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 The lawsuit was withdrawn, and a retroactive clause in the suit gave African American teachers back pay.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

Adams, John Quincy "J.Q."
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1922
John Quincy Adams was born in Louisville, KY. In 1879, Adams established the Bulletin as a weekly newspaper in Louisville. He served as president of the American Press Association (the African American press organization). In 1886, he left Louisville to join the staff of the Western Appeal in St. Paul, Minnesota, assuming ownership of the newspaper within a few months. Adam's career also included his position as Engrossing Clerk of the Arkansas Senate. He was also a school teacher in both Kentucky and Arkansas. He was a civil rights activist and served as an officer in the National Afro-American Council. Adams was a graduate of Oberlin College. He was a charter member of the Gopher Lodge No.105, Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. He was the son of Henry Adams and Margaret P. Corbin Adams. J. Q. Adams died September 3, 1922, after being struck by an automobile while waiting to board a street car. He was the husband of Ella B. Smith, and they had four children. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston; D. V. Taylor, "John Quincy Adams: St. Paul editor and Black leader," Minnesota History, vol.43, issue 8 (Winter, 1973), pp.282-296; and for a history of J. Q. Adams career see, "Crowds throng to Adam's rites fill Pilgrim Baptist Church to capacity Elks conduct services," The Appeal, 09/16/1922, p.1.

See photo image and additional information on John Quincy Adams at African American Registry website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Saint Paul, Minnesota / Arkansas

Alexander, Joseph L.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2002
Joseph L. Alexander was a senior at Fisk University in 1951 when it was announced that he would become the first African American admitted to the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Alexander was born in Oneonta, AL, and grew up in Anchorage, Kentucky. He received a four-year scholastic scholarship to attend Fisk. The University of Louisville trustees had decided during the summer of 1950 to admit Negroes to the school's graduate and professional schools. Alexander would go on to accomplish many firsts during his career. He was a military surgeon and performed the Army's first kidney transplant. He was the first Chief of Surgery at the Martin Luther King Jr. General Community Hospital, and during the same period he was a professor at the Charles R. Drew Post Graduate Medical School; both institutions are in Los Angeles, CA. Alexander wrote many medical articles, including "The King-Drew Trauma Center," published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 68, no. 5 (1976), pp. 384-386. He became the first African American member of the California Club in Los Angeles in 1988 after the city passed an ordinance that banned membership discrimination by private organizations. Joseph L. Alexander was the son of Hattie Hughes. The Joseph L. Alexander Fund was established at the University of Louisville. For more see "A Fisk University senior, Joseph L. Alexander...," on page 257, and "Joseph L. Alexander" on page 284 -- both articles are in The Crisis, vol. 58, no. 4 (April 1951), and the same article can be found on pp. 204-205 of the Journal of the National Medical Association, vol. 43, no. 3 (May 1951); under the heading "Died:" "Joseph L. Alexander...," Jet, May 27, 2002, p. 54; "Watts finally gets a hospital," Ebony, December 1974, pp. 124-128, 130, 132, and 134; "Joseph L. Alexander, M.D." in A Century of Black Surgeons: pt. 1 institutional and organizational contributions, by C. H. Organ and M. M. Kosiba; and "Alexander, 72, pioneer as scholar, physician," The Los Angeles Times, 05/14/2002, News section, p. B9.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Oneonta, Alabama / Anchorage, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Los Angeles, California

American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis (London, England)
Start Year : 1851
The "American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis" was an ad hoc association formed August 1, 1851, by American fugitives who were in exile in London, England. The organization was established to assist fugitive slaves in finding jobs, education, and settling in England. The organization was founded in response to the passing of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 in the United States, which had prompted a greater influx of fugitives in England. There was also the influence of British abolitionists and the American abolitionist who were touring England, Scotland, and Wales; the men were lecturing against slavery in the United States. One of the touring abolitionists was William Wells Brown. Author R. J. M. Blackett mentions in his book, Building an Antislavery Wall, p.5, that not all American fugitives in England were destitute or survived by begging in the streets [as the Avery sisters had attempted]. Blackett noted that fugitive William Watson had enrolled in school. The "American Fugitive Slaves in the British Metropolis" was a short-lived organization. For more information see R. J. M. Blackett, "Fugitive slaves in Britain: the odyssey of William and Ellen Craft," Journal of American Studies, April 1978, v.12, no.1, pp.41-62; and Slave Life in Virginia and Kentucky by F. Frederick.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Fraternal Organizations, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / London, England, Europe

Anderson, Charles W., Jr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 1960
Anderson, born in Louisville, KY, was the son of Dr. Charles W. and Tabetha Murphy Anderson. He was a graduate of Wilberforce University and received his law degree from Howard University School of Law. Anderson was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1933, and in 1936, as a Republican, was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives, making him the first African American Kentucky legislator. He had competed against five other candidates: Charles E. Tucker, Rev. Ernest Grundy, Dr. Richard P. Beckman, James D. Bailey, all Democrats, and Lee L. Brown, a Republican. Anderson is credited with a number of early Civil Rights measures, including the Anderson-Mayer State Aid Act, which provided funding for African Americans to seek higher education out of state because Kentucky enforced higher education segregation laws. Anderson was also appointed alternate delegate to the United Nations. For more see Not Without Struggle, by J. B. Horton; and Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000 [electronic version available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server].
See photo image at Find A Grave.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

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

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

Atwood, Rufus B.
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1983
Rufus B. Atwood was born in Hickman, KY. In 1929 he became the sixth president of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], serving in that capacity until 1962. Atwood led the school toward becoming a four-year accredited college with revised and expanded programs. He was a non-confrontational advocate for the school and the education of African Americans. Atwood was a World War I veteran and the first African American awarded the University of Kentucky Sullivan Medallion for his dedication to education. The Rufus B. Atwood papers are located at Kentucky State University. For more see A Black Educator in the Segregated South, by G. Smith; and the Kentucky State University entry.

  See photo image of Rufus B. Atwood and Lyman T. Johnson at Kentucky Digital Library - Images.

Access Interview Read about the Rufus B. Atwood Oral History Project interviews that are available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Hickman, Fulton County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Aubespin, Mervin R.
Birth Year : 1937
Born in Louisiana, Mervin Aubespin in 1967 became the first African American to hold the post of news artist at The Courier-Journal newspaper in Louisville, KY. He joined the newsroom staff during the 1968 Civil Rights unrest in Louisville. Regarded as an expert on racism and the media, Aubespin is a past president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and was given the Ida B. Wells Award for his efforts to bring minorities into the field of journalism. Aubespin was also the founder of the Louisville Association of Black Communicators. He was awarded the Distinguished Service to Journalism Award in 1991, given by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communications (ASJMC). He was a 1995 Inductee into the University of Kentucky School of Journalism Hall of Fame. Aubespin retired from The Courier Journal newspaper in 2002. For more see Mervin Aubespin at KET's Living the Story; and P. Platt "Keeping the faith: on Merv Aubespin's retirement," The Courier Journal, 08/11/2002, Forum section, p. 03D.

  View Mervin Aubespin's interviews in Civil Rights in Kentucky Oral History Project.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Opelousas, Louisiana

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

Banks, William Webb
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1929
William Webb Banks, who was born in Winchester, KY, was a correspondent for both white and African American newspapers. Banks issued the first call for the organization of Negro businesses in Kentucky. He made a formal protest before the Kentucky Legislature on the anti-separate coach movement. Banks was very politically active in Kentucky and beyond; in 1891, he was the Republican Party candidate for recorder in the U.S. Land Office in Washington. He had also been the commissioner to the Emancipation Exhibition held in 1913 in New York, and he was a delegate to the Half-Century Anniversary Celebration of Negro Freedom held in Chicago in 1915. Banks was the son of Patrick and Catherine Banks, and he was the husband of Anna B. Simms Banks. For more see the William Webb Banks entry in Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915 [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky

Benjamin, R. C. O.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1900
Robert Charles O'Hara Benjamin was shot in the back and died in Lexington, KY, in 1900. He was killed at the Irishtown Precinct by Michael Moynahan, a Democrat precinct worker. The shooting occurred after Benjamin objected to African Americans being harassed while attempting to register to vote. When the case went to court, Moynahan claimed self-defense, and the case was dismissed. Benjamin had become a U.S. citizen in the 1870s; he was born in St. Kitts and had come to New York in 1869. He had lived in a number of locations in the U.S., and he came to be considered wealthy. For a brief period, Benjamin taught school in Kentucky and studied law. He was a journalist, author, lawyer (the first African American lawyer in Los Angeles), educator, civil rights activist, public speaker, and poet, and he had been a postal worker in New York City. In addition to being a journalist, Benjamin also edited and owned some of the newspapers where he was employed. Between 1855-1894, he authored at least six books and a number of other publications, including Benjamin's Pocket History of the American Negro, The Zion Methodist, Poetic Gems, Don't: a Book for Girls; and the public address The Negro Problem, and the Method of its Solution. In 1897, Benjamin returned to Kentucky with his wife, Lula M. Robinson, and their two children. Benjamin was editor of the Lexington Standard newspaper. The first bust that Isaac S. Hathaway sculpted was that of R. C. O. Benjamin. For more information see Robert Charles O'Hara Benjamin, by G. C. Wright in the American National Biography Online (subscription database); and "R. C. O. Benjamin," Negro History Bulletin, vol. 5, issue 4 (January 1942), pp. 92-93.

See sketch of R. C. O. Benjamin in the New York Public LIbrary Digital Gallery online.

See photo image of R. C. O. Benjamin and family in Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Poets, Postal Service
Geographic Region: St. Kitts, West Indies / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Berry, Ella
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1939
Ella Berry was born in Stanford, KY, and grew up in Louisville. She was the daughter of Dave Tucker and Mathilda Portman [source: Chicago Death Record, for Ella Berry]. Berry moved to Chicago where she was one of the leading African American women political and social activists. She would become president of the Cornell Charity Club, she had been a member of the organization since 1913. She was a suffragist and became the state organizer of the Hughes Colored Women's Clubs of the National Republican Headquarters in 1919. Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden appointed her an investigator for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations. She was also president of the Women's Second Ward Protective League, and a federal census enumerator in 1920. Ella Berry was the first African American to be employed by the Chicago Department of Welfare, she was a home visitor. She was elected to the Order of the Eastern Star, and served three terms as president of the Grand Daughter Ruler of the Daughters of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks, which was the highest office a woman could hold in the organization. Berry used her positions within the various organizations to campaign for African American votes and for women's votes during presidential elections. She traveled between Louisville and Chicago networking and making political connections between the two cities. Ella Berry was the wife of William Berry. For more see the Ella Berry entry and picture in chapter six in The Story of the Illinois Federation of the Colored Women's Clubs by E. L. Davis; For the Freedom of Her Race by L. G. Materson; and photo of Ella Berry [online] in the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Benevolent Societies, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Berry, Julius
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2001
Julius Berry was born in Lexington, KY. In 1994, Mayor Scotty Baesler appointed Berry to the post of Affirmative Action Officer of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Berry, 41 years old at the time, was responsible for managing the government's affirmative action plan and investigating discrimination complaints. He held the post under various mayors up to the time of his death in 2001. Berry was a man of many talents. In 1974, he worked with the city government's A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund, which helped minorities get apprenticeships in the building and construction trades. He was also involved with horses as a breeder, racer, seller, and thoroughbred bloodstock agent. He had been a public advocate in Lexington, working on school integration issues as a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He is also remembered as a former (old) Dunbar High School basketball star; standing at 6'5", Berry scored more than 3,000 points during his high school days in the 1950s. He played college ball at University of Dayton and at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], where he earned a bachelor's degree, then went on to get his master's degree at Rutgers University. Julius Berry was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 1996. He was Ulysses Berry's brother. For more see the following articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader: J. Duke, "Julius Berry Returns to Government," 06/01/1984, City/State section, p. B1; M. Fields, "Inductee Sees Athletics as Societal Salve," 03/12/1996, Sports section, p. C1; and S. Lannen, "Aide to Lexington Mayor Dies - Dunbar Basketball Star During 1950s," 12/03/2001, City & Region section, p. B1. See also the sound recording interview of Julius Berry in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Access Interview Read about the Julius Berry oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Berry, Theodore M., Sr.
Birth Year : 1907
Death Year : 2000
Theodore M. Berry was born in Maysville, KY, to a white father and an African American mother. Berry was the first African American graduate of Woodward High School in Cincinnati, OH. He earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati. Berry was also a civil rights attorney with the NAACP. He was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 1950 and as vice mayor in 1955, then became the city's first African American mayor in 1972. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and "Theodore M. Berry Cincinnati's First Black Mayor, Dies at age 94," Jet, 11/06/2000.

See photo images and additional information about Theodore M. Berry at "A Timeline of His Life and Works," a University of Cincinnati website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Mayors
Geographic Region: Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio

Bibb, Henry W.
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1854
Henry Walton Bibb was born a slave in Shelby County, KY, to Mildred Jackson, a slave, and James Bibb, a white politician. Henry Bibb taught himself to read and write. He had many failed escape attempts, which eventually led to his being sold. Bibb was last owned by Indians before he escaped to Detroit, Michigan. He became an abolitionist lecturer and later moved to Windsor, Ontario, Canada, where he edited the Voice of the Fugitive newspaper. He also organized the Refugee Home Society for runaway slaves. For more see Narrative of the life and adventures of Henry Bibb, an American slave, by H. Bibb [available online at the Documenting the American South website]; The Kentucky Encyclopedia; and "Death of Henry Bibb," New York Daily Times, 08/19/1854, p. 3.

   See photo image of Henry W. Bibb at the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Shelby County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Blanton, John Oliver, Jr.
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1962
J. O. Blanton, Jr. was born in Versailles, KY, on Christmas Day in 1885, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card. He was the son of John, Sr. and Eliza Blanton [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. He was president of the American Mutual Savings Bank in Louisville, KY. The building was built by Samuel Plato in 1922, the same year that William H. Wright launched the business. Blanton was also director of the Mammoth Building and Loan Association and a professor of mathematics at Central High School in Louisville for 12 years. Blanton was also involved with the Louisville Urban League, which was founded in 1959. His wife was Carolyn Steward Blanton; they were the parents of John W. Blanton. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bond, Henry
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1929
Henry Bond was born in Anderson County, KY. He was a teacher and lawyer, and it was believed that he had political influence over the African American Republican vote in Williamsburg, KY. Bond was the principal and lone teacher of the Williamsburg Colored Academy for a number of years. The school was a one-room cabin with grades 1-8. In 1929, Henry died ten days before his brother, James M. Bond; both were sons of Jane Arthur, a slave, and Reverend Preston Bond. Henry Bond is buried in the Briar Creek Cemetery in Williamsburg. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams. *Additional informaiton from Carrie Stewart of Williamsburg, KY; Stewart's mother and her mother's siblings attended the one room school and they were students of Henry Bond.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Anderson County, Kentucky / Williamsburg, Whitley County, Kentucky

Bond, James M.
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1929
James M. Bond was born in Lawrenceburg, KY. He was a slave the first two years of his life. When he was 16 years old, Bond walked to Berea College, where he was a student in the primary grades and continued up to the time he graduated from college in 1892. He was also a graduate from Oberlin College, where he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He returned to Kentucky and led the fund-raising for Lincoln Institute, the school provided for African Americans after the segregation of Berea College. He was in charge of the YMCA work with the soldiers at Camp Taylor. Bond was also the first director of the Kentucky Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and in that position he spoke out against segregation. James M. Bond was the brother of Henry Bond; they were the sons of Jane Arthur, a slave, and Reverend Preston Bond. James Bond was the husband of Jane A. Browne Bond, the father of J. Max Bond, Sr., Thomas Bond, and Horace Bond, and the grandfather of Julian Bond, civil rights leader and former Georgia senator and representative. For more see The Bonds, by R. M. Williams; and the article and picture of James M. Bond and his three sons on p. 228 of The Crisis, vol. 27, issue 5 (March 1924) [available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Fathers, Freedom, Grandparents, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Booker-Bryant, Ruth
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2013
Ruth Booker-Bryant is a resident of Louisville, KY. She was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2003 for her participation in many demonstrations for civil rights and fair housing and for her fight to improve living conditions for African Americans. In 2011, she received the Carl and Ann Braden Lifetime Achievement Award. She was president and co-founder of Women United for Social Action. For more see "14 make rights hall of fame," FORsooth: a publication of the Louisville Chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Sept. 2003; "Ruth Booker-Bryant" in the Louisville Courier-Journal, 03/10/2013, Obituaries section; and HR171 and SR242, both at the Open States website.

See photo image of Ruth Booker-Bryant at Hall of Fame 2003, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Women's Groups and Organizations, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bottoms, Jesse V., Sr.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1995
In 1952, Jesse Voyd Bottoms, Sr. became the first African American graduate of Louisville Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was also a graduate of Simmons Bible College (now Simmons College of Kentucky), later serving in many capacities at the school, including as a teacher and the dean. Bottoms helped organize the local arrangements for the March on Washington. For more see "Civil Rights Activists Jesse Bottoms, 89, dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/19/1995, Obituaries section, p. B2.

Access Interview Read about the J. V. Bottoms oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

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

Braden, Anne McCarty and Carl
Anne (1924-2006) and Carl (1914-1975) Braden were white activists with civil rights and labor groups in Louisville, KY. One of their many efforts occurred in 1954 when they assisted in the purchase of a house in Louisville on behalf of the Wade family; the Wades were African Americans, and the house was in a white neighborhood. The house was bombed, and the authorities, rather than arresting the responsible parties, charged the Bradens and five others with sedition - attempting to overthrow the state of Kentucky. Anne Braden was born in Louisville and reared in Alabama. She was a reporter who left Alabama for a job with the Louisville Times newspaper. For more see Subversive Southerner and Once Comes the Moment to Decide (thesis), both by C. Fosl; and The Wall Between, by A. Braden. View Ann Branden's interview in "Living the Story: The Rest of the Story," a Civil Rights in Kentucky Oral History Project. 

Access Interview Listen online to selected audio recordings from the Anne Braden Oral History Project at the Kentucky Digital Library.

Access Interview Read about all the interviews in the Anne Braden Oral History Project available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Bradford, Harrison
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1867
Twenty-four year old Sergeant Harrison Bradford was killed leading a protest at San Pedro Springs, located in San Antonio, Texas, on April 9, 1867. Bradford was shot while protesting the brutality of Lt. Edward Heyl. The shot that killed Bradford was fired by Lt. Frederick Smith during what is called the San Pedro Springs Mutiny. Lieutenant Seth E. Griffin also died from wounds he received during the fight. Harrison Bradford, from Scott County, KY, was a veteran of the Civil War and had served with the 104th Colored Infantry. He re-enlisted in October of 1866 in Louisiana along with fellow Kentuckian, former slave, and Civil War veteran, Jacob Wilks [info]. Bradford served with Company E of the 9th Cavalry [source: U.S. Army Register of Enlistments]. In 1867, the 9th Cavalry Colored soldiers were part of the movement of federal troops sent to Texas, a former Confederate state, to keep order after the Civil War. Troops from the 9th Cavalry Companies A, E, and K arrived in San Antonio at the end of slavery when there was a political debate over whether to extend voting rights to Colored men. The situation was compounded by the racial disagreements and morale issues within the troop companies. The companies were led by white officers. The 9th Cavalry arrived in San Antonio to jeers and curses from community members who felt the federal government was overstepping state's rights, and it was an added insult to have Colored troops reinforce the federal government's power. However, the first military action that resulted in injury and death did not involve the community but occurred during a fight between the 9th Cavalry troops and officers. Lt. Edward Heyl had ordered three Colored troops be hung from trees by their wrists because he felt that they had been slow in responding to his orders. The three troops were Private Fayette Hall, a Civil War veteran; Private Alphonse Goodman; and Private Albert Bailey. Lt. Heyl left camp and went to a saloon, and when he returned, he beat one of the three troops with his saber. Sergeant Harrison Bradford took issue with the behavior and led the protest, confronting Lt. Heyl. Bradford was shot by either Lt. Heyl or Lt. Griffin. Sergeant Bradford and another soldier retaliated. Lt. Heyl, Lt. Seth Griffin, and Lt. Fred Smith were injured. Lt. Smith fired the shot that killed Sergeant Bradford, which led to an all out fight: shots were exchanged between the officers and the Colored troops. Peace was restored with the arrival of troops led by Colonel Wesley Merritt. Lt. Seth Griffin suffered a head wound when he was struck by a saber; he died April 14, 1867. Corporal Charles Wood and Private Irving Charles, Colored troops, were arrested and received death sentences for their part in the fight. Several of the Colored troops involved in the fight were sentenced to prison terms. By the summer of 1867, the 9th Cavalry had been redistributed to other posts in West Texas. Also during the summer of 1867, the Colored people of San Antonio held their first Juneteenth Celebration at San Pedro Springs Park. It was not much later that Corporal Charles Wood, Private Irving Charles, and the Colored troops of the 9th Cavalry who had been sentenced to prison terms were all pardoned and returned to duty; troops were desperately needed on the West Texas front to protect against highway bandits, cattle rustlers, and Native Americans. Lt. Heyl remained with the 9th Cavalry until 1881; he was a colonel in the Inspector General's Department when he died in 1895. Lt. Frederick Smith also stayed with the 9th Cavalry, excelling as an officer, until December of 1869, when his wife was about leave him: Lt. Smith shot himself in the head. The 9th Cavalry developed into a major fighting force in Texas but still received racial hostility from the public and was therefore removed to the New Mexico Territory. For more see On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; African Americans and Race Relations in San Antonio, Texas, 1867-1937, by K. Mason; chapter 6, "The 9th Cavalry in Texas: Mutiny at San Pedro Springs, Texas, April 1867" in Voices of the Buffalo Soldier, by F. N. Schubert; the entry "9th Cavalry" in African Americans at War: an encyclopedia, Vol. 1, by J. Sutherland; E. Ayala, "Time to recall chains broken," San Antonio Express-News, 06/19/2009, p. 3B; The Buffalo Soldiers: a narrative of the Black Cavalry in the West, by W. H. Leckie and S. A. Leckie; and Black Valor: Buffalo Soldiers and the Medal of Honor, 1870-1898, by F. N. Schubert. Read more about the career of Lt. Frederick Smith in "African American troops of Company K, 9th Cavalry fought in the Battle of Fort Lancaster," an article by W. R. Austerman in the Wild West journal, February 2005 issue [article available online at Historynet.com]. The location of Sergeant Harrison Bradford's grave is not known at this time.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Scott County, Kentucky / San Pedro Springs, San Antonio, Texas

Britton, Mary E.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1925
Mary E. Britton was born in Lexington, KY. She was an activist and a journalist who wrote many articles against segregation laws. Britton was also a schoolteacher. She would later become the first African American woman physician in Lexington and a founder of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home. Britton was a graduate of Berea College. She is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington. She was a sister of Julia B. Hooks. For more see Mary Britton at womeninky.com; and E. Applegate, "The Noble Sole of Mary E. Britton," in Berea College Magazine [online]. 

See photo image of Dr. Mary E. Britton at Great Black Kentuckians, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Medical Field, Health Care, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

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

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

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

Burroughs, Nannie H.
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1961
Nannie Burroughs moved to Louisville, KY, in 1900 to become secretary and bookkeeper of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention. That same year she founded the National Baptist Women's Convention. Burroughs was an activist for African American women's rights. When the National Training School for Women opened in 1909 in Washington, D.C., she became director and held the post for the rest of her life. Burroughs brought the cause for improvements in industrial conditions for African American women to the forefront of the National Association of Colored Women. She helped found the National Association of Wage Earners. For more see Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators, by F. Ohles, et al.; and African American Women: a biographical dictionary, by D. S. Salem.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Butler, William F.
From Jefferson County, KY, William F. Butler served as president of the Negro Republican Party that was formed following the Civil War. The organization's first convention was held in Lexington, KY, in 1867. That same year, at a Civil Rights meeting held in Louisville, KY, William Butler stood and demanded equal rights for African Americans. Following the meeting, the Law League was established to "finance and secure" lawyers who would fight for African Americans' civil rights. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and V. B. Howard, "The Black testimony controversy in Kentucky, 1866-1872," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 58, issue 2 (April 1973), pp. 140-165.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Caldwell, John Martin, Jr.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1987
Born in Henry County, KY, Reverend Caldwell was the son of Anna Hobbs Caldwell and John Martin Caldwell, Sr. Beginning in 1932, he was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Evansville, IN, continuing in that position for 57 years. Caldwell was a 1949 graduate of Evansville College [now University of Evansville] and completed his theology degree at Simmons University (Louisville). He received a citation from President Roosevelt for his service on the draft board during World War II. Caldwell was also a member of the masons, and he was the author of the annual publication Zion Pulpit. In 1967, he became the the first African American elected official in Evansville, IN: he was elected to the City Council and served three terms. Caldwell was also president of the Evansville NAACP for 15 years, leading the fight to integrated businesses and the University of Evansville. He was a member of the group that sued the city of Evansville to stop segregated housing. Caldwell received the first Mayor's Human Rights Award in 1977. The housing projects, formerly Sweeter public housing, were renamed the Caldwell Homes and Terrace Gardens in memory of John Martin Caldwell. For more see the John Martin Caldwell entry in the Biographical Directory of Negro Ministers, by E. L. Williams; and "The Rev. John Caldwell," Evansville Courier, 09/28/1999, Metro section, p. A3.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Henry County, Kentucky / Evansville, Indiana

Calloway, Ernest Abner
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1989
Calloway was a writer, a union organizer and advocate, a civil rights activist, a politician, and an educator. He was born in Herberton, WV, and came to Letcher County, KY, with his family in 1913. They were one of the first African American families in the coal mining community in Letcher County. His father helped organize the first Local United Mine Workers Union. In 1925, Calloway ran away to Harlem [New York City]. Within a few years he returned to Kentucky and worked in the coal mines. Beginning In 1930, Calloway was a drifter for three years, traveling throughout the U.S. and Mexico before returning to Kentucky to work in the coal mines again. It would be Calloway's writing that would help him leave Kentucky for good. He had written an article on the use of marijuana and submitted it to Opportunity magazine. The article was rejected, but Calloway was asked to write an article on the working conditions of Negro coal miners in Kentucky. The article was published in March 1934, resulting in Calloway being offered a scholarship to Brookwood Labor College [info] in New York. He would go on to help establish and influence many union organizations. Early in his career, he developed the Virginia Workers' Alliance; organized the Chicago Redcaps [railroad station porters] and the United Transport Employee Union; and assisted in the writing of the resolution for the development of the Committee Against Discrimination in the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Calloway was the first African American to refuse military service because of racial discrimination. In 1955, he was president of the St. Louis, MO, NAACP Branch. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1968 and was a part time lecturer at St. Louis University in 1969. For a more detailed account of Calloway's career, see the "Ernest Abner Calloway" entry in the Dictionary of Missouri Biography, by L. O. Christensen; and the Ernest Calloway Papers, 1937-1983 in the Western Historical Manuscript Collection at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration East, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Union Organizations, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Herberton, West Virginia / Letcher County, Kentucky / New York / Chicago, Illinois / Saint Louis, Missouri

