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University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

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African American History at UK Libraries' Special Collections
The University of Kentucky Special Collections includes items pertaining to the history of African Americans in Kentucky, the collections are available in the King Library Building. See the Special Collections web page for additional information on borrowing, hours, and staff contact information. See also the research guide, African American Primary Resources in Special Collections.

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: University of Kentucky, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

African American Librarians
Kentucky was the first state in the South to have trained African American librarians and was also the first to have a library training program for African American librarians (1912-1931) [located at the Louisville Western Colored Branch Library]. The highest number of African American librarians employed in Kentucky was recorded in 1980, estimated at 161. The lowest estimate was 4, in the year 2000. For more see the Bureau of the Census 2000 EEO Data Files; 1980 EEO Data Files at the Kentucky State Data Center; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Kentucky

African American Oral History Collection, University of Louisville Digital Archives [online]
Access InterviewThe African American collection is the first oral history collection the University of Louisville Digital Archives made available online. It covers the history of African Americans in Louisville, KY. The selections consist of audio recordings with full transcripts. See more about the collection for additional information.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

African American Studies and Research Collection at the University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky African American Studies and Research Program has a materials collection of over 1,000 items pertaining to the study of African Americans. The collection is housed on-campus in Breckinridge Hall and is available 8:00am-4:30pm. The list of titles are availalbe online: videos and books, and includes such titles as Aunt Jane of Kentucky and Africans in Kentucky. Contact the African American Studies and Research Program for additional information.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Allen, Elmer Lucille
Birth Year : 1931
Mrs. Elmer Lucille Allen was born in Louisville, KY. She is a 1953 chemistry graduate of Nazareth College [now Spalding University], and in 1966 she became the first African American chemist at the Brown-Forman Company in Louisville. Allen was one of three women employed at the company, where she held the title of senior analytical chemist. She retired from the company in 1997 and returned to college to earn a MA in creative arts in ceramics from the University of Louisville in 2002. Allen's art work has been displayed at various galleries in Louisville, Indiana, Kansas, and many other locations. She was the first recipient of the Community Arts Lifetime Local Achievement Award in 2004, and that same year was also recognized as a Woman of Distinction. In 2007 she was one of the "Women of Spunk" honorees. Allen is also actively involved as a community volunteer with organizations such as the Louisville Western Branch Library Support Group, Inc. For more see J. Egerton, "Actors Theatre will honor Women of Spunk," The Courier-Journal, 12/02/2007, Arts & Travel section, p. 1I; and "Black Achievements in the Arts Recognized by Governor's Awards" a kyarts.org press release on 01/31/2005.
See "U of L: Elmer Lucille Allen" at YouTube.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Chemists, Civic Leaders, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Allensworth, Josephine L.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1939
Josephine Leavell Allensworth was born in Trenton, KY. She was the wife of Allen Allensworth, and, as her husband had done, she taught in the Kentucky common schools. Josephine Allensworth was also an accomplished pianist. She helped develop the Progressive Women's Improvement Association, which provided books and a playground to the town of Allensworth, California. In 1913, Josephine Allensworth donated the land for the Dickinson Memorial Library in Allensworth. For more see African American Women: a biographical dictionary, by D. C. Salem; Friends of Allensworth; and the Allen Allensworth's entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier by F. N. Schubert.

See photo image and additional information at blackpast.org.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky / Allensworth, California (no longer exists)

ARL Career Enhancement Program Participants
Start Year : 2009
The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and academic libraries partnered for the first time in 2009 to offer the Career Enhancement Program. The University of Kentucky was one of the nine host library locations. The Career Enhancement Program was funded by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS). The program provides current Library Science students from an underrepresented group the opportunity to gain practical experience in an academic research library setting. Three fellows completed an eight week program at the University of Kentucky Libraries in 2009: Anissa Ali, from Detroit Michigan, a Wayne State University library student; Katie Henningsen, from New York, a Long Island University library student; and Bethany McGowen from South Carolina, a University of South Carolina library student. For more information about the fellows see Association of Research Libraries Career Enhancement Program, a University of Kentucky Libraries website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Ashland Colored Branch Library (Boyd County, KY)
Start Year : 1935
The location of the Ashland Colored Branch Library was not given in the 1935 Library Annual Report that was submitted to the Kentucky Library Commission by the Ashland Public Library. Services were not provided to Negroes at the main library. The colored library was located within the Booker T. Washington School according to the 1947 Library Annual Report that was submitted to the Library Extension Division by the Ashland Public Library. The library had been located in the school as early as 1941. Emma Brown Horton served as the librarian from 1941-1947. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky

Berea College Library
In 1866, the Berea School [now Berea College] Library was the first desegregated library in Kentucky and the South. The school also had the first traveling library in the state that was open to Negro families, beginning in 1895. In 1916, the school had the first book wagon service in the South that was also open to Negro families. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Bingham, Rebecca T.
Birth Year : 1928
Rebecca Taylor Bingham was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned her bachelor's degree from Indiana University in1950, a master's degree from the University of Tulsa in 1961, and a second master's in 1969 from the Indiana University School of Library and Information Science. During her library career, Bingham became the first African American president of the Kentucky Library Association. She is also a former president of the American Association of School Librarians. Bingham served on the Kentucky Governor's State Advisory Council on Libraries and the advisory committee for the 1979 White House Conference on Library and Information Services. In 1998, Bingham was named to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science by President Clinton. She was the wife of the late Walter D. Bingham. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans; A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada, 5th ed., edited by L. Ash; and T. Tew, "An advocate for equality," SLIS Alumni Magazine, Fall 2002, Indiana University.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Indianapolis, Indiana / Kentucky

Black, Isaac E.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1914
Issac Black grew up in Covington, KY. He served as the law librarian and janitor at the Kenton County Courthouse from 1869-1874. It is not known what library training Black received; he was paid only for being the janitor. He had considered suing the Law Library Association for $2,500, the wages he felt he was owed for the five years he served as a librarian. Black would go on to become a lawyer after being mentored by Lt. Governor John G. Carlisle, teaming up with Nathaniel Harper to form the first African American law firm in Kentucky, Harper & Black, located in Louisville. For more see T. H. H. Harris, "Creating windows of opportunity: Isaac E. Black and the African American Experience in Kentucky," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 98, issue 2 (2000), pp. 155-177.
Subjects: Businesses, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Blue, Thomas F., Sr.
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1935
Thomas Fountain Blue was born in Farmville, Virginia. Blue was a minister, an educator, and a civic leader. He was a graduate of Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and Richmond Theological Seminary (which was merged with Wayland Seminary to become Virginia Union University). In 1905, Blue became the first formally-trained African American librarian in Kentucky and also managed the country's first library training program for African Americans in the Louisville Colored Western Branch Library. In 2003, at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Toronto, Canada, Blue was recognized with a resolution of appreciation. Thomas Fountain Blue was the brother-in-law of Lyman T. Johnson. For more see Thomas Fountain Blue: pioneer librarian, 1866-1935, by L. T. Wright; Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Thomas Fountain Blue, a Louisville Free Public Library website; and R. F. Jones, "Spotlight: Reverend Thomas Fountain Blue," Kentucky Libraries, vol. 67, issue 4 (Fall 2003), pp. 6-7. See Biographical Entry on Thomas F. Blue [available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Manuscripts]; and Resolution on death of Thomas Fountain Blue, Library Board of Trustees, November 20, 1935 [available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Manuscripts].


See photo image of Thomas Fountain Blue and the library staff at Western Branch Library 1908, about midway down the page titled "A Separate Flame."

Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Farmville, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bowling Green Colored Branch Library (Warren County, KY)
Start Year : 1945
End Year : 1956
The Bowling Green Colored Branch Library opened in June of 1945 at 322 Chestnut Street. The books came from the Bowling Green-Warren County Library and in 1946 there were 3,000 volumes used by 347 patrons. Mrs. C. S. Poole was in charge of the colored branch. In 1947, the library was moved into two rooms of a private residence, the home of Miss Bessie Woods at 412 State Street, and Mrs. L. H. Wilson was the new librarian. Lottie Bell Crabtree was the librarian in 1952, she resigned in 1956, the year the colored library was closed. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "With librarians and libraries in Kentucky," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, II, p.13; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1946 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division from the Bowling Green-Warren County Library; Growing with Bowling Green by J. Jeffrey; and "Formal opening of branch library for colored people scheduled today," Park City Daily News, 11/02/1947, p.1.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Brumfield, Sophia M. "Sophie" Overstreet
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1933
Sophia M. Overstreet, from Camp Nelson, KY, was the last African American student employee at Berea College Library prior to the school becoming segregated in 1904. She would continue her education and graduate from Fisk University; Shopia boarded with the Pinkston family in Nashville, TN, while she was a student in 1910. Sophia was the daughter of William S. Overstreet and Jane Jackson Overstreet. In 1900 the family of nine lived in Lee, KY. Sophia's sisters, Mary and Cordelia, were school teachers. Sophia Overstreet died April 4, 1933, she was the wife of Rev. T. M. Brumfield, and the couple had resided in Nashville, TN [source: Tennessee, Deaths and Burials Index FHL Film No.1876799]. According to her death notice, she was born August 13, 1882. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and Black America Series: Berea and Madison County, by J. G. Burnside, p. 41.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Camp Nelson and Lee, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Carpenter, Olie Atkins
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1993
Olie Carpenter was the first college-trained African American librarian in Kentucky. She was a graduate of Hampton's library program, and specialized in medical librarianship. Carpenter was first employed at Kentucky State University, from 1929-1930. She was next employed at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes when it opened in 1931. She was also a librarian at Maryland State College [now University of Maryland Eastern Shore]. Olie Atkins Carpenter was born in Winston, NC. She was an older sister to Eliza Atkins Gleason, their parents were Simon Green Atkins and Oleona Pegram Atkins. In 1892, Simon Green Atkins was the founder of what is today Winston-Salem State University, and his wife Oleona Atkins was a teacher and assistant principal at the school. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Louisville Municipal College photographs and records at the University of Louisville University Archives & Records Center; Who's Who in Library Service. A biographical directory of professional librarians in the United States and Canada, 4th ed., edited by L. Ash; and The Black Librarian in the Southeast by A. L. Phinazee. For more on Simon G. Atkins, see the chapter "For Service Rather than Success" in Winston-Salem by F. V. Tursi. * Additional information for this entry was provided by Professor J. G. Carew at the University of Louisville, she is the daughter of Dr. Eliza A. Gleason.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration West
Geographic Region: Winston, North Carolina / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Carr, Maria Powell
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1920
In 1912, Maria Carr became one of the first African American women library attendants in a Kentucky public library. She was hired to staff the Henderson Colored Library, the first library structure for African Americans in the United States. She was the wife of James A. Carr, who was a grocer when the couple married March 18, 1875 [source: Kentucky Marriage Records, Negroes, Henderson County, KY]. They were the parents of several children. Maria Carr died August 13, 1920 [Find A Grave photo image]. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.

