners in Tennessee. Zebulon Ward was a former Kentucky Legislator, 1861-1863, a Member of the House from Woodford County. He was warden of the Kentucky Penitentiary in Frankfort, KY, from 1855-1859. He had replaced the previous warden by outbidding him with the promise Kentucky Penitentiary would earn $6,000 per year. He did make a profit for the prison and himself by setting quotas for all the prisoners. Those who failed to make their quota were flogged. - - [sources: Chapter VII, pp.526-559 in Legislative Document No.18. A Report of the History and Mode of Management of the Kentucky Penitentiary from its origin, in 1798, to March 1, 1860, prepared by William C. Sneed [online at Google Books]; Prisons: today and tomorrow edited by A. G. Blackburn et. al., 2014, 3rd ed., p.168; C. H. Money, "The Fugitive Slave Law in Indiana," Indiana Magazine of History, v.17, issue 3, pp.257-297, online version; and One Dies, Get Another by M. J. Mancini; see also the NKAA entry African American Shoe Makers in Kentucky Prisons, A Leading U.S. Industry].


With her return from Texas, Henrietta Wood settled in Covington, KY.  In 1870, she was employed as a domestics for the family of Harvey Myers [source: 1870 U.S. Census; her age is given as 48]. Harvey Myers was an attorney who was born in New York. His name has not been associated wtih Henrietta Wood's case, but with all the newspaper coverage, he would definitely have been aware that his employee had a case in the federal courts. Henrietta Wood's case was argued in the U.S. Circuit Court (Ohio) for eight years. In April of 1878, Henrietta Wood won her case and was awarded $2,500 in damages [equivalent to $61,300 CPI 2015]. Henrietta Wood's attorneys were Lincoln, Smith, & Stephens and A. G. Collins. The attorneys had intended to continue fighting for a greater sum, but the final award remained at $2,500. Zeb Ward's attorneys, Hoadly, Johnson, and Colston, filed for a new trial but it was denied. The opinion was delivered February 15, 1879: "As this judgment does not, in our opinion, conclude the plaintiff, the verdict of the jury must stand. The damages are not excessive; the motion for a new trial will be disallowed, and the judgement entered thereon in plaintiff's favor."- - [source: Henrietta Wood v. Zeb Ward.-A Famous Kidnapping Case. Estoppeled by Record. in The Internal Revenue Record and Customs Journal, v.XXV, January-December 1879, pp.64-66 (online at Google Books)]. For more see "An old Negro woman awarded damages in the United States Court," The Sentinel [Red Bluff, CA], 05/04/1878, p.4; Wood vs. Ward at Antebellum Cincinnati website; Case Number 17,966, Wood v. Ward [.pdf online at Law] ~ 30FED.CAS.-31; Henrietta Wood v. Zeb Ward, United States Circuit Court, Southern District of Ohio, The Legal Reporter: a monthly publication of the recent and important opinions delivered by the Supreme Court of Tennessee ..., v.II, 1878, pp.290-296 [online at Google Books]; and many other newspaper articles throughout the United States.


** Henrietta Wood was NOT sold to Gerard Chittocque Brandon, Jr. who was twice governor of Mississippi. Governor Brandon was born in 1788 and died in 1850. Henrietta Wood was still in Cincinnati in 1850. Gerard C. Brandon, Jr. had two sons by his first wife, Margaret Chambers from Bardstown, KY. Their sons were James Chambers Brandon and Gerard Chittocque Brandon [III]. - - [added source: Brandon Family Tree in].


** Gerard C. Brandon [III] is listed in the 1860 U.S. Census. He lived in Adams, MS, and was a native of the state, born in 1818 and he died in 1874. He was the husband of Charlotte Smith Hoggatt Brandon and the couple had 13 children, many of whom did not live to adulthood. One of his sons was named Gerard Charles Brandon (1849-1854). The household members, as was recorded in the 1860 Census, were 6 children, Louisa Brandon, along with William and Rose Huney from Scotland, and John Lyle, who was an overseer from Kentucky. Gerard C. Brandon [III] was quite wealthy in 1860; he owned $70,700 in real estate, and $400,000 in his personal estate. He also owned 26 slaves that included 4 females estimated to be between 40-52 years old [source: 1860 Slave Schedule, U.S. Census]. The female slaves were close to the age that Henrietta Wood would have been in 1860.


  See slave jail owned by Lewis C. Robards in Lexington, Kentucky.  Image online at Explore UK. Part of J. W. Coleman, Jr. Collection on Slavery in Kentucky.


  See Pullam's slave jail, 149 N. Broadway, in Lexington, Kentucky. Image online at Explore UK. Part of Bullock Collection.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Migration South, Inheritance, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Boone County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Mississippi / Texas

Woodson (former slave)
The first slave case to be tried in Pittsburgh, PA, under the Fugitive Slave Law was that of an escaped slave named Woodson. The trial took place on March 13, 1851. Woodson, previously owned by a Mrs. Byers in Kentucky, had been living as a free man for two years in Beaver, PA, where he was a mechanic and a preacher. In the escaped slave case, the courts decided in favor of Mrs. Byers, and Woodson was returned to Kentucky. Citizens of Pittsburgh and Beaver raised subscriptions (money) and purchased Woodson, who returned to Pennsylvania. On August 1, 1851, Woodson was guest speaker at the West Indies Emancipation Day Celebration in Oakland, PA; it was the 17th anniversary in recognition of the end of slavery in the British Empire, including the British West Indies. For more see I. E. Williams, "The Operation of the Fugitive Slave Law in Western Pennsylvania, from 1850-1860," The Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, vol. 4, issue 3 (July 1921), pp. 150-160 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Beaver, Pittsburgh, and Oakland, Pennsylvania


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