Campbell, William Joseph
Birth Year : 1863
Death Year : 1912
William [W. J.] Campbell was a politician, a member and organizer of the Knights of Labor, a delegate and leader of the United Mine Workers of America, and a civil rights leader. The Knights of Labor, a labor organization, was founded as a secret society in Philadelphia, PA, in 1869. According to the organization's website, as of 1881, the Knights of Labor were no longer secret, and by 1886 the membership included 50,000 African American workers and 10,000 women workers. W. J. Campbell fought for improved race relations in coal towns and for interracial unions. He would become the representative of the Kentucky District of the United Mine Workers of America. W. J. Campbell was born in Morgan County, AL, the son of William Campbell and Bethiah Jones Campbell [source: W. J. Campbell's KY death certificate]. His family was poor; his father died when he was a boy. W. J. Campbell was hired out to a man who allowed him to attend and finish school in Huntsville, AL. Campbell became a teacher at the school he had attended. In 1880, he moved to Birmingham, AL, where he studied barbering and would become a barber. In 1881, he left barbering for the coal mines in Pratt City, AL. He became an advocate for the rights of African American miners, and in 1881 was secretary of the newly organized Knights of Labor in Pratt City. A year later, he was organizer-at-large, and established the first Knights of Labor in Birmingham and Montgomery. He established the beginnings of the United Mine Workers and the Federation of Mine Laborers, Division 10, in Chattanooga, TN. The division included Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. W. J. Campbell was also a politician; he was the elected secretary of the Republican Committee of Jefferson County, AL, in 1882 and was also an elected delegate to the Republican State Convention. In 1892, he was an elected delegate-at-large to the Republican National Convention for Alabama. W. J. Campbell got married in 1889 and left Alabama in 1894 to settle in Central City, KY. Campbell was a miner and a barber, and his wife was a teacher at the Colored common school. Campbell organized Republican national league clubs for African Americans and whites. He was a delegate to the National Republican League Convention, and in 1901 was a member of the Republican State Campaign Committee. In 1898, Campbell drafted the Miners' Pay Bill of Kentucky that was passed by the Kentucky Legislature; it replaced the two weeks pay bill that had failed. In 1900, Campbell was a delegate to the National United Mine Workers of America [UMWA]. The UMWA was founded in Columbus, OH, in 1890, resulting from the merger of the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No. 135 and the National Progressive Union of Miners and Mine Laborers. The constitution of the UMWA barred discrimination based on race, religion, and national origin. In 1901, Campbell became the secretary-treasurer of UMWA District 23 and is said to be the first African American at the post within the UMWA. He came to Lexington, KY in July of 1901 to settle a matter with W. D. Johnson, editor of The Standard newspaper. In 1904, Campbell was a member of the executive office of the UMWA, serving as a cabinet officer of John Mitchell. He was also president of Afro American National Protective Union, which sought to organize a National Labor Union. In 1912, Campbell would serve as president of the National Negroes' Industrial and Protective Union of America. William J. Campbell was the husband of Sallie L. Waddleton of South Carolina; the couple last lived in Drakesboro, KY. Campbell was a Mason, a member of the Odd Fellows, and a member of the A.M.E.Z. Church. He died November 28, 1912, and is buried in Smith Chapel Cemetery in Drakesboro, KY [source: Kentucky Death Certificate]. For more see the Knights of Labor website; the Brief History of the United Mine Workers of America website; The Challenge of Interracial Unionism, by D. Letwin; "W. J. Campbell...," Freeman, 01/24/1903, p. 4; "Birmingham: Victory won by the Warrior [AL] miners," Huntsville Gazette, 09/13/1884, p. 3; "Mr. W. J. Campbell," Huntsville Gazette, 02/13/1886, p. 2; "Mr. W. J. Campbell" in the Personals column of the Freeman, 01/20/1900, p. 8; "W. J. Campbell of Central City, Ky...," Freeman, 07/20/1901, p. 4; "W. J. Campbell," Freeman, 02/08/1902, p. 8; picture of W. J. Campbell on p. 1, biography on p. 4 of the Freeman, 03/01/1902; "Important Points great events in the suburban districts," Freeman, 03/01/1902, p. 4; "Mr. W. J. Campbell, miner," Freeman, 04/23/1904, p. 4; and "National Negroes' Industrial and Protective Union of America," Freeman, 01/27/1912, p. 6.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Barbers, Education and Educators, Migration North, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Morgan County, Alabama / Central City and Drakesboro, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Capers, Jean M.
Birth Year : 1913
Jean Murrell Capers was born in Georgetown, KY. Her family moved to Cleveland, OH, when she was a child. Capers was a teacher in the Cleveland schools before becoming an attorney in 1945. She is a education graduate of Western Reserve University [now Case Western Reserve University]. She was assistant police prosecutor from 1946 until 1949, when she became the first African American elected to the Cleveland City Council. The N.C.N.W. recognized her as one of the 10 outstanding women in public service in 1950. She was the director and organizer of the Central Welfare Association. Capers later became a Cleveland Municipal Court Judge. In 2006, Capers, at 93 years of age, was the oldest practicing member of the National Bar Association. She has received a number of awards, including the 2011 Ohio State Bar Association Nettie Cronise Lutes Award [article online at Call & Post website]. Jean M. Capers is a law graduate of the Cleveland Law School [which merged with the John Marshall School of Law in 1945 to become the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law]. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; The American Bench. Judges of the nation, 2nd edition, ed. by M. Reincke and N. Lichterman; and "Capers oldest member to attend annual convention," National Bar Association Law E-Bulletin, vol. 14, issue 1 (August 2006). Photos of Jean Capers are in the African Americans of Note in Cleveland database.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Lawyers, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, Judges
Geographic Region: Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Carpenter, Charles William
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1971
Charles W. Carpenter, born in Stanford, KY, was the son of Amanda and James Carpenter. In 1901, the family moved to Indianapolis, IN, a year after the death of James Carpenter. William worked at various jobs during the day and attend public school at night. He was the valedictorian of his 1909 graduating class at Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute [now Tuskegee University]. He studied chemistry with Dr. G. W. Carver and was associated with Dr. B. T. Washington and his wife; during the summer of 1908, Carpenter worked at the Washington's summer home on Long Island. He studied theology at Wilberforce and at Garrett Biblical Institute [now Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary], completing his studies in 1912. Carpenter was a minister first in Detroit, and later served at churches in Minnesota, Indiana, and Illinois, before settling in Ann Arbor, MI, as pastor of the Second Baptist Church for 37 years. He retired on his 80th birthday in 1966. Carpenter was recognized for his leadership in the community; the Common Council of Ann Arbor passed a resolution commending him for his outstanding community service. He had helped integrate the Ann Arbor Kiwanis and served on the board of directors. He was elected vice president, and later president, of the Ann Arbor Ministerial Association. The Charles W. Carpenter Papers, 1909-1970, are at the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. For more see Second Baptist Church Centennial, 1865-1965 by the Second Street Baptist Church (Ann Arbor, MI); and Charles W. Carpenter at Bentley Historical Library website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky / Ann Arbor, Michigan

Carson, Julia M. P.
Birth Year : 1938
Death Year : 2007
Carson was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of Velma Porter Carson. She successfully ran for the Indiana House of Representatives in 1972 and served for 18 years. For six years she was Center Township Trustee. In 1996 she became the first woman and the first African American from Indianapolis elected to Congress. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; and D. Martin, "Hundreds gather for Carson funeral," Evansville Courier & Press, 12/23/2007, Metro section, p.B5.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Cayce, James B.
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1971
James B. Cayce was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Paul and Mamie Cayce. He was an instructor at Simmons University in Louisville from 1940-1942. During that same time period, he supervised the division of activities within the Department of Public Welfare in Louisville. Cayce was executive director of the Washington Community Association in Hamilton, Ohio, from 1942-1943. He was also a minister and pastored at several churches. Cayce was also editor of the Ohio Baptist News from 1948-1950, authored Negroes and The Cooperative Movement (1940), and wrote a number of articles and editorials. Cayce moved from Ohio to Pittsburgh, PA, where he was the respected pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church from 1950-1971. He was a active member and recruiter of the NAACP and he corresponded with Martin Luther King, Jr. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Ebenezer Baptist Church celebrates its rich history," New Pittsburgh Courier, 07/17/2008, p.B2; and The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. by M. L. King, et al.

See photo image of Rev. James B. Cayce at Carnegie Museum of Art website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Hamilton, Ohio / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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

Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project
Start Year : 1998
The following comes from the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project website. "Since 1998 historians have collected more than 175 oral history interviews that are on file at the Kentucky Historical Society. The commission has supported the collection of additional interviews by Dr. Tracy K’Meyer at the University of Louisville, bringing the total to more than 225."

 

Access Interview "Online Digital Media Database providing comprehensive access to the audio and video interviews collected by the project and over 10,000 pages of electronic transcripts. All material is full-text searchable and can be sorted by county, subject or decade."

 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Clark, John T.
Birth Year : 1883
Death Year : 1949
John T. Clark was born in Louisville, KY, the son of John R. and Sallie Clark. He graduated in 1906 from Ohio State University with a focus in sociology and economics. Clark returned to Louisville, where he was an instructor at Central High School (1907-1913). He left Louisville to become housing secretary in New York City (1913-1916). He was a contributing author to the 1915 collection, "Housing and Living Conditions among Negroes in Harlem." Clark held a number of posts with the National Urban League and its state chapters from 1916 to1949, including bringing the National Urban League to Pittsburgh in 1917 and becoming executive secretary of the St. Louis Urban League, beginning in 1926. Also a member of the American Social Workers Association, Clark was elected the third vice president of the National Conference of Social Work in 1940. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1950. The John T. Clark files of the Urban League of St. Louis are available at the Washington University of St. Louis Library.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Migration West, Social Workers, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Urban Leagues, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York City, New York / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania / St. Louis, Missouri

Clarke, Anna Mac
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 1944
Anna M. Clarke, born in Lawrenceburg, KY, was a graduate of the Lawrenceburg Colored School and a 1941 graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. She was one of the first African American woman from Kentucky to enlist during World War II, the first to become an officer, and the first African American WAC over an all-white regiment. Clarke led the protest that desegregated the Douglas Army Airfield theater. A Kentucky Historical Marker [#1970] has been placed on the Lawrenceburg courthouse lawn in her memory. Anna Mac Clarke is buried in Stringtown, KY. For more see Women in Kentucky-Military; LWF Communications website, Anna Mac Clark answering the call to arms; WWII and the WAC by J. M. Trowbridge; and J. M. Trowbridge, "Anna Mac Clark: a pioneer in military leadership," Cochise Quarterly, vol. 26 (Winter 1996).

  See photo image and additional information about Anna M. Clarke at "Lest We Forget," a Hampton University website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Women's Groups and Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Women's Army Corps (WACs)
Geographic Region: Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky / Douglas Army Airfield, Arizona / Stringtown, Anderson County, Kentucky

Clarke, John Milton and Lewis Garrard
The Clarke brothers, John Milton (1820-1902) and Lewis (1818-1897), were born in Madison County, KY. Their father was a white weaver from Scotland. Their mother, Letitia Campbell, was the daughter of plantation owner Samuel Campbell. John and Lewis were at times seen as white slaves. The brothers escaped in 1842, Lewis to Dawn, Ontario (he later returned to Oberlin); and John to Cambridge, where he became the first African American elected to a public office on the Cambridge Common Council. The character George Harris in Uncle Tom's Cabin was based on Lewis Clarke. For more see Cambridge Historical Commission; Narrative of the sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke, by L. G. Clark and M. Clark [full-text at the website by S. Railton & University of Virginia]; and Literature in The Economist, 02/13/1847, p. 183.

See image of Lewis Clarke from frontispiece of Narrative of the Sufferings of Lewis Clarke by L. Clarke, at NYPL Digital Gallery.

See image of J. Milton Clarke from Narratives of the Sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke by L. G. Clark, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Ontario, Canada / Oberlin, Ohio / Cambridge, Massachusetts

Clement, Rufus E.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1967
Rufus E. Clement was born in Salisbury, NC; his family moved to Louisville, KY, when he was a small child. Clement would become the first dean of the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes (1931-1937) [subsumed by the University of Louisville], and later the longest serving president of Atlanta University (1937-1957 & 1966-1967). Clement was the author of many articles on Negro education, history, and politics as well as a published reviewer of current issues publications. In 1953, Clement was elected to the Atlanta Board of Education, making him the first African American to be elected to public office in Atlanta since Reconstruction, and the first on the city's education board. He was the son of Emma Clement and George Clement, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Louisville. He was the brother of Ruth E. Clement Bond. Rufus E. Clement's records and papers are at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. The Louisville Municipal College archives are at the University of Louisville Archives and Record Center. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; [Dr. Rufus E. Clement] in the Statesville Daily Record newspaper, 05/15/1953; Worldwide Interesting People: 162 History Makers of African Decent, by G. L. Lee; and the video Rufus E. Clement and Horace M. Bond recorded in 1955 as part of the Chronscope Series by Columbia Broadcasting System.

See photo images and additional information about Rufus E. Clement at the University of Louisivlle website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration South, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Salisbury, North Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

Coggs, Pauline Redmond
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2005
Pauline Coggs was born in Paris, Kentucky, the daughter of Rev. John B. and Josephine B. Redmond. The family moved to Chicago, where Coggs graduated from high school and earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and psychology at the University of Chicago. She earned a master's degree in social work at the University of Pittsburgh. Coggs was the first African American woman to head the Washington, D.C. Urban League. She also directed the youth activities department in the Chicago Urban League, 1936-1940. She was a part-time instructor in the Department of Social Work at Howard University, 1943-1944, and later became the assistant executive secretary of the Wisconsin Welfare Council, 1947-1948. Coggs was the author of "Race Relations Advisers - Messiahs or Quislings," Opportunity, 1943. She was a confidante of Eleanor Roosevelt. The governor of Wisconsin appointed her to the Wisconsin Civil Rights Commission. Pauline R. Coggs was the aunt of Wisconsin Senator Spencer Coggs. The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. created the Pauline Redmond Coggs Foundation, Inc. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; C. Stephenson, "Striving to combat myths and ignorance never goes out of style," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/04/02, B News section, p.02; and F. Thomas-Lynn, "Coggs 'silent strength' behind political dynasty," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 07/28/2005, B News section, p. 07.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, Women's Groups and Organizations, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Chicago, Illinois / Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Colbert, Jesse B.
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1936
Reverend Jesse B. Colbert was a nationally known leader and minister of the AMEZ Church as well as a lawyer and civil rights leader. He was the first president of the Varick Christian Endeavor Movement [information], and he was author of The Origin and Progress of the Christian Endeavor Movement in the World and in the A. M. E. Zion Church in America [information, p. 9]. Colbert was also a civil rights leader before and after he came to Kentucky. In 1894, he was vice president of the American Liberty Defense League, an anti-lynching organization in Washington, D.C. [source: "The American Liberty Defenc[s]e League," Washington Bee, 10/06/1894, p. 2]. Jesse B. Colbert was born in 1861 in Lancaster, SC, the son of Sarah House Colbert and Tillman Colbert. He was the husband of Margaret A. Davis Colbert; the couple married in North Carolina on July 3, 1888 [source: North Carolina Marriage Collection]. Jesse and Margaret Colbert lived in a number of locations in the United States [information]. In 1910, they were living in Chicago, where Jesse was an [AME] Zion minister, according to the U.S. Federal Census. By 1911, the couple was living in Kentucky, and Jesse was the AMEZ presiding elder over the Louisville District, a position he held until 1917 [sources: "Rev. J. B. Colbert...," Bee, 05/19/1911, p. 4; and Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville]. He was editor of the Louisville Columbian newspaper [source: "It seems that the Louisville Columbian...," Freeman, 06/14/1913, p. 3]. He was a member of the Fraternal Day Movement that sought to bring together all of the groups that were fighting for the rights of the Colored people in Louisville [source: "Kentucky's metropolis. Talking segregation.," Freeman, 07/25/1914, p. 8]. He was a member of the Legal Committee of the Louisville NAACP Branch and co-author of the 1918 publication, "History of Louisville Segregation Case and the decision of the Supreme Court" [source: Papers of the NAACP, Part 5, Campaign against residential segregation, 1914-1955 ;, reel 4, fr. 0752-0813]. Jesse B. Colbert was also editor of the first and second editions of The Historical Hand Book and Illustrated Directory of the General Conference of the A. M. E. Zion Church [source: "New books by leading thinkers," Savannah Tribune, 01/29/1916, p. 1]. In 1918, Jesse B. Colbert was listed in the Louisville city directory as a lawyer with an office at 505 Green Street. From 1928-1936, he was listed as an employee of the National Employment Bureau [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory]. He was also an agent for the National Colored Teachers' Agency, a division of the National Teachers' Agency in Louisville. Jesse B. Colbert died in Louisville, KY, on December 14, 1936 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death, Registered No. 5776]. The day of his funeral, the flag at the Louisville courthouse was flown at half mast as a show of respect [source: "At half mast for colored resident," Capital Plaindealer, 01/03/1937, p. 7].

  See photo image of Rev. J. B. Colbert on p. 257 and additional information in One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, by J. W. Hood.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Lancaster, South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Cole, I. Willis
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1950
I. Willis Cole was born in 1887 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a graduate of Le Moyne Junior College [now Le Moyne College]. When Cole came to Kentucky, he was a salesman who shortly thereafter became the founder of the African American newspaper, the Louisville Leader, the leading African American newspaper in Louisville. Cole used the medium to protest discrimination toward African Americans. He was a supporter of the Garvey Movement and served as the regional director of the National Negro League. In 1921, Cole was unsuccessful in his campaign for the Kentucky Senate. For more see The Leader at kytales.com; The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; River Jordan: African American Urban Life in the Ohio Valley, by J. W. Trotter & J. W. Trotter, Jr.; Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930, by G. C. Wright; and p. 363 of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: 1826-August 1919, by R. A. Hill, M. Garvey, & the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

See photo image of I. Willis Cole at Hall of Fame 2001, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Coleman, Gertrude W.
Birth Year : 1934
Death Year : 2007
Dr. Gertrude W. Coleman was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2007 in recognition of her activism during Louisville school busing when she insisted that African American children be treated fairly. Coleman was also president of the Black Women of Political Action, and was on the board of the Park DuVall Health Center and fought for funding for health care. In 1992, the Black Women of Political Action joined with other civic organizations to encourage African Americans in Louisville to get out and vote; a symbolic chain of human voters stretched from downtown Louisville into the African American neighborhood in West End. For more see "Dr. Gertrude W. Coleman" at the 2007 Hall of Fame, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website; and "Louisville voters reach out to encourage Black turnout," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/02/1992, City/State section, p. B2.

 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Medical Field, Health Care, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Coleman, Louis, Jr.
Birth Year : 1943
Death Year : 2008
Reverend Louis Coleman, Jr., from Louisville, KY, was one of Kentucky's most recognized civil rights activist and an outspoken advocate. He was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2000. Coleman was a graduate of Central High School, Kentucky State University, and Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was an athlete, having played baseball and football at K-State, and he later signed to play professional baseball with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He helped lead the lawsuit that challenged the lack of African American coaches in Kentucky high schools. He called for the boycott of Pepsi products from the Winchester, KY, plant due the complaints concerning the plants' lack of hiring and retention of African American employees. Rev. Coleman advocated fairness and equality throughout the state of Kentucky. He was head of the Justice Resource Center in Louisville. For more see A. Clark, "Rev. Louis Coleman dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/06/2008; and K. Cengal, "Civil rights activist Louis Coleman is dead," Louisville Courier-Journal, 07/05/2008.

See photo image and additional information of Rev. Louis Coleman, Jr. at Great Black Kentuckians, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Baseball, Civic Leaders, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Coleman, Robert Alfonzo
Birth Year : 1932
Robert A. Coleman, a civil rights activist, was born in Hopkinsville, KY. He was a postal carrier in Paducah, KY, and the first African American president of the Paducah Local of the National Association of Letter Carriers. He was also the first to chair the executive board of the state association. Coleman was a city commissioner in Paducah beginning in 1973 and also served as mayor pro tem for six years. He is a 32-Degree Mason and past Master of Stone Square Lodge #5. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. In 2005, Coleman was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. In 2009, the Blackburn Park in Paducah, KY, was renamed the Robert Coleman Park. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006; and the Robert A. Coleman interview [text and audio] in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Oral History Project.

See photo image and additional information on Robert A. Coleman at Hall of Fame 2005, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service, Fraternal Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Colored Voters' Leagues
Start Year : 1891
The Colored Voters' Leagues were politically influential civil rights organizations first established in the 1890s. In Kentucky, there was an Independent Colored Voters' League of Kentucky in 1899, they presented a bouquet of flowers to Senator William J. Goebel when he spoke before the Turner Society in Louisville, KY; Goebel was the Democratic nominee for Kentucky Governor [source: "German voters," The Evening Bulletin, 10/28/1899, p.3]. However, the Kentucky Colored Voters' League was a much later development, it was established in 1935, according to the Guide to Civilian Organizations. Fayette County, Kentucky by the U.S. Work Projects Administration in Kentucky, January 1943, p.11. The organization was said to have 2,500 members, and was open to "any registered male colored voter." The purpose was "To promote civic and legal interest of the members." The president was Charles P. Riley; Frank Tatman, Secretary; and J. Rice Porter, Chairman. The office terms were indefinite. The organization's office was located at 233 E. Second Street in Lexington, KY, and is listed in Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory, v.1939, p.136, and in v.1942, p.95. At Western Kentucky University Library, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives are two letters written in 1933 by Sherman Parks from Madisonville, KY, to Joseph F. Garnett in Hopkinsville, KY. "Parks, as an officer in the Hopkins County and Kentucky Colored Independent Voters Leagues, requests assistance, including monetary aid to promote the recruitment of African-Americans to Kentucky’s Democratic Party." - - source: bibliographic record for Sherman Parks Manuscripts. Around the country, the work of the various state organizations can be found in African American newspaper articles. One of the earliest Colored Voters' Leagues was formed in 1891 in Pittsburgh, PA, when a call was made to overthrow the politicians [source: "A Colored Voters' League," The New York Times, 12/27/1891, p.1]. By 1898, there were organizations in several states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia [source: "In organization is power," Colored American, 03/26/1898, p.1]. In 1903, a Colored Voters' League was established in Kansas, "to look well towards the rights and protection of the Negro" [source: "The Legislature employe[e]s," Plaindealer, 03/06/1903, p.1]. In 1905, there was a call at the New York Colored Republican Club for the formation of a political organization known as the National Colored Voters' League that was to have state associations [source: "Colored Voters' League: form political organization of national scope," The Deseret Evening News, 02/18/1905, p.8; and "Negroes of New York...," Freeman, 03/18/1905, p.4]. The 1912 endorsement by the Colored Voters' League in Cook County, IL, had helped Honorable Joseph S. LaBuy to be elected to the Municipal Court of Chicago [source: "Hon. Joseph S. LaBuy, Democratic candidate for Judge of the Municipal Court of Chicago," Broad Ax, 11/01/1924, p.6]. In 1920, the United Colored Voters' League of Detroit held it's first annual dinner [source: "Cleveland social and personal," Cleveland Gazette, 02/07/1920, p.3]. In 1928, the Independent Colored Voters' League of Waco, TX, joined the Houston NAACP in filing a petition in federal court to restrain the Democratic Party from barring Negroes from voting in the primaries [source: "N.A.A.C.P. to fight newest Texas attempt at Negro disfranchisement," Plaindealer, 08/10/1928, p.1].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / United States

Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky
Start Year : 1866
The First Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky was held in Lexington, KY, March 22-26, 1866. The convention was held in Ladies Hall on Church Street. The organization was to be temporary, according to the recorded proceedings. George Perry was named chairman and Henry Scroggins was named secretary. The organization had been formed first and foremost to address the Kentucky Legislature on the issue of voting rights for African American men. Other concerns included morality, education, temperance, frugality, industry, and the overall well being of African Americans in Kentucky. Initially, the organization did not push for total equality, but rather was organized with the intent of taking one step at a time toward gaining civil rights and justice. They established the Kentucky State Benevolent Association with Henry King as chairman, Madison C. Johnson as vice president, Henry Scroggins as recording secretary, James H. Campbell as corresponding secretary, and George Perry as treasurer. There was also an executive committee that was given the power to call a convention whenever they thought it necessary; they were the managers of the association. Convention members who arrived late or left the meeting early were fined. There was an exceptionally high expectation that all who had committed to the convention would arrive on time and remain for the duration of the meeting. Delegates came from all over the state. There was also a list of honorary members, beginning with Rev. John G. Fee. A petition was raised to pay the Ladies' Educational Association for the use of their building, Ladies Hall. The petition passed and the Ladies received $25, which was $8 more than they had asked. The Benevolent Association bought stock in the Colored Citizen newspaper, which was recognized as the voice of African Americans in Kentucky. Recognition was also given to Charlotte Scott, former slave of Dr. Rucker in Virginia; Scott was leading the campaign for the erection of the National Colored Men's Monument in memory of President Lincoln. Twelve hundred copies of the Proceedings of the First Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky were printed and forwarded to prominent men such as President Andrew Johnson. For several years, William J. Simmons served as chair of the executive committee of the Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky, with one of his re-elections taking place in 1875. He chaired the committee that led in presenting grievances to the Kentucky Legislature. In 1886, his speech before the Legislature on the injustices put upon the Colored people of Kentucky was described as a masterpiece; the Kentucky Legislature order that 2000 copies be printed. It was the first time that an African American addressed the Kentucky Legislature about the plight of African Americans in Kentucky. For more about the establishment of the organization, see the Proceedings of the First Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky [available at Google Books]. For more on the text of William J. Simmons' speech, see pp. 48-50 in Men of Mark by W. J. Simmons and H. M. Turner [available at Google Books]; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Convention of Colored Republicans (or Colored Border State Convention)
Start Year : 1868
In 1868, a call was made by African American Republican leaders from Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, for the Convention of Colored Republicans. The meeting was held in Baltimore, Maryland, on August 4, 1868. The initial purpose of the meeting was to organize African American men in the border states for the fight for equal rights. The call came as a result of the dissatisfaction toward the Chicago Convention that had not given African American men the right to take part in the deliberations. Chicago Convention members had "remembered the rights of the loyal citizens of the so-called reconstructed states." The Convention of Colored Republicans, which continued after the first meeting in 1868, was a national organization with state branches that included New York, Wisconsin, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kansas, South Carolina, Ohio, and Illinois. The Colored Republican Convention in Kentucky was held in Frankfort, KY, in 1870, with almost 100 counties represented. A national convention was held in Washington, D.C. in 1888 to discuss the political and social conditions of all African Americans and the rights and privileges of citizenship. Chapters of the Convention of Colored Republicans were still active in the 1930s. For more see, "A call has been issued...," The Daily News and Herald, 06/19/1868, issue 143, col. A; and a quotation from "Convention of Border State Colored Men," The New York Times, 06/12/1868, p. 5. For more about the Chicago Convention see The American Annual Cyclopedia and Register of Important Events of the Year 1868, vol. 8, by D. Appleton and Company [available at Google Book Search]; "Colored Republican Convention in Kentucky," Bangor Daily Whig & Courier, 03/03/1870, issue 53, col. D.; and A Colored Convention," Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, 12/10/1888, p. 2.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: United States / Baltimore, Maryland / Delaware / West Virginia / Missouri / Kentucky / Washington, D.C. / Chicago, Illinois

Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky
A convention of Free Negroes was organized in Philadelphia by James Forten in 1813. The National Convention of Free Negroes was called in 1830 by Arthur Tappan and Simeon S. Jocelyn. The convention members were anti-colonizationist, against deporting former slaves and free persons, and stood for the abolition of slavery and for equal citizenship to all free persons. The Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky was also established with branches in various cities. The exact starting date of the organization is not known, and very little has been written about the group. According to an article in The Lima Argus newspaper, in 1847, the Kentucky Convention of Free Negroes and the Kentucky Colonization Society had agreed that a representative party of free Negroes from Kentucky would be allowed to go to Liberia for one year to inspect the colony, then return to make a full report to their constituencies. Persons were nominated from Lexington, Maysville, Danville, Richmond, and Louisville. The purpose of the proposed plan was to convince more free Negroes in Kentucky to migrate to Liberia. The chosen delegates were Stephen Fletcher, J. Merriwether, H. Underwood, and A. Hooper. They left the United States in 1847, and returned August 1848, along with S. Worrell, a North Carolina delegate. The Kentucky delegates' report on the Liberia Colony was favorable, the colony was healthy and prospering satisfactorily. However, Jesse Merriwether wrote an unfavorable report and advised against emigration to Liberia. For more see The Chronological History of the Negro in America, by P. M. Bergman and M. N. Bergman; "Convention of Free Negroes," The Lima Argus, 07/27/1847, p. 2; and "Arrival of the Liberia Packet," The Adams Sentinel, 08/14/1848, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

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

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

Craft, Rebecca
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1945
A schoolteacher from Versailles, KY, Rebecca Craft graduated from Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]. She and her husband, John, moved to San Diego, California, in 1910. Rebecca Craft led the fight against segregation and discrimination so that African American police and school teachers could be hired in San Diego. She also formed the Women's Civic Organization and was president of the San Diego NAACP. The civic organization served as a social welfare agency that also did fund-raising. Rebecca Craft was the aunt of Cecil H. Steppe. For more see G. Madyun, "In the Midst of things: Rebecca Craft and the Woman's Civic League," The Journal of San Diego History, vol. 34, issue 1 (Winter 1988) [available online].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / San Diego, California

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

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

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

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

Cunningham, Raoul
Birth Year : 1943
Raoul Cunningham was born in Louisville, KY. He fought to bring down racial barriers in public accommodations and housing. When he was 14 years old, he was a member of the NAACP Youth Chapter, assisting with voter registration and participating in picketing segregated establishments in Louisville. He organized a Young Democrats chapter when he was a student at Howard University. Cunningham was president of the D.C. Federation of College Young Democrats and vice president of the Young Democrats Club of America. He is the state coordinator for the NAACP. In 2006, Cunningham received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award, given each year in Louisville. For more read the Raoul Cunningham biography and watch his interview at the KET Living the Story website; S. Sheldonstaff, "Activist Raoul Cunningham honored," Courier-Journal, 01/13/2006, News section, p. O3B; and M. Starks, "Raoul Cunningham" in Who's Who in Black Louisville, 3rd. ed., p. 63.