Additional information received from Rebecca Bibbs on 11/16/2012: Maria Carr was the daughter of Elizabeth Powell and Robert Glass, and she was the grandmother of Junius Bibbs. Elizabeth Powell lived with her daughter, and is listed with the family in the U.S. Federal Census, 1880-1910. A photo image of Maria Powell Carr is available at the Henderson County, KY Families website.


Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Centenarian Librarians (Kentucky)
Start Year : 2009
As of 2009, the state of Kentucky had at least three African American librarians who were 100 years old or older. Mrs. Ruth Hill Jones was 100 in July, she was a librarian in the Louisville School System and at Simmons Bible College. She lives in Louisville. Eliza Atkins Gleason passed away the day of her 100th birthday, December 15, 2009. She had been head librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, and later dean of the Atlanta University Library School [now Clark Atlanta] which she helped to develop in 1940, thus becoming the first African American library school dean in the U.S. The library school closed in June 2005. Gleason lived in Louisville. The late Della Jones was 106 in July, she was librarian at Owen County High School. She lived in Williamstown, KY. Information about Ruth Hill Jones was provided by U. S. Army Chaplin (Maj) Susan R. Addams. Information about Della Jones was provided by her great nephew, Kentucky House Member Reginald K. Meeks. For more information see Jones, Kompanik, and Onkst, "Spotlight: Eliza Atkins Gleason, Ruth Hill Jones, and Della Jones," Kentucky Libraries, vol.73, issue 4, Fall 2009, pp.20-21.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Williamstown, Grant County, Kentucky

Charlotte Court (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1938
End Year : 1999
In 1939, Charlotte Court was the name selected for the public housing complex for African Americans in Lexington, KY. The complex was named after African American Aunt Charlotte, who had purchased William "King" Solomon [who was white] when he was sold as a slave in 1833. The Negro Civic League of Lexington objected to the name and wanted the housing complex to be named after a better known African American, but the name was not changed. Charlotte Court was funded by a federal grant of $900,000. The complex was located on 24 acres on Georgetown Road, replacing what the City of Lexington referred to as a slum area. There were 52 apartment buildings in Charlotte Court, and the complex had the first library in Lexington specifically for African Americans, which opened March 1940. Charlotte Court was home to many African American children who would leave the area and do well in life. There is a picture of a children's birthday party that took place in the 1950s in G. Smith's book Black American Series: Lexington Kentucky. Over many decades, Charlotte Court became a high crime area and the buildings were in desperate need of repairs; it was again referred to as a slum area. In 1998, the city of Lexington received a $19 million HUD grant for public housing revitalization; Charlotte Court was razed. New individual housing was constructed and the area was renamed Arbor Grove. For more see the public housing article in The Lexington Herald, 06/01/1939, p. 1, col. 4; "Different name sought for Charlotte Courts," The Lexington Leader, 06/24/1940, p. 3, col. 1; Lexington, Queen of the Bluegrass, by R. Hollingsworth; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. See also the NKAA entry for Segregated Public Housing Projects in Kentucky.
Subjects: Housing Authority, The Projects, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Chenault, John
Birth Year : 1952
John Chenault is an author, freelance writer, poet, playwright, and musician. He is author of Blue Blackness and The Invisible Man Returns. He has been a member of the New Theater/Free Theater of Cincinnati since its inception in 1967. Chenault's work has appeared in a number of publications, and he has a number of playwright credits, including the television drama, Young Men Grow Older. Chenault's musical credits are also quite extensive, including The Fools of Time, a collaboration by Chenault and composer/bassist Frank Proto that premiered in February 2000. John Chenault was born in Cincinnati, OH, the son of Mary L. Stonom Chenault and John Walter Chenault. He is a reference librarian at the University of Louisville Library. For more see John Chenault, at liben.com; a more extensive biography, John Chenault, at Answers.com; the John Chenault entry in Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 40 (2004); and Who's Who Among African Americans, 2003-2009.

See photo image and additional information about John Chenault at "Medical librarian pens opera about boxing legend Joe Louis," by UofL Today, 11/12/2009.
Subjects: Authors, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Poets, Television, Migration South
Geographic Region: Cincinnati, Ohio / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

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

*Name sometimes spelled Childes.*

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

Collins, Iona Wood
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2003
Iona Wood Collins was born in Paris, KY; her family moved to Maryland when she was a child. Collins was one of the first African American librarians with the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD, working there from the late 1930s to the early 1940s. Following the birth of her daughter in 1945, Collins reopened the previously closed Little School, a private preschool in Baltimore for African American children. She owned and managed the school for 35 years, later opening the Park Hill Nursery. Collins was a graduate of Howard University and attended the Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] library science school before transferring to Columbia University, where she earned her library degree. She was the daughter of Nellie Virgie Hughes Wood and Francis Marion Wood, former president of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and Baltimore's first superintendent of Colored schools. For more see J. D. Rockoff, "Iona Wood Collins, 89, one of the first black librarians at Enoch Pratt," The Sun (Baltimore, MD), 12/28/2003, LOCAL section, p. 3B.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland

Colored Libraries in the Charlotte Court and Aspendale Housing Projects, Lexington, KY (Fayette County)
Start Year : 1940
Charlotte Court was the first segregated housing projects in Lexington, KY. The completed complex had 52 apartment buildings in 1939, the year residents submitted a request to the Manchester Street Library for a colored branch on the grounds of the housing projects. The request was accepted and the branch opened in March of 1940. It was the first colored library in Lexington. The branch was managed by a separate library board made up of Negro members only. The library contained 250 duplicate books received from the Manchester Street Library. Both the Charlotte Court Colored Branch and the Manchester Street Library operated as an independent organization that was NOT connected to the Lexington Public Library. The Manchester Street Library was managed by the Junior League, a women's organization. The Junior League had established a library in the Abraham Lincoln School. The school was attended by white students only. In order to continue to provide the students with library books during the summer months, the Manchester Street library was established in 1939 with 500 books in a nearby storeroom. After the Charlotte Court branch opened, the Manchester Street Library received a request for a lending library in Aspendale, a segregated housing projects on the east side of Lexington. The Aspendale branch library was also managed by a separate library committee. The library was located in the recreation room of the Charles Young Community Center on East Third Street, with Mrs. Harrietta Jackson as librarian [source: Herald-Leader photo collection at UK Special Collections, Audio-Visual Archives, Series 1.13, Item 68]. Both the Aspendale and the Charlotte Court libraries submitted their monthly reports to the Manchester Street Library Committee. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; A. K. Buckley, "The Manchester Street Library, Lexington," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, v.9, pp.27-29; and "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1940 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division.

 See photo image of the Aspendale Branch of the Manchester Street Library in the Charles Young Community Center in Lexington, KY, image within UKnowledge.
Subjects: Housing Authority, The Projects, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Women's Groups and Organizations, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Colored Reading Room, Lexington Carnegie Public Library (Fayette County, KY)
Start Year : 1905
End Year : 1949
When the Lexington Carnegie Public Library opened in 1905, there was a Colored Reading Room and Negroes were allowed to check out books. "This room is one of the most pleasant of the library, and furnished, in unison with all the others, with handsome table and chairs of weahered oak. It is situated near the reference room, and opposite the reading room to the left of the front entrance." The Colored Reading Room was the beginning of public library services for African Americans in Lexington, KY, and the room was rarely used. In 1949, the Laura Carroll Branch, a colored library, was opened on Georgetown Street in Lexington, and the main library removed the sign for the Colored Reading Room and added small signs to two tables that were reserved for colored students. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; and 5th report (p.14) and 7th report (pp.11-12) of the Annual Report of the Lexington Public Library, Lexington, KY.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Colston, Lugusta Tyler
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2008
Lugusta T. Colston, born in Lexington, KY, was a graduate of Wiley College and received her undergraduate library degree from Wayne State University. She was the librarian at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami, FL, for more than 30 years, and had also taught at the Booker T. Washington High School in Columbia, SC. In 1940, she was one of the seven founding members of the the Miami Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was also a founding member of the Greater Miami Chapter of Links, an international women's civic organization, and was involved in several community organizations that included her leading role with the Minority Involvement Committee of the Miami-Dade County Division of the American Cancer Society. Lugusta T. Colston was the daughter of Mattie Mason Tyler and Charles W. Tyler. Lugusta T. Colston was a sister to Jimmie Tyler Brashear. Since the 1999 death of her husband, Nathaniel Colston, Lugusta T. Colston had been living in Southfield, MI. She is buried in Lexington, KY. For more see E. J. Brecher, "Veteran librarian at Booker T. Washington," Miami Herald, 03/09/2008, Metro and State section, p.5B.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Columbia, South Carolina / Miami, Florida / Southfield, Michigan

Columbia Colored Library (Adair County, KY)
Start Year : 1908
In 1908, school teacher Parker Jackman and others establish a colored library in Columbia, KY. Jackman placed an ad in the Adair County News, 12/09/1908, p.1, col.5, to encourage the completion of the library. "Professor Parker Jackman is anxious to complete the colored library which was started several months ago. He has collected a number of books and there are many other persons about town who have promised to contribute, but they have not as to yet done so." The article does not give the location of the library. There is no record of the library in the Kentucky Library Commission reports. The other library in town was the Columbia Library which was segregated between 1911 and 1956, and a Miss Anderson was the teacher/librarian at the Columbia Colored School in 1935 [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones].
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky

Covington Desegregated Library and Services (Kenton County, KY)
Start Year : 1901
The Covington Public Library, in Covington, KY, was the first desegregated public library in the state. The building was constructed in 1900, and in 1901 the library board of trustees minutes read, "The library in all its parts shall be open to every man, woman, and child in Covington, free upon compliance with these rules." The library board had also ruled that there would be no list of prohibited books. In 1940, the Covington Public Library was one of five public libraries in a southern state that offered full privileges to all at the main public library. The other four public libraries that offered services with no race restrictions were located in Texas: Brady, Corpus Christi, El Paso, and Pecos. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; and "Board of Trustees Rules, January 1901" an unpublished manuscript at the Kenton County Public Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Brady, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Pecos, Texas

Cox, Fannie M.
Birth Year : 1959
In 2007/2008, Fannie Cox became the third* African American president of the Kentucky Library Association (KLA). It was during her tenure that Louisville, KY, was the host city for the state's second national library conference (the first being the 1917 American Library Association Conference). The 2008 meeting was a combined event with the KLA Conference, Kentucky School Media Association, the National Diversity in Libraries Conference, and the Southeastern Library Association Conference. In 2005, she coordinated with the Western Branch Library Support Association for the successful joint banquet for the recognition of the centennial anniversary of KLA and the Western Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library. In addition to having been president of KLA, Fannie Cox has served in several leadership positions, including chair of the Special Library Section. She initiated the Conference Proceedings, the online Advocacy Clearinghouse, and the Poster Sessions, which she also chaired. She has received appointments to various ALA committees, including ALCTS Leadership Development, Collection Development and Electronic Resources, and the Advocacy Training Subcommittee. She was the recipient of the Association of College and Research Libraries Fellowship in 2000 and the National Science Foundation Fellowship in 1999. Fannie Cox is an associate professor and serves as Outreach and Reference Librarian at the University of Louisville. She earned her B.A. in 1982 and her MLS in 1998, both from Indiana University. She earned a MPA in 1992 from Kentucky State University. Fannie Cox, the daughter of the late James and Rosa Cox, was born in Indianapolis, IN. This information was taken with permission from the vita of Fannie M. Cox. For more information contact Fannie Cox at fmcox@louisville.edu.

*The first African American to become president of KLA was Rebecca T. Bingham from Indianapolis, IN, and the second was Barbara S. Miller from Louisville, KY.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration South
Geographic Region: Indianapolis, Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Danville Colored Branch Library (Boyle County, KY)
Start Year : 1919
End Year : 1937
Between 1919 and 1937, there were at least three colored libraries in Danville, KY. In 1919, the Paul Dunbar Branch Library for Colored People was opened on South Broadway in Danville, KY. Elizabeth Tunis, a librarian at the Danville Library for whites, is credited for establishing the colored library. The facility was managed by Martha Pearl Rowe Patton. The library was supported by fifty library members until it closed in 1922. That same year, on March 11, 1922, a colored branch library was opened in the Paul Dunbar School for Negroes under the supervision of the Danville Library Board. It cost $1 per year membership for use of the books, and the charge was two cents per day for overdue fines. A third public library branch was opened in 1929 at Bate High School under the supervision of the Danville Board of Education. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; A Century of Library Service, 1893-1993 by R. Brown; and "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report," for 1922 and for 1929, both were submitted to the Kentucky Library Commission by the Danville Public Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Davis, Edward Benjamin and Bettie Webb
Both Edward B. Davis (1875-1934) and Bettie W. Davis (1878-1974) were born in Scott County, Kentucky. Ed was the son of Katie Davis, and he and Betty lived at 133 Bourbon Street, according to Ed's death certificate. Betty and Ed Davis were teachers at the Georgetown Colored School, Ed was also the school principal, they are listed in the 1910 and the 1920 U. S. Federal Census. In 1923, Betty established the first African American library in Georgetown; it was within the school. The library was later named the Charles Steele Library, serving as the Colored branch of the Georgetown Public Library. In 1934 Davis replaced her deceased husband as principal of the school, serving in that capacity until 1940; the school name had been changed from the Chambers Avenue School to the Ed Davis School in 1934, it was named after her husband [source: "K.N.E.A. Kullings," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.4, no.2, p.25]. She also established the Betty Webb Davis Scholarship Loan Fund within the Ed Davis Alumni Association. Bettie Webb Davis was the daughter of Robert and Mary Webb [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1941-44, and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. See also the NKAA entry African American Schools in Scott County, KY.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Dunlap, Mollie E.
Birth Year : 1898
Death Year : 1977
Born in Paducah, KY, Dunlap received her library degree from the University of Michigan in 1931. She was an instructor at Wilberforce University (1918-1923), returning in 1947. Dunlap was also a librarian at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina (1934-1947). She was also assistant editor of the Negro College Quarterly (1944-1947), authoring several bibliographical studies of Negro literature that were published in the journal. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Notable Black American Women, Book II, ed. by J. C. Smith.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Migration East
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Wilberforce, Ohio / Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Eastern Colored Branch Library, Louisville, KY (Jefferson County)
Start Year : 1914
The Eastern Colored Branch Library opened in Louisville on January 28, 1914; it was the second Carnegie Colored Library built in the U.S. At that time, Louisville was the only city in the U.S. with two Colored libraries. There was an earlier library referred to as the East End Branch of the Colored Library. It was established in January of 1907 and was located in Eastern School. Assistant Librarian, Mrs. E. G. Harris [Rachel Davis Harris], was in charge of the collection. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and "Confirmation classes held," Freeman, 01/19/1907, p.1.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Emery, Andrew J.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1919
Andrew J. Emery served as the librarian at Fort Davis, TX, for more than a year before his discharge from the Army. It was extremely rare for there to be a Colored librarian in the military due to the limited occupations available to Buffalo Soldiers and their high illiteracy rate. Many of the entries for soldiers from Kentucky who are listed in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert, are noted as "cannot read or write." Andrew J. Emery had enlisted in the U.S. Army in Cincinnati, OH, on January 9, 1882, and according to the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, Emery was born in Richmond, KY, was 21 years old, and was a plumber. Emery served in Company H of the 10th Cavalry for five years and was discharged January 8, 1887. He settled in Otter Tail, Minnesota. He was the husband of Dora M. Packard Emery, whom he married in 1898. According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, and in contradiction to his Army enlistment information, Andrew J. Emery was born in Ohio, February 1866, and his father was born in Kentucky. Also the 1900 Census indicates Dora Emery was born in Iowa and her mother was born in Kentucky. Andrew, Dora, and their first three children are listed in the 1905 Census of Minnesota. For more about the family of Andrew and Dora Emery, see G. Claxton, "Twists and turns intriguing stories emerge when piecing together a family's past," Amherst Bulletin, 08/15/2008; and see present day Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Plumbers
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Ohio / Otter Tail, Minnesota

Frankfort Colored Library (Franklin County, KY)
Start Year : 1938
End Year : 1962
In the late 1930s, the WPA established a colored branch library in Frankfort, KY, according to the June 1944 Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, v.9, p.29. The library came about with the assistance of Mrs. Robert M. Fort, a member of the Frankfort Library Board. The library was closed by 1943 when the WPA financial support ended, and Mrs. Fort asked that the colored library be reopened. A building at 306 Mero Street, a three room house, was purchased and leased to the Frankfort Public Library by Mr. J. M. Perkins. There was an agreement between Perkins and the library: as long as the building was used as a library, there would be no charge for the lease. The library was managed by trained African American librarians, two of whom were Alice Simpson and Anna M. Wolfe, the mother of George C. Wolfe. The Frankfort Colored Branch Library closed in 1962. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; and "With librarians and libraries in Kentucky," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, II, p.13.

See photo image of a colored library [unknown location] created by the WPA, the image is part of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives [KDLA] Electronic Records Archives.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Frye, Helen Fisher
Birth Year : 1919
Helen F. Frye was born in Danville, KY. In 1963 she became the first African American woman to receive a library science degree from the ALA-accredited library school at the University of Kentucky. [James R. O'Rourke graduated from the UK Library School in 1957, and may be the first African American graduate.] Frye and two other students attempted to attend a University of Kentucky extension class taught in Danville in 1954, but they were forced to drop the class because they were African Americans. Though the university graduate program was integrated in 1949, it only applied to students who took classes on campus. Frye filed a lawsuit, but it was dropped when none of the other African American students would testify that they too had been forced to drop the extension class. Later Frye went to the University of Kentucky campus to earn her library degree. In 2006, she was nominated by Danville native Dr. Frank X. Walker for the University of Kentucky's Lyman T. Johnson Award, then chosen as one of the two recipients by the UK Libraries and the UK School of Library and Information Science to receive the award for her many years of service as a librarian, teacher, and civil rights activist. One of her oral history interviews is included in the Civil Rights Movement in the Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society. There is an oral history interview in the Centre College Special Collections in Danville. There is an oral history interview at Eastern Kentucky University that was done by David R. Davis as part of the Danville School Integration Project. There are two oral history interviews at the University of Kentucky, one in the African American Alumni Project, and one in the Lexington Urban League Project. Among her many accomplishments, Helen Fisher Frye helped organize the first integrated production on the Centre College campus in 1951: Porgy and Bess, featuring Danville native R. Todd Duncan. Helen F. Frye was one of the first African American students to enroll at Centre College. In addition to her library degree, she earned her B.A. in elementary education at Kentucky State University in 1942, and an M.A. in secondary education from Indiana University in 1949. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Fifty Years of the University of Kentucky African-American Legacy, 1949-1999; and Helen F. Frye's oral history interviews.

Access Interview Read the transcript and listen to the oral history interview [Firefox browser] at Eastern Kentucky University with Helen Fisher Frye interviewed by David R. Davis, at Kentucky Digital Library.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Gaylord, Harry A.
Birth Year : 1967
Over more than a century, Harry A. Gaylord was one of the very few African American Kentuckians to become a law librarian; the first was Issac E. Black in 1869. Gaylord, born in Concord, NC, was reared in Lexington, KY, the son of librarian and Kentucky native Ruth B. Gaylord and the late Harry Gaylord. He is a graduate of Lafayette High School (in Lexington) and the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he earned a B.A. in architecture. Finding that the architecture market was on a downswing, Gaylord took a job as a library assistant at a Chicago law firm. After four years of doing legal research (1991-1996), he earned his M.S. in Library Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997 and was immediately hired as a librarian with the Supreme Court of Illinois in Springfield, IL. Gaylord is presently the librarian at BTSB Bookstore in Jacksonville, IL. Gaylord is an active member of the African American Librarians of Springfield. He is author of several articles in Online Information Review and the tribute "Classie Murray had great career at library," Springfield State Journal-Register (3/20/2007), Editorial section, p. 7. A survey of African American Law Librarians is included in Celebrating Diversity: a legacy of minority leadership in the American Association of law libraries, by C. A. Nicholson, R. J. Hill, and V. E. Garces (2006). Information provided by Harry A. Gaylord and Ruth B. Gaylord.