See photo image of Raoul Cunningham at Hall of Fame 2003, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.

 

Access Interview Read about the Raoul Cunningham oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.        
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Daniel, Wilbur N.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1999
Wilburn N. Daniel was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Fannie and Nathan Daniel. Reverend Wilbur N. Daniel was the first African American student to be accepted at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee, from which he graduated with honors in 1957. The school's African American Cultural Center is named in Daniel's honor. Daniel was a civil rights activist and a pastor of the St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, TN. Prior to enrolling in the graduate school at Austin Peay, he had earned an undergraduate degree from American Baptist Theological Seminary [American Baptist College] in Nashville and another from Tennessee State University. Daniel would leave Tennessee for Chicago, where he was pastor of the Antioch Baptist Church and served two years as president of the Chicago NAACP. He sponsored a housing development in Chicago and and in Fort Wayne, IN. He was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress in 1964. For more see Austin Peay State University African American Cultural Center; A. Ritchart, "Supporting heroes," The Leaf-Chronicle, 02/16/2006, Local section, p. 1B; Biographical Directory of Negro Ministers, by E. L. Williams; and the Rev. Wilburn Daniel entry in Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather.

See photo and additional information at "Biography of Dr. Wilburn N. Daniel," Austin Peay State University website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Clarksville, Tennessee / Chicago, Illinois

Darrell, Betty L.
Birth Year : 1934
Betty L. Darrell was born in Louisville, KY, to Jerome and Cleoda Mason McDonald. She was among the first African Americans to attend the University of Louisville, from which she graduated with a BA in 1955. Darrell lso received an MA from Washburn University in 1969. She was a schoolteacher in Louisville and later served as the director of the Racial Justice Association and Project Equality, both in New York, and was director of the New York/New Jersey Minority Purchasing Council. From 1984-1995, Darrell was director of the Minority Business Enterprise Development of Pepsi Cola North America. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1990-2000; T. Deering, "Pepsi sponsors luncheon to link minority firms," Sacramento Bee, 07/10/1992, Business section, p. B1; G. A. Drain, "NBL plans coalition to solve Black entrepreneur's problems," Michigan Chronicle, 02/08/1994; and J. D. O'Hair, "Pepsi appoints director," Michigan Chronicle, March 1995.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York / New Jersey

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

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

Dawson, Osceola A.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1963
Osceola Aleese Dawson was a woman of many talents. She was born in Roaring Springs, KY, and after her father died, she and her mother moved in with her grandfather, Peter Dawson, who lived in Christian County, KY. Osceola Dawson started school in the third grade at Little Lafayette in Christian County; she graduated valedictorian of her grade school. After passing the county examination that allowed her to enter high school in Pembroke, KY, Dawson graduated valedictorian of her high school at the age of 16 and became a teacher at the age of 17. In 1929, she was a student and an employee at West Kentucky Vocational School [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College] in Paducah. After graduating from college, Dawson remained employed at the school for more than 20 years. She had also completed work at the School of Brief English in New York and studied music to become a noted lyric soprano. Dawson was also the author of Of Human Miseries, a collection of short stories published in 1941, and a number of other works, including the 1959 documentary about Clarence Timberlake, The Timberlake Story. Dawson was also a long-standing, active member of the NAACP, serving as the secretary of both the Kentucky NAACP Conference and the Paducah NAACP Branch. Dawson was recognized for her outstanding service, including her speaking tours in northern states. She was a sister of former Illinois Assistant Attorney General James Cotter. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Papers of the NAACP, Part 21, roll 20, frame 234; and Bill Powell's Notebook, "Osceola Dawson's title has not changed but her role has," Paducah Sun-Democrat, 02/08/1958, p. 6.

Access InterviewListen online to the tribute feature, Osceola Dawson, Renaissance Woman by Jacque E. Day at WKMS-FM, Murray State University.

Access InterviewListen online to the Osceola Dawson interview by Edward R. Murrow on the program This I believe, at thisibelieve.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Roaring Springs, Trigg County, Kentucky / Hopkinsville and Pembroke, Christian County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky

Dearing, J. Earl
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 1969
J. Earl Dearing was the first African American to be appointed deputy clerk of the police court in Jefferson County. He later won the primary for a circuit court judgeship but died before the general election. He advocated outlawing segregation in public accommodations after he and his son were not allowed to view Bambi at a movie theater. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.

See photo image of J. Earl Dearing at Hall of Fame 2000, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Judges, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Doneghy, Edward "Ed"
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1930
In November of 1930, Ed Doneghy was shot and killed at the Turkey Pen Precinct by Joe Hayden, a Democratic election challenger. The disagreement between Doneghy and Hayden was reported in the newspapers to have been a "trivial" matter about Negroes voting at the booth. Hayden claimed he shot Doneghy in self-defense. Hayden was arrested, he posted bond, and return to work at the election booth. Ed Doneghy was a carpenter, according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census. He was the husband of Mollie Caldwell Doneghy (1871-1931) and the couple had several children. For more see "Kentucky Negro shot during quarrel at election booth-voting is spotty," Sheboygan Press, 11/04/1930, p.1; "50 years ago today '30," The Lewiston Journal, 11/04/1980, p.5; and The Hayden Family by C. Hayden, v.1-2, p.190.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Voting Rights
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Dotson, William S.
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 1995
William S. Dotson, born in Cave City, KY, later became a civil rights leader in Lexington, KY. Dotson first left Cave City when he was a teen; there was not a high school for African Americans, so he went to Frankfort to attend the high school at what is today Kentucky State University. He also earned a BA at the school in 1936. He was president of the National Alumni Association (1966-1968). Dotson and his wife moved to Lexington in 1938, where he later served as president of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP, 1946-1951; Dotson wanted to bring leadership to African Americans in the city. He also served as treasurer of the state NAACP for 27 years. He was the first 40 Year Man member of Omega Psi Phi, for which he received an award in 1974. For more see M. Davis, "Martin Luther King: dream lives on struggle for rights continues," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/15/1986, Lifestyle section, p. D1; Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-1999; and William S. Dotson in the Obituaries of the Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/28/1995, p. B2.

Access Interview Read about the William S. Dotson oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, items in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Cave City, Barren County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

DuBois School (Mt. Sterling, KY)
Start Year : 1939
End Year : 1964
In August of 1964, as African American parents were preparing to boycott the city schools to protest a change in the school integration plans, the DuBois School was burned down. The fire was the result of arson, as was the fire that destroyed the African American Masonic Hall. The DuBois school, probably built in 1939, was an African American school with grades 1-12. The Mt. Sterling police department was put on alert against any attempt to also burn the three schools for whites. The FBI and the Kentucky State Department of Public Safety investigated the fire; the DuBois School fire had been set while the Mt. Sterling Fire Department was answering a call at one of the white schools on the opposite end of town. The Masonic Hall was owned by W. D. Banks, an undertaker who was also a leader and active member of the Mt. Sterling NAACP Branch. Banks had been meeting with the School Board to discuss the change in plans to integrate two grades rather than the original plan to integrate the entire school system. The change had come about after it was learned that more African American students than were expected had registered to attend the school for whites. With the burning of DuBois School, an emergency School Board meeting was held behind closed doors, and the Mt. Sterling schools' classes were suspended until September 8, 1964. Louisville lawyer James A. Crumlin, Sr. was hired by African American parents in preparation for a lawsuit to force the schools to integrate. The Mt. Sterling school system was one of the last to integrate in Kentucky. For more see "All-Negro school in Mt. Sterling, KY, destroyed by fire," North Adams Transcript, 08/31/1964, p. 1; and "School Desegregation" records at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. See also the entries for African American Schools in the NKAA Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

Duncan, John Bonner
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1994
Duncan was born in Springfield, KY, leaving the state in 1930 to attend Howard University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He was also a 1938 graduate and distinguished alumni of the Robert H.Terrell Law School. A government employee, he served from 1952-1961 in the appointed position of Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the D.C. governing board in 1961; he was the first African American commissioner of the District of Columbia. In 1964, he was reappointed to the position by President Lyndon B. Johnson and served until 1967. At the end of his second term, Duncan was appointed assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Urban Relations. He retired from government in 1969. Duncan was a community and civic leader in a large number of organizations, including the NAACP and the Washington Urban League, and he served on the board of the United Negro College Fund. The John B. Duncan Papers are available at George Washington University. For more see "John B. Duncan, 84, 1st black commissioner," Obituaries, Washington Times, 06/23/1994, Section C, p. C8.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Urban Leagues, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
Geographic Region: Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky / Washington D. C.

Dunnigan, Alice A.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1983
Alice A. Dunnigan was born near Russellville, KY. She is a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute [now Kentucky State University] and for a few years after her graduation, she filled her summers by taking classes at West Kentucky Industrial College [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College] in Paducah, KY. During the first half of her life, Dunnigan was a school teacher; she had been teaching since she was 18 years old. She was also a writer and journalist, writing her first newspaper column at the age of 14. When the school term ended in 1935, she was hired as a reporter in Louisville. Dunnigan left Kentucky in 1942 when the Louisville school where she had been teaching was closed and then continued her career as a reporter in Washington, D. C. She was also a reporter for the Associated Negro Press, serving as chief of the Washington Bureau; she was the first African American female correspondent to receive White House credentials and the first African American member of the Women's National Press Club. In addition to being an educator and journalist, Dunnigan was also a civil rights activist. In her hometown of Russellville, she pushed for African American women to be hired by the WPA, and she used her position as a white house correspondent to forward the issues and concerns of African Americans, she also served as the educational consultant on President Johnson's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity. Dunnigan was the author of The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians and four other books. For more see A Black Woman's Experience, by A. A. Dunnigan; Kentucky Women, by E. K. Potter; Women Who Made a Difference, by C. Crowe-Carraco; and N. J. Dawson, "Alice Allison Dunnigan," The Crisis, July-August, 2007, pp.39-41 [available online at Google Book Search].

See photo image of Alice Dunnigan from Great Black Kentuckians, a Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, via Wikipedia.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Early African American Political Candidates, Bourbon County, KY
Start Year : 1867
End Year : 1873
In 1867, an African American man ran for deputy on the Republican ticket. The man was on the ticket with Allen H. Bashford, who was the great-grandfather of Edward F. Prichard, Jr. Bashford was running for sheriff, and both he and the African American man lost their bids for office, and an effigy of Bashford was hung in front of the courthouse [source: "The Ed Prichard Oral History Interviews," an article by Kenneth H. Williams in The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, summer/autumn 2006, v.104, nos.3&4, p.404]. In 1873, Jacob M. Porter ran for constable in Paris, KY [source: "Election for constable - a darkey on the track," Paris True Kentuckian (newspaper), 05/07/1873, p.3, col.1; and Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p.55]. In his thesis, C. B. King took from the newspaper article that J. M. Porter was the first African American candidate to run for office in the Paris District. Porter was actually preceded by Bashford's running mate in 1867. J. M. Porter removed his name from the election in 1873, because the white "Radical Democrats," as they were named in the newspaper article, did not support him and had found their own candidate, J. A. Logan. The African American Radical Democrats were in favor of Porter as the candidate and there was a split within the party. J. M. Porter was an active civic leader among African Americans in Paris, KY. He was the son of Jefferson Porter, Sr.; his father had been a slave and inherited property along with his freedom [see Jefferson Porter in NKAA Database, entry 1 and entry 2). J. M. Porter, born in 1848, was an officer within Hiram Lodge, No. 5, Masons; the Knight Templars; and the Knights of Friendship, all in Paris [source: History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky by Perrin and Peter; and the 1870 U.S. Federal Census]. J. M. Porter was also an activist; he was a member of the banking committee within the Bourbon County (KY) Protective Union of Color that was formed in 1880 in reaction to the William Giles case. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

East 6th Street / Scott's Rollarena / Foster's Roller Skating (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1868
End Year : 1961
In 1958, Scott's Rollarena for "Whites Only," became Foster's Roller Skating for "Colored Patrons Only." The roller rink was located at 427 E. 6th Street in Lexington, KY, between Shropshire Avenue and Ohio Street. [Today, it is the location of Griffith's Market.] Foster's Roller Skating was a short-lived venture owned by Rowland S. Foster, who was born in 1899 and died in 1975. The previous business, Scott's Rollarena, owned by Gilbert W. Scott, had not always been located on 6th Street. The business opened just prior to 1940 and was located on National Avenue during the early years, then moved to 422 West Main Street and in 1952 moved to the 6th Street location. Negroes who lived in the area were against the rink moving to 6th Street, and a group went before the Board of City Commissioners to denounce the move of a "whites only" skating rink to what was fast becoming a predominately Negro neighborhood. The commissioners offered their sympathy to the Negroes and said they could do nothing about the "whites only" policy. Looking back to the 1860s, East 6th Street had been considered the suburbs of Lexington [source: Prather's Lexington City Directory], and by the late 1890s, there were a few Colored families living on 6th Street [source: Emerson and Dark's Lexington Directory]. By 1939, there was a Colored neighborhood on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street, and Thomas Milton was the only Colored person living in the 400 block [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The new neighborhood continued to exist in spite of the racial tension; the determined home owners would not succumb to threats and violence. In October 1930, the Colored families living on E. 6th Street between Elm Tree Lane and Ohio Street received threatening letters following the bombing of two homes. The letters warned the families to get out of the neighborhood. The homes of the Charles Jones family on Curry Avenue and of the Rhada Crowe family at 209 East 6th Street had both been blasted with dynamite. The Crowe family had been in their home just a week, and after the bombing they moved. The letters received by their neighbors were turned over to the chief of police, Ernest Thompson, and the families were assured the Lexington Police Department would protect them. The Colored families stayed, and the area continued to change. By 1948 Negro home owners and business owners were buying property in the 400 block of E. 6th Street. [source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky.) City Directory]. The businesses were Luella Oldham Beauty Shop-410 (Colored); Irene Keller Beauty Shop-412 (Colored); Sweeney's Confectionery-430; City Radio Service-439; and Blue Grass Market-441. The street address, 427 E. 6th Street, did not exist prior to 1950, but by 1952 there was a building at the address when Scott's Rollarena moved to its new location. The protest against the "whites only" policy at the roller rink was one of the early and lesser known acts of the ongoing Civil Rights Movement in Lexington. In spite of the protests, Scott's Rollarena was at the 6th Street location for six years before the business closed in 1958. In May of that same year, Foster's Roller Skating opened in the same location for "Colored Patrons Only." The building at 427 E. 6th Street was listed as vacant in the 1961 Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, Ky) City Directory. In 1977, there was a grocery store in the building when it was destroyed by fire; arson was suspected. For more see "City fathers give sympathy which fears rink will raise problem," Lexington Leader, 01/10/1952, p. 12; the ad for Foster's Roller Skating in the Lexington Leader, 05/08/1958; "Judge requests jury to probe house bombing," Lexington Leader, 10/06/1930, p. 1; "Family to move following blast," Lexington Leader, 10/03/1930, p. 1; "Police promise protection for Negro families," Lexington Leader, 10/14/1930, p. 1; and "Store gutted; arson suspected," Lexington Leader, 06/17/1977, p. A-1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Skating Rinks, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Edwards, Sallie N.
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Beaumont, KY, Edwards participated in the March on Washington Movement of 1941 and the American Council on Human Rights. She was a social worker. She wrote articles that appeared in Southwestern Christian Advocate and other magazines and taught at Stowe Teachers College in St. Louis, MO. For more see Supplement to Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Harris Stowe State College, a St. Louis positive..., an African American Registry website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Social Workers
Geographic Region: Beaumont, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Ellis, Betty Marie
Birth Year : 1925
In June of 1948, the student admission application for Betty Marie Ellis, who was white, was rejected by Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] because the Day Law forbid black and white students from attending the same school in Kentucky. Ellis was furious about the law. "Had I the financial and legal backing, I would like very much to contest the law as it stands." Betty Marie Ellis was a civil rights activist who was not working with any particular organization. She was the first white student to apply for admission to Kentucky State College. Ellis was a 25 year old college graduate from Peru, IN, and was studying for a master's degree in religious education at the College of the Bible [now Lexington Theological Seminary] in Lexington, KY. She was also the director of religious education at the First Christian Church in Shelbyville, KY. She had attended school with Negro children in Peru, IN, where the schools were integrated and so was Manchester College in North Manchester, IN, where Ellis earned her bachelor's degree. In response to being denied admission to Kentucky State College, Ellis wrote letters of protest to Dr. Atwood, President of Kentucky State College; Kentucky Governor Earl Clements; and Boswell B. Hodgkin, Superintendent of Public Instruction in Kentucky. Betty Marie Ellis was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Ellis. For more see the document "Kentucky State College rejects white girl; she blasts governor, Jim Crow laws," Monday, June 14, 1948, p.44 [second page missing] within the file Kentucky State College (Frankfort), Louisville Municipal College, & West KY Vocational Training School (Paducah), part of The Claude A. Burnett Papers: The Associated Negro Press, 1918-1967, Part 3: Subject Files on Black Americans, 1918-1967, Series A, Agriculture, 1923-1966 -- Proquest History Vault; and see Betty Marie Ellis on p.65 in Tracks: Chesapeake & Ohio, Nickel Plate, Pere Marquette, vol. 29, issue 7. See also the NKAA entry for Mrs. Geraldine Cox Ogden, the first white student admitted to Kentucky State College. See also Barry Coleman Moore, the first white football player at Kentucky State College.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration South, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Peru, Indiana / Manchester, Indiana / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

Elzy, Robert James
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1972
Born in Lexington, KY, Elzy was a 1909 graduate of Fisk University and completed his graduate work at Columbia University and New York University. He was assistant principal and a teacher at Joseph K. Brick School in North Carolina, then taught for a year at State Normal School for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]. Elzy left Kentucky to practice social work in Brooklyn, New York. He was the founder and executive secretary of the Brooklyn Urban League, chaired the Colored Case Committee of the Bedford and Ft. Green districts of the Brooklyn Bureau of Charities, and was treasurer of the Brooklyn Social Service League. Robert J. Elzy was the husband of Louise Voorhees Elzy. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29 and 1950; and "Robert Elzy of Urban League, champion of Black welfare, dies," New York Times, 02/20/1972, p. 68.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Migration North, Social Workers, Migration East, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / North Carolina / Brooklyn, New York

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

Evans, William L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1886
Born in Louisville, KY, Evans received an A.B. from Fisk University in 1909, took advanced study at Columbia University, from 1910 to 1911, and earned his M.A. from the University of Buffalo in 1930. He was Industrial Secretary of the Chicago Urban League, 1919-1923, worked with Plato and Evans Architectural Firm, 1923-1927, and was executive secretary of the Buffalo Urban League, beginning in 1927. Evans had also been a teacher before moving to Buffalo. He was a member of the Buffalo Commission in the New York State Commission Against Discrimination. Evans was the author of three articles: "Federal Housing Brings Racial Segregation to Buffalo," "Race, Fear and Housing," and "The Negro Community in 1948." He was the father of W. Leonard Evans, Jr. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37 & 1950; and Strangers in the Land of Paradise, by L. S. Williams.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Architects, Education and Educators, Fathers, Migration North, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Urban Leagues, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Buffalo, New York

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

Fergus Falls (Otter Tail County, Minnesota)
Around 1849, 40 free African Americans, most from Virginia and Kentucky, arrived near what is today St. Paul, Minnesota. Minnesota had recently been organized as a territory, and small groups of Kentuckians would continue to make their way to the area for the next half century. In 1896, real-estate agents distributed fliers to Kentucky African American veterans visiting the fairgrounds in St. Paul; the fliers highlighted Fergus Falls as a good settlement area. About 50 African Americans from Kentucky moved to Fergus Falls in 1897, joining others who had been there since the end of the Civil War. The community was described in a newspaper article as "the first exclusive Colored colony in Minnesota." The family of activist Mary Lee Johnson, who was born in Kentucky, moved to the area sometime after 1910. The lack of suitable homesteads and employment led many to leave the area. By 1970 only 15 residents remained in the African American community of Fergus Falls. For more see the quote in the article "Colored colony," Illinois Record, 05/14/1898, p.2; African Americans in Minnesota, by D. V. Taylor; and P. Miller, "Activist Mary Lee Johnson dies," Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities, 10/12/1997, News section, p. 7B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Communities, Freedom, Migration West, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Virginia / Kentucky / Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County, Minnesota

First Open Housing Ordinances in Kentucky
Start Year : 1966
Bardstown and Nelson County, KY, were first in the state to adopt the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' model open housing ordinance, which prohibited racial discrimination in housing, effective July 28, 1966. Covington and Kenton County were next to pass the ordinance, followed by Lexington and Fayette County. Source: A Kentucky Civil Rights Timeline, by KET (Kentucky Educational Television); and Freedom on the Border, by C. Fosl and T. E. K'Meyer.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Fouse, Elizabeth B. Cook
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1952
Elizabeth B. Cook Fouse was an advocate for African American women's opportunities and equal rights. A schoolteacher who was active in social and religious activities, she served as president of the Kentucky Federation of Colored Women and was founder of the Phillis Wheatley YWCA in Lexington, KY. She was a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. In 1944 Fouse was appointed by Governor Simeon Willis to serve on the Kentucky Commission for the Study of Negro Affairs. She was married to W. H. Fouse. For more see Jesus, Jobs, and Justice, by B. Collier-Thomas; and the Fouse Family Papers in the Kentucky Digital Library.


See photo images of Elizabeth B. Cook Fouse and others, in the Collection Inventory [click on links at the bottom of the page] in Explore UK.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association), Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

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

Francis, Lelia Iles
Birth Year : 1903
Death Year : 1999
Lelia I. Francis was born in Salt Lick, KY. She and her husband, Charles Francis, moved to Dayton, Ohio, in 1943. In 1947, Lelia I. Francis became the first African American realtor in Ohio and the second in the United States; she was a real estate broker for more than 50 years. She also helped establish the Unity Bank and an African American mortgage company. Francis was also an activist: she was one of the marchers arrested in 1967 for a protest that attempted to get more African Americans hired in downtown stores. Lelia I. Francis was a graduate of Kentucky State University and taught in rural schools in Kentucky before moving to Ohio. For more see J. H. Smith, "Lelia Iles Francis Dies, she was the first black realtor in Ohio and fought for job opportunities and better schools," Dayton Daily News, 07/26/1999, METRO section, p. 3B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Salt Lick, Bath County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio

French, John B.
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1931
John B. French was a politician, activist, singer, and business owner. He was the first African American to be appointed to the Industrial Commission of Illinois. The appointment came from Governor Len Small in 1922. The Industrial Commission acted on cases received from employees who had been injured on the job and were seeking compensation, and cases presented by persons seeking compensation for family members who had been killed on the job. French was a member of the commission branch that made the final decision on the cases. During World War I, he had also served on the Chicago Housing Committee and the Committee on the high cost of food. In 1920 he was a member of the Chicago Board of Examiners, and he was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for County Commissioner. French was the husband of Carrie Dennie; the couple had married in 1886 in West Bend, Kansas, while John was performing as an elocutionist with the Wilberforce Concert Company. Carrie French, educated at Oberlin College, was a soprano soloist. John French had also been a Jubilee singer, a bell boy, a shipping clerk, a caterer, the manager of Buildings and Grounds at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University], and steward at a country club. When he was named to the Industrial Commission in 1922, he was owner of a restaurant on Broadway named French's Pastry. In 1930, John French was among the group of Colored leaders in Chicago who were asked to meet with the Woolworth Company attorney, E. H. Williams. There was a problem; three of the Woolworth stores in the south side Colored district of Chicago were being picketed and boycotted. The Chicago Whip had organized the demonstration to force the Woolworth Company to hire Negro employees in the stores that were primarily supported by Negro patrons. John and Carrie French did not live on the south side--they lived at 4650 Winthrop Avenue, on the north end of Chicago. John had moved beyond Hubbard Street, where he had once lived with his family when they moved to Chicago from Kentucky just after the Civil War. John B. French, his mother, and all of his siblings were born in Kentucky. The family is listed as mulattoes in the census records beginning in 1870. John's wife, Carrie Dennie French, was born in 1862. Her mother was a Kentucky native who had migrated to Illinois, where Carrie was born. For more see "Hon. J. B. French makes record in state position," Chicago World, 10/29/1925, p. 3; "John B. French" on page 6 in Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather; "The Mr. John B. French...," Cleveland Gazette, 01/09/1886, p. 1; and "Leaders hold conference with Woolworth attorney," Plaindealer, 08/29/1930, p. 1.

See photo image of John B. French at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

See photo image of Carrie Dennie French at the flickr website by puzzlemaster.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

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

Gamble, Joseph Dunbar
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2005
Gamble, born in Browder, KY, the son of Bessie Breckner Gamble. The family moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, when Joseph was a child. Around 1960, Gamble and his mother, Bessie, were on their way to a church revival in Phoenix, Arizona, when their car broke down in New Mexico. Gamble liked the area so much that he went back to Fort Wayne, packed up his family, and moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1961. He became the first African American licensed contractor in the city, sole owner of Abdullah Construction from 1967-1986, incorporating the company as Gamble, Gamble, Gamble, and Gamble Construction Company in 1986. Joseph Gamble was also president of the Albuquerque branch of the NAACP from 1962-1966, advocating for fair housing legislation. He was founder and director of the Albuquerque Afro-American Cultural Center. In 1999 he was awarded the Carnis Salisbury Humanitarian Award. For more see L. Jojola, "Contractor was Noted Civil Rights Activist," Albuquerque Journal, 06/23/2005, Obituaries section, p. D13.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Historians, Migration North, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Browder, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky / Fort Wayne, Indiana / Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gibbons, Harriet
Birth Year : 1924
Death Year : 1992
Harriet Gibbons was born in Louisville, KY. A graduate of Kentucky State University and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she taught black history at Albany High School, and in 1974 was named principal of the alternative high school, Street Academy, both in Albany, NY. Gibbons was selected to fill a vacancy on the city school board and in 1979 became the first African American woman elected to the post, remaining on the board for ten years. Also in 1979, Gibbons was named director of the Office of Equal Opportunity for the city of Albany, staying with the job till 1985. She next became director of the Affirmative Action Office at the New York Department of Health, retiring from the position in 1989. She had also been a caseworker with the Albany County Department of Social Services and was the first African American woman to head a city agency, the Albany (NY) YWCA. After her death in 1992, the Street Academy was renamed Harriet Gibbons High School. The school closed in 2010. In 2012, Harriet Gibbons was posthumously inducted into the Albany City School District Hall of Fame. For more see R. Wexler, "Harriet Gibbons, 68, Former Director of Albany Agency," The Times Union, 04/21/1992, Local section, p. B7.

See photo image and additional information about Harriet Gibbons in the article by C. Miller, "Keeping my promise...and then some," 06/28/2012, at timesunion.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration North, Board of Education, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Albany, New York

Grevious, Audrey L.
Birth Year : 1930
Born in Lexington, KY, Audrey Grevious was principal of Kentucky Village, a state reformatory school for delinquent boys. She later became president of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP, during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. She was also involved in the Lexington Congress of Racial Equity (CORE). Grevious and Julia Lewis helped bring CORE and the NAACP together as a combined front for protests against segregation. Grevious is a graduate of Kentucky State University and Eastern Kentucky University. For more see Audrey Grevious in Living the Story, Film Interviews at the Kentucky Historical Society.

See photo image and additional information about Audrey Grevious at The HistoryMakers website.

Access Interview Read about the Audrey L. Grevious oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Greyhound Bus Station Waiting Area, Desegregated, Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1953
The beginning of the desegregation of the Greyhound Bus Station waiting rooms in Louisville, KY, took place in 1953 and continued with the activism of Charles Ewbank Tucker, who was a minister, a civil rights activist, and an attorney. The actual challenge began in December of 1953 when William Woodsnell took a seat in the white waiting area of the Louisville Greyhound Bus Station and refused to move. Woodsnell was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The next day, Charles E. Tucker, Woodsnell's attorney, took a seat in the white waiting area of the bus station and no one approached him or asked him to move. The Louisville Greyhound Bus Station was the starting point for segregated waiting rooms for passengers heading south aboard Greyhound buses. Though there were states with laws that enforced segregation on buses, there were no such laws in Kentucky. When Charles E. Tucker challenged the practice in Louisville, the Greyhound Bus Company admitted that there was not a company policy on segregated waiting rooms, and the segregation was a local custom. Throughout the South, there were challenges to the laws and the customs of segregation. In 1955, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) banned segregation on buses in interstate travel, which did not include bus terminals, waiting rooms, restaurants, and bathrooms. In 1961, the ICC issued new rules ending discrimination in interstate travel. For more see "Jim Crow...," Plaindealer, 01/01/1954, p. 1; "Arrest Negro for sitting in white Ky. waiting room," Jet, 12/24/1953, p. 6; heading "Civil Rights," p. 191, second column, last paragraph in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, by J. E. Kleber; The Road to Civil Rights; waiting for the ICC, a U.S. Department of Transportation website; and search the Department of Transportation website for additional information on the desegregation of public transportation in the United States.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bus Transportation: Employees, Owners, Segregation
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Griffin, Edna
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 2000
Edna Griffin, born in Kentucky and reared in New Hampshire, later moved to Des Moines, Iowa. In 1948 she was refused an ice cream cone in the Katz Drug Store because they did not serve African Americans. Griffin led sit-ins, picketed the drug store, and sued the store owner. She won her civil case and was awarded $1. Griffin went on to found the Iowa Congress for Racial Equality and participated in the March on Washington in 1963. For more see T. Longden, "Edna Griffin," Des Moines Register, 01/28/2001, Metro Iowa Famous Iowans section, p. 1B; and Edna Griffin Papers, a University of Iowa website.

See photo image and additional information about Edna Griffin at "Famous Des Moines Citizens: Edna Griffin, 11/06/2008, at the Living Downtown Des Moines website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Migration West, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New Hampshire / Des Moines, Iowa

Grundy, Chester
Birth Year : 1947
Chester Grundy was born in 1947 in Louisville, KY. He is a 1969 graduate of the University of Kentucky (UK), where, as a student, he helped establish the school's Black Student Union. Grundy had been an administrator with UK for more than 30 years, serving as the director of the Office of African American Student Affairs  and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center. He was the Director of Multicultural Student Programming. Over the years, Chester has been a mentor, counselor, role model, and friend, one who clearly recognizes factors outside the classroom that can impact a student's goal to graduate from the University of Kentucky. Chester Grundy also helped establish the nationally recognized UK "Spotlight Jazz Series" and arranged for a number of nationally and internationally renowned speakers to visit the University of Kentucky campus. In the Lexington community, Chester Grundy co-founded the annual Roots and Heritage Festival and the Martin Luther King annual celebration. For more see Chester Grundy on the HistoryMakers website; the Chester Grundy entry in the 1997 Leaders Awards, by the Lane Report; and many articles in local newspapers. Listen to the Chester Grundy sound recording interview in the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project, 1900-1989 at Special Collections, University of Kentucky Libraries. There is also a sound recording of his interview online at the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society. See L. B. Blackford, "UK lays off Chester Grundy, long-time director of MLK Cultural Center," Lexington Herald-Leader, 06/11/2012, [article online].

Access Interview Read about the Chester Grundy oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Access Interview  Listen to recordings and read transcripts online at Kentucky Historical Society

  See photo image and additional information about Chester Grundy at HistoryMakers


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hackett, Wilbur, Jr.
Birth Year : 1949
Wilbur Hackett, Jr. is a 1999 Hall of Fame inductee at Manual High School in Louisville, KY, where he was a linebacker and running back on defense. He was considered the best all around football player in the city; in 1966 Hackett was All-State, All-Southern, and Parade Magazine All-American. The 5' 9", 185 pound Hackett went on to become a three year starting linebacker at the University of Kentucky (UK). He was the first African American to start in any sport at UK and in 1969 was the first to be named a team captain. Hackett was also one of the first African American football players in the Southeastern Conference (SEC). He received death threats, and in a game at Ole Miss, armed guards were on hand to protect him and teammate and roommate, Houston Hogg, who was from Owensboro, KY. Hackett was influenced to attend UK by Nat Northington and, Greg Page who would die from a neck injury he received during practice. Cecil New, a white football player at UK, also died from a neck injury the same year as Page. Hackett left UK in 1970. For more see Wilbur Hackett, Jr, Inducted: 1999, at the Manual High School website; "Negro to captain Kentucky football," Washington Post, 08/30/1969, p. D5; "Recalling the death of racial segregation in Southern college football," The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, issue 21, (Autumn 1988), pp. 64-65; M. Story, "They were our Jackie Robinsons - Hackett recalls days as trailblazer at UK of 1960s, a story for every county," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/28/2007, Sports section, p. C2; and L. Austin, "Courage to play," Kentucky Kernel, 10/04/2010.

See photo image and additional information about Wilbur Hackett, Jr. in article "Former Wildcat remains a football player at heart," page 47 in Kentucky Alumni, vol.81, no.1, Spring 2010.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Football
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Mississippi

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

Hammons, James W.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2006
Dr. James W. Hammons was the first African American physician to practice medicine at Central Baptist Hospital, in Lexington, KY, and he was the first African American member of the Kentucky Medical Association. There were many firsts in the medical field for Dr. Hammons. He was also a school teacher in Hopkinsville, KY. He was vice-president of the Lexington Committee on Open Housing and he was a member of the Human Rights Commission. His educational career included West Virginia State where he played football and was injured, forcing him to return to Louisville. Though he was born Kentucky, Hammons' mother had moved back to Tennessee when his father died around 1932. He returned to Louisville a little later to live with his uncle, Dr. John M. Hammons. After graduating from high school, he left Louisville to attend college. When James W. Hammons returned to Louisville after his football injury at West Virginia State, he next attended and graduated in 1950 from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] where he was manager of the football team. He also attended the University of Kentucky where he earned his master's degree in 1954; Hammons was the first African American admitted to the medical department [public health bacteriology]. Hammons also graduated from the Chicago School of Osteopathy in 1959 [now the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine at Midwestern University]. He returned to Lexington and had a private practice on East Third Street and also took on patients of Dr. Bush Hunter who had become ill. Dr. James W. Hammons treated patients of all races. He was the first osteopathic doctor in the country to belong to a medical association in 1969. Gaining membership had been a challenge that became a success with the assistance of many of his comrades in the Fayette County Medical Society. Dr. James W. Hammons was the nephew of Dr. John Matthew Hammons who was the director of the Vernereal Clinic and head of the first Birth Control Clinic for African American women in Louisville, KY. Dr. James W. Hammons' ancestors included both African American slaves and slave owners. For more listen to the James W. Hammons oral history interviews at the University of Kentucky Special Collections, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History; see J. Ogawa, "Physician James Hammons dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/12/2006, p.B4; J. Warren, "One patient at a time - Lexington osteopath has broken barriers for years," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/10/2002, p.B1; and D. Burdette, "36-years later, doctor still makes house calls for one special patient," Lexington Herald-Leader, 04/03/1995, p.B1.

 

Access Interview Listen to the recording and read about the James W. Hammons oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.       

 

 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Hardin, Boniface
Birth Year : 1933
Death Year : 2012
Born in Louisville, KY, Boniface Hardin grew up in Bardstown, KY, and Indianapolis, IN. He became a Benedictine monk in 1953. He established Martin College in 1977 [now Martin University], to educate low income minority adults. The school, which has existed for more than 30 years, started with just two students; today Martin University has about 1,600 students. The school is the only predominately Black university in Indiana. Hardin has also been an outspoken advocate for civil rights. In 2002, Hardin, who speaks 16 languages, was named International Citizen of the Year by the International Center of Indianapolis. For more see the 1983 Boniface Hardin interview in the People of Indianapolis collection at Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory; and B. Harris, "Award honors global vision - International Center to recognize founder and longtime leader of Martin University," The Indianapolis Star, 11/14/2002, City State; Biography section, p. B03.

See photo image of Rev. Boniface Hardin at the Find A Grave website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana

Harding, Robert E., Jr.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2004
Robert E. Harding, Jr. graduated first in his class from Bate High School in Danville, where he was born and grew up. He earned his bachelor's degree in 1954 at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. Harding went on to become the second African American to graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Law. In 1958, he was an attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, transferring to the New Mexico office in 1968. Harding was a civil rights leader and an active NAACP member; he was president of the Albuquerque NAACP Branch. The Vincent E. Harding Public Interest Scholarship was established a few years prior to the 2005 Robert E. Harding, Jr. Endowed Professorship, both at the University of Kentucky Law School. [Vincent E. Harding was Robert and Iola Harding's son.] For more see A. Jester, "Distinguished black alumnus honored by UK law school," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/27/05, p. B3.

See photo image and additional information about Robert E. Harding, Jr. at the University of Kentucky College of Law website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Albuquerque, New Mexico

Harlan, Robert J.
Birth Year : 1816
Death Year : 1897
Robert J. Harlan was born in Harrodsburg, KY, child of a slave mother and Judge James Harlan (father of John M. Harlan - Plessy v. Ferguson). He was the second American to own and race horses in England. He lost his wealth during the Civil War. Harlan spoke out for the ratification of the 15th Amendment. He was a member of the Ohio Legislature and worked with two others to gain the repeal of the Black laws. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston.

  See photo image and additional information on Robert J. Harlan at BlackPast.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Migration North, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / England, Europe / Ohio

Harris, Emma E. "The Mammy of Moscow"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1937
Harris, an actress and singer, told others that she was from Kentucky, but she gave Augusta, GA as her birth place on her 1901 U.S. Passport Application. She was to return to the U.S. in two years, but Harris lived much of her life in Moscow, Russia. She left the U.S. from Brooklyn, NY, where she had been a church choir director. She left with the "Louisiana Amazon Guards [or Gods]", a six-woman theater troupe, with a seventh woman as a reserve. The group toured Germany. Harris later became a member of the "Six Creole Belles" [which may have been the same group under a different name and management]; they toured Poland and Russia before disbanding, and all but two members returned to the U.S. in 1905 because of the revolutions taking place in Russia. Harris then formed the "Emma Harris Trio," a singing group that continued performing in various European cities. Years later, the trio broke up and Harris was stuck in Siberia, where she taught English for a living before returning to performing as a concert soloist in Russia. Harris had studied voice at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She also served as a nurse in the Ukraine during the Civil War, worked with the American Relief Association, and later was a speaker for the International Red Aid. Harris remained in Moscow with her husband and manager, Ivanovitch Mizikin. She knew Stalin and was a friend of Maxim Gorky's. She spoke fluent Russian and gave speeches against the Scottsboro Boys case when she was over 60 years old. Harris was also an excellent cook of culturally diverse meals and liked to entertain; she had many connections for getting food during the period when food was rationed in Moscow. Harris returned to the U.S. in 1933 and died in Brooklyn in 1937. For more see "The Mammy of Moscow" in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, vol. 9: Essays on Art, Race, Politics, and World Affairs, by L. Hughes, et al.; and R. E. Lotz, "The Louisiana Troupes in Europe," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 11, issue 2 (Autumn 1938), pp. 133-142.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Nurses, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Augusta, Georgia / Moscow, Russia / Brooklyn, New York City, New York

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

 

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

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

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

Hayden, Lewis [Grant]
Birth Year : 1815
Death Year : 1889
Lewis Hayden was born into slavery in Lexington, KY; his name at birth was Lewis Grant. He escaped and left Kentucky with the help of abolitionists Calvin Fairbank and Delia Webster. On January 4, 1845, Webster received a sentence of two years hard labor for her part in the escape; she was pardoned on February 24, 1845. Also during February, Fairbank was sentenced to 15 years. Hayden, who had relocated to Canada, changed his name from Lewis Grant to Lewis Hayden. The Hayden family soon returned to the U.S. Lewis, an abolitionist, worked with his wife, Harriet, to challenge racial segregation on railroads in Massachusetts and provide for runaway slaves passing through Boston. Lewis also gained some degree of wealth and raised $650 to purchase his freedom and to help Fairbank get out of prison. Fairbank was pardoned on August 23, 1849. Lewis Hayden was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1873, which was seven years after the state's first African American Legislators Charles Lewis Mitchell and Edward Garrison Walker. For more see Black Bostonians, by J. O. Horton and L. E. Horton; Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston; and Delia Webster and the Underground Railroad, by R. P. Runyon.

See image of Lewis Hayden at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Migration North, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Railroad, Railway, Trains, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Canada / Boston, Massachusetts

Henson, Josiah
Birth Year : 1789
Death Year : 1883
Josiah Henson was brought to the Riley Plantation in Owensboro, KY, as a slave, he escaped to Canada and returned many times to lead his family and others to freedom. He spoke at abolition meetings. Henson is believed to have been portrayed as the Uncle Tom character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. For more see The Life of Josiah Henson, by J. Henson; and American Biographies, by W. Preston.

See photo image of Josiah Henson at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Canada

Higgins, Chester A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1917
Death Year : 2000
Higgins was born in Chicago and raised in Lexington, KY. A World War II veteran, he attended Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University], Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, and the University of Louisville. He served as a reporter, writer, and editor for a number of publications, including the Louisville Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, the Detroit Courier, the NAACP magazine Crisis, and Jet. In 1967, the National Newspaper Publishers awarded Higgins first place in the feature news category. Higgins was also involved in a number of organizations, including serving as Executive Secretary of the Louisville National Negro Labor Council, and he was Special Assistant to Benjamin Hooks, the first African American to become the Federal Communications Commissioner. Higgins taught at Malcom X College in Chicago and at Michigan State University. He was the father of Chester Higgins, Jr. For more see L. Estrada, "Chester Higgins Sr., Jet magazine editor," Chicago Sun-times, 05/29/2000, News section, p. 47; and Kentucky HR168.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Chicago, Illinois / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Holland, Beatrice "Tommie"
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 2003
Holland, born in Madison County, KY, and raised in Cleveland, OH, was the first African American teacher in Richmond, Indiana. She was the daughter of Florence and Henry Allen Laine. Holland was a graduate of Wilberforce University and Ball State University. She was a teacher in Columbia, SC in the 1940s, then she and her family moved to Richmond in 1950. In addition to teaching, Holland was head of the Wayne County Community Action Program and was the first African American woman to head the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (1973-1977). For more see "Richmond schools hired first Black teacher in 1960," Palladium-Item, 02/19/2008, Region section, p. 3A; and Tommie Beatrice Holland in "Obituaries," Columbus Dispatch, 01/17/2003, News section, p. 07C.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio / Richmond, Indiana

hooks, bell [Gloria Jean Watkins]
Birth Year : 1955
She was born Gloria Jean Watkins in Hopkinsville, KY, the daughter of Rosa Bell and Veodis Watkins, but goes by the name bell hooks, which she prefers to spell without capitalization. hooks is a professor, feminist, cultural critic, poet, and author of more than 30 books, including Ain't I a Woman, Breaking Bread, and four children's books that include Happy to be Nappy and Be Boy Buzz. She is considered one of the foremost African American intellectuals. hooks is a graduate of Crispus Attucks High School in Hopkinsville, Stanford University (B.A.), the University of Wisconsin at Madison (M.A.), and the University of Santa Cruz (Ph.D.). After almost 30 years of teaching in California, Connecticut, New York, and Ohio, in 2004 she returned to Kentucky to join the faculty at Berea College as a Distinguished Professor in Residence. For more see Feminist Writers, ed. by P. Kester-Shelton; The African American Almanac, 8th & 9th ed.; Current Biography: World Authors 1900-1995 (updated 1999) [available via Biography Reference Bank]; and bell hooks, feminist scholar, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #416 [available online].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Migration West, Poets, Children's Books and Music
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / California / Connecticut / New York / Ohio / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Howard, James
Birth Year : 1942
James Howard was born in Sturgis, KY. When he was 13 years old, he and other students attempted to integrate the all-white Sturgis High School, which was only blocks from his home. African American students were being bussed 11 miles away to Dunbar, an African American school in Morganfield, KY. The student's campaign was picked up by the international media when protesters blocked the streets, burned a cross, and harassed Blacks in the community. The following year a judicial order forced the school to integrate. For more view the James Howard interview in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, Oral History Project; and number 109 James Howard biography and video at KET Living the Story.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Sturgis and Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky

Howard, Theodore R. M.
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1977
Howard, born in Murray, KY, was a graduate of the College of Medical Evangelists [now Loma Linda University] in Los Angeles, CA. He was medical director of the Riverside Sanitarium in California (1937-1939), then left to become surgeon-in-chief at Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou, MS, (1942-1947), which would become the largest hospital in the state for African Americans. He was also founder and chairman of the United Order of Friendship of America in Bayou. In 1947 he became surgeon-in-chief and chief medical examiner of the Friendship Clinic in Bayou. Dr. Howard was an outspoken civil rights advocate in Mississippi. He delivered the eulogy at Medgar Evers' funeral. Howard left Mississippi in 1956 to become medical director of Fuller Products Co. in Chicago, and he was also named president of the National Medical Association. His decision to come north was made exactly one year after the death of Emmett Till; Howard had been lecturing throughout Mississippi about the killing, and his life had been threatened. The White Citizens Council had place a $1,000 hit on Howard, who had become quite wealthy with hundreds of acres of farmland and an entire block of homes. Howard felt that he did not know whom to trust anymore, white or black. His clinic was sold to members of the United Order of Friendship, and Dr. Howard broke all ties with the Democratic Party. Dr. Howard was the son of Arthur Howard (b.1890 in TN) and Mary Chandler Howard (b.1892 in KY). In 1910, both parents worked as laborers in a tobacco factory, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Their second son, Willie Mason Howard, died of pneumonia in 1914, he was 15 months old according to his death certificate. By 1920, Mary had married Maurice Palmer (b.1888 in TN) and they had two children. Maurice Palmer was a laborer in a tobacco factory, and the family, including Theodore Howard, lived in Pool Town in Murray, KY. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; D. Wright, "His life in danger, medic quits Dixie to fire salvos from North," Jet, vol. X, issue 16 (1956), pp. 12-15; Blacks in Science and Medicine, by V. O. Sammons; Medgar Evers, by J. Brown; and Black Maverick by D. T. Beito and L. R. Beito. Listen to the tribute to Dr. T. R. M. Howard, by Jacque Day at WKMS at Murray State University.
Access Interview
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration West, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California / Mound Bayou, Mississippi / Chicago, Illinois

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

Hueston, William C., Sr.
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1961
Hueston was born in Lexington, KY, the son of Bettie H. Treacy; his family later moved to Kansas City, Kansas. He was a graduate of the University of Kansas and an active community leader in Kansas City. He also lived part-time in Gary, Indiana. He served as president of the National Negro Baseball League, beginning in 1927, after Rube Foster was committed to the Kankakee Asylum in Illinois. In Gary, Indiana, Hueston served as magistrate judge and helped establish the African American-owned Central State Bank. He was appointed by President Hoover to the National Memorial Commission for the building of the National Museum of African American History and Culture that was to have been built in 1929. He left Indiana in 1930 for Washington, D.C. to become Assistant Solicitor with the U.S. Post Office. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; The Josh Gibson Foundation website; Take up the Black Man's Burden: Kansas City's African American Communities, 1865-1939, by C. E. Coulter; M. Strimbu, "Library exhibit depicts Gary's rich, varied history," Post-Tribune, 07/24/1997, Gary Neighbors section, p. NB4; and "William C. Hueston, 81, Government Attorney," Washington Post, 11/27/1961, City Life section.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Baseball, Civic Leaders, Lawyers, Migration North, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service, Judges, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Kansas / Gary, Indiana / Kankakee, Illinois / Washington, D.C.

Independent Colored Clubs Movement
Start Year : 1885
End Year : 1922
In response to the discontent of African Americans with the longstanding political parties, Independent Colored Clubs were formed throughout the United States as early as 1885, and as late as 1922. One of the early Independent Colored Clubs in Kentucky was formed in Paris, KY in January of 1887. The club, renamed the Independent Party of the Colored Race, maintained the right to act only with political parties that would guarantee Colored people the fullest rights of free American citizens. One of the main points of contingency was education and decent schools for Colored children. The initial meeting of the Independent Colored Club of Paris was held at the 2nd Baptist Church; the meeting was described in the newspaper as a "mass meeting"; the club was said to have 600 members. For more see "Paris, Ky." in the column "Independence in Kentucky" on p.1 of the New York Freeman, 02/05/1887. Even earlier clubs were formed in 1885. The Independent Colored Club of Staunton, VA was formed in September of 1885, and intended to vote for the Democratic state ticket. For more see "Political Notes" in Peninsula Enterprise, 09/12/1885, p.2. Another club in 1885, was the East End Independent Colored Club in Springfield, OH. Sam Spears was the president, and Sam Garrett was secretary. The club had about 40 members. For more see "A New colored club," Springfield Globe-Republic, 09/16/1885, p.3. The Young Men's Colored Independent Political Club was located in Omaha, NE, in 1886 [source: The Omaha Daily Bee, 11/02/1886, p.6, column 1]. In 1887, the Independent Club of Colored Virginians, located in Washington, D.C., was formed with colored men from the state of Virginia with the object for "the improvement of the general condition of the colored people of the State and the preservation of the good name and welfare of the Commonwealth." For more see The Washington Bee, 09/10/1887, p.1, bottom of column 3 & columns 4-5. In 1888, Independent Colored Clubs were being formed in West Virginia, which was seen as a revolt against the Republican Party. There was thought to be 10,000 colored voters in West Virginia, which could give the Democrats a victory. For more see The Weekly Herald [Baltimore], 04/27/1888, p.4, column 1, item 9]. Other Independent Colored Clubs mentioned in local newspapers, were located in New York City, NY, and Helena, MT, in 1888; New Hope, VA, in 1889; the Colored Citizens' Independent Club in Los Angeles, CA, and in San Francisco, CA, both in 1890; the Independent Colored Club establishd by John W. Robbins in Grand Rapids, MI, in 1890 [source: R. M. Jelks, "Making opportunity: the struggle against Jim Crow in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1890-1927, Michigan Historical Review, v.19, no.2, Fall 1993, pp.36 & 38]; St. Paul, MN, in 1892; Anaconda, MT in 1894; the Independent Colored Club of Homestead, PA, in 1895; Seattle, WA, 1896; Independent Colored Political Club in Des Moins, IA, and the Independent Colored Club in Kansas City, MO, both in 1897. In Nicholasville, KY, the Independent Club of Colored Voters was formed by R. C. O. Benjamin in 1897. For more see "The Colored Independent," Richmond Climax, 10/13/1897, p.1. Still more clubs at the turn of the century were the The Colored National Independent Political Club in Point Pleasant, VA in 1900; and the Independent Colored Men's Club in Salt Lake City, UT in 1901. In 1908, the Young Men's Independent Club, Colored, was held in Marion, KY, at the home of William M. Goodall, 414 Center Street. For more see "President and War Secretary Taft characterized as enemies," Crittenden Record=Press, 07/02/1908, p.7. In Louisville, KY, in 1909, the Independent Colored Political League was formed with headquarters in the U. B. F. Hall at 9th and Madison Streets [source: "Negroes have knives sharpened for Vaughn," Louisville Courier-Journal, 05/19/1909, p.4]. There was a club in Omaha, NE, in 1910 known as the Independent Colored Political Club. In 1910, the Independent Colored Club of Winchester met at Orren Bate's store in Poyntersville to declare A. Floyd Byrd the Democratic nominee. The club was said to have a membership of leading Colored citizens, including Orren Bates, and Jim Nickels and Dennis Daniel as the secretaries. For more see "Negroes from Byrd Club," Winchester News, 11/01/1910, p.1. Clubs mentioned in later newspaper articles were the Independent Progressive Colored Club and the Good Citizens League of Indiana, both formed in 1912 in Indianapolis, IN; Colored Independent Club in Tulsa, OK, and in Hillsboro, NC, both in 1914; the Independent Colored Club of Lima, OH, in 1919; and the Henry Ford for President, Independent Colored Club No.1, said to have formed in Birmingham, AL in 1922 [source: "Can you beat it?," The Appeal, 06/03/1922, p.2].

 

  • 1885 - Springfield, OH - East End Independent Colored Club
  • 1885 - Staunton, VA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1886 - Omaha, NE - Young Men's Colored Independent Political Club
  • 1887 - Paris, KY - Independent Colored Club (renamed) Independent Party of the Colored Race
  • 1887 - Washington, D.C. - Independent Club of Colored Virginians (members from Virginia)
  • 1888 - Helena, MT - Independent Colored Club
  • 1888 - New York, NY - Independent Colored Club
  • 1888 - West Virginia - Independent Colored Clubs
  • 1889 - New Hope, VA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1890 - Grand Rapids, MI - Independent Colored Club
  • 1890 - Los Angeles, CA - Colored Citizens' Independent Club
  • 1890 - San Francisco, CA - Colored Citizens' Independent Club
  • 1892 - St. Paul, MN - independent Colored Club
  • 1894 - Anaconda, MT - Independent Colored Club
  • 1895 - Homestead, PA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1896 - Seattle, WA - Independent Colored Club
  • 1897 - Des Moins, IA - Independent Colored Political Club
  • 1897 - Kansas City, MO - Independent Colored Club
  • 1897 - Nicholasville, KY - Independent Club of Colored Voters
  • 1900 - Point Pleasant, VA - Colored National Independent Political Club
  • 1901 - Salt Lake City, UT - Independent Colored Men's Club
  • 1908 - Marion, KY - Young Men's Independent Club, Colored
  • 1909 - Louisville, KY - Independent Colored Political League
  • 1910 - Omaha, NE - Independent Colored Political Club
  • 1910 - Winchester, KY - Independent Colored Club
  • 1912 - Indianapolis, IN - Good Citizens League of Indiana (Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church)
  • 1912 - Indianapolis, IN - Independent Progressive Colored Club
  • 1914 - Hillsboro, NC - Colored Independent Club
  • 1914 - Tulsa, OK - Colored Independent Club
  • 1919 - Lima, OH - Independent Colored Club
  • 1922 - Birmingham, AL - Henry Ford for President, Independent Colored Club No.1

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kenucky / Winchester, Clark County, Kentucky / United States

Jackson, Eliza or Isabelle (Belle) Mitchell
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1942
Mitchell was born in Perryville, KY and raised in Danville, KY. Her parents, Mary and Monroe Mitchell, purchased their freedom. Belle became an abolitionist and the first African American teacher at Camp Nelson, with John G. Fee. She became a prominent teacher in Fayette County and one of the founders of the African American Orphan Industrial Home. She was actively involved with the Colored women's club movement. She was married to Jordan Jackson. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; African American Women: a biographical dictionary, by D. C. Salem; and Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home by L. F. Byars.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Freedom, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Fayette County, Kentucky

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


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

Jackson, Reid E., Sr.
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1991
Reid E. Jackson, Sr. was born in Paducah, KY, and raised in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Julia Reid and George Washington Jackson. Reid Jackson was a graduate of Central High SchoolWilberforce University (B.A.) and Ohio State University (M.A. & Ph.D.). He held a number of posts at a number of schools before becoming the administrative dean at Wilberforce University in 1949. He was secretary of the Southern Negro Conference for Equalization of Education Opportunities, 1944-1946; editor of the Sphinx, Alpha Phi Alpha, in 1945; and author of a number of articles, including "Educating Jacksonville's Tenth Child," Opportunity (July 1935). Jackson retired from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. He was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha. He was the father of Annette Dawson and Dr. Reid Jackson, II (1940-2001), and brother to Dr. Blyden Jackson. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and "Reid Jackson, Sr., 83, was MSU professor," The Sun (Baltimore, MD).