See photo image of Harry Gaylord at the BTSB Bookstore website.
Subjects: Architects, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Concord, North Carolina / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago and Springfield, Illinois

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

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

Georgetown Colored Branch Library (Scott County, KY)
Start Year : 1923
End Year : 1956
The Georgetown Colored Branch Library was established in 1923 in the home economics room in the Ed Davis High School with Betty Webb as the librarian. She was assisted in the library by high school girls. Betty Webb was also the home economics teacher at the school, she was a graduate of Kentucky Industrial College [now Kentucky State University]. She received library training at Morehouse-Spelman Library Institute for Negro Librarians in 1930. The colored library was established with the help of Rachel D. Harris who was a librarian at the Louisville Free Library Colored Department. The Georgetown Colored Library shelves were filled with discarded books from the Georgetown Public Library that was segregated. The colored branch library was renamed the Charles Steele Branch in 1933. There were also county libraries for colored teachers in Scott County between 1895-1908. The Georgetown Public Library reported to the Kentucky Library Extension Division in 1956 that there were unrestricted library services to Negroes. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1923, submitted to the Kentucky Library Commission from Georgetown Public Library; Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State of Kentucky for Two Years Ended...for the years 1895-1908; M. M. Spradling, "Black librarians in Kentucky" in The Black Librarian in the Southeast by A. I. Phinazee; Directory of Kentucky Librarians, 1st ed. by the Junior Members Round Table of the Kentucky Library Association; and Report of the Library Institute for Negro Librarians, Atlanta, 1930 written by Charlotte Templeton.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky

Gleason, Eliza Atkins
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 2009
Eliza Atkins Gleason was born in North Carolina, she came to Kentucky in 1931 to take up her first library job at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. In 1932 she became head librarian and also taught library classes in the new library department that she had created. The department, in conjunction with the Louisville Western Colored Branch Library, was established to continue offering the only library classes for African Americans in Kentucky between 1932 and 1951. Dr. Gleason left Kentucky in 1936, and in 1940 she graduated from the University of Chicago and became the first African American to earn a Ph. D. in librarianship. She was later hired at Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], where she structured and organized the library school beginning in 1940 and would become the first African American library school dean 1941-1946. Decades later, Dr. Gleason returned to Louisville. She was a younger sister to librarian Olie Atkins Carpenter, and they were the daughters of Simon Green Atkins and Oleona Pegram Atkins. In 1892, Simon Green Atkins was the founder of what is today Winston-Salem State University, and his wife Oleona Atkins was a teacher and assistant principal at the school. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 24 (Sept. 1998-Aug. 1999); Who's Who in America, 38th-46th eds.; and Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. For more on Simon G. Atkins, see the chapter "For Service Rather than Success" in Winston-Salem by F. V. Tursi. * Additional information for this entry was provided by Professor J. G. Carew at the University of Louisville, she is the daughter of Dr. Eliza A. Gleason.

See photo image and obituary of Eliza Atkins Gleason in the Winston-Salem Journal, 12/24/2009.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration West
Geographic Region: Winston, North Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

Hall, Lillian Childress
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1958
Born in Louisville, KY, Lillian C. Hall became the first African American librarian in Indiana and, in 1915, the first admitted to the Indiana State Library School. She was the librarian at the Cherry Street Branch Library in Evansville (1915-1921), the Dunbar Branch Library in Indianapolis (1921-1927), and the Attucks Branch Library, beginning in 1927. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; and Who's Who in Library Service. A biographical directory of professional librarians of the United States and Canada, 3rd ed., edited by D. E. Cole.

*The following update was provided by Michele Fenton.

Lillian Childress Hall retired from Attucks in 1956. She passed away on April 23, 1958 in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, also in Indianapolis. She was the mother of William H. Childress, Jr. (her son with her first husband, William Childress). William H. Childress, Jr. served in the Kentucky General Assembly. Sources: Indianapolis Star, April 25, 1958, p. 23 ("Mrs. Hall Succumbs; Ex-Attucks Librarian); Library Journal, v. 83, no. 12, p. 1895; Who's Who in Colored America (1950).
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Evansville and Indianapolis, Indiana

Halliday, Thelma Dorothy Yancey
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2005
Thelma Dorothy Yancey was one of the first African Americans in Kentucky to earn a library college degree. She was born in Great Falls, Montana on October 12, 1912 and moved to Lexington, KY after her father became ill. She attended Chandler School and Lincoln Institute in Kentucky. She later attended Kentucky Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University] and went to Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] where she received her Bachelor's in Library Science in 1938. She was one of the school's first library graduates from Kentucky [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones, p.83]. Prior to receiving her library degree, she was an assistant librarian at Kentucky State Industrial College [Kentucky State University], and read a paper, "Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind and the Negro," during the 1937 Annual KNEA Librarians' and Teacher-Librarians' Conference in Louisville, KY [source: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, v.8, no.1, p.21]. Thelma Yancey was employed as a librarian in Pine Bluffs, Alabama. She was later librarian at Dunbar High School up to 1955 or 1956. She married Neil Lilburn Halliday Sr. (formerly of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) and had two children - Antoinette "Toni" and Neil Jr. Neil Halliday was a mail carrier in Lexington, KY. When her husband got a job with the US Postal Service in Washington, D.C., the family moved to D.C. Thelma D. Yancey Halliday was librarian at Anacostia High School and Cardoza High School in D.C. She was later employed by Howard University, where she was in the reference department under Maurice Thomas and head librarian Dr. Paul Reason. She later accepted a position setting up the library for the Small Business Development Center under Dr. Wilfred White, and the library became part of the Howard University School of Business. She received her Masters Degree in Library Science from Catholic University. She retired from Howard University, and remained an active member of the American Library Association after her retirement. She was a golden soror of Delta Sigma Theta. She was author of the annotated bibliography The Negro in Business and the title City Directories of Black Businesses: a list, and was editor of Against the Tide by Ann Heartwell Hunter, the book is a history of Kentucky and Kentucky State University. Thelma D. Yancey Halliday was the granddaughter of Jordan Carlisle Jackson Jr. and E. Belle Mitchell Jackson; the daughter of Charles H. Yancey and Minnie Carlisle Jackson Yancey; and the sister of Sadie Mae Yancey and Myrtle Yancey Mitchell. This entry was submitted by Toni H. Schooler, daughter of Thelma D. Yancey Halliday.
Subjects: Authors, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Postal Service, Migration East
Geographic Region: Great Falls, Montana / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Harris, Rachel D.
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1969
Harris was born in Louisville, KY. The first African American woman library department director in Kentucky, she was the children's librarian at the Louisville Western Colored Branch Library and later became the manager of the Eastern Colored Branch Library. Harris also assisted with the development of the Georgetown Colored Branch Library and the Lincoln Institute Library. She was a colleague of Thomas Fountain Blue; when he died in 1935, Harris became the new director of the Louisville Public Library Colored Department. She was the wife of Everett G. Harris. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Henderson Colored Branch Library (Henderson County, KY)
Start Year : 1904
End Year : 1954
In 1904, Henderson Carnegie Public Library built the first library structure for African Americans in the United States. The library, a room built onto the back of the Eighth Street Colored School, held 100 books on the seven shelves constructed by J. B. Williams and H. J. Renn. The library was built without the permission of the Carnegie Corporation, resulting in the Henderson Public Library being put on the Carnegie default list. The branch was merged into the main library in 1954. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Hopkinsville Colored Library (Christian County, KY)
Start Year : 1936
In 1895, there was a colored library club in Hopkinsville, KY. According an article in the Earlington Bee newspaper, New York banker, J. C. Latham made a handsome donation to the club ["Our colored citizens," 03/28/1895, p.4]. Latham was a native of Hopkinsville. In 1936, the colored library was housed in the Church of the Good Shepherd on Second and Campbell Streets in Hopkinsville. The library had 1,000 volumes. The city commission donated 150 bushels of coal so that the library could remain open during the winter months. The library committee members were Rosa M. Hopson, Ora L. Brewer, and Dolly R. Brown. For more see "Colored library to be helped by city," Kentucky New Era, 10/24/1936, p.6].
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky

Jackman, Parker Hiram
Birth Year : 1845
Death Year : 1915
P. Hiram Jackman was a slave born May 24, 1845, near Creelsboro, KY, the son of George Jackman, according to his death certificate. Hiram Jackman was taught to read and write before he became a freeman. After fighting in the Civil War, he taught in the Colored schools in Adair and Russell Counties, one of the first African American teachers in the area. He continued to teach for 45 years. Jackman was also a minister and performed the first marriage ceremony in Adair County for an African American couple. In 1908, he and others attempted to establish a colored library in Columbia, KY. The Rosenwald School, built on Taylor Street in Columbia, KY, in 1925, was named after Hiram Jackman. It was one of five schools for African Americans in Adair County. The school burned down in 1953. P. Hiram Jackman was the husband of Francis Jackman. For more see "The Story of Hiram Jackman, for whom Jackman High Named," Columbia Adair County-Chamber Insights [online] at Columbiamagazine.com; "Rosenwald School: Jackman High, Taylor St, Columbia, KY," photograph [online]; "Dedication of Jackman High commemorative well attended, 08/12/2006, Columbia Magazine [online]; and "Commemorating Jackman graded and high school," photo, 08/12/2006, Columbia Magazine [online]. For more on the number of slaves and free African Americans in Adair County, see the NKAA entry for Adair County (KY) Slaves, Free Blacks, and Free Mulattoes 1850-1870. See also the NKAA entry for African American Schools in Adair County, KY.

Plaque dedicated to Rosenwald School, Jackman High at ColumbiaMagazine.com.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Creelsboro, Russell County, Kentucky / Columbia, Adair County, Kentucky

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


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

Jones, Ruth Hill
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 2013
Ruth Hill Jones was the daughter of Rev. John Hill, a prominent minster in Louisville, KY. She was a librarian in the Louisville School System for many years, then retired, and became the librarian at Simmons Bible College. As of July 31, 2009, her 100th birthday, she became one of the centenarian librarians in Kentucky. Jones is a 1931 English graduate of Wilberforce University, a 1954 MSLS graduate of the University of Chicago, and earned a second masters degree in liberal arts from  Indiana University in 1957. She was a major contributor to the education literature published in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal. This information comes from U. S. Army Chaplin (Maj) Susan R. Addams.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jones, Virginia L.
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1984
Virginia Lacy Jones came to Kentucky in 1933 to become the assistant librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes; it was her first library job. She worked with Eliza Gleason in offering library classes to African American students. Jones became head librarian at the Municipal College in 1936, leaving the school in 1938 for a position at the Atlanta University Library [now Clark Atlanta University]. Rufus Clement had encouraged her to come to Atlanta. In 1945 Jones became the second dean of the school's library program and remained so for 36 years. More African American librarians graduated from that program than from any other library program in the United States. Virginia Lacey Jones was born in Cincinnati, OH, and raised in West Virginia. She was a graduate of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] (B.A.), and the University of Chicago (M.A. & Ph.D.). For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; The Ebony Success Library, vol. I: 1,000 Successful Blacks, by the editors of Ebony; and Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1975-76 & 1976.

  See photo image and additional information about Dr. Virginia L. Jones in Jet, 11/01/1985, p.19.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration East, Migration South
Geographic Region: Cincinnati, Ohio / West Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

Kentucky Carnegie Colored Libraries International Influence
The first Carnegie Colored Libraries were built in Louisville, KY: Western Branch in 1908 and Eastern Branch in 1914. The addition of the branches enhanced the recognition of the Louisville Free Public Library as the national leader in segregated library training and services for African Americans. There was an attempt on the part of the Carnegie Corporation to transfer the ideology to South Africa. In 1927, Frederick P. Keppel, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York visited South Africa and learned of the need for libraries. The corporation then sent Septimus A. Pitt and Milton J. Ferguson to Africa to asses the situation, and one of the outcomes from their visit was the development of the Non-European Library Service in South Africa. The Carnegie Corporation also provided grants to white South Africans for visits to libraries in the United States. In 1929, two of the visitors came to the Louisville Free Public Library seeking ideas on how to provide services to their “Negroes.” The visitors were Matthew W. Stirling, Librarian at Germiston, and Dugald Niven, Librarian at Bulawayo, Rhodesia [South Africa]. "We had the pleasure of showing them some of the colored work of the Louisville Free Public Library and they were very much impressed." The first Black librarian in South Africa, Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo (1903-1956), was employed by the Carnegie Non-European Library Service, 1937-1940. Dhlomo, a Zulu, had the title of Library Organizer at the headquarters in Germiston. For more see J. E. Holloway, “Negro Libraries in America,” Bantu World, Johannesburg, 12/19/1936, p. 8.; H.I.E. Dhlomo Collected Works, by N. Visser and T. Couzens; Memorandum: Libraries in the Union of South Africa, Rhodesia, and Kenya Colony [duplicate titles], one by S. A. Pitt and one by M. J. Ferguson; “Quarter of a century with library here is Settle’s record,” The Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/29/1929, Section 2, p. 8; M. K. Rochester, "The Carnegie Corporation and South Africa: Non-European Library Services," Libraries & Culture, vol. 34, issue 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 27-51 [available online by the University of Texas]; and the quotation from the Louisville Free Public Library, Regular meeting Board of Trustees, Wednesday, November 13, 1929, item d.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York / Germiston, Transvaal, South Africa / Bulawayo, [Rhodesia] Zimbabwe

Laura Carroll Colored Branch Library, Lexington, KY (Fayette County)
Start Year : 1949
End Year : 1951
Planning by the Lexington Public Library for a colored branch library started in 1947. The property at 572 Georgetown Street was leased from Letitia Hobbs. A naming contest was held at the Booker T. Washington School, organized by the principal, Lucy H. Smith. Student Helen Henderson won the contest with the name Laura Carroll for the new colored branch library. Laura Carroll had died in 1939, she had been a primary school teacher at Chandler Normal School for Colored Children. Her personal library had been donated to the Booker T. Washington School. The Laura Carroll Library opened in June of 1949 with Mrs. Daisy Combs as the head librarian on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday [she was employed at the Aspendale Library on alternate days]. Genevie Covington was in charge of the Laura Carroll Library on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Elizabeth Botts worked during the supper hours and other times when needed. The Laura Carroll Library was the only Negro branch library established by the Lexington Public Library. In January of 1951, the trustees of the Lexington Public Library adopted a resolution to close the Laura Carroll Library. No reason for the closing was recorded in the records. The three Negro librarians were notified that there services would no longer be needed after February 28,1951. Library service to the Georgetown Street area would be replaced by bookmobile services. The 1951 Library Annual Report from the Lexington Public Library stated that services were provided at the main library with no segregation. The Laura Carroll Colored Branch Library in Lexington was one of the last segregated libraries to be established in Kentucky. For more information and citations see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones. See also the NKAA entries Charlotte Court and Aspendale Libraries and Colored Reading Room.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Librarians' Conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association
Start Year : 1935
End Year : 1956
The Librarians' Conference was established April 11, 1935, during the 59th Annual Session of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) in Louisville, KY. It was the first formal organization for African American librarians and teacher librarians in Kentucky. The group continued to meet annually during the KNEA Conference until desegregation in 1956, when it was subsumed into the Kentucky Education Association. For more see Librarians' Conference reports in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association publications from 1935-1956 at Kentucky State University and also available online in the Kentucky Digital Library - Journals.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Love, Eleanor Young
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 2006
Eleanor Young Love was born at Lincoln Ridge, KY. She held many academic positions, including librarian at Lincoln Institute. In 1955, she became the first African American librarian at the University of Kentucky, where she was employed temporarily, and later was the first African American dean at the University of Louisville. Young received her library science degree from Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], her M.Ed. from the University of Louisville, and her D.Ed. from the University of Illinois. In addition to being a librarian at Lincoln Institute, she was a librarian at Florida A & M University and Bergen Jr. College. She was the daughter of Laura R. Young and Whitney Young, Sr. For more see Notable Black American Women, book II, ed. by J. C. Smith; and Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Access Interview The Eleanor Young Love oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Lyons, Donald W., Sr.
Birth Year : 1945
Lyons was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Joseph B. and Sam Ella Lyons. He has been an educator, a librarian, and an athletic director. His teaching career began in Detroit, MI, in 1968, and continued in Kentucky in 1969. Beginning in 1971, he was hired as a librarian at Kentucky State University and became the library director in 1976. During his tenure as library director, Lyons also taught freshman classes and was a supervisor of the first-year teacher interns who were employed at various Kentucky schools. He left the library in 1989 to become Athletic Director at Kentucky State University, retiring in 1999. He is presently a Professor Emeritus. Donald Lyons is a graduate of the old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY, and earned his A.B. degree in history and political science at Kentucky State University. He earned a masters of library science from the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1971, thus becoming the fourth African American graduate of the program [it was recently learned that Mrs. George O'Rourke graduated from the UK Library School in 1966.] In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Faith Grant College (formerly Daniel Payne College) for outstanding work for the cause of African-Americans and in the field of education. He has served in leadership positions on committees within the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is a past president of the Gamma Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, and is Grammateus of the Delta Tau Boulé of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He was the 2008 recipient of the UK Libraries & School of Library and Information Science Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award. Lyons is an active member of community organizations and within his church. He is also presently a trustee of the Kentucky State University Foundation, serving as the treasurer and the executive secretary. Donald W. Lyons, Sr. is the husband of Myra L. Briggs Lyons, the father of Donald, Jr. and Reginald Lyons, and was a brother of the late Joseph B. Lyons, Jr. Information for this entry was taken, with permission, from the Donald W. Lyons biography.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Madison, Cecil R., Sr.
Birth Year : 1943
Cecil R. Madison, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY. In 1968, he became the first African American employed full-time at the University of Kentucky (UK) Libraries; he was employed by the library system for 36 continuous years. Cecil was first a supply clerk, then advanced to become one of the highest ranking staff members in the library. In 2004 he became the first nominee from the library to receive the UK Lyman T. Johnson Alumni "Torch of Excellence Award." Prior to joining the library, Cecil was one of the original members of the Lexington Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), serving as secretary from 1959-1962. He attended old Dunbar High School in Lexington, KY, and also attended Kentucky State University. Cecil Madison retired from the University of Kentucky Libraries in December 2005. For more information, see University of Kentucky Libraries' Off the Shelf, November 2004; and HR 130.

 

Access Interview Listen tothe recording and read about the Cecil R. Madison, Sr. oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.


See photo images of Cecil R. Madison, Sr. being recognizied at the Kentucky House Chamber in 2005 [photographs at Kentucky Digital Library].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Meyzeek, Albert E.
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1963
Albert E. Meyzeek was principal and teacher at several Louisville schools. He was also a civil rights activist. He came to Kentucky from Terre Haute, IN. Meyzeek fought for libraries for African Americans in Louisville and for the development of Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. Meyzeek Middle School was named in his honor. Meyzeek was also a former president of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association and was hired to become president of State Industrial College [now Kentucky State University], but resigned before the beginning of the fall term. Albert Meyzeek was born in Toledo, OH, the son of John E. and Mary Lott Meyzeek. He was a graduate of Indiana State Normal School, Indiana University (B.A.) and Wilberforce University (M.A.). For more see Old War Horse of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; "Life Achievements of Albert Ernest Meyzeek," Kentucky Negro Journal, vol. 1; and Albert E. Meyzeek, at the Louisville Free Public Library website.

See photo of Albert E. Meyzeek at Great Black Kentuckians by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration South
Geographic Region: Toledo, Ohio / Terre Haute, Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Middlesboro Colored Library (Bell County, KY)
Start Year : 1932
The first colored library in Middlesboro, KY, was located in the Methodist Church in October of 1932. The church was demolished in 1933, followed by a protest for the re-establishing of a colored library since colored citizens paid taxes that supported the public library for whites but were denied access to the public library. In 1940, it was suggested that the colored library be located in a funeral home. The NAACP Office objected. In spite of the objection, the library was placed in the Johnson, Baker, & Mitchell Funeral Home at 415 Nineteenth Street in Middlesboro. The business donated the space, lights, and janitorial services. The City of Middlesboro provided shelving and paid an attendant $35 per month to maintain the collection of 800 books. The NAACP Office continued their protest. There continued to be a colored library in Middlesboro in the 1940s and early 1950s; according to articles in the Middlesboro Daily News, a donation and disbursement of $35 was processed for the colored library by H. H. Hutcheson, Collector [issue July 19, 1943, p.7], and by G. C. Owen, Clerk and Collector [issue June 20, 1949, p.8]; and the Middlesboro Book Club dues were used to buy magazines for the main library and the colored libraries ["The Middlesboro Book Club...," March 7, 1951, p.1]. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1932 and 1933 submitted to the Kentucky Library Commission from the Middlesboro Public Library; A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright; and Miller's Middlesboro, Ky, City Directory, 1950-1951.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky

Miller, Barbara Simmons
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 2000
Barbara Simmons Miller, born in Louisville, KY, was the first African American to graduate with a library degree in Kentucky, from Nazareth College (now Spalding University); she specialized in children's librarianship. Miller was a librarian with the Louisville Free Public Library and served on the faculty of several Kentucky institutions. She was a delegate to the USSR and went abroad to study library services to children. She was known as the "Storytelling Lady" on the television show T-Bar V Ranch on Louisville television. Miller was the second African American president of the Kentucky Library Association. The Barbara S. Miller Multicultural Children's Literature Collection is in the University of Louisville Library. For more see Who's Who Among American Women, 8th-10th ed.; and In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., Supp., ed by M. M. Spradling. Additional information provided by Fannie Cox.

See photo image and additional information about Barbara S. Miller at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library website.
 