See photo image of Reid E. Jackson in the KNEA Journal, vol. 18, no. 2 (March/April 1947), p. 13. [.pdf].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Fathers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Wilberforce, Ohio / Baltimore, Maryland

Jackson, Thompson
Birth Year : 1882
Jackson was born in Henderson, KY, the son of Lizzy Jackson. He organized the Good Citizenship League in Mansfield, Ohio in 1924, the Y-Indus Club in 1926, and the Boy Scout Troop. Jackson served as president of the Republican Club for Colored Voters, delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1924, and president of the Mansfield NAACP. For more see Who's Who in Colored America 1928-29 and 1950.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Voting Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Mansfield, Ohio

Jacobson, Harriet P.
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1961
Harriet Price Jacobson was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Nannie Price and Robert Johnson. A teacher and poet, she taught in Oklahoma rural schools from 1893 to 1896 and in Kansas and Oklahoma city schools from 1897 to 1935. She was an advisory teacher from 1935 to 1947. Jacobson organized the East Side Culture Club in Oklahoma City in 1907 and assisted in the organization of the State Training School for Negro Boys in Boley and the Training School for Girls in Taft. She was the founder and first president of the Oklahoma Federation of Negro Women's Clubs, 1910-1915. She received an award for her 42 years of teaching. Jacobson was author of a number of published poems in publications such as Anthology of Poetry by Oklahoma Writers (1938) and The Poetry Digest Annual (1939), and in 1947 her book of poems was published, Songs in the Night. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; and Black American Writers Past and Present. A biographical and bibliographical dictionary, by T. G. Rush, et al. See also Harriet Price Jacobson at the Uncrowned Community Builders website, and Harriet Price Jacobson at the Find A Grave website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Migration West, Poets, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Oklahoma City, Oklahoma / Kansas

John Brown, Hanged With Kentucky Rope
End Year : 1859
The rope used to hang abolitionist John Brown (1800-1859) came from Kentucky. Prior to his hanging, samples of rope were submitted by South Carolina, Missouri, and Kentucky. The ropes were put on exhibit for the public to view. The ropes from South Carolina and Missouri were not used because it was thought that they were not strong enough, so the rope from Kentucky was selected. John Brown was hanged in Charlestown, WV, on December 2, 1859. In an article in the Charleston Gazette, 07/14/1929, it was stated that the rope used to hang John Brown was in the Kentucky Archives, but there is no evidence of that being true today. Two pieces of the rope are said to be on display at the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum [photo of rope]; the rope pieces were donated by the Richmond United Daughters of the Confederacy. The rope pieces are artifacts from a Virginia regiment that was present the day of the hanging. The original rope is also said to be in the State Museum Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History; the rope was part of the collection purchased from Boyd B. Stutler, who was a collector of John Brown items. The Massachusetts Historical Society also has a rope, with the noose, that supposedly was used to hang John Brown. The rope was given to the organization by William Roscoe Thayer, president of the American Historical Association in 1918. For more see The Public Life of Capt. John Brown, by J. Redpath; Progress of a Race, Or, the Remarkable Advancement of the American Negro, by H. F. Kletzing and W. H. Crogman [available full view via Google Book Search]; "Notes on John Brown Hanging Rope" and other items in the John Brown/Boyd B. Stutler Collection Database and other collections at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History website; "Brown rope is given Stutler on birthday," Charleston Gazette, 07/14/1929; and artifacts and library holdings relating to John Brown at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

See photo image of John Brown and additional information at the New Perspectives of the West - John Brown website at Kentucky Educational Television [KET].
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Executions
Geographic Region: Kentucky / South Carolina / Missouri / Charleston, West Virginia

Johnson, John J.
Birth Year : 1945
From Franklin, KY, John J. Johnson became the youngest NAACP chapter president in Kentucky at the age of 17. During his tenure, the Franklin Chapter of the NAACP prevented the town of Franklin from employing the former chief of police from Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered. Johnson was state president of the NAACP for 14 years, leaving Kentucky to join the national NAACP office. John Johnson Street in Franklin, KY, is named in his honor. Johnson was born in Louisville, KY, grew up in Franklin, and lived in Baltimore, MD. In 2007, Johnson became the executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. For more information, see Hall of Fame 2005 on the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website; the John J. Johnson Biography at the HistoryMakers website; and KET's "Connections with Renee Shaw" - #312: John J. Johnson.

  See John J. Johnson at the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame website

 

Access InterviewRead more about the John J. Johnson recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.      
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland

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

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

Access Interview Read about the Lyman T. Johnson oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Columbia, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

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

Johnson, Thelma Banks
Birth Year : 1909
The first African American elected official in Henderson County was Thelma Johnson, she was elected to the Henderson County Board of Education in 1978 and served until 1986. She also served as chair of the Henderson Human Rights Commission. Johnson was born in Georgia, the daughter of Mary and Harry Banks, and she came to Henderson, KY, in 1946.

Access Interview Read the transcript to the Thelma Johnson oral history interview in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Georgia / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky

Jones, Alberta O.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 1965
Alberta Odell Jones was born in Louisville, KY, the third child of Sarah (Sadie) Frances Crawford Jones and Odell Jones. She was also a first cousin of Raymond Ponder. During her brief life, Alberta Jones was at the forefront of change in Kentucky and Louisville. She was one of the first African American women to pass the Kentucky Bar (1959) and the first woman prosecutor in Kentucky (1964). [Sally J. Seals White was the first African American woman admitted to the Kentucky Bar.] Jones was prosecutor in the Louisville Domestic Relations Court; her law office was located at 2018 W. Broadway. [James A. Crumlin, Sr. was the assistant prosecutor.] Jones was Cassius Clay's [Muhammad Ali's] first attorney, taking him to California to be trained under Archie Moore. Jones was also a civil rights activist: in addition to participating in the March on Washington and the marches in Louisville, she rented voting machines and held classes to teach African Americans how to vote for the candidate of their choice. She established the Independent Voters Association and was an active member of the Louisville Urban League and the NAACP. Jones also established the James "Bulky" Welch Fund and held a fund-raiser, raffling off a car to pay Welch's medical bills and purchase the prosthetic arms to replace the ones young Welch had lost trying to retrieve his dog from under a train. Alberta Jones was a graduate of Louisville Central High School and attended the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes. When the college was merged with the University of Louisville (U of L) during desegregation, Jones continued her education at U of L and graduated third in her class. She was accepted into the University of Louisville Law School but transferred after the first year to Howard University School of Law, where she graduated fourth in her class. A picture of Alberta O. Jones hangs in the U of L Law School. She was a member of the American Bar Association, the Fall City Bar Association, and the Louisville Bar Association, serving as secretary of the latter. She was also a member of the Eta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta and the Sigma Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda. Alberta O. Jones was murdered in August 1965 -- the case has not been solved. This information was submitted by Alberta Jones's niece, Ms. Nicole M. Martin, and Jones's sister, Ms. Flora Lutisha Shanklin. For more see "Alberta Jones' funeral rites held; unsolved murders alarm West Enders," The Louisville Defender, 08/12/1965, front page and p. 6; and Legacy of Leadership: African American Pioneers in Kentucky Law (video-recording), by the University of Louisville School of Law.
See photo image of Alberta O. Jones and Cassius Clay [Muhammad Ali] in Jet, 08/26/1965, p.5.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Voting Rights, Lawyers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Jones, Charles Edward
Birth Year : 1879
Death Year : 1947
Charles E. Jones was the owner of Jones Funeral Home in Covington, KY, where he was born. He was the son of E. I. and Amanda Jones. He assisted in the push to get Lincoln-Grant High School built; the school auditorium was named in his honor. Jones was also an active church member, a former president of the Covington NAACP Branch. He was a graduate of the Cincinnati College of Embalming. Jones was a 32nd Degree Mason, and served as Deputy Grand Commander of the State of Kentucky Masons, and was the Past Royal Grand Patron of Eastern Star of Kentucky. He was an Oddfellow, belonged to the Knights of Pythias, the Elks, Mosaics and True Reformer, and the United Brothers of Friendship. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; Many tried, few defeated William Grant in '50s, '60s, The Cincinnati Post, 02/23/1998; J. Reis, "Jones led church, social causes," The Kentucky Post, 02/02/2004; and Cincinnati's Colored Citizens by W. P. Dabney.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Religion & Church Work, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Jones, Cornell
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 1998
In 1973 Jones became the first African American elected to the Mayfield, KY, City Council and the first African American councilman in Graves County. He was re-elected to a third term in 1977. Jones is also a former president of the Mayfield NAACP Branch. For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 2; and Papers of the NAACP, Selected Branch Files, 1956-1965: Series A: The South, Jones, Cornell 7:0035.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky

Jones, Eugene K.
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1954
Contrary to popular belief, Eugene Kinckle Jones was not from Kentucky; he was born in Richmond, VA, the son of Joseph and Rosa Jones. Both parents taught at Virginia Union College [now Virginia Union University]. Eugene Jones came to Louisville, KY, to teach (1906-1909). He then left Kentucky for New York, where he became the first Chief Executive of the National Urban League and founded the organization's magazine, Opportunity. Jones also organized the first three Alpha Phi Alpha chapters and was appointed the adviser on Negro Affairs for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in 1933. Eugene Jones was a graduate of Virginia Union College (B.A.) and Cornell University (M.A.). For more see The Talented Tenth: the founders and presidents of Alpha, by H. Mason; Eugene Kinckle Jones and the Rise of Professional Black Social Workers, 1910-1940, by F. Armfield (thesis); and the Eugene Kinckle Jones entry in African-American Social Leaders and Activists, by J. Rummel.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Richmond, Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York, New York

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


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

Jones, Louis Clayton
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 2006
Jones, an equal rights advocate and international lawyer, was born in Lexington, KY. He was a graduate of old Dunbar High School, Howard University, and Yale Law School, and was admitted to the bar in Kentucky and New York. He founded the National Conference of Black Lawyers. He was assistant director of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in 1961. In 1981, he was the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Liberia, returning to the U.S. in 1982. The following year, Jones became counsel to the family of Michael Stewart, a 25-year old New Yorker who was arrested for writing graffiti in the subway and later died from injuries he received while in police custody. In 1985, Jones became the Director of Legal and Financial Affairs in Paris, France, for the Saudi Arabian company First Investment Capital Corporation. Louis Clayton Jones was the son of the late Mary Elizabeth Jones and Rev. William A. Jones, Sr.,; one of his six siblings was Rev. William A. Jones, Jr. For more see J. Ogawa, "Lexington native worked behind scenes for equal rights," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/13/2006, City&Region section, p. D3; and "RIP: Louis Clayton Jones," Black Star News, 01/12/2006.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / New York / Liberia, Africa

Jones, William (Bill) A., Jr.
Birth Year : 1934
Death Year : 2006
Born in Louisville, KY, Jones was ordained a minister in Kentucky and served as pastor of Bethany Baptist Church for 43 years. The church, located in Brooklyn, New York, has about 5,000 members. Jones' message was also delivered on the Bethany Hour, which was broadcast on television and radio to 400 cities. He also led the campaign to integrate New York trade unions and organized a boycott of grocery stores, such as A & P, because they did not hire African Americans. He helped to establish and lead the National Black Pastors Conference in 1979. He was the first chairman of the New York chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He had preached in Toronto and Scotland and completed special studies in Nigeria and Ghana. Jones grew up in Lexington and was a graduate of the (Old) Dunbar High School and the University of Kentucky, where he earned a degree in sociology. He was also a graduate of Crozer Theological Seminary and earned his doctorate from a school that is now part of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He was the son of William A. Jones, Sr. and the grandson of Henry Wise Jones, Sr. who co-founded Simmons Bible College in Louisville, KY. William A. Jones, Jr.'s memorial service was held at the Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. For more see D. Martin, "Rev. William A. Jones, Civil Rights Activist, Dies at 71," The New York Times, 02/08/2006, Sec. C, p.16; and J. Hewlett, "Renowned preacher, civil-rights leader," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/07/2006, City&Region section, p. B1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Radio, Religion & Church Work, Television
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Brooklyn, New York

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

Jordan, Artishia Garcia Wilkerson
Birth Year : 1901
Death Year : 1974
Artishia G. W. Jordon was a teacher, civic leader, a leader in the AME Church, and supported civil rights. She was born in Louisville, KY, the daughter of attorney Bernard O. and Dr. Artishia Gilbert Wilkerson. She was a graduate of Central High School, attended Howard University, graduated from the University of Chicago in 1923, and earned her master's degree in mathematics at the University of California in 1924. She was the wife of Frederick D. Jordan who was a bishop in the AME Church. Artishia Jordan served as president of the Southern California Conference Branch, and was vice-president of the Chicago Conference Branch and the Southwest Missouri Conference Branch. She organized the AME Minister's Wives Alliance of the Los Angeles vicinity. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Order of Eastern Star, and was elected to the executive council of Southern California Council of Church Women. She also served as president of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Council of Negro Women, and was a member of the Committee of Management of the Woodlawn YWCA. She was affiliated with the Sojourner Truth Home and the NAACP. Jordan was the first African American director of the Los Angeles Chapter of American Mission to Lepers. She was a contributing editor of the Afro-American Woman's Journal and was editor of the Women's Missionary Recorder from 1940 to 1944. She taught math at Central High School in Louisville and also taught at Western University. Artishia Jordan and her husband, Bishop F. D. Jordan, made several trips during the 1950s visiting AME Churches in South Africa. Artishia Jordan was author of The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Africa. Jordan Hall at Morris Brown College was named for Rev. and Mrs. Jordan. In 1976, the AME Church founded the Artishia Jordan Scholarship Fund, and after Bishop Jordan's death in 1976, the name of the fund was changed to the Artishia and Frederick Jordan Scholarship Fund. More than 1,000 students have benefited from the fund. For more see Mrs. Artishia Wilkerson Jordan in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright; J. Jordan, "Thirtieth Anniversary of the Artishia and Frederick Jordan Fund," in the Christian Recorder Online (English Edition), 11/09/2006; and see Artishia Gilbert Wilkerson Jordan in Negro Who's Who in California, 1948 edition, by H. M. J. Williams.

See photo image of Artishia and Frederick Jordan at the Jordan Scholarship Fund webpage, a Howard University website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Migration West, Women's Groups and Organizations, National Council of Negro Women
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California

Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History Project
Start Year : 2013
The following comes from the University of Kentucky Public Relations press release, dated March 5, 2014. "The Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History Project is being made possible by a partnership between UK Libraries' Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the UK Office of Community Engagement and the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. The commission established the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame to recognize men and women who are or have been leaders in the struggle for equality and justice in the Commonwealth; to raise public awareness about human rights issues; and to foster an environment for discussion and education regarding Kentucky civil rights history and ongoing challenges."

 

Access Interview See the list of names and listen to the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame Oral History interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Kentucky Divisions of the Universal Negro Improvement Association
Start Year : 1914
August 1, 1914, Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica, with the goal of uniting all of African ancestry. The organization's motto was "One God! One Aim! One Destiny!" The New York Division of UNIA was established in 1917 with a membership of over 3,000. By 1920, there were more than 1,000 UNIA divisions in over 40 countries. In Kentucky, there were at least 11 divisions in Benham, Clay, Coxton, Daniel Boone, Florence, Erlanger, Louisville, Madisonville, Sassafras, and Sergent, and a chapter in Oakland Addition (Louisville). For more see Race First by T. Martin; The Official UNIA website; and The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, edited by R. A. Hill.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky: Benham and Coxton, Harlan County / Erlanger, Kenton County / Florence, Boone County / Louisville, Jefferson County / Madisonville, Hopkins County / Sassafras, Knott County / Sergent, Letcher County

Kentucky Racial Justice Act of 1998
Kentucky was the first state to pass a Racial Justice Act, March 1998. In capital cases, statistical evidence is allowed to show that race influenced the decision to seek the death penalty. If the judge determines that race was a factor, then the death penalty will be barred. The act is not retroactive. The bill came about after it was found that all of the African Americans on death roll were there for killing whites, but there were no whites on death row for killing African Americans. For more see The Advocate, vol. 20, no. 4 (July 1998) and SB 171.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights
Geographic Region: Kentucky

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

Lewis, Julia Etta
Birth Year : 1932
Death Year : 1998
One of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in Lexington, KY, Julia Etta Lewis was a member of the Lexington Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Using non-violent demonstrations and sit-ins, Lewis led the fight against segregation in education, entertainment, shopping, restaurants, and public transportation. She and Audrey Grevious helped to bring Lexington CORE and the NAACP together for protest efforts. For more see 2001 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame - Inductees from Lexington.

  
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Living the Story, the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky (video documentary)
Start Year : 2002
Living the Story is a documentary video, produced by Kentucky Educational Television (KET). The following comes from the website. "In Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, individual Kentuckians tell their own stories of what they saw, heard, experienced, and did then. Some were leaders and organizers, but others were simply people who wanted to enroll in a different school, move to a new neighborhood, or shop at a downtown department store. ... Living the Story is not a comprehensive or definitive history of the civil rights era in Kentucky. Its purposes are to give contemporary audiences a sense of what it was like to be part of the civil rights movement, to encourage further exploration of the subject, and to inspire young people by illustrating the role people their age played in the movement."  For more information visit the Living the Story website at KET (Kentucky Educational Television).
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Livisay, Charles H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1990
Charles Livisay was active in civil rights as both a civic leader and politician, and he is also remembered as an outstanding tennis and basketball player and an outstanding basketball coach at Douglass High School. Livisay, born in Lexington, KY, was a graduate of old Dunbar High School and a 1935 graduate of Kentucky State University. He taught for a year at Dunbar High School in Mayfield, KY, but left teaching due to the low pay and took a job with Mammoth Life Insurance. In 1943 he left that job to serve in the U.S. Army. Livisay returned to Lexington and was head basketball coach for 18 years at Douglass High. The team finished second to Louisville Central in the 1953 National Negro basketball tournament held in Nashville, TN, and the team took the Kentucky High School Athletic League (KHSAL) championship in 1954. Author Louis Stout credits Livisay as one of the first coaches to institute the "transition" game of basketball. The Douglass teams coached by Livisay had a record of 255 wins and 65 losses. His 1956 basketball team came in second in the KHSAL tournament and took second again in the National Negro basketball tournament. Following school integration, Livisay coached and taught at Bryan Station High School from 1966 until his retirement in 1974. Also while coaching basketball, in 1965, Livisay ran for the 54th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives; he lost to Foster Pettit. In 1979, he was appoint to the First District council seat in Lexington to complete the term of the late O. M. Travis. When the term ended, Livisay ran for the seat and was defeated by Edgar Wallace. Livisay also served as president of the Lexington Chapter of the NAACP. His tennis career coincided with his many other activities. Livisay was considered a star tennis player and participated in tournaments such as the one held in 1940 between African American tennis players from Louisville and Lexington. Team members were Albert "Happy" Ray, William Madden, Rice Stone, Leonard Mills, and Coach Ages Bryant. The matches took place in Lexington at Douglass Park. In 1975, Charles H. Livisay was inducted into the Kentucky State University Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1993, he was inducted into the Dawahares-Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sports Hall of Fame. For more see "Tennis stars clash," Lexington Leader, 07/12/1940, p. 7, col. 4; 1993 KHSAA Hall of Fame [.pdf]; Shadows of the Past, by Louis Stout; and S. Brown, "Charles Livisay; civic leader, ex-coach, dies; Black leader was role model in community," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/01/1990, City/State section, p. C1.

 

Access InterviewRead about the Charles Livisay oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Tennis, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

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



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

 

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

Lovett, Wilson Stephen
Birth Year : 1885
Wilson S. Lovett was president of the First Standard Bank in Louisville, KY, which was established in 1921 with $50,000. It was the first African American bank in Kentucky. In 1928 the bank had assets of over $600,000. Lovett was also a civil rights activist who was a member of the NAACP and a member of the committee that led to the African American voters' repeal of the first bond effort to expand the University of Louisville. Wilson Lovett was born in New York, the son of Wilson and Annie E. Stevens Lovett, and he grew up in Pennsylvania [sources: 1900 U.S. Federal Census and Ohio Marriages Index]. He was married to Dorothy Payne Lovett (1896-1927), who was born in Kingston, Jamaica; the couple was married in 1924 in Franklin, OH. Wilson Lovett had worked as a stenographer in Alabama, he was employed in the Savings Department of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) [sources: 1910 U.S. Federal Census and Negro Star, 01/27/1933]. Lovett founded the men's basketball team at Tuskegee Institute and was the first head coach from 1908-1909. The team was undefeated, winning all three of their games [see Golden Tigers website]. Wilson Lovett came to Kentucky from Memphis, TN [sources: Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927]. In 1915, he was director of Standard Life Insurance Company in Louisville [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1915, p.900], which was prior to the establishment of the First Standard Bank. When he left the bank in 1929, Wilson Lovett became treasurer of the Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Company. During that same year, he served as secretary of the National Negro Bankers Association. In 1930, Wilson Lovett was president of the Standard Reality Corporation in Louisville [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1930, p.1256], and president of the Credential Bond and Mortgage Company in Cleveland, OH [source: Cleveland (Ohio) City Directory, 1930, p.1056], all while living in Chicago, IL. According to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Wilson Lovett shared his home in Chicago with Henry McGasock, from Kentucky; they lived at 608 E. Fifty-first Street in Chicago. In the census, Lovett is listed as the treasurer of a life insurance company. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; Who's Who in Colored America, 1928-29; "Two dead, another injured," Indianapolis Recorder, 04/02/1927, p.1; "Business," Negro Star, 08/02/1929, p.1; "Program of National Negro Bankers Association," Plaindealer, 08/02/1929, p.4; and "Boom Wilson Lovett for Register of the Treasury," Negro Star, 01/27/1933, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Basketball, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration North, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: New York / Pennsylvania / Tuskegee, Alabama / Memphis, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Cleveland, Ohio

Lunderman, Charles J., Jr.
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1973
The following information was submitted by Mrs. Juanita L. White of Louisville, KY:

Charles J. Lunderman, Jr. was an attorney and judge in Louisville, KY. He was one of the three founders of an early Black law firm that included his partners Benjamin Shobe and Haywood Banks. Lunderman, Jr. was the first African American lawyer in the legal department of the City of Louisville. He was also appointed a Jefferson County Quarterly Judge by Louisville Mayor William O. Cowger, serving from 1961-1965. He also served as president of the Louisville Branch of the NAACP and helped integrate the city swimming pools and Jefferson County Schools. Lunderman, Jr. was a member of the Jefferson County Clean Air Committee that was formed by residents of the West End and Shively to fight an industrial plant that was daily pumping 11 tons of dust into the air surrounding the communities. Charles J. Lunderman, Jr. was born in Paducah, KY, the son of Charles, Sr. and Loretta C. Bacon Lunderman Spencer Randolph. He was the husband of Mrs. Belma Lunderman McClaskey. Charles J. Lunderman, Jr. attended Kentucky State University and earned his law degree at Lincoln University in Missouri. He was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Army.

References:


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Judges
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson 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

Magee, Lazarus and Susan [Rev. James H. Magee]
The Magees were born in Kentucky; Lazarus (d. 1870) was free, and Susan (d. 1868) was a slave belonging to Billy Smith of Louisville, KY. Lazarus purchased Susan and her two children, and the family moved to Madison County, Illinois. There would be many more children, and they were sent to Racine, WI, to be educated. One of the children was Reverend James H. Magee (1839-1912), who was president of the Colored Local Historical Society in Springfield, IL; he formed the Black Man's Burden Association in Chicago. J. H. Magee had attended Pastors College [now Spurgeon's College] in London, England, from 1867-1868. He was an ordained minister, a school teacher, and an outspoken advocate for African American voting rights and education. He has been referred to as a leader of the African American people in Springfield, IL. For more see B. Cavanagh, "history talk 04-28-05" at itonline (Illinois Times); and The Night of Affliction and the Morning of Recovery, by Rev. J. H. Magee.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Fathers, Freedom, Migration North, Mothers, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Springfield, Illinois

Magowan Brothers and the Reporter (Mt. Sterling, KY)
Start Year : 1904
End Year : 1913
The Reporter Newspaper

  • The Reporter newspaper was published in Mt. Sterling, KY, by the brothers John D. Magowan and Noah W. Magowan. It was the first newspaper owned and operated by African Americans in the city of Mt. Sterling; the Mt. Sterling Advocate newspaper ran an article welcoming the Reporter. The paper was recognized as a strong voice for the Negro in Kentucky, and in 1907 when the Negro Press Association, Kentucky was formed with 14 members, N. W. Magowan was named president. One of the goals of the association was to solidify the Negro vote in the upcoming presidential election. The Reporter took on the cause. The newspaper had been established in April of 1904 as a weekly publication with Noah W. Magowan as editor, Reverend W. H. Brown and Reverend J. W. Smith associate editors, and John D. Magowan manager. [The Magowan brothers are mentioned in many sources by their first and middle initials and last names.] In January of 1908, as president of the Negro Press Association, Kentucky, N. W. Magowan made a call to all Negro press members in Kentucky to meet at the Kentucky Standard newspaper office in Louisville to discuss the political situation in the state, in reference to the presidential election and the selection of Negro delegates to the National Republican Convention. In March of 1908, the Reporter ran an editorial against William H. Taft, from Cincinnati, OH, who was campaigning to become President of the United States. The editorial was described by fellow Negro editor, W. D. Johnson of the Lexington Standard, as "unmanly, unkind, and intended to rouse race feelings against Mr. Taft." Not only did the two editors disagree about Taft, but Magowan and Johnson were two of the Negro candidates for delegate-at-large to the Republican Convention. The other candidates were J. E. Wood, editor of the Torchlight in Danville; R. T. Berry, editor of the Kentucky Reporter in Owensboro; Dr. E. W. Lane of Maysville; W. J. Gaines, Grand Master of the U. B. of F. [United Brothers of Friendship] in Covington; W. H. Steward, editor of the American Baptist in Louisville; and Dr. E. E. Underwood, editor of the Bluegrass Bugle in Frankfort. W. D. Johnson was expected to be the selected delegate among the Negro candidates. During the election, J. D. Magowan was an election officer in Mt. Sterling. When Taft became President in 1909, W. D. Johnson was rewarded for his loyalty: he was assigned to the General Land Office in Washington, D.C. Just prior to his appointment, N. W. Magowan, who had been against Taft as a presidential candidate, wrote an editorial in the Lexington Leader proclaiming W. D. Johnson's support of Taft was a forward-thinking decision, and he championed Johnson's right to a political reward for his loyalty. Magowan's good words about Johnson in the Lexington Leader were not an indication that the Reporter had changed its mission; in 1909, a letter from Berea College President William G. Frost was published in the Reporter in response to the argument presented by Rev. Morris of the Centenary Methodist Church of Lexington, who had said "the old Berea College ought to have been turned over to the Negroes." N. W. Magowan had been among the Berea graduates who attended the 1908 meeting at Berea College, hoping to adopt resolutions that would give Negroes the opportunity to help establish a new colored college if the Supreme Court did not set aside the Day Law [source: "Colored graduates meet," Citizen, 04/09/1908, available full-text at Kentucky Digital Library - Newspapers].
The Move to Washington, D. C.
  • In 1910, N. W. Magowan left the Reporter newspaper to become a clerk for the Census Bureau [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census], having received his appointment in April of 1910 [source: "Appointment at Washington," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 04/13/1910, p. 2]. W. D. Johnson had left the Lexington Standard newspaper and moved to Washington, D.C., and N. W. Magowan and his wife were regular guests at the Johnson home. The Reporter continued to be managed by J. D. Magowan until his death in 1913. His brother remained in Washington, D.C., and in January of 1915, N. W. Magowan delivered the principal address during the installation exercises of the Charles Sumner Post and Woman's Relief Corp. N. W. Magowan was a member of the Committee on Ways and Means of the National Emancipation Commemorative Society. By 1920, he was employed as a clerk at the post office and was elected president of the Post Office Relief Association. N. W. Magowan, his wife Mary, their son Paul (1911-1984), and a boarder all lived on Q Street [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census].
Noah and Mary Magowan
  • Mary W. Magowan (1870-1940) was from Bourbon County, KY; she had been a school teacher in Mt. Sterling, and in 1904 she was the Grand Worthy Counselor of the Independent Order of Calanthe. Noah W. Magowan was born October 26, 1868 in Mt. Sterling, KY, the son of John Wesley Magowan and Amanda Jackson Magowan [source: History of the Anti-Separate Coach Movement in Kentucky, edited by Rev. S. E. Smith, p. 171, available full-text at Kentucky Digital Library - Books]. Noah Magowan was a Berea College graduate and is listed as a student on p. 8 in the Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Berea College, 1889-90 [available online at Google Books]. N. W. Magowan was also a teacher beginning in 1887, and in 1890 was a teacher at the Colored Western School in Paris, KY [source: "A Tribute," Bourbon News, 05/02/1902, p. 5, available full-text at Kentucky Digital Library - Newspapers]. In 1892, he was elected a member of the State Central Committee, a group established to defeat the Separate Coach Bill in Kentucky [trains]. N. W. Magowan was a notary public in Mt. Sterling in 1896; he is listed on p. 902 in the Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Kentucky [available online at Google Books].
John D. and Mayner D. Magowan
  • John D. Magowan was born April 26, 1877 in Montgomery County, KY, and died July 15, 1913 [source: Certificate of Death]. He was one of at least five children of John Wesley Magowan (d. 1895), a Civil War veteran whose last name had been Brooks, and Amanda Trimble Jackson Magowan (d. 1925) [sources: 1880 U.S. Federal Census; Civil War Veterans Headstone Records; Kentucky Death Record]. The John W. Magowan family lived in Smithville, located in Montgomery County, KY. After he was married, John D. and his wife, Mayner D. Magowan (b. 1879 in KY), lived in Harts, also located in Montgomery County, KY [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. In addition to being a newspaper printer and publisher, John D. Magowan was a member and officer of the Colored Knights of Pythias in Mt. Sterling.
Sources
  • "Dr. Frost," Lexington Leader, 02/28/1909, p. 16; "The Negroes in Kentucky...," American Baptist, 04/15/1904, p. 2; "The Reporter, The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 04/13/1904, p. 6; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 07/15/1913, p. 9; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 05/09/1904, p. 21; "Negro editor," Lexington Leader, 03/08/1908, p. 4; "Call to Negro editors," Lexington Leader, 01/12/1908, p. 10; "Negro pressmen," The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 01/15/1908, p. 7; "Mrs. Mary E. Magowan...," Freeman, 03/15/1940, p. 7; "The contest in Kentucky this week...," Freeman, 04/25/1908, p. 1; "Editor W. D. Johnson," Freeman, 03/12/1910, p. 1; "West Washington," Washington Bee, 01/30/1915, p. 4.; "Lincoln's birthday," Washington Bee, 02/20/1915, p. 1; "Election of officers," Washington Bee, 12/18/1915, p. 4; "Colored Knights of Pythias here," Paducah Evening Sun, 07/27/1909, p. 5; and "Election officers," Mt. Sterling Advocate, 10/06/1909, p. 8.
Note
  • The dates for the Reporter are given as 1904-1915 in Bibliographic Checklist of African American Newspapers (2008), by B. K. Henritze, p. 58.
  • The following information was provided by Holly Hawkins, Montgomery County Historical Society: Amanda and John Wesley Magowan had five children, Noah William (1869-1945); James Edward (1870-1933); Susan Francis (b.1873); John D. (1877-1913); and Emily (b.1879). All of the sons and Susan attended the Academy at Berea. John D., James, and Noah are all buried in the Magowan Family plot in the Smithville cemetery.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Notary Public
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Harts, and Smithville, all in Montgomery County, Kentucky / Washington, D. C.