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Television
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Mt. Sterling Colored Library (Montgomery County, KY)
Start Year : 1914
In 1914, a program was held for the benefit of the colored library in the Keas Tabernacle C. M. E. Church in Mt. Sterling, KY [source: "Mt. Sterling (Ky.) News (By Arlington)," Freeman, 11/21/1914, p.4]. It is not known how long the library may have existed.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Negro Library Conference
Start Year : 1927
End Year : 1930
The 1st Negro Library Conference was founded by Thomas Fountain Blue, head of the Negro Department of the Louisville Free Public Library. The conference was held in the Museum of Hampton Institute [now Hampton University], March 15-18, 1927. Thomas Fountain Blue was a graduate of Hampton Institute, and the Hampton Library School was a continuation of the Negro library training program that was established at the Louisville Free Public Library from 1912-1931. The Negro Library Conference was a result of the continued work between the Thomas Fountain Blue and the Hampton Library School director, Florence Curtis. The Carnegie Corporation financed the conference that was attended by 25 librarians from the South. The 2nd Negro Library Conference was held at Fisk University, November 20-23, 1930. The conference was held in conjunction with the dedication of the new library at Fisk. The conference was organized by conference committee members Louis S. Shores, Tommie D. Barker, Thomas Fountain Blue, Florence Curtis, Ernestine Rose, Charlotte Templeton, and Edward Christopher Williams who died prior to the conference. The committee members voted to have the Negro Library Conference become a sectional meeting of the American Library Association and Thomas Fountain Blue was named chair of the committee. The Negro Library Conference would never be affiliated with the American Library Association and the second conference was the last meeting. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; Thomas Fountain Blue (theses) by L. T. Wright; Handbook of Black Librarianship by E. J. Josey and A. A. Shockley; and Negro Library Conference by Fisk University.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Hampton, Virginia / Nashville, Tennessee

Negro Traveling Library (Fulton County, KY)
Start Year : 1910
The first state-supported Negro traveling library in Kentucky was established in 1910 at a Colored school in Fulton County. By 1926 the traveling library was one of two that served African Americans; the other was in Delaware. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Fulton County, Kentucky / Delaware

Nichols, M. Celeste
Birth Year : 1951
Death Year : 1996
Nichols, born in Tulsa, OK, was an English professor at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University] in Louisville, KY. She was the Louisville coordinator for the National African American Read-In Chain. She also chaired the First National Toni Morrison Conference that was held at Bellarmine in 1995. Nichols was the first African American to earn a doctorate in English from the University of Louisville, where she wrote her dissertation, The Rhetorical Structure of the Traditional Black Church. Nichols taught at Kentucky State University before leaving to teach at Bellarmine from 1993 until her death. The Dr. M. Celeste Nichols African American Collection, works by and about African American female writers, was established in the W. L. Lyons Brown Library at Bellarmine. For more see High Upon a Hill, by W. H. Hall; and "Belknap; Bellarmine honors dynamic professor," Courier-Journal, 04/06/2001, News Neighborhoods Daily News Report section, p. 2B.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Poets, Migration East
Geographic Region: Tulsa, Oklahoma / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

O'Rourke, James Ralph , Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1999
In 2008, it was discovered that James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was the first African American graduate of the University of Kentucky School of Library and Information Science. He graduated in 1957. Prior to his enrollment, O'Rourke had been named head librarian at Kentucky State University (KSU), a position he held from 1949-1970. Before coming to Kentucky, O'Rourke was a history instructor and served as head librarian of Stillman Junior College [now Stillman College]. O'Rourke was a 1935 graduate of Stillman Junior College, a 1947 sociology and economics graduate of Talladega College, and a 1947 graduate of Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University], where he earned a B.S. in Library Science. He had owned a drug store and a shoe repair shop. He had been a singer, an actor, a barber, a Pullman Porter, and shoe shiner. In Kentucky, he was a library leader. O'Rourke was the author of several articles and co-authored the Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK) Handbook, which was distributed throughout the United States and to some foreign countries. O'Rourke and C. Elizabeth Johnson, Central High School Librarian, had co-organized SLAK in 1952; it was the only state-wide organization of its kind in the United States. The organization was created to spark students' interest in library science and provided scholarship opportunities to seniors who planned to go to college. O'Rourke also led an annual workshop to assist public library employees in getting certification, and he provided library training. He was one of the first African American members of the Kentucky Library Association (KLA). He also held several positions in community organizations. He was a civil rights advocate and served as presiding chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in Lexington, KY, 1966-67. He was a member of the Governor's Planning Committee on Libraries, 1967-68, and co-chairman of the Lexington (KY) Librarians Association. O'Rourke was the last chairman of the Librarian's Conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, 1952-1956. He was a member of the American Library Association, the Southeastern Library Association, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He was a member of the Kentucky Black History Committee of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and was a co-contributor to the Commission's publication, Kentucky's Black Heritage. He left Kentucky a few years after his retirement from KSU in 1970 and settled in North Carolina. James R. O'Rourke, Sr. was born in Tuscaloosa, AL, the oldest child of Sally Reese and Timothy R. O'Rourke. He was the husband of George M. Wright O'Rourke [also a UK Library School graduate, 1966], and the great-grandson of Evalina Love and Shandy Wesley Jones. Shandy Jones was a slave who was freed in 1820 and later became an Alabama Legislator, 1868-1870 [see Descendants of Shandy Wesley Jones and Evalina Love Jones by Pinkard and Clark]. This information comes from the vita and the memorial tribute to James R. O'Rourke, Sr., provided by Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr. In 2009, the University of Kentucky Libraries and the School of Library and Information Science nominated James R. O'Rourke for the Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award (posthumously) for his work and dedication to librarianship in Kentucky. The award was received by his son, Dr. James R. O'Rourke, Jr.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Authors, Barbers, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Pullman Porters, Fraternal Organizations, Pharmacists, Pharmacies, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Tuscaloosa, Alabama / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina

Pikeville Colored Branch Library (Pike County, KY)
Start Year : 1945
End Year : 1946
The Pikeville Colored Branch Library was opened in 1945 in the Perry Cline Colored School. School principal William R. Cummings served as the librarian and selected books for the library from the Pikeville Public Library. The library was a short-lived venture; a disagreement between the school and the public library led to the colored library being closed in 1946. William R. Cummings left the Perry Cline Colored School for a teaching job in Dayton, OH [source: KNEA Journal, November 1945, v.17, no.1, p.26]. The Red Robin Library in Robin, KY, provided services to Negroes beginning in 1945, the library was owned by the Eastern Coal Company. No annual reports were received from the library after 1946. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1945 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division from the Pikeville Public Library, and the report submitted from the Red Robin Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Robin and Pikeville, Pike County, Kentucky

Pineville Colored Branch Library (Bell County, KY)
Start Year : 1946
The Pineville Public Library provided services to Negroes with a branch library, and for those who lived in the county area, there were ten deposit stations, according to the 1946 Library Annual Report. The location of the branch and stations was not included in the report. The Pineville Public Library had also reported in the 1942 Library Annual Report that there were unrestricted library services to Negroes. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Pineville, Bell County, Kentucky

Porterfield, Rosella F.
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2004
Rosella F. Porterfield was born in Daviess County, KY. She was a teacher and the first African American librarian in the Elsmere-Erlanger School System in northern Kentucky. She retired from the Elsmere-Erlanger System. The Elsmere Park Board rededicated the Rosella French Porterfield Park in 2002. She is referred to as the Rosa Parks of Northern Kentucky. In 1955, while head teacher at the African American School, Wilkins Heights, Porterfield approached the Elsmere superintendent and said that it was time to integrate the schools. The request was taken to the school board and approved. Porterfield was a 1940 graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University]. In 2007, Rosella French Porterfield was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see "Civil-rights pioneer Porterfield honored," The Enquirer (Cincinnati.com), 07/25/02; and C. Meyhew, "Rosella Porterfield, 85, helped integrate schools," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2004, Metro section, p. 4C.

See photo image and additional information about Rosella F. Porterfield within Northern Kentucky Views Presents (.pdf).
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Daviess County, Kentucky / Elsmere and Erlanger, Kenton County, Kentucky

Princeton Colored Branch Library (Caldwell County, KY)
Start Year : 1944
End Year : 1953
The Princeton Colored Branch Library was located in the Dotson High School, and opened October 1, 1944. The shelves were filled with books withdrawn from the Princeton public library. The principal's wife, Mrs. E. R. Hampton was hired as the librarian. The Princeton Board of education provided the room, heat, and lighting. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; "[Kentucky] Library Annual Report" for 1944-1953 submitted to the Kentucky Library Extension Division from the George Coon Memorial Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky

Richmond Colored Branch Library (Madison County, KY)
Start Year : 1942
The Richmond Colored Library was located in the Richmond Colored School. The library was a branch of the Altrusa Club Library. The club had formed a library for whites with the assistance of the WPA pack horse libraries. When funding for the pack horse libraries was discontinued, the WPA financed a librarian's salary and donated at least 1,000 books to organizations within a town that was willing to take on the responsibility of a public library. The Altrusa Club library opened in Richmond on August 21, 1941, and the following year the Richmond Colored Branch Library was opened within the colored school. The library had 200 books and was managed by school principal Joseph Fletcher and his wife Margaret who was a teacher at the school. More books were to be added to the collection if the library was actually used by the public. There are no annual reports about the library and it is not known how long the library continued as a public library. The Richmond Public Library, a Woman's Club Library, did not provide services to Negroes prior to 1956, but the library did provide discarded and duplicate books and periodicals to the Richmond Colored School library. There was also bookmobile services in the community. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones; and J. Barrow, "Richmond Public Library," Bulletin of the Kentucky Library Association, v.8, p.15.

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky

Samuels, Evelyn Marie
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2011
Evelyn M. Samuels was a librarian in the Clark County, KY, school system for 41 years. She started her career in the Oliver Colored School, and was a librarian at two other elementary schools and a high school. She was a 1948 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], and a 1962 library science graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Samuels was founder of the First Baptist Church Library in Winchester. She was born in Winchester, KY, the daughter of Thomas Dewey Samuels (1899-1978) and Ethel McBain Samuels (1906-1984) who was from Bourbon County. Her brother, Oliver R. Samuels, was born in 1925 and died in 1939 from tuberculosis [source: Kentucky Death Certificate #24419]. For more see B. Flynn, "Longtime librarian left her mark on generations schoolchildren." Winchester Sun, 07/21/2011; The Black Librarians in the Southeast by A. L. Phinazee; Who's Who in Library Service by L. Ash; and "Evelyn M. Samuels" in the obituaries of the Winchester Sun, 07/21/2011.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

School Libraries in Christian County, KY
Start Year : 1892
Christian County had the first school libraries for Kentucky Negro children in 1892 and the first for Negro teachers in 1898. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Christian County, Kentucky

Shanks, Sharon
Birth Year : 1956
Born in Bardstown, KY, Shanks became the Executive Director of the Nelson County Library (Bardstown) in 2003. It is believed that she is the first African American public library director in Kentucky. Shanks earned her degrees from Eastern Kentucky University. She was formerly with the Family Resource Youth Services Center Coalition of Kentucky for several years, serving as president her last year with the Coalition. She was also the School System Program Coordinator for the Family Resource Youth Services Center for Bardstown City School District and was a designated state board member of the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy. For more information contact Sharon Shanks at the Nelson County Public Library.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky

Shockley, Ann A.
Birth Year : 1927
Shockley was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Bessie Lucas and Henry Allen, the first African American social workers in Louisville. Shockley was a librarian at Fisk University and made major contributions to library reference sources by authoring works such as Living Black American Authors and Afro-American Women Writers, 1746-1933. She was editor of the ALA Black Caucus Newsletter and author of a collection of short stories and two novels, one of which, Loving Her, was one of the first novels with an interracial lesbian couple. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2008; The Writers Directory, 3rd ed.-present; and Who's Who in Library and Information Services, ed. by J. M. Lee.
Subjects: Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee

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

See photo image of Henry P. Slaughter at the Georgia Stories website.
Subjects: Historians, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, DC

Spradling, Mary E. Mace
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2009
Spradling was born in Winchester, KY. She was the librarian at Lynch Colored School in the 1930s and teacher-librarian in Shelbyville in the 1940s. She chaired the Library Conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association in 1950, and was a librarian at the Louisville Free Public Library. Spradling left Kentucky in 1950 and would become the first African American professional librarian with the Kalamazoo Public Library. She also established the Alma Powell Branch Library in Kalamazoo. She retired in 1976, and in 1998 donated her personal library of 28,000 volumes to the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Library. Spradling was the author of "Black Librarians in Kentucky" [in The Black Librarian in the Southeast, ed. A. L. Phinazee], and of the reference volumes, In Black and White. Mary Spradling was the wife of Lewis Spradling (1905-1964). For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006; A Biographical Directory of Librarians in the United States and Canada, 5th ed.; and "Many lives enriched by Mary Spradling," Kalamazoo Gazette, 01/30/2009, Editorials section.
See photo, and article by Stephanie Esters, "Memorial service for Kalamazoo's first black librarian set for Saturday" in Kalamazoo Gazette, 04/22/2009, General News section.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kalamazoo, Michigan

Stone, Bessie Tucker Russell
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2003
Bessie Stone was born in Louisville, KY. She was the daughter of Harvey C. Russell, Sr. and Julia Jones Russell and a sister of Harvey C. Russell, Jr. and Dr. Randa D. Russell; the family lived in the area that became known as Russell. Bessie Stone was among the first recipients of the Anderson-Mayer Fund, established to pay the tuition of African American students who were pursuing college degrees out of state due to the higher education segregation laws in Kentucky. Stone had earned a bachelor's degree from Louisville Municipal College for Negroes in 1936, the same year she received $62 from the Anderson-Mayer Fund to attend Hampton Institute Library School [now Hampton University], from which she graduated in 1937. She was the third African American librarian from Kentucky to graduate from Hampton [the first was Estella G. Grayson, from Lawrenceburg, the second Elnora M. Roy from Louisville]. Stone also earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling at the University of Cincinnati. She was a librarian at Kentucky State University, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and the Porter Junior High School Library in Cincinnati. Stone received a number of awards for her volunteerism, and prior to her death she received the Alpha Kappa Alpha Golden Legacy Award; she had been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha for 67 years and was the oldest sister in the organization. For more see R. Goodman, "Librarian Bessie R. Stone guided young," Cincinnati Enquirer, 04/18/2003, Metro section, p. 4B; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.

  See photo image of Bessie Russell Stone at enquirer.com.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK)
Start Year : 1952
End Year : 1968
The Student Library Assistants of Kentucky (SLAK) group was organized in 1952 by Central High School librarian C. Elizabeth Johnson and Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] librarian James R. O'Rourke, Sr. The members were African American student library assistants from schools, colleges, and the public libraries in Kentucky. Annual conferences were often held in conjunction with the conference of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA). SLAK introduced students to library skills and librarianship as a profession; it was the only state-wide organization of its kind in the U.S. A booklet was written to help train other students, Student Library Assistants of Kentucky, it was distributed by request nationally and internationally. A copy of the booklet is available at CESKAA at Kentucky State University. SLAK had between 50-100 student members from throughout the state. The organization existed until the late 1960s. SLAK was a continuation of library education for African Americans that began in Kentucky in the early 1900s. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones, pp. 130-132.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

University of Louisville Libraries' Special Collections
Special Collections in the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville (U of L) contains the departments of Photographic Archives and Rare Books. Included within the 1.5 million images and 75,000 rare books are considerable materials concerning African-American issues. See the Electronic Finding Aids to the University Archives and Records Center. Submitted by James Manasco, U of L Librarian.
Subjects: Genealogy, History, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Walls, Murray B. Atkins
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1993
Murray Walls was a schoolteacher from Indiana who added the first black history program to the curriculum while teaching high school in Indianapolis. She was married to Dr. John Harrison Walls of Louisville, KY. One day Murray Walls was preparing research for a speaking engagement in Louisville when she was denied entrance to the nearest library; she was directed to the Colored Libraries, the Western and Eastern Branches. After this incident, she began to campaign for the integration of the Louisville Free Public Library System. The libraries began to integrate in 1948. Murray B. Atkins Walls was born in Indiana, the daughter of Kentucky natives Calvin and Dora Atkins. She is a graduate of Butler University and Columbia University. For more see the Murray B. Atkins Walls Papers at the University of Louisville Libraries; and In Black and White, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling.


Access Interview The Dr. John and Murray B. Atkins Walls oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Archives.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration South
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Walters, Katie Knox
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1896
Katie Knox Walters was a Christian advocate on behalf of her husband's work in the AMEZ Church, and she was an activist in the Colored YWCA in New York City where she chaired the library committee. She had served as vice president of the Women's Home and Missionary Society in California. According to authors Franklin and Savage, Walters raised the largest amount of money in the New Jersey AME Zion Annual Conference in 1898. [Katie Walters' death year is given as 1896 in Bishop Walters' biography.] Katie Knox Walters was the first wife of Bishop Alexander Walters. They met in Indianapolis, IN, and married in 1877, and would become the parents of five children. The family was living in Jersey City, NY, when Katie Walters died. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Louis and Kittie Knox. For more see African American Women and Christian Activism by J. Wisenfeld; My Life and Work by A. Walters [available full text at Documenting the American South]; and p.98 of Cultural Capital and Black Education by V. P. Franklin and C. J. Savage.

  See the image of Katie Knox Walters at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Jersey City, New York

Waters, Stephen H.
Birth Year : 1860
Death Year : 1927
Waters was born in Paris, KY, the son of Jacob and Julia Waters. He was crier for the Circuit Court of Appeals and a personal messenger for Judge William H. Taft in Cincinnati. Appointed assistant librarian at the Cincinnati Public Library in 1900, he may have been the first African American librarian in Ohio. He was the husband of Minnie M. Moore Waters (b. 1869 in OH); the couple married in 1899 and lived on Mound Street in Cincinnati, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1941-44; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Western Colored Branch Library, Louisville, KY (Jefferson County)
Start Year : 1905
The library originally opened on September 23, 1905, in a home in Louisville, KY; the books were shelved in three rooms. In 1908, permission was sought and funds were received from the Carnegie Corporation, and a permanent library was built at the corner of Tenth and Chestnut Streets. It was the first Carnegie Colored Library in the United States; it still operates at the same location. From 1912-1931, the library housed the first library training program for African Americans in the United States. This was also the period when Louisville hired more African American librarians than any other city in the U.S. In addition to the library, the Western Colored Branch Library supported 69 classroom collections in 26 colored schools in Louisville, and a number of deposit library stations within Negro businesses and organizations. For more see A Separate Flame; Western Branch; the first African American Library and the video recording of the same title (available in the University of Kentucky's Audio Visual Services' Media Library collection); and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. See also A list of books selected from titles in the Western Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library recommended for first purchase. Compiled by Thomas F. Blue and Rachel D. Harris [available online in the Kentucky Digital Library].


See photo images of the Western Branch Library, at the website "A Separate Flame."

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Colored Public Libraries in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wheelwright, KY - Colored Section
Start Year : 1918
The Wheelwright Company Housing Project included housing for African Americans, known as the Colored Section. African Americans had first come to the town to work on the railroad at the close of World War I. The railroad was being constructed by the B&O (Baltimore and Ohio Railroad), one of the oldest railroads in the United States, and was later purchased by the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio Railway). When the railroad was completed, the African American men were kept on to work in the mines. Some of the men lived at the boarding house owned by Hilton Garrett (1895-1991), an African American from Birmingham, AL. Garrett had come to Kentucky on his own, and after saving enough money, he was able to bring his wife, brother, and another man to Wheelwright. The town of Wheelwright had been established in 1916 by the Elkhorn Coal Company, and was named after the president of Consolidated Coal Company, Jere H. Wheelwright. The miners were of all races and nationalities, and African Americans were recruited from the North and the South. In the mines, the men were integrated, but they were segregated outside the mines. A black deputy was hired for the Colored section of town known as Hall Hollow. Wheelwright was not listed as a separate town in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. In the 1930 census, of the 226 African Americans listed as living in Wheelwright, more than 100 were men from Alabama. Wives and children were also listed in the census. Segregation was the norm between African Americans and Whites. Among the African Americans who lived in the Colored section, there was distinction and confrontations between those from the North and those form the South. There was not a school building for African American children, so grade school was held in the Colored church. A high school, Dunbar High, was built in 1936. Mrs. Mannie N. Wilson was a high school teacher before the building was completed, and in 1935, she was listed in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal. When Inland Steel owned the city of Wheelwright, the homes were upgraded, the streets were paved, and recreation facilities were built. All was segregated. Library services were provided to African Americans around 1943 via the library for whites. Photographs, such as a 1946 photo, show the street in the Colored section of the housing project. There is also a photo of the shift change at a mine. These and other photo images are available in the Kentucky Digital Library - Images. For more see the Wheelwright Collection and other collections at the University of Kentucky Libraries Special Collections; Black Coal Miners in America, by R. L. Lewis; the Kentucky Coal Education website Wheelwright Kentucky, Floyd County; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones. Also contact the Floyd County Public Library.