Marlatt, Abby
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2010
Abby Marlatt was appointed director of the University of Kentucky (UK) School of Home Economics [now the School of Human Environmental Sciences] in 1956. Dr. Marlatt is not African American; she was a believer in equality and fairness. She was active in the UK student YMCA's counseling of students about civil disobedience toward nonviolent objectives for racial equality. Dr. Marlatt was a member of C.O.R.E. and participated in sit-ins and stand-ins at establishments in Lexington. KY. She and another faculty member were investigated for imprudent acts by a committee appointed by the UK Board of Trustees and demoted from director of the School of Home Economics. In 1985 Dr. Marlatt was awarded the UK Sullivan Medallion for service to the community and University. Dr. Marlatt was inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2001. She is a native of Manhattan, KS, and a graduate of Kansas State University and the University of California at Berkeley. For more see articles in the Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/02/62, 12/20/62 and 06/05/63; and K. Bednarski, "Abby Marlatt, Central Kentucky civil rights activist, dies at 93," Lexington Herald-Leader, 03/04/10, Obituary section.



See photo image and additional information on Abby Marlatt at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, Hall of Fame website.

 

Access Interview  

Listen to and view the Abby Marlatt oral history interviews and transcripts in the Kentucky Historical Society, Civil Rights Movement In Kentucky Oral History Project.

 

Access Interview

Read about the Abby Marlatt oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Manhattan, Kansas / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Martin, William
Birth Year : 1931
Death Year : 1997
Martin was born in Covington, KY. He was Northern Kentucky's best-known advocate for the rights of African-Americans. Martin appeared before the Covington City Commission to argue for better housing and youth programs. In 1975, he became the executive director of the city's community center. He had been a pianist and a high school music teacher at Lincoln-Grant and Holmes Hall. The community center, which would become the Martin Community Center, was moved into the Lincoln-Grant building; the school closed following integration. For more see J. C. K. Fisher and P. Kreimer, "Civil Rights advocate Martin dies," Cincinnati Post, 04/14/97.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

Mason, Jesse Edward
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2002
Born in Nicholasville, KY, Mason attended Kentucky State University and was a World War II veteran. He was the first African American licensed to sell used cars in Kentucky, operating his own business for 32 years. In 1965, Mason also organized the first American Little League Baseball Club, the Slugger Dodgers of Jessamine County. That same year, Mason was a leader in the integration of the Jessamine County public schools. In the 1990s, he led the movement to have the newly built middle school named Rosenwald-Dunbar, in honor of the African American high school that had closed following integration. For more see "February is Black History Month," The Jessamine Journal, 02/23/2006, pp. A1 & A8.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Automobile Dealerships and Factories, Baseball, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Military & Veterans, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Mason, Melvin T. "Mel"
Birth Year : 1943
Mason, a civil rights activist and an educator, was born and raised in Providence, KY. His family moved to Seaside, CA, where Mason was an outstanding basketball player at Monterey High School. He graduated in 1960 and would go on to play basketball at Monterey Peninsula (Junior) College [now Monterey Peninsula College, a community college], and left the school after his freshman year in 1961 to serve in the military. He was the youngest basketball player to be named All-Air Force. He led all branches of the military in scoring in Europe, and was named Air Force European Command Player of the Year in 1964. Problems that Mason considered racist in the military led to a Bad Conduct Discharge in 1965. With the help of U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel from California, the discharge was overturned and changed to an Honorable Discharge. Mason returned to Monterey Peninsula College in 1966 and became the only All-America basketball player in the school's history and he is still the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. Mason then received over 100 basketball scholarship offers from around the United States. He accepted a scholarship at Oregon State University, but lost his scholarship after taking a solitary stand against what he describes as "the racist treatment of Black students," thus ending his basketball career; he was banned from playing basketball at any college in the U.S. Mason earned his B.A. in social science at Golden Gate University, his M.A. in social work from San Jose State University, and a clinical social worker's license (LCSW) from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. When he was an employee at Western Electric in Sunnyvale, CA, he helped form the Black Workers Unity Caucus to fight job discrimination and sexual harassment. Based on his work with the caucus, Mason was offered and accepted the invitation to join the Black Panther Party in 1968. In 1970, he organized a Black United Farmworkers Union Support Committee, and the first anti-police brutality campaigns on the Monterey Peninsula. In 1976, Mason was unsuccessful in his run for Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board. He ran for governor of California in 1982, when he was ruled off the ballot. He was a city council member of Seaside, CA, where his voting record was investigated by the FBI due to his membership in the Socialist Workers Party. Mason ran for President of the United States in 1984 as a candidate of the Socialist Workers Party; he received 24,681 votes. He was a plaintiff in a successful lawsuit against the FBI and their use of the Counterintelligence Program against the Black Panther Party and other groups. Mason lived in New York 1985-1987, where he was part of the Anti-Apartheid Coalition in 1986, and helped form the largest Anti-Apartheid demonstration in the history of the movement, with over 300,000 people. Mason returned to Seaside, CA, in 1987, and in the early 1990s he became co-founder of the Regional Alliance for Progress Policy, and served as spokesperson and chairperson. He has founded and led a number of civil rights organizations and served on a number of boards. He is internationally known and has been the guest of Grenada Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, Sinn Fein in Ireland, the Aborigines in Australia, and the Maori people in New Zealand. Mason retired in 2006 after 10 years at California State University, Monterey Bay, which marked the end of a 40 year career as an educator, counselor, and mental health practitioner and director. He is a former president of the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the NAACP and vice president of the California NAACP Conference. He is the author of Mel Mason: the making of a revolutionary. Mason has also received many awards including his induction into the Monterey Peninsula College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2007, Mason received the Civil Rights Legacy Award from the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the NAACP. March of 2011, Mason was inducted into the California Community College Athletic Hall of Fame [the same hall of fame that Jackie Robinson was inducted into for his athletic accomplishments at Pasadena City College]. Mel Mason is currently an appointee to the Access to Excellence Committee with the California State University System. The program is designed to increase the admission of minority students to CSU campuses. For more see S. Purewal, "A Revolutionary life," The Monterey County Herald, 07/03/2006, Top Story section, p. A1; The Trial of Leonard Peltier, by J. Messerschmidt and W. M. Kunstler; D. Coffin, "Lobos Legacy," The Monterey County Herald, 09/28/2010, p.D1; J. Devine, "Mel Mason named to JC Hall of Fame," The Monterey County Herald, 01/31/2011, p.B1; D. Taylor, "A Lifelong battle for equality," The Monterey County Herald, 03/20/2011, p.A1; and see Mel Mason, Monterey Peninsula, induction 2011, a CCCAA website. Additional information was provided by Melvin T. Mason, contact him for a copy of his biography.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Basketball, Education and Educators, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Providence, Webster County, Kentucky / Seaside, California

Mason, William
Birth Year : 1918
Mason was born in Eminence, KY, where a street, Mason Avenue, was named in his honor for his civic and civil rights activities in the city. He fought for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to be a paid holiday for city employees and was an active member of the push to integrate the public schools during his tenure as city council member from 1963-1971. William Mason is also thought to be the first African American student at the University of Louisville. For more see B. Schanding, "Mr. Mason," Henry County Local, vol. 131, issue 10 (02/06/08), Main section, pp. 1A & 4A.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders
Geographic Region: Eminence, Henry County, Kentucky

McKay, Barney M. [McDougal]
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1925
Barney McKay was born in Nelson County, KY, and according to F. N. Schubert, he was the son of Barney McKay and Mary McDougal. He was a journalist, civil rights activist, veteran, author, and supporter of African American migration. Barney McKay left Kentucky and became a Pullman Porter. He lived in Jeffersonville, IN, where he was employed at the car works of Shickle and Harrison as a iron puddler. In 1881, he joined the U.S. Army in Indianapolis, IN, under the name of Barney McDougal, and served with the 24th Infantry, Company C. He was honorably discharged in 1892. He re-enlisted as Barney McKay and served with the 9th Cavalry, Company C and Company G. In 1893, Sergeant Barney McKay was charged with distributing an incendiary circular among the troops at Fort Robinson, NE. The circular, published by the Progress Publishing Company of Omaha, promised retaliation against the civilians of Crawford, NE, should there continue to be racial violence toward Negro soldiers. There was no proof that Sergeant McKay had distributed the circular, yet Lieutenant Colonel Reuben F. Barnard was convinced of his guilt; Sergeant McKay had received a package of newspapers from the Progress Publishing Company of Omaha, and he had a copy of the circular in his possession. Also, Sergeant McKay and four other soldiers had prevented a Crawford mob from lynching Charles Diggs, a veteran, who had served with the 9th Cavalry. Sergeant McKay's actions and the circular were enough for the Army to charge him with violating Article of War 62 for attempting to cause the Negro soldiers to riot against the citizens of Crawford. Sergeant McKay was confined, subjected to court-martial and found guilty, and on June 21, 1893, he was reduced to the rank of private, given a dishonorable discharge, and was sentenced to two years in prison. When released from prison, Barney McKay was not allowed to re-enlist in the U.S. Army. He settled in Washington, D.C., where he met and married Julia Moore in 1900. The couple lived on 17th Street [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. Barney McKay was working as an assistant for the law firm Lambert and Baker. The following year, he was employed by John W. Patterson, Attorney and Counselor at Law [source: ad in Washington Bee, 04/06/1901, p. 8]. He had also been a newspaper man and wrote newspaper articles. He was editor of the Washington Bureau of the Jersey Tribune, 80 Barnes Street, Trenton, NJ. He was also editor of the New England Torch-Light, located in Providence, RI. In 1901, Barney McKay was with the Afro-American Literary Bureau when he pledged that 5,000 of the most industrious Negroes from the South would be willing to leave the prejudice of the United States for freedom in Canada. The pledge was made during the continued migration of southern Negroes to Canada. Author Sara-Jane Mathieu contributes two things to the story of the exodus: One, in 1896 the Supreme Court upheld the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, and two, Canada's homesteading campaign of 1896 provided free farmland in Western Canada. Barney McKay promoted the migration in the newspapers. In July of 1901, Barney McKay was Sergeant-at-Arms of the newly formed Northern, Eastern, and Western Association, also known as the N. E. & W. Club [source: "N. E. and W. Club," The Colored American, 07/13/1901, p. 4]. The organization was established to coordinate the Negro vote for the 1902 Congressional elections. Barney McKay published The Republican Party and the Negro in 1904 and in 1900 he co-authored, with T. H. R. Clarke, Republican Text-Book for Colored Voters. In 1916 he co-authored Hughes' Attitude Towards the Negro, a 7 page book containing the civil rights views of Charles Evans Hughes', taken from his judicial decisions while a member of the U.S. Supreme Court [alternate title: Henry Lincoln Johnson, editor. B. M. McKay, associate editor]. Barney McKay also wrote letters advocating the safety and well being of Negroes in the South and the education of future soldiers. He called for the best representation of the people in government and fought for the welfare of Negro war veterans. He wrote a letter protesting the commander of the Spanish American War Veterans' support of the dismissal of the 25th Infantry in response to the Brownsville Affair [source: p. 191, Barney McKay in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II by I.Schubert and F. N. Schubert]. In 1917, McKay wrote New Mexico Senator A. B. Fall (born in Frankfort, KY), asking that Negroes from the South be allowed to migrate to New Mexico [source: Promised Lands by D. M. Wrobel]. New Mexico had become a state in 1912 and Albert B. Fall [info] was one of the state's first two senators. In 1918, McKay wrote a letter to fellow Kentuckian, Charles Young, asking his support in establishing a military training program for Negro men at Wilberforce College [letter available online at The African-American Experience in Ohio website]. Barney M. McKay died April 30, 1925 and was buried in Harmony Cemetery in Washington, D. C. The cemetery was moved to Landover, Maryland in 1959 and renamed the National Harmony Memorial Park Cemetery [info]. McKay's birth date and birth location information were taken from the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments. For more see the Barney McKay entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier II, by I. Schubert and F. N. Schubert; Sergeant Barney McDougal within the article "Chaplain Henry V Plummer, His Ministry and His Court-Martial," by E. F. Stover in Nebraska History, vol. 56 (1975), pp. 20-50 [article available online .pdf]; Voices of the Buffalo Soldier, by F. N. Schubert; North of the Color Line, by Sarah-Jane Mathieu; and Barney McKay in Henry Ossian Flipper, by J. Eppinga.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Pullman Porters, Fraternal Organizations, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Nelson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Crawford, Nebraska /Trenton, New Jersey / Washington, D. C.

Meachum, John Berry "J. B."
Birth Year : 1789
Death Year : 1854
John Berry Meachum was a slave born in Kentucky who later lived in Virginia. He was hired out and eventually purchased his freedom and that of his father, who was a Baptist preacher. Meachum and his father moved to St. Louis, MO, leaving Meachum's wife and children enslaved in Virginia. For the next eight years, Meachum worked as a cooper and carpenter, saving enough money to purchase his family in 1824. (In some sources, Meachum and his wife, Mary, a slave from Kentucky, are said to have gone to Missouri together.) Two years later, Meachum was ordained a minister and became pastor of the First African Baptist Church, a position he held until his death in 1854. He had helped found the church, which eventually grew to have more than 500 members. Meachum also owned slaves; he had more than 20 slaves, most of them children who worked to purchase their freedom. Meachum was considered a leader among the freemen and slaves; during his time, he was the most outspoken advocate in Missouri for the education of African Americans. Meachum's church was one of five in St. Louis that offered education under the guise of Sunday School. Each Sunday, more than 100 freemen and slaves (with permission) attended classes in the dark basement of Mechum's church. White sympathizers helped teach the classes and provided supplies for the school. One of the students was James Milton Turner (see the Hannah Turner entry). In 1847, although the abolitionist movement was gaining strength in Missouri, it became illegal for African Americans to receive educational instruction or to attend school. It was also illegal for African Americans to lead church services unless a white officer were present. Meachum's school was soon closed. The school was reopened on a steamboat in the Mississippi River; the boat was built by Meachum. For more see The Baptists in America (1836), by F. A. Cox and J. Hoby [available full-text at Google Book Search]; D. D. Bellamy, "The Education of Blacks in Missouri prior to 1861," The Journal of Negro History, vol. 59, issue 2 (Apr., 1974), pp. 143-157; and D. L. Durst, "The Reverend John Berry Meachum (1789-1854) of St. Louis," The North Star: a Journal of African American Religious History, vol. 7, issue 2 (Spring 2004), pp. 1-24 [pdf].

See the image and additional information about John Berry Meachum at the First Baptist Church of St. Louis website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Freedom, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Carpenters, Sunday School, Free African American Slave Owners
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Virginia / Saint Louis, Missouri

Meaux, Fredrick C. and Bertha [Edythe Meaux Smith]
Fred Meaux was born around 1883 in Kentucky, and according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was living with his uncle, James Sausbury [or Sansbury], in Lebanon, KY. When he was 20 years old, he married Bertha, and the following year Fred visited the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, enjoying the area so much that he and Bertha moved to St. Louis. In 1920, the family consisted of Fred, Bertha, and their five children. Fred Meaux was a postal carrier, one of the first African Americans to deliver mail in St. Louis. He was also an active member of the National Association of Letter Carriers and was a delegate at the 33rd Convention held in St. Louis. The Meaux's daughter, Edythe Meaux Smith (1917-2007), and her husband, Wayman Flynn Smith, Jr., were civil rights activists. Edythe, who was also a journalist and an educator, served as Deputy Director of the St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, which handled discrimination complaints. For more see "Fred C. Meaux" and "F. C. Meaux" in The Postal Record, vol. 33, issue 1 (January 1920) [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and "Edythe Smith educator, civil rights activist," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 04/21/2007, News section, p. A16.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Fathers, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Postal Service
Geographic Region: Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

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

Militant Church Movement (Louisville, KY)
The Militant Church Movement or MCM was a post-WWII Civil Rights organization established by Rev. J. C. Olden, father of Sylvia Olden Lee. MCM began in Louisville as a small but vocal church-based organization, and became a coalition of African American churches in Kentucky. In 1951, the group led in the boycott of a baseball game that was to have taken place in Louisville between white major league players led by Gill Hodges, and an African American team lead by Roy Campanella. The protest was in response to the plans to segregate the audience. The game was cancelled. In 1953, MCM, led by Rev. Olden and Rev. M. M. D. Perdue, was successful in leading the Interracial Hospital Movement campaign that brought the beginning of the end to racial restrictions in all Kentucky hospitals. That same year, MCM launched a mass petition drive to urge the lawmakers of Kentucky to integrated the state's schools. The group also launched protests against GE for it hiring practices. What is know about the MCM exists because of those who remember the group's efforts; MCM did not have a formal membership list and they did not keep records. For more see "All-Star ball game dropped: Jim Crow protest effective," Honolulu Record, 11/01/1951, p.6; Subversive Southerner by C. Fosl and A. Y. Davis; and Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South by T. E. K'Meyer.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Baseball, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Miller, Davie Della Bridges
Birth Year : 1886
Death Year : 1946
Della Miller, a school teacher, insurance agent, civil rights activist, and club woman, was born in Harrodsburg, KY, the daughter of Robert and Fannie Johnson Bridges. She attended Wayman Institute, was a graduate of Central High School and Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]. She was president of the Kentucky Conference Branch Women's Missionary Society, and also served as president of the Kentucky Association of Colored Women. She was Grand Royal Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star of Kentucky, and Grand Directress of the Household of Ruth in Kentucky. She was president of the Belle County (KY) NAACP, which was founded in 1940 and was part of the Regional NAACP of Eastern Kentucky. Miller was listed in The Crisis as one of the "First Ladies of Colored America." She and her husband, Dr. I. H. Miller, lived in Middlesboro, KY. Dr. Miller was a supervisor of the Colored Municipal Park in the West End of Middlesboro. The Della Miller African Scholarship Fund was established in honor of Della Miller by the AME Kentucky Conference Branch. The fund aided African students. For more see Mrs. Della Bridges Miller in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright; and Mrs. Della Bridges Miller on p.305 of The Crisis, October 1943 [available online at Google Book Search]. 



Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky

Miller, Herbert T.
Birth Year : 1900
Death Year : 1977
Miller was born in Ford, KY, and grew up in Cincinnati, OH. He was the son of Cyrus D. and Georgie C. Miller. Herbert Miller gained a national reputation as a successful organizer of Y.M.C.A. fund raising campaigns. Miller is remembered as the executive secretary of the Carlton Y.M.C.A. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He was also named by Judge S. S. Leibowitz as foreman of the King County Grand Jury of New York State in 1944, the first African American in the U.S. to ever hold the post. He was voted Brooklyn's Most Valuable Citizen in New York Amsterdam News Poll in 1948. Miller also received several other awards for promoting understanding between racial and ethnic groups. He had served as executive secretary of YMCA branches in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Brooklyn. Miller was the husband of Belle Harper Miller and the brother of Bertha M. Anderson. He had attended the University of Cincinnati, Springfield College, and Boston University. Herbert T. Miller died in Cincinnati, OH, where he had settled after retiring from the Manhattan Division of the Protestant Council of the City of New York. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Herbert T. Miller chosen boro inter-faith leader," Baltimore Afro-American, 04/03/1948, p.17; and "Herbert T. Miller, retired executive of Y.M.C.A., dies in Cincinnati," New York Times, 01/27/1977, p. 81.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Ford, Clark County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio / Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Miller, William M., Sr. and Anna Mae Stuart
William M. Miller, Sr. (1872-1920), born in Kentucky, was a lawyer. In 1902, he arrived in Madison, Wisconsin, where he had been promised the position of advisor to Governor Robert M. LaFollette, Sr. But Miller could not practice law and his job title was not that of advisor but rather messenger. Anna Mae Stuart (1875-1963), a school teacher from Kentucky, came to Madison in 1902 to marry William Miller. They were among the first African American residents of Madison. The Millers were fairly well off; according to their granddaughter, Betty Banks, the Millers owned their own home as well as a boarding house and a summer home, and they employed a cook, a nanny and a housekeeper. The boarding house was used to lodge African Americans who were new arrivals from the South. The Betty Banks interview in the State of Wisconsin Collection speaks of the Millers as civil rights activists; William Miller was a friend of W. E. B. DuBois, who would often visit the Miller home. William Miller started the Book Lover's Club, a precursor to the Madison NAACP. He helped found the St. Paul AME Church in Madison and was a member of the Niagara Movement. Anna Mae spoke before the Wisconsin Legislature on women's and children's issues. At the age of 86, Anna Mae Miller took part in the sit-in at the Wisconsin Capitol Building in support of the bill that would eliminate housing discrimination in Wisconsin. For more see "Madison sit-in enters 4th day," Corpus Christi Times, 08/03/1961, p. 5.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), 1st African American Families in Town, Grandparents, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Madison, Wisconsin

Mitchell, Fred D.
Birth Year : 1944
Born in Lexington, KY, Mitchell has been an activist, social worker, and community development leader in Lexington, Louisville and Cincinnati. As a teen in Lexington, he legally challenged the breach of peace laws and segregation of public accommodations and led protests against school segregation. He was treasurer of the Lexington Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and led the Young African Americans for Progress. In the 1970s, Mitchell moved to Louisville and became the city's first paid alderman assistant (to Lois Morris). As a social work student, he was instrumental in establishing the University of Louisville chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers. Mitchell was also the first African American director of the Wesley Community House [founded in 1903 by the United Methodist Church to provide social welfare and other services in the Butchertown, Phoenix Hill and Clarksdale areas]. The Courier-Journal in Louisville named him one of the city's "Bridge Builders." Mitchell is presently employed by Community Action of Southern Indiana. For more see The Lexington Herald-Leader, August 17-18, 1967 and Sept. 5 & 7, 1967; and the Courier-Journal, Jan. 29, 1992, July 28, 1993, Jan. 1, 1997 and April 11, 2004.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Social Workers, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality)
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Indiana

Mitchell, Robert
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1926
Robert Mitchell was born in Fulton County, KY. He was a minister and president of Simmons Memorial College (was located in Bowling Green, KY). He took 200 African American men before the Kentucky House and Senate Committee to protest against the Separate Coach Bill, which was reported in the Courier Journal of Louisville, KY. Mitchell was author of Biblical Essays on Important Subjects. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; "Dr. Robert Mitchell," Lexington Herald, 10/08/1926, p.16; and see "Robert Mitchell" in S. Brown article, "Lexington Civil Rights leader dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/10/1989, City/State section, p. B1.

See photo image of Rev. Robert Mitchell on p.275 of Sermons, Addresses and Reminiscences and Important Correspondence by E. C. Morris, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Fulton County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Mitchell, Stanley P. [National Civil Liberty Party]
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1908
Rev. Stanley P. Mitchell, said to have been born in Kentucky, was a national civil rights activist at the turn of the century during the last decade of the 1800s and the first decade of the 1900s. He was editor and manager of the Southern Sentinel newspaper in Memphis, TN. He wrote editorials for other Negro newspapers throughout the U.S., encouraging Negroes to read and subscribe to Negro newspapers. In 1892, Mitchell was living in Fort Pickering, TN, and owned a considerable amount of property. He was leading the effort to form anti-emigration societies in the South to discourage Negroes from moving West to deceptive dreams of Utopia. By 1900, Mitchell was an evangelist living in Midway, KY, where he was also president of the National Educational Council of Midway. He caused a stir when he proposed that former slaves in Kentucky hold a reunion with their former masters, along with a "darkey corn-shucking," as an auxiliary to the Confederate veteran's reunion in Louisville. By 1901, Stanley Mitchell was living in Lexington, KY, he was a proclaimed Democrat and was campaigning for Cloak Room Keeper of the Upper House of the Kentucky Legislature. He did not get the position. In 1902, Mitchell was one of the incorporators of the National Industrial Council, an organization that fought against the mobbing and lynching of Negroes; they fought against discrimination based on race on passenger carriers such as the railroad and steamboats; and they fought voter disenfranchisement. The home office of the council was in Lexington, KY, and there were 27 chapters in Mississippi. Mitchell was also the founder and leader of the National Civil Liberty Party, with headquarters in Washington, D.C. and the campaign headquarters in Chicago, IL. The party was formed in 1903 after Mitchell took a delegation of Negro men to Washington, D.C. to meet with President Roosevelt to request pensions for the former slaves who had served during the Civil War in non-soldiering capacity such as laborers, bridge-builders, and forgers. The request was denied and Mitchell called for a national organization of Negro men in order to use their vote against members of the Republican Party such as President Roosevelt who felt the "Negro had received enough from the government when he was set free." The Civil and Personal Liberty Leagues, lead by Stanley P. Mitchell, formed the National Civil Liberty Party. The first National Convention of the National Liberty Party [the word "Civil" was dropped] was to be held in Cincinnati, OH in 1903, but had to be postponed, and was held in Douglas Hotel in St. Louis, MO on the 5th and 6th of July, 1904. Thirty-six states were represented. George E. Taylor accepted the party's U. S. Presidential nomination; Taylor, from Iowa, was president of the National Negro Democratic League. He was unsuccessful in his bid for President of the United States. In spite of the loss, Stanley P. Mitchell continued to be active on many fronts, he was president of the National Ex-Slave Congress, formed in 1903 with delegates from 34 states. By 1905, the organization name was changed to the Ex-Slave Encampment and National Freedman's Congress. The congress fought for reparations in the form of pensions for former Negro slaves who were 40 years old or older. Mrs. S. P. Mitchell, an evangelist, supported her husband in the ex-slave campaign by giving speeches and organizing chapters. She was editor of the Pioneer newspaper and the National Journal newspaper. In September of 1903, Stanley Mitchell had been arrested in Georgia on the charge of swindling money from ex-slaves; supposedly, he had asked for the money in order to secure the passage of the Hanna Bill. There was no evidence to support the charges and Mitchell was set free. The New York Times initially proclaimed Mitchell was a thief. At the same time, there were several Negro newspapers that claimed Mitchell had been framed by the Republican Party due to the popularity of the National Liberty Party among Negroes in the South. The Hanna Bill, by Ohio Senator Mark Hanna, would have given a pension to former slaves, but the bill died in Congress. Stanley P. Mitchell's popularity waned for a couple of years after he was accused of swindling; some of the Negro newspapers turned against him. Mitchell continued his campaign for equal justice for Negroes. He opened a nursing home for former slaves in Memphis, TN. Mitchell was Chanceller of the Knights and Ladies of Industry of the U.S., the main office was in Washington, D.C. Ads in Negro papers were used to solicit membership and the ads included a line stating that the organization would buy homes for its members. By 1905, trouble came Mitchell's way again when he performed the marriage of a German man to a Jewish woman, and the Memphis community was outraged. In 1906, Stanley Mitchell resigned as editor of the Southern Sentinel and sold the newspaper to Mrs. Rachel T. Mitchell. Stanley P. Mitchell died in 1908, and his wife took over his duties as pastor, she continued the search for heirs of former slaves who had savings in the Freedmen's Bank, and she continued the campaign for equal justice for Negroes. For more see "Stanley P. Mitchell," The Washington Bee, 09/03/1904, p.1; "National Ex-Slave Congress," The Washington Bee, 07/04/1903, p.8; "S. P. Mitchell set free," The New York Times, 09/08/1903, p.8; "National Industrial Council," Colored American, p.16; "Stanley P. Mitchell of exslave pension fame...," Freeman, 02/20/1904, p.4; "Ex-Slave Encampment and National Freedman's Congress," Freeman, 05/20/1905, p.2; "Pension for ex-slaves!" Plaindealer, 06/30/1905, p.1; "Married by a Negro," Freeman, 08/05/1905, p.5; see Stanley P. Mitchell in "Paragrahic News," Washington Bee, 03/24/1906, p.1; "To check emigration: anti-Oklahoma societies to be organized," Langston City Herald, 01/16/1892, p.1; "An Appeal," Freeman, 09/08/1900, p.1; "Mrs. S. P. Mitchell," Colored American, 12/22/1900, p.15; "ms of Interest," Freeman, 08/24/1901, p.8; S. P. Mitchell, "The Negro newspapers the only powerful leaders left," Washington Bee, 04/19/1902, p.1; "S. P. Mitchell...," Evening Post, 03/23/1900, p. 5; "Wants to be Cloak Keeper," The Mt. Sterling Advocate, 12/31/1901, p. 7; G. E. Taylor, "The National Liberty Party's Appeal," The Independent, v.57, pp.844-846 [available online at Google Book Search]; and "Rev. Mrs. Mitchell," Washington Bee, 05/09/1908, p.1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Midway, Woodford County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee / Chicago, Illinois / Washington, D.C.