 
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration South, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Birmingham, Alabama / Wheelwright, Floyd County, Kentucky

Whitley, Kimberly
Birth Year : 1965
Whitley is the second African American female to become a warden in Kentucky. (The first was Cookie Crews.) Whitley was born in Danville, KY, the daughter of Roland and Frances Whitley. She is a graduate of Danville High School and Kentucky State University, where she earned a B.A. in corrections education (1987) and a masters degree in public administration with a concentration in personnel management (1990). Whitley also holds a certificate in Management Fundamentals as a graduate of the Governor's Minority Management Training Program (Patton administration). She has been a government employee since 1986, when she was a student employee via the Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program with the Department of Corrections. In 1990, Whitley was hired full-time as a classification and treatment officer at Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, KY. She has also been employed with the Kentucky Department of Corrections in the Lexington Corrections Division of Probation and Parole, and she was a Court Designated Worker with the Division of Youth Services. In 1995 she left corrections for a position with the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, but after two years returned to the Department of Corrections. She was promoted to Deputy Warden II at the Frankfort Career Development Center in 2002; Deputy Warden III at the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington in 2004; and transferred in 2005 to Northpoint Training Center. In 2006, Whitley was promoted to Warden II at the Frankfort Career and Development Center. This entry was submitted by Roland Whitley with additional information provided by his daughter, Kimberly Whitley.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Burgin, Mercer County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Williams, Jane Simpson
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1971
Williams was the librarian at the National Republican Headquarters in Washington, D.C. when she died, according to author Alice Dunnigan. Williams was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of James Edward and Lida Simpson. For more about the family see "James Edward Simpson" in The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Williams, Wallace D.
Birth Year : 1946
Wallace Williams is a retired Territorial Librarian and was director of the Florence Williams Public Library in Christiansted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Williams is also a runner, an Olympic marathon runner. He was born in Campbellsville, KY, and in 1950 was the first African American to attend a white school, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. He was among the first African Americans to graduate from Campbellsville High School in 1964. He had started running track and cross-country as a senior in high school. While a student at Bellarmine College [now Bellarmine University], he was the only African American on the cross-country team and the freshman basketball team. Williams left school and joined the the U.S. Air Force. While at Reese Air Force Base, Williams was the leading scorer on the base and squadron basketball teams and was also a coach. He received an Honorable Discharge from the Air Force and went on to earn a B.A. in liberal arts at Northwestern Illinois University. He was the school's leading scorer in basketball during the 1973-74 season, and was winner of the Golden Eagle Award. He was also a member of the Evanston Running Club at Northwestern University. In 1975, Williams earned a masters in library science at Rosary College [now Dominican University]. He was the school's first athletic coordinator in 1974. He was the first student delegate to attend the International Federation of Library Associations Conference (IFLA). In 1977, Williams began his 30 year career as a librarian in St. Croix, and during his career, he taught library skills at the University of the Virgin Islands, and he taught coping skills in the Adult Education Program with the Department of Education. He was secretary of the Rotary Club of St. Croix, was president of the St. Croix Library Association, and was co-president of the Virgin Islands Library Association. Williams was a newspaper columnist, and trained for marathons and established running organizations. In 1978 he founded the Virgin Islands Pace Runners and organized road races. He was founder of the Society of Olympic Marathon Runners, was a founding member of the Virgin Islands Triathlon Federation, and started Women Race for the Women's Coalition. In 1979, Williams ran in the marathon of the Pan American Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1982, he was the first participant for the Virgin Islands to run in the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) in Havana, Cuba. He was also a delegate of the International Association of Athletic Federations Congress for several years, beginning in 1982. Williams competed in the World Cross-Country Championships in 1984 and in 1986. He competed in the Olympic Games Marathon in Seoul, Korea in 1988, and came in 81st with a time of 2:44:40. The marathon took place Sunday, October 2, 1988 at 2:30pm (local time). There were 118 athletes representing 70 countries, and 98 completed the marathon. Wallace Williams represented the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was the oldest competitor in the competition. Information in this entry was added with permission from the resumé of Wallace Williams. See also C. Buchannan, "On Island Profile: Wallace Williams," St. Croix Source, 07/29/2007 [available online, photo at end of article].


Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Military & Veterans, Track & Field, Migration South
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky / St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Wolfe, Anna M. Lindsey
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 1996
Anna M. Lindsey Wolfe was one of the first four African American students to take library classes (at home) from the University of Kentucky Extension Program in 1952. She served as the last librarian of the Mero Street Library (for African Americans) in Frankfort, KY. She was also a school principal. Anna Wolfe was the mother of George C. Wolfe. For more see Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones; and Community Memories: a glimpse of African American life in Frankfort, Kentucky edited by W. L. Fletcher and S. M. Burton.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Work With Negroes Round Table, American Library Association
Start Year : 1921
End Year : 1923
The Work With Negroes Round Table was approved as a temporary section of the American Library Association (ALA) during the 1921 Conference in Swampscott, MA. There were no Negro members. Ernestine Rose, a white librarian at the Harlem Branch Library in New York, ran the initial round table meeting. In preparation for the 1922 meeting, Rose distributed a survey throughout the United States inquiring about library services provided to Negroes. The results were presented at the next meeting of the Work With Negroes Round Table held during the 1922 ALA Conference in Detroit, MI. George T. Settle, head of the Louisville Free Public Library in Kentucky, was present. Ernestine Rose reported from her survey that library services for Negroes was progressing slowly, and overall, the idea was still an unreached goal. It was insinuated that this was particularly true in the South. The meeting continued with several papers being presented and discussed, including a paper by Thomas Fountain Blue from the Negro Department of the Louisville Free Public Library. It was the first time that an African American had been placed on a program of the ALA Conference. The Louisville Free Public Library was recognized by ALA as the prime example of how segregated libraries and services should be provided to Negroes. The final speaker at the conference was William F. Yust, a librarian at the Rochester Public Library in New York, and the previous director of the Louisville Free Public Library who had established the Negro Department and the library training program for Negroes. During his talk, Yust reported that there was no race problems in Rochester, NY. At the conclusion of the meeting, there was not a clear consensus as to whether there should be another Work With Negroes Round Table meeting or if the section should be continued; a split had occurred between librarians from the North and those from the South. George Settle concluded that there was still enough interest in the group, so he requested that ALA permit the round table to meet at the next conference in Hot Springs, AK. In 1923, George T. Settle presided over the Work With Negroes Round Table meeting held in the Hot Springs Central Methodist Church. Ernestine Rose was absent, but her survey results were read by her colleague Harry M. Lydenberg. A counter survey had been completed by Julia Ideson of the Houston Public Library in Texas. Ideson's survey was titled "Progress South" and the results did not jive with the Rose survey findings that the South did not know the Negro or that there was no Negro problem in the North. During the meeting, tempers flared and the meeting turned into a heated discussion about the way library services for Negroes were and should be administered in the South. Librarians were still angry when the meeting concluded and it had been decided that permission would be sought from ALA for another Work With Negroes Round Table meeting at the next conference. The ALA ruling body was not pleased with the turn of events during the round table meeting, which was referred to as the "only untoward episode of the conference" in the ALA journal [source: "Editorial," Library Journal, v.47, p.169]. ALA permanently suspended the Work With Negroes Round Table. For more information and citations, see the 1921, 1922, and 1923 entries for the Work With Negroes Round Table in Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones.

See photo images and additional information about Ernestine Rose in the Long Island History Journal website [article: A. Sandford, "Rescuing Ernestine Rose (1880-1961): Harlem Librarian and Social Activist," Long island History Journal, v.22, issue 2].

See photo image and additional information about Julia Ideson at "Saving the Ideson," a Papercity website.

See full text of "Work with the Negro Round Table" and article from the report given by Thomas Fountain Blue, in The Southern Workman, September 1922, pp.437-438, at Kentucky Digital Library.

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Swampscott, Massachusetts / Harlem, New York City, New York / Detroit, Michigan / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Rochester, New York / Hot Springs, Arkansas / Houston, Texas

Wright, Lillian Taylor
Birth Year : 1918
Wright was one of the first four African American students to take library classes (at home) from the University of Kentucky Extension Program, in 1952, completing her library degree at Atlanta University [now Clark-Atlanta University]. Her thesis, Thomas Fountain Blue: pioneer librarian, 1866-1935 [available online in the Kentucky Digital Library] was one of the very few studies of African American librarians in the U.S. Wright was a librarian at Kentucky State University. For more see Who's Who in Library Service. A biographical directory of professional librarians in the United States and Canada, 4th ed., edited by L. Ash.
Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries
Geographic Region: Atlanta, Georgia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Yancey, Sadie Mae
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1958
Sadie M. Yancey was the top honor student when she graduated from Kentucky State College in 1935 [now Kentucky State University]. She was the first graduate of the college department at Kentucky State College to earn a Ph.D. Yancey received her doctorate from Cornell University, September 1950; she had earned her master's degree in education from the University of Cincinnati in 1942. Yancey was an advocate for education: in 1940 she was a member of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, serving on the Committee of Expenditures of Funds on Educational Inequalities [source: KNEA Journal vol. 10, no. 2, p. 8]. Yancey gave a presentation, "What Guidance Techniques I Am Using," at the Guidance Workers Conference during the 1942 KNEA Conference in Louisville, KY. In 1950, she was the dean of women and a psychology professor at Florida A&M and was later dean of women at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She was the first president and a founding member of the National Association of Personnel Workers (NAPW), founded in 1953. The association was a combined effort of the National Association of the Deans of Women and Advisers of Girls in Colored Schools and the National Association of the Deans of Men in Negro Educational Institutions. The NAPW was renamed the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals (NASAP), and the Sadie M. Yancey Professional Service Award was established as the second highest honor that a member of that organization can receive. Yancey was also vice president of the National Council of Negro Women. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta, and chaired the Scholarship and Standards Committee. Sadie Yancey was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Minnie Jackson Yancey, a domestic, and Charles Yancey, a Lexington grocer who was from Canada [source: Sadie Yancey's Certificate of Birth]. The family lived at 120 South Upper Street in Lexington. Sadie Yancey was also the granddaughter of Belle Mitchell Jackson and Jordan C. Jackson, Jr. [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. For more see "Two Kentucky state graduates...," The Crisis, vol. 57, no. 11 (Dec. 1950), p. 736; "Professional Associations" in Student Services: a handbook for the profession, by S. R. Komives and D. Woodard; Sadie Yancey in The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro, by S. B. Thurman, et al.; under the heading "Died" see "Sadie M. Yancey, 51,...," Jet, Oct 16, 1958, p.43; and H. A. Davis and P. Bell-Scott, "Association of Deans of Women and Advisers to Girls in Negro Schools" in Black Women in America, vol. 1 A-L, edited by D. C. Hine, pp. 49-51; and In Search of Sisterhood: Delta Sigma Theta and the challenge of the Black sorority movement, by P. Giddings. See also Yancey's Ph.D. dissertation, A Study of Racial and Sectional Differences in the Ranking of Occupations By High School Boys, and her master's thesis, A Follow-up Study of Five Graduating Classes of the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

See photo image of Sadie M. Yancey at the Yancy Family Genealogy website.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, National Council of Negro Women
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Florida / Washington, D. C.

Young, Hortense Houston
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1977
Young was the first African American woman admitted to the University of Louisville Law School, which she attended from 1951-1953 before leaving the program. She was also a librarian at the Louisville Municipal College, 1937-1943. Young was the second person to chair the newly formed KNEA Librarian's Conference, in 1938. In 1947, she ran unsuccessfully for the Louisville Board of Education. She was also a civil rights activist; in 1949 she made a proposal to Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley's Legislative Committee to amend the 1908 Day Law, which had been passed to keep the education of African Americans and whites segregated in Kentucky. Hortense Young was the mother of Dr. Coleman Milton Young, III. For more see "Hortense Houston Young," on the University of Louisville's website; Central Law School, 1890-1941; and Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky, by R. F. Jones.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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