Moorish Science Temple of America in Kentucky [Mary Clift Bey]
Start Year : 1938
The Moorish Science Temple of America began as a religious movement in 1913 known as the Canaanite Temple, founded in New Jersey by Timothy Drew (1886-1929). The name was changed to the Moorish Holy Temple of Science in the early 1920s. Read more at the organization's website. Drew became known as Prophet Noble Drew Ali, he moved the main branch of the organization to Chicago, IL in 1925 and the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. was officially registered as a corporation in 1926. There were also branches in Philadelphia, Washington D. C., and Detroit. A focus of the religion was that American Blacks were of Moor ancestry and should return to Islam. There were teachings of racial pride, the rejection of negative labels, and a mission to uplift the race using education and non-confrontational methods. Moorish-American Voice is the organization's publication. Members of the organization added "Ali," "El," and "Bey" to their surnames as an indication of their Moor identity. The Nation of Islam grew out of the Moorish Science Temple of America. There was a Moorish Science Temple of America in Lexington, KY, according to the overview of the Moorish Science Temple of America Collection, 1926-1967, a New York Public Library website. There was an FBI report of a branch in Paducah, KY [source: Part 2 FBI File: 62-25889: Section 3. Feb-Mar 1943. FBI File on the Moorish Science Temple of America. Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. Archives Unbound.]. Moorish Science Temple of America #45 was located at 628 S. Ninth Street in Louisville, KY. All branches in all locations were watched by the local police, and were considered a radical group that was monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) which sometimes referred to the organization as a "cult" in FBI correspondence. The Moorish Science Temple of America #45 was organized in August of 1938 by Mary Clift Bey who came to Kentucky from Chicago, IL [source: File No.100-2273 dated 12/8/42 - citation: Part 1 FBI File: 62-25889: Section 2. Dec 1942-Feb 1943. FBI File on the Moorish Science Temple of America. Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. Archives Unbound.]. Mary Clift Bey was one of the first female missionaries from the Chicago temple; she was named the grand governess of the Louisville temple in 1941. Bey is listed as a teacher by the name of "Cilft Bey" on p.189 of Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory, 1939; she lived at 628 S. Ninth Street. In 1940, her name is listed as "Clift Bey" who lived at 630 S. Ninth Street, listed on p.191 of Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory, 1940. She is also listed in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census as "Cliff M. Bey" with no occupation or income, and living with Jesse Bey (born in KY) and Birdie Lee Bey (born in KY), all at 630 1/2 S. Ninth Street. According to the census record, Mary Clift Bey was born in Tennessee around 1876, she was a widow, and had completed the 4th grade of school. A physical description of Mary Clift Bey is included in the FBI files; the description was based on an eye witness and a photograph the FBI obtained from the library of the Courier Journal newspaper. Bey was said to be about 45-50 years old; 5'3" tall; 175 pounds; brown complexion; straight black hair worn in a bob; maroon eyes, wears glasses; wide mouth; and a teacher by occupation [source: Part 1 FBI File: 62-25889: Section 2. Dec 1942-Feb 1943. FBI File on the Moorish Science Temple of America. Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. Archives Unbound.]. Within the 1942 FBI report, Mary Clift Bey was said to live at 437 S. 9th Street with seven other people with the last name Bey (p.7). The Moorish Science Temple of America in Louisville, KY, was said to have about 50 members. In 1939 there were about 41 members when Mary Clift Bey led the members to register to vote and all were registered with the Democratic Party (p.9). According to the FBI files, there was an article about their voter registrations in the Courier Journal (p.10), and there was much discussion and dispute about the members' legal names (p.11). The headquarters of the Louisville Temple was at 628 S. Ninth Street (p.10). Mary Clift Bey, said to have been born in Macon County, Tennessee (p.12), was also investigated for her work in Chicago, and possible activity in Detroit and Pittsburgh (p.19). In January of 1943, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General distributed a memorandum stating that "there was not sufficient evidence at that time to establish prosecution [of the Moorish Temple of America] under the Sedation Statuses" [source: Part 1 FBI File: 62-25889: Section 2. Dec 1942-Feb 1943. FBI File on the Moorish Science Temple of America. Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. Archives Unbound.]. Though, the surveillance was continued. In March of 1943, Special Agent in Charge, Hebert K. Moss, of the Louisville branch of the FBI, forwarded a series of reports to the Director of the FBI concerning C. Kirkman Bey and et. al. and the Moorish Science Temple of America in Louisville, KY [source: Part 2 FBI File: 62-25889: Section 5. Feb-Apr 1943. FBI File on the Moorish Science Temple of America. Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. Archives Unbound.]. The reports were dated December 1, 1942 through March 6, 1943. There are presently no Moorish Science Temple of America organizations in Kentucky. For more see Who was Noble Drew Ali? by Isa Abd Allah Muhammad al-Mahdi; see "Moorish Science Temple" in the Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions edited by S. D. Glazier; and Islam in the African-American Experience by R. B. Turner.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Macon County, Tennessee / Chicago, Illinois / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisivlle, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / New Jersey

Morgan, Garrett A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1877
Death Year : 1963
Garrett A. Morgan, who was born in Paris, KY, patented the breathing device - a gas mask - and the traffic signal. He owned sewing equipment and repair shop, and a personal care products company. Morgan invented zig-zag stitching for manual sewing machines. Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was the son of Sydney and Elizabeth Reed Morgan; he was the seventh of their eleven children. The children attended Branch School, located in the African American community of Claysville, later renamed Garrett Morgan's Place. Morgan quit school when he was in the fifth grade, and when he was a teen took a job in Cincinnati, OH. He would later move on to Cleveland, where he founded the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, which was later merged into the Cleveland Branch of the NAACP. Morgan also founded the Cleveland Call newspaper. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Created Equal, by J. M. Brodie; and Garrett A. Morgan in the Hutchinson Encyclopedia of Biography (2000).

See photo image and additional information on Garrett A. Morgan in Public Roads, Jan/Feb 1998, vol.62, no.4, a Federal Highway Administration website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Inventors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio

Mullins, Pamela
Birth Year : 1953
Pamela Mullins, of Covington,KY, was one of the first inductees to the Holmes [High School] Hall of Distinction for 2000-2001. In 2007, she was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. Until Paul Mullins election in 2007, Mullins had been the last African American elected to the School Board in Covington; she served from 1990-1997 and resigned to become the first African American woman to be elected to the Covington City Commission. She brought forward the ordinance that created the Covington Human Rights Commission. Pamela Mullins is the daughter of the late Robert Mullins, who was a tenor in the "Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers," a male quintet that sang spirituals and gospel music. Pamela Mullins is also the mother of Paul Mullins, the second African American elected to the Covington School Board in 2007. A controversy clouded his election, but Paul Mullins was allowed to remain on the school board until a final decision was made: he was a school employee, a bus driver, when he won the election. For more see Pamela Mullins in the 2007 Hall of Fame at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website; and T. O'Neill, "Mullins defends his right to serve," The Kentucky Post, 03/28/2007, News section, p. A2.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Mothers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky

National Afro-American Council
Start Year : 1898
End Year : 1907
The first meeting of the National Afro-American Council was held in Rochester, NY, in 1898. It was the first national civil rights organization in the United States, and served as an umbrella organization with local or state branches. The group was led by Bishop Alexander Walters, from Kentucky, who was elected president from 1898-1902. The Council had been co-created by Timothy Thomas Fortune, both he and Walters were members of the unsuccessful National Afro-American League. Fortune was elected the second president of the National Afro-American Council and served until 1904, when he resigned, and Kentucky native William Henry Steward, the vice president, completed his term. Walters was re-elected in 1905 and served until the organization closed in 1907. The annual meetings of the National Afro-American Council were held in large cities, they met in Louisville, KY, in 1903. Women members were also welcomed; Ida B. Wells-Barnett served as the first secretary. The Council campaigned for an anti-lynching law and voting rights for African Americans in the South. For a more complete history of the National Afro-American Council see E. L. Thornbrough, "The National Afro-American League, 1887-1908," The Journal of Southern History, vol.27, issue 4 (Nov., 1961), pp.494-512; and A. Shaw, "The Origins of the Niagara Movement: The Afro-American League and the Afro-American Council" a paper presented at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in Buffalo, New York, 08/31/2009 [abstract online at allacademic.com]. See also The National Afro-American council, organized 1898. : A history of the organization, its objects, synopses of proceedings, constitution and by-laws, plan of organization, annual topics, etc. : Comp. by Cyrus Field Adams, secretary ... in the "Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection 1818-1907", a Library of Congress website
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights
Geographic Region: United States

National Convention of Colored Men of America, and Kentucky
Start Year : 1843
In 1843, the first National Convention of Colored Men of America was held in Buffalo, New York, attended by hundreds of freemen and escaped slaves from throughout the United States. The convention was also referred to as the Colored National Convention. The purpose of the organization was to bring together forces to end slavery and fight for African Americans' human rights. The convention was held in Louisville, KY, in September 1883. Frederick Douglass was president and Henry Scorff was a vice president, representing Kentucky. A digital copy of the text of the 1883 convention program is available at the Library of Congress website. See also "Frederick Douglass" at the Louisville Free Public Library, Western Branch website.

Access Interview
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Neal, Sterling Orlando, Sr.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 1977
Sterling Neal Sr. was born in Cleveland, OH, and made his home in Louisville, KY. He was the son of Robert and Anna Harper Neal. In 2003, Sterling O. Neal Sr. was selected for the Hall of Fame at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. He had been employed at the International Harvester Co. and in 1952 was elected the international vice-president and district president, and a member of the general executive board of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE). Neal represented more than 300,000 workers in the United States and Canada. He had previously been the president of the UE District 7, representing Kentucky and Ohio. He was the first African American elected district president. Neal was also a civil rights activist in Louisville, KY, he was a mentor and associate of Anne Braden. He served as Grand Knight of the St. Augustine Council 58, Knights of Peter Claver. As president of District 7, he spoke before a U.S. House agriculture committee about the farm crisis that was causing high unemployment in the farm equipment industry. He asked for action from the U.S. Government to reverse the crisis. In 1957, Neal was called to testify before a U.S Senate committee about Soviet activity in the U.S., and Neal was accompanied by James T. Wright, his attorney. Exhibit No.475, a periodical article written by Neal, was presented as evidence during the hearing: S. O. Neal, "Unity pays off - everyone benefited when Negro and White workers stuck together at Louisville Harvester Plant," March of Labor, September 1953, p.9. Sterling Neal, Sr. was the father of Kentucky Senator Gerald Neal. For more see SR 42 in Memory and Honor of Sterling Orlando Neal, Sr., 05/30/1997 [online];  "Union Leader" in Plaindealer, 02/29/1952, p.2; "Long range farm program," Hearing before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, 83rd Congress, 1st Session, held at Columbus, OH, October 20, 1953, Serial R, pt.10, p. 1525; and "Scope of Soviet activity in the United States," Hearing before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Acts of the Committee of the Judiciary United States Senate, 85th Congress, 1st Session, June 6, 1957, pt.68, p.4206. The government publications research for this entry was completed by UK Librarian Carla Cantagallo.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration South, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Cleveland, Ohio / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Nelson, William S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1977
Nelson was born in Paris, KY, grew up in Paducah, KY, and his final home was in Washington, D.C. He was a 1920 graduate of Howard University and a 1924 divinity graduate of Yale University. He would become the first African American president of Shaw University (1931-1936) in North Carolina, saving the school from closing due to financial hardship during the Great Depression. Nelson was also the first African American president of Dillard University in New Orleans, beginning in 1936. He wrote La Race Noire dans la Democratie Americaine, and Bases of World Understanding (Calcutta University Press, 1949). He worked with Mahatma Gandhi while in India on a special mission for the American Friends Service Committee from 1946-1958. He was a friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and joined him on the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in 1965. The William Stuart Nelson Scholarship Fund was established at Howard University, where he was former dean of the School of Religion and vice president for special projects. Nelson was the son Emma Kersands Nelson and William Henry Nelson. He was married to Blanche Wright Nelson. He was an Army veteran of World War I. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 11, Sept. 1976-Aug. 1979; "The Tradition of White Presidents at Black Colleges," The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, no. 16 (Summer 1997), pp. 93-99; and J. R. Hailey, "William Nelson, dean at Howard, dies," The Washington Post, 03/30/1977, Metro section, p. C6.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / India / Washington D.C.

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

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

 

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

Olden, James Clarence "J.C."
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1967
James C. Olden was a Baptist minister and a civil rights leader in Louisville, KY. He was born in Murfreesboro, TN, the son of George Olden who had been a slave in Oldham County, KY, before running away to join the Union Army during the Civil War. Rev. J. C. Olden came to Kentucky around 1949 and developed the Militant Church Movement (MCM) in Louisville. MCM was a civil rights organization that led in many protest campaigns, including the Interracial Hospital Movement that initiated the desegregation of Kentucky hospitals in 1953. Rev. Olden also led in the 1953 effort to bring Everett Lee, Jr. [Sylvia Olden Lee's husband] to Louisville, where he become the first African American to direct a white orchestra, and the first orchestra director to perform before an integrated audience in Louisville. Rev. Olden had been a civil rights activist prior to coming to Kentucky; in 1948, while a visiting minister at Salem Methodist Church in Harlem, NY, he led a national campaign against segregation in transportation. J. C. Olden was a graduate of Fisk University, where he sung in a quartet with Roland Hayes, Lem Foster, and Charles Wesley. He was a second tenor in Hayes' Apollo Quartet in 1910. In 1913, Olden married Sylvia Alice Ward (b.1889 in New Orleans, LA), a pianist and vocalist; they had met while students at Fisk. Sylvia Ward had turned down a singing position with the Metropolitan Opera in 1913, because the job came with the stipulation that she not tell anyone that she was Colored. Many years later, the first African American with the New York Metropolitan Opera would be Sylvia Olden Lee (1917-2004), musician, vocalist, and vocalist coach; the daughter of Sylvia and Rev. J. C. Olden. Sylvia O. Lee grew up in Washington, D.C. where her father was pastor of the Plymouth Colored Congregational Church. The Oldens were also international travelers. In 1926, Rev. Olden and his wife returned to the U.S. from Southampton, England, aboard the ship Majestic, according to the New York Passenger Lists. For more see To Stand and Fight by M. Biondi; and "Schiller Institute Dialogue with Sylvia Olden Lee, Pianist and Vocal Coach" 02/07/1998, [reprinted from Fidelio Magazine, vol. 7, issue 1 (Spring 1998)].

See photo image of James C. Olden and his then son-in-law, Everett Lee, at the Courier-Journal.com "Black History Month | 1953 Everett Lee," 02/01/2010.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Religion & Church Work, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Murfreesboro, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Oldham County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

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

"Our Old Kentucky Home" (Performance)
Start Year : 1898
The Civil War drama production, written by John E. Bruce and Henrietta Vinton Davis, opened in 1898 and played in northern cities. Davis (1860-1941, born in Maryland) was an elocutionist and considered a premier African American actor. She later became a political activist. Davis directed the staging of Our Old Kentucky Home and had the principle role of the Creole slave, Clothilde. For more see A History of African American Theatre, by E. Hill.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Parrish, Charles H., Jr.
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1989
In 1951, Charles H. Parrish, Jr. was the first African American faculty member at the University of Louisville (U of L) after the segregated school, Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, was closed. Parrish was also the first African American faculty member at a white school in the South. A sociologist, he chaired the Sociology Department. Parrish was also a civil rights activist. The Charles Parrish, Jr. Papers are at the U of L. A Kentucky Historical Marker [#2008] has been placed at the U of L Belknap Campus in his honor. For more see History of Blacks in Kentucky, by G. C. Wright; and The Charles H. Parrishes, by L. H. Williams.


Access Interview Listen to the recording and read the transcript to the Charles H. Parrish, Jr. oral history interviews at the University of Louisville Libraries.

See photo image of Charles H. Parrish, Jr. at the University of Louisville website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Sociologists & Social Scientists
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Peeples, Porter G.
Birth Year : 1947
Porter G. Peeples was born in Lynch, KY. When he became director of the Lexington (KY) Urban League, he was the youngest Urban League director in the U.S. He continues to lead and to advocate for the needs and rights of the disadvantaged in Lexington. Peeples is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. For more see Porter Peeples in Living the Story, Film Interviews at the Kentucky Historical Society; Porter Peeples Biography at The HistoryMakers.

  View the interviews, read the transcript, and listen to the audio of Porter G. Peeples in the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society.

Access Interview Read about the Porter G. Peeples oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 1988
Born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Washington, D.C., Pendleton was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first African American chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981-1988). Pendleton replaced Arthur S. Flemming, who was dismissed by President Reagan. Pendleton had been the director of the San Diego Urban League and was later an opponent of school busing and affirmative action. He changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1980. Over the next eight years he lived part time in Washington, D.C. and part time in San Diego, where he died suddenly in 1988. His father had been the first swimming coach at Howard University, where Pendleton received his B.S. and his Master's degree in education. He later took over as the swimming coach at Howard, and the team won 10 championships in 11 years. For more see Current Biography (1984); and J. McQuiston, "Clarence M. Pendleton, 57, dies, Head of Civil Rights Commission," The New York Times, 06/06/1988, p. A1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Urban Leagues, Swimmers, Swimming, Swimming Facilities
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

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

Poston, Theodore R. A. M.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1974
Poston was known as Ted, but his full name was Theodore Roosevelt Augustus Major Poston. He was born in Hopkinsville, KY. The first African American reporter for The New York Post, he covered many of the race disputes in the South. He lost two teeth while covering the Scottsboro case. He wrote The Dark Side of Hopkinsville, which was published posthumously. Poston was a 1928 graduate of Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial College [now Tennessee State University]. He was the brother of journalists Robert and Ulysses S. Poston, the son of Mollie Poston and Ephraim Poston, and the husband of Ersa Hines Poston. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Ted Poston: Pioneer American Journalist, by K. A. Hauke; and Ted Poston at The Library of America website, reportingcivilrights.org.


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kenucky

Poston, Ulysses and Robert
Robert (1895-1924) and Ulysses S. Poston (1892-1955) were older brothers of Ted Poston, the sons of Mollie Poston and Ephraim Poston, all from Hopkinsville, KY. The brothers owned and edited The Hopkinsville Contender and later, The Detroit Contender. Both were associated with Marcus Garvey, and while with him in New York, U. S. Poston created The Negro World, a successful African American daily paper, then later created The New York Contender. U. S. Poston was a 1915 graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University]. Robert Poston was assistant secretary-general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). He was head of a delegation that went to Liberia in 1924 to talk with the government; Poston died of pneumonia on the return trip to the U.S. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; "Ulysses S. Poston, real estate man. Former newsman, a crusader for Negro Rights dead - wrote for Magazines," New York Times, 05/15/1955, p. 23; and Dark Side of Hopkinsville, by T. Poston. For more on Robert Poston see "Lady Augusta Savage, a Garvyite wife, 1923-1924" in New Negro Artists in Paris: African American painters and sculptors in the City of Light, 1922-1934, by T. A. Leininger-Miller.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / New York

Rabb, Maurice F., Sr.
Birth Year : 1902
Death Year : 1982
Maurice F. Rabb, Sr. was born in Columbus, Mississippi. A graduate of Fisk University and Meharry Medical College, he practiced medicine in Louisville, KY, where he was also a civil rights activist. He was one of the first African American doctors to be admitted to the Jefferson County Medical Society. He was the father of Maurice F. Rabb, Jr. The Maurice F. and Jewell Rabb Collection, 1954-1983, is available at the University of Louisville Archives and Record Center. See also the online article "Maurice F. Rabb, M.D." in The Crisis, May 1980, vol.87, no.5, p.190.


Access Interview The Maurice Rabb oral history interview and transcript are available online in the University of Louisville Libraries' Digital Collections.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North
Geographic Region: Columbus, Mississippi / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Randolph, Benjamin F.
Birth Year : 1820
Death Year : 1868
Born in Kentucky, Benjamin F. Randolph was a political leader during Reconstruction in South Carolina. He served as a chaplain for the 26th Colored Infantry during the Civil War. He co-founded the Charleston Journal in 1866 and became editor of the Charleston Advocate in 1867. Within the South Carolina Republican Party, he organized the Union League. In 1876 Randolph was appointed Vice President of the South Carolina Republican Executive Committee and the next year was appointed president of the committee. In 1868 he was elected to the South Carolina Senate for Orangeburg County. Randolph advocated legal equality for African Americans, including the integration of schools. In 1868, while soliciting for the Republican Party, he was shot and killed in Donaldsville, SC, a predominately white area of the state. For more see American National Biography (2004), by P. R. Betz and M. C. Carnes.

See photo image and additional information on Benjamin F. Randolph at the Historic Randolph Cemetery website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Migration East, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Donaldsville, South Carolina / Orangeburg, Orangeburg County, South Carolina

Ratification of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1865
End Year : 1976
Kentucky House Member Mae Street Kidd sponsored the resolution that moved the state of Kentucky to ratify the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments in 1976. The ratification of the 13th Amendment formally abolished slavery in the United States. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." The U.S. Senate passed the amendment on April 8, 1864; the House of Representatives defeated the amendment on June 15, 1864, then passed the amendment on January 31, 1865; President Lincoln signed and presented the amendment to the states on February 1, 1865; and Secretary of State William Seward issued a statement on December 18, 1865 to verify the ratification of the 13th Amendment. There were three states that rejected the 13th Amendment and did not ratify it until the 20th Century: Delaware (February 12, 1901); Kentucky (March 18, 1976); and Mississippi (March 16, 1995).  The 14th Amendment was ratified July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to all who were born or naturalized in the United States. States that ratified the 14th Amendment in the 20th Century were Delaware (1901), Maryland (1959), California (1959), Kentucky (1976), and Ohio (September 17, 2003) [Ohio had rescinded its ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868]. The 15th Amendment, ratified February 3, 1870, gave African American men the right to vote. States that did not ratify the 15th Amendment until the 20th Century were Delaware (1901), Oregon (1959), California (1962), Maryland (1973), Kentucky (1976), and Tennessee (1997).  For more see 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, all on the Library of Congress website; see also Failure to ratify: during amendment battles, some states opt to watch, an NPR website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Voting Rights
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Ray, Joseph R., Sr.
Birth Year : 1887
Death Year : 1959
Joseph R. Ray, Sr. was born in Bloomfield, KY. In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him Director of the Racial Relations Service of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. He had also been the first African American appointed to the Louisville, KY, Board of Equalization. He served as a buyer and appraiser for the Louisville Housing Authority and the Louisville Board of Education. Ray served as the second cashier of the First Standard Bank in Louisville, KY, and would become president of the bank in 1929. It was the first African American bank in the state. He was a World War I veteran. Joseph Ray, Sr. was the husband of Ella Hughes Ray and the father of Joseph "Joie" Ray, race-car driver. He was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University] and attended the University of Chicago. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Last and Most Difficult Barrier, Segregation and Federal Housing Policy in the Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1960, a 2005 Report Submitted to the Poverty and Race Research Action Council," by A. R. Hirsch, Department of History, University of New Orleans; and "Joseph Ray Sr., 72, U. S. Housing Aide," Special to the New York Times, 12/01/1959, p. 39.

See photo image of Joseph R. Ray, Sr. in Jet, 05/16/1963, p.11.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Housing Authority, The Projects, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Bloomfield, Nelson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Washington, D.C.

Redd, Thomas
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1944
Thomas Redd was a civil rights leader in the the railroad industry. A brakeman on the Illinois Central Railroad, he was based in Louisville, KY. Redd had been with the company since 1895. Due to his persistent appeals for fairness to Negro railroad employers, Redd was known as a troublemaker among the company officials. He was a member of the Louisville Chapter Lodge #10 of the Association of Colored Railway Trainmen and Locomotive Firemen (ACRTLF), founded in 1912. Redd was elected chair of the organization's grievance committee in 1920 and later became president. The Illinois Central did not recognize the organization. Redd fought for more than a decade to secure equal pay, job security, and employment advancement for Colored railroad employees, but with little success, so he launched an even larger campaign that led to the development of the International Association of Railway Employees (IARE). The IARE held a conference in Chicago in 1934, and all Black railroad organizations were invited to send delegates. A second meeting was held in Washington, D.C., and Redd was named president of IARE, an umbrella organization with 28 member organizations from 16 states, including Kentucky. With legal representation by attorneys Charles Hamilton Houston and Joseph Waddy, and after years of fighting, the IARE would begin to see changes made to the labor laws. Thomas Redd was born in Hart County, KY, the son of William James Redd and Mary Ophelia Redd, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Annie Redd. In 1900, the family of three lived on Gallagher Street in Louisville. Redd was a widower when he died in Louisville on July 22, 1944. For more see Brotherhoods of Color, by E. Arnesen.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Union Organizations, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Hart County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Reynolds, Louise E.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 1995
Louise E. Reynolds, a stenographer, was the first African American to work at the Republican headquarters in Louisville, KY (1953-1959); she was there, for six years. She went on to become the second woman [first African American woman] elected to the Louisville Board of Aldermen (11th ward), where she served for eight years. She was invited to the White House and appointed to the GOP task force on Human Rights and Responsibilities. Reynolds sponsored an Equal Employment Opportunity Bill and worked for open housing. She was born in Lewisburg, TN, the daughter of Cary and William Elliot, and came to Louisville to attend school. She was a 1935 graduate of Louisville Central High School, and attended Louisville Municipal College. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber.


Access InterviewThe Louise E. Reynolds oral history recordings and transcript are available online at the University of Louisville Libraries Digital Archives.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lewisburg, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ricketts, Matthew Oliver
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1917
Matthew O. Ricketts was born in Henry County, KY, to slave parents. The family moved to Missouri when Ricketts was a small child. He grew up to become the first African American Senator in the Nebraska Legislature in 1892 and was elected again in 1894. He was an advocate for the stronger civil rights laws in Nebraska. Ricketts was also a leader of the Prince Hall Masons. He was a graduate of Lincoln Institute in Missouri [now Lincoln University of Missouri] and Omaha Medical College, the first African American to graduate from a college or university in Nebraska. He was the husband of Alice Ricketts, and the family of four lived in St. Joseph Ward, Buchanan County, MO, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. For more see Matthew Oliver Ricketts at BlackPast.org; Biographical Sketches of the Nebraska Legislature, by W. A. Howard; and Impertinences: selected writings of Elia Peattie, a journalist in the Giided Age, by E. W. Peattie.



Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Freedom, Migration West, Fraternal Organizations, Legislators (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Henry County, Kentucky / Missouri / Nebraska

Robb, Jackson
Birth Year : 1910
Death Year : 1977
Jackson Robb was an undertaker, musician, owner of a dance school, and community leader in Frankfort, KY. Jackson was born in Frankfort, the son of Mary E. Jackson Robb and Thomas K. Robb. He was the husband of Kathryn Taylor Robb. The Robb family was considered wealthy: Jackson owned the family funeral home business that his father started in 1900 on Clinton Street in Frankfort. The family was also associated with politicians, such as Kentucky House Member Mae Street Kidd, who sometimes stayed at their home; and heavyweight boxer Joe Louis. In November 1940, Jackson Robb, and Joe Louis and his trainer Jack Blackburn and secretary, Freddie Guinyard, were involved in a car accident on the way to Kentucky State Industrial College [now Kentucky State University] to congratulate the football team on the invitation to play Morris Brown College in a bowl game. A photo of Jackson Robb is included in the Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collection. For more see "Joe Louis escapes death in auto crash with undertaker," Lowell Sun, 11/20/1940, p. 79; Passing for Black, by W. Hall; and Community Memories, by W. L. Fletcher, et. al.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project
Start Year : 1977
End Year : 1981
The oral history interviews conducted by Robert Penn Warren for his book, Who Speaks for the Negro?, are located in the Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project in the University of Kentucky's Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History. A list of the interviews available online include Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin.  For more on the author, who is a Kentucky native, see the Robert Penn Warren Papers at the University of Kentucky Special Collections.

Access Interview Read about the Robert Penn Warren oral history interviews available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records are in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Oral History Collections
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Robinson, John Wallace
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1941
Robinson, born in Shelbyville, KY, was pastor and founder of Christ Community Church of Harlem and pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Episcopal Church, both in New York City. He led the building of a new facility for St. Mark's congregation, "Cathedral of Negro Methodism," which cost $500,000. Robinson was a graduate of Indiana University and Gammon Theological Seminary. He started preaching in 1894 and was a minister in Chicago before moving on to New York City in 1923. Robinson was also a civil rights activist; he fought for a federal anti-lynching bill. In 1935 he represented Negro ministers as a member of Mayor LaGardia's investigation committee, which was formed in response to the riot in Harlem on March 19, 1935, which included the police shooting death of 16 year old Lloyd Hobbs, an African American. Countee Cullen and A. Philip Randolph were also on the committee. For more see "Dr. J. W. Robinson, retired pastor, 70," New York Times, 11/28/1941, p. 23. For more about the riot, see Race, Space, and Riots in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, by J. L. Abu-Lughod.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky
Geographic Region: Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Harlem, New York City, New York

Ross, James A.
Birth Year : 1867
Death Year : 1949
Born in Columbus, KY, James A. Ross was a lawyer, politician, real estate broker, journalist, editor, and publisher. His family left Kentucky when Ross was a child; he was raised in Cairo, IL, and later moved farther north. Ross was editor and proprietor of The Reformer (Detroit) and publisher of the monthly magazine, Gazetteer and Guide (NY), written for African American Pullman Porters and railroad and hotel employees. He declined the U. S. Consul appointment to Cape Haitien in 1893. Ross was in charge of the Negro exhibit at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition, held in Buffalo, and he was Vice-President of the National Colored Democratic League Bureau in Chicago in 1912. He served as Race Relations Executive for the Works Progress Administration in Albany, NY. In 1946, Ross was elected president of the New York State Colored Real Estate Brokers Exchange. He was the husband of Cora B. Hawkins Ross (b.1874 in Canada), and the family of six lived on Michigan Street in Buffalo, NY, in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "James A. Ross," New York Times, 04/28/1949, p. 31.

See newspaper image of James A. Ross and additional information at the Uncrowned Community Builders website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Pullman Porters, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Works Progress Administration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Columbus, Hickman County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Detroit, Michigan / Buffalo and Albany, New York / Chicago, Illinois

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

Sample, Prince A., Jr.
Birth Year : 1878
Born in Mt. Sterling, KY, Prince Albert Sample was one of the founders and organizers of the Pullman Porters Benefit Association of America, Inc. and served as its comptroller. He was an investigator and welfare worker for the Pullman Co. in New York City at the Penn Terminal. He had also been president of the Jersey City NAACP Branch and a member of the Odd Fellows. Sample was assistant editor of the Wisconsin Advocate and special correspondent for the Evening Wisconsin. He was business manager and city editor of the Wisconsin Weekly Advocate. He was also a candidate for the New Jersey Legislature, and was a WWI veteran. Prince and his wife Bertha, from North Carolina, lived at 101 Virginia Avenue in Jersey City in 1930, according to the U.S. Federal Census. He was the son of Rev. P. A. Sample, Sr., pastor of the C. M. E. Church in Allensville, KY. Prince Albert Sample, Jr. was a graduate of the University of Michigan. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1933-37; K. McCray, "Pullman Porters: the best job in the community, the worst job on the train" [pdf], a James Mason University website; "A Southern Trip," Wisconsin Weekly Advocate, 06/16/1904, p.4.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Pullman Porters, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / New York City, New York / Jersey City, New Jersey / Wisconsin

Schooler, James W.
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1918
Schooler, from Nicholasville, KY, was admitted to practice in the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1888, becoming one of the first African American lawyers in Kentucky. He was present the day R. C. O. Benjamin was killed in 1900; Schooler had led Benjamin away from polling Precinct 32 in Lexington, KY, after Benjamin challenged precinct worker Michael Moynahan's right to call into question Harvey Jackson's right to register to vote. Moynahan had suspected Jackson, an African American, of being a vote floater, and Benjamin had intervened on Jackson's behalf. Moynahan struck Benjamin in the face. Schooler led Benjamin away from the polling precinct. Benjamin and Schooler were both lawyers and civil rights leaders, they were at the precinct to support African American voter registration. According to one newspaper account, though Benjamin had been led away from the polling precinct by Schooler, Benjamin later returned and was killed by Moynahan. Schooler was the son of Johns and Myra Lemuel Schooler, and the husband of Nora Schooler, b.1878 in KY, according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. James Schooler's exact birthday was not know at the time of his death, his age was estimated at 53 on his death certificate. Schooler died in Lexington, KY, and is buried in African Cemetery No.2. For more see "A Negro lawyer in Kentucky," New York Times, 06/06/1888, p. 6; and "R. C. O. Benjamin; shot dead as the result of a petty election quarrel," Hopkinsville Kentuckian, 10/05/1900, p.5.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Voting Rights, Lawyers
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Scott, Isaiah B.
Birth Year : 1854
Death Year : 1931
Born in Woodford County, KY, Bishop Isaiah B. Scott was the first African American president of Wiley College in Marshall, TX (1893-1896). In 1907 the school received the first Carnegie library west of the Mississippi River. In 1887, Scott had also been the first "Negro Missionary" in Hannibal, MO; Scott Chapel was named in his honor. He was also editor of the Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans (1896-1904). He was elected Bishop for Africa in 1904 and moved to Liberia. He wrote Four Years in Liberia, published in 1908. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; L. Richardson, "Scott Chapel United Methodist Church," a Hannibal Free Public Library (MO) website; and Religion and the Rise of Jim Crow in New Orleans, by J. B. Bennett.

See photo image of Bishop Isaiah B. Scott at the Liberia United Methodist Church website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Woodford County, Kentucky / Marshall, Texas / Hannibal, Missouri / New Orleans, Louisiana / Liberia, Africa

Seales, Daniel, Sr.
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1905
Daniel Seales Sr., a wealthy businessman, was born in Lexington, KY, the son of jockey Dennis Seales (b.1784 in KY) who owned quite a bit of property in Lexington. It was questioned in the media as to whether Daniel Seales was truly a millionaire who lived in San Francisco. An answer was printed In an issue of the Cleveland Gazette, the 1891 article stated that Seales was wealthy, traveled extensively, and was rarely at his home in San Francisco, and that he often spent time in Cleveland, OH, with his wife and children. Seales' family had moved to Cleveland some years prior to 1891, and the reason for the move, according to the article, was because the Cleveland schools were better for his four children. During his travels, Seales sometimes visited Lexington, KY, and his arrival was announced in the newspaper. The same was true when he visited other cities, and Seales would also submit letters to the editors of newspapers in cities he visited. In California, Seales was a member of the newly formed Colored citizens state convention, an organization that fought for the equal rights of African Americans and for representation in the state legislature. Seales filed several lawsuits against public establishments that denied access to African Americans based on race. One of the cases took place in 1885 in the Cleveland Common Pleas Court; the suit was against La Grand Rink in Cleveland, because Daniel Seales Jr. had been denied admission due to his race. The following year, Seales Sr. was awarded $200 in damages. It is not known if Seales was ever a slave. He was an educated man, an 1850 graduate of Oberlin College. Immediately after graduation, Seales moved to California, where it was said that he made his fortune mining gold. While in San Francisco, his brother Enoch Seals, who was a minister, sent him a letter in 1867, announcing that he was appointed a deputy sheriff and tax collector for Colored people in Louisville, KY; the appointment was thought to be the first office held by a Colored person in Louisville. Daniel Seales had the announcement printed in the Elevator, a newspaper in San Francisco. Daniel Seales' family is listed in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census as free persons living in Lexington, KY. Their last name is spelled 'Seals.' Daniel Seales, Sr. continued to visit Lexington from time to time and eventually moved to Cleveland where he died at the family home on Woodland Avenue. For more see "The San Francisco Elevator...," Cleveland Gazette, 02/14/1891, p.3; "Daniel Seales, Sr. died...," Cleveland Gazette, 04/15/1905, p.3; "Daniel Seales," Lexington Leader, 05/24/1898, p.7; "Colored millionaire," Lexington Leader, 11/13/1890, p.5; "Kentucky - Daniel Seals, Esq...," Elevator, 09/27/1867, p.3; "Call for a state convention," Elevator, 11/08/1873, p.2; "Daniel Seales, Sr...," Cleveland Gazette, 05/29/1886, p.4; "What do you think of this?," Cleveland Gazette, 09/19/1891, p.3.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / San Francisco, California / Cleveland, Ohio

Shanklin, Barbara
Shanklin, of Louisville, KY, was awarded the Anderson Laureate Award in 2006. She was elected to serve on the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Council in 2002 and was the first woman and the first African American to serve as president. Shanklin, who is a teacher and dedicated activist and civic leader, had previously served as Majority Caucus Chair of the Council. She is a graduate of Central High School, Waterson College (associate degree), McKendree College (B.A.), Webster University (M.A.), and Spalding University (Ed. D.). For more see "Anderson Laureate Award Winner Announced - During the 2006 Governor's EEO Conference," [pdf] 10/20/2006, by the Kentucky Commission on WomenDr. Barbara Shanklin biography, on the LouisvilleKy.gov website; and The Honorable Dr. Barbara Shanklin on p.127 in Who's Who in Black Louisville.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Shaw, Ed
Death Year : 1891
Shaw's birth date was in the late 1820s. He was a free man born in Kentucky who moved to Memphis, TN, around 1852. He owned a saloon and gambling house. Shaw has been described as a radical Republican political leader and as the most powerful African American leader in Memphis. He was defeated in a run for Congress in 1869. He spoke up for the rights of African Americans, for integrated schools, and against poll taxes. He served on the City Council and the County Commission and was elected wharf master. Shaw was also a lawyer and editor of the Memphis Planet newspaper. For more see "Ed Shaw" in the article "Free Blacks had impact on county history - Historian traces roots of black population," Commercial Appeal, 10/14/1993, Neighbors section, p. e2; and in the History of Memphis at cityofmemphis.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Gambling, Lottery
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee

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

  See photo image of Benjamin F. Shobe and additional information at the Great Black Kentuckians website by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Judges, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Shrader, Mildred
Shrader may have been the first White member of the NAACP in Kentucky. (She became a member in the 1960s.) She was also active in the Women's Movement and the Peace Movement. The Shraders lived in Fern Creek, KY, near the African American community of Newburg. They participated in civil rights marches and protests. Mrs. Shrader died of environmentally-induced cancer. For more see the preface of Environmental Justice: creating equality, reclaiming democracy, by K. S. Shrader-Frechette.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Fern Creek, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Simmons, William J.
Birth Year : 1849
Death Year : 1890
William J. Simmons was the second president of Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute (later Simmons University). He was an education advocate who fought for better education for African American children. He was editor of the American Baptist newspaper and established Eckstein Norton Institute in Cain Springs, KY. Simmons was the author of Men of Mark (1887), the forerunner to the irregular serial publication, Who's Who of the Colored Race. Simmons was also an activist; while serving as chair of the executive committee of the Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky, he was the first African American to speak before the Kentucky Legislature on the injustices put upon African Americans in Kentucky. For more see Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright.

See photo image of William J. Simmons at the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC).
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Cain Springs, Kentucky

Smith, S. E.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1907
Born in Barren County, KY, Rev. S. E. Smith had lived in Owensboro, KY. He was a minister and a civil rights activist. He spoke out against the Separate Coach Act in Kentucky. In 1886, he was one of the spokesmen who appeared before the Kentucky Senate demanding just laws for African Americans. He was a trustee of State University [later named Simmons University]. Smith was a delegate to the National Republican Convention over a period of 16 years. He was author of History of the Anti-Separate Coach Movement in Kentucky [full-text available online at Kentucky Digital Library]. Kentucky Governor Bradley appointed Rev. Smith as the Kentucky representative at the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897. Rev. Smith was the National Grand Secretary of the Order of Samaritans. He was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, and just prior to his death, he had accepted the position as pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Columbus,OH. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; S. E. Smith in Chapter 12 of The Reformed Reader [available online]; and "Noted colored man dies," The Washington Post, 08/08/1907.


See photo of Rev. S. E. Smith on p. 295 in Sermons, Addresses and Reminiscences and Important Correspondence, by E. C. Morris, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Fraternal Organizations, Appointments by Kentucky Governors
Geographic Region: Barren County, Kentucky / Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Columbus, Ohio

Snorton, Charles C.
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 2000
Snorton was a civil rights leader in Cleveland, OH. He was born in Crofton, KY, and was a 1937 sociology graduate of Kentucky State University. Snorton was one of the first members of the Future Outlook League in Cleveland, the organization was formed in 1935 and one of the goals was to encourage white business owners in predominately Black neighborhoods to hire African Americans. When talking did not work, members picketed and used economic boycotts. According to Snorton's newspaper obituary, he is credited for integrating the Ohio Bell Telephone Co., Cleveland Transit System, and trade union apprentice programs. Snorton, who was a World War II veteran, had been a chauffeur and a liquor store manager in Cleveland. For more see A. Baranick, "Charles Snorton, pushed white employers to hire blacks," Plain Dealer, 05/25/2000, Metro section, p.9B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Sociologists & Social Scientists, Telephone Company Employees, Telephone Inventions, Telephones and Race
Geographic Region: Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio

Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF)
Start Year : 1938
End Year : 1975
Founded in the 1938 by both communists and non-communists, the Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) was a division of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW). The headquarters, located in New Orleans, LA, was well funded by supporters in the northern sector of the United States. The mission of SCEF was to eliminate segregation and racial injustice in the South with the joint efforts of southern Blacks and whites. In 1948, the parent organization SCHW folded and SCEF continued as an independent organization that was labeled by opponents as the Communist voice in the South. SCEF was investigated in 1958 by the U.S. House of Representatives' Un-American Activities Committee. The hearings were held in Atlanta, GA, and Anne and Carl Braden, from Louisville, KY, were two of the persons subpoenaed for the hearings. Anne was not called to testify, but Carl was, and when he refused to answer any questions, he was found in contempt of Congress and sentenced to a year in jail. He served 10 months. Out of fear of such retaliation, civil rights and other similar organizations pulled away from SCEF, but former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, along with Ella Baker, stood by the organization as members and supporters. With the Bradens' support, SCEF became a major civil rights organization for the South with strong ties to the up and coming Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) [article in King Encyclopedia online]. In 1966, the SCEF headquarters were moved to Louisville, KY, where they remained until the last days of the organization. With the Bradens' influence as former journalists, the SCEF newspaper Southern Patriot gained a circulation of 20,000 and was used to disseminate information about the efforts of SCEF and SNCC. For more see Freedom's Daughters, by L. Olson; In Struggle, by C. Carson; and "Southern Conference Educational Fund" in Organizing Black America, by N. Mjagkij. The Southern Conference Educational Fund records are at Georgia State University Library.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights
Geographic Region: New Orleans, Louisiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

Stanley, Frank L., Jr.
Birth Year : 1937
Death Year : 2007
Frank L. Stanley, Jr. was a journalist and was editor and publisher of the Louisville (KY) Defender newspaper until 1976. He chaired the Allied Organizations for Civil Rights (AOCR), the organization that coordinated the 1964 March on Frankfort, KY, where Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed 10,000 citizens. The march was in support of the public accommodations bill, which was not passed. Stanley was active in many civil rights efforts in Louisville, including voter registration and public demonstrations. In 1968, he was executive director of the Los Angeles National Urban League. Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll appointed him executive director of the Kentucky Commission on Corrections and Community Service in 1974. Ten years later he planned to run as a Democratic candidate for mayor of Louisville. Frank L. Stanley, Jr. was the son of journalist Frank L. Stanley Sr. He was a graduate of Louisville Central High School, the University of Illinois, and George Washington University. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and P. Burba, "Frank Stanley, Jr., champion of civil rights in Louisville, dies at 70," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 03/02/2007, News section, p. 4B.

See photo image of Frank L. Stanley, Jr. at courier-journal.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Los Angeles, California

Stanley, Frank L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1974
Frank L. Stanley, Sr. was senior editor and publisher of the Louisville Defender newspaper for 38 years. He was also a civil rights activist: in 1950 he drafted Senate Resolution no. 53, which led to the integration of higher education in Kentucky; and he pushed for the organization of the Kentucky Human Rights Commission. In 1962, Stanley was one of the four journalist the State Department sent to African to conduct a journalism seminar for African editors and radio program directors. In 1974, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by the University of Kentucky during the commencement exercise; Stanley was a  member of the group that fought to desegregate the University of Kentucky. Frank L. Stanley, Sr. was the father of Frank L. Stanley, Jr. In 1983, Frank L. Stanley, Sr. was inducted into the University of Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. The Frank L. Stanley Papers are at the University of Louisville Libraries' Special Collections and Archives. For more see Biography Index: A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. vol. 10: Sept. 1973-Aug. 1976; "Editor gets honorary doctorate degree," Chicago Metro News, 06/08/1974, p.14; and Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.

See photo image of Frank L. Stanley at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, Great Black Kentuckians.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Stepp, Marcellus "Marc"
Birth Year : 1923
Marcellus Stepp was born in Versailles, KY, then his family moved to Evansville, IN, when he was a child. He is an Army veteran and holds an accounting degree from the University of Detroit. He was employed at the Chrysler Highland Park plant for 19 years and served as vice president of Local 490 to the Chrysler-UAW National Negotiating Committee. He was appointed International Representative with Region 1B in 1967 and was elected International Vice President in 1974. He also served as executive director of the Institute for Urban & Community Affairs at the University of Detroit. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Detroit Common Council in 1965. For more see African American Biographies: profiles of 558 current men and women, by W. L. Hawkins; Marc Stepp Collection Papers, 1940-2000, at Wayne State University Reuther Library; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1977-2006.

See photo image of Marcellus Stepp, about mid-page, at the 2011 Hall of Honor Inductees, a University of Detroit Mercy website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Evansville, Indiana / Detroit, Michigan

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

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

Tandy, Charlton H.
Birth Year : 1836
Death Year : 1919
Charlton Hunt Tandy, born in a house on Main Street in Lexington, KY, was the son of John L. (b.1805) and Susan Tandy (b.1815), both Kentucky natives. The family was listed as free in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. John is listed as a whitewasher, he had purchased his freedom in 1833. His son, Charlton, born three years later, was named after Lexington's first Mayor, Charlton Hunt (the son of John W. Hunt, the first millionaire west of the Allegheny Mountains). Charlton Hunt Tandy was listed as one of the family's nine children in 1850, he was raised in Lexington, and as a young man, he and family members assisted escaped slaves across the Ohio River into Ohio. Charlton moved to Missouri in 1859, where he would become captain of the 13th Missouri Colored Volunteer Militia, Company B, known as Tandy's St. Louis Guard. After the war, he fought for equal access on public transportation in St. Louis, which allowed African Americans to ride inside the horse-drawn streetcars rather than riding on the outside by hanging onto the rails. In 1879, Tandy helped raise thousands of dollars to help former slave families who were moving to the West [Exodusters]; Tandy was president of the St. Louis Colored Relief Board. In 1880 Tandy testified before the Congressional Voorhees Committee about the exodus of African Americans from the South. He became a lawyer in 1886 by passing the Missouri Bar Exam and was permitted to practice law in both the district court and the U. S. Supreme Court. President Grant appointed Tandy to the St. Louis Custom House, making him the first African American to be employed there. Tandy was also a U.S. Marshall under President Harrison's administration, serving as special agent of the General Land Office and as a timber inspector. He served as vice president of the Missouri State Republican League and in 1894 was elected to a House seat by the Republicans of the Thirty-second Senatorial District, but he was not allowed to serve. Charlton Tandy was the husband of Anna E. Tandy, who was also born in Kentucky. A community center, a park, and a St. Louis Zoo train engine [of the Zooline Railroad] have been named in Tandy's honor. For more see The New Town Square, by R. Archibald; The St. Louis African American Community and the Exodusters, by B. M. Jack; Missouri Guardroots [.pdf]; news clippings about Tandy in the University of Missouri-St. Louis Western Historical Manuscript Collection; "A great exodus of Negroes," New York Times, 08/12/1880, p. 5; and "Lexington Negro," Lexington Leader, 08/01/1906, p. 5.

 See photo image and additional information at blackpast.org.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Freedom, Lawyers, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Railroad, Railway, Trains, Underground Railroad: Conductors, Escapes, Organizations, Research, Exodusters [African Americans migrating West around Reconstruction Era], Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

Taylor, Gustavus G.
Birth Year : 1904
Taylor was born in Louisville, KY. He worked as a real estate broker in Detroit, Michigan, and as a housing manager of the Public Housing Authority in Ecorse, Michigan, in 1943. Beginning in 1944, he was the housing manager of the Public Housing Administration in Inkster, Michigan. Taylor organized the NAACP at the Elks Baptist Church in Inkster. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Ecorse, and Inkster, Michigan

Thompson, Malachi Richard
Birth Year : 1949
Death Year : 2006
Thompson was born in Princeton, KY, and grew up in Chicago. He played the piano and trumpet and was a music activist and leader. Thompson graduated from Governor's State University with a B.A in composition. He played with a number of bands before becoming a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in 1968 [founded in Chicago, IL]. Thompson was also a member of Operation Breadbasket Big Band [Chicago], a division of the Southern Christian Leadership Council that played at rallies and marches. In 1974 he moved to New York, where he continued to perform with various groups, including that of Sam Rivers, the grandson of Kentucky native Marshall W. (Boyd) Taylor. Thompson also toured and recorded in Europe with Archie Shepp's band. He was a founding member of Bowie's Hot Trumpet Repertory Company [later named Brass Fantasy], and he founded the Freebop Band in 1978. He continued traveling and playing until 1989 when he was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma (cancer) and returned to Chicago. He returned to music in 1991 to lead the Africa Brass band. He organized the Hyde Park/Kenwood Jazz Festival and founded the Sutherland Community Arts Initiative. Thompson's recordings include Buddy Bolden's Rag, Lift Every Voice, and Talking Horns. For more see "Malachi Thompson, trumpeter, 56," New York Times, 07/20/2006, The Arts/Cultural Desk section, p. 7; and "Malachi Thompson" in the Oxford Music Online Database. View images and listen to Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing - Malachi Thompson and Africa Brass on YouTube.

Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers
Geographic Region: Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Thompson, Richard W.
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1920
Richard W. Thompson was born in Brandenburg, KY, and moved to Indianapolis, IN, when he was a child. At the age of 15, he was the first African American page with the Indiana Legislature. He was hired by Bagby & Co. at the age of 17 and was later a bookkeeper for the secretary of the Marion County Board of Health. He was a mailman from 1888-1893; Thompson had finished first among a class of 75 persons taking the 1888 Marion County civil service examination. He would later become managing editor of the newspapers Freeman and Indianapolis World. Thompson left Indiana to become a government clerk with the Washington, D.C. Census Bureau, beginning in 1894; he was the first African American at that post. While in D.C., he was the managing editor of the Colored American magazine until 1903, then managed the the National Negro Press Bureau, a news service for African American newspapers. Thompson was an affiliate of Booker T. Washington; Washington subsidized the Press Bureau and influenced African American newspaper editors. In 1920, Richard Thompson died in Washington, D.C. at the Freedmen's Hospital. For more see The Booker T. Washington Papers, vol. 5 (1899-1900), p. 48 [available online by the University of Illinois Press]; Twentieth Century Negro Literature, Or, a Cyclopedia of Thought on the Vital Topics Relating to the American Negro, edited by D. W. Culp [available online from Project Gutenberg]; Slave and Freeman: the autobiography of George L. Knox, by G. L. Knox; and "R. W. Thompson dead," Baltimore Afro-American, 02/20/1920, p.1.

See photo image of Richard W. Thompson from Twentieth Century Negro Literature, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service
Geographic Region: Brandenburg, Meade County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Washington, D.C.

Thruston, Felix
Birth Year : 1949
Born in Owensboro, KY, Felix Thruston was the 10th all-time leading scorer for the Owensboro High School basketball team, scoring 1,421 points from 1965-1967. He was coached by Bobby Watson. He went on to play college ball at Trinity University in Texas, where he was the third all-time leading scorer and rebounder for a season with 591 points and 268 rebounds. He came within two points of breaking the school record for single game individual points, scoring 45 points in the game against the Mexican Olympic team in 1970. Off the court, Thruston was active in the struggle for racial equality at Trinity University, speaking out in the newspapers concerning racism at the school; he was instrumental in presenting four proposals on the issue to the school administration. He was selected in the 8th round of the 1971 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. He is the brother of Jerry Thruston. In 2011, Felix Thruston was inducted into the Trinity University Hall of Fame. For more see the Owensboro High School yearbook, the Owensboroan, available at the Daviess County Public Library; Mirage, the Trinity University yearbook; and Trinitonian, the Trinity University newspaper, especially the issues dated 12/04/1970, 03/05/1971, & 04/16/1971, at the Trinity University Library. See also "Felix Thruston" in Trinity Announces 2011 Hall of Fame Class at the Trinity website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Basketball
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky /San Antonio, Texas / Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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

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

Turner, Frank M. and Frosty [Wyatt Burghardt Turner]
Frank Turner (1887-1941) was the son of Wyatt and Emma Mitchell Turner. He and his wife, Frosty [or Frostie] Ann Duncan Turner (b. 1891), were from Richmond, KY. They lived in Jamaica, Queens, New York; according to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, the family lived on Saratoga Avenue; Frank was recognized in the neighborhood as the father of tennis. The couple had six sons. Frank and Frosty Turner, both 1909 graduates of Wilberforce [now Wilberforce University], were married the summer after their graduation. Frank would become the chief accountant for the NAACP. He had kept the books since the organization opened its first office in the Evening Post building in 1910. He had come to the NAACP with W. E. B. DuBois. Frank had been secretary to DuBois in Atlanta; it was his first job after graduating from college. At the NAACP Office, Frank was also the circulation manager of the Crisis, and he had helped establish the NAACP Branch in Jamaica, New York in 1927, where he served as secretary until his death in 1941. Wyatt Burghardt Turner (1916-2009) was one of Frank and Frosty Turner's sons. He was named after his grandfather; his middle name was in honor of W. E. B. DuBois. Wyatt Turner was born in New York and graduated from high school in Kentucky, where he lived with his grandmother. He would become founder and president of the Brookhaven NAACP, and he served as chairman of the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission. He had also been a history professor at Stony Brook University. Prior to becoming a professor, he was the first African American teacher at Bay Shore. Wyatt Turner was a graduate of Kentucky State University and Columbia University, and he served in the U.S. Army during World War II. For more see "Frank M. Turner," The Crisis, vol. 48, issue 12 (December 1941), pp. 394 & 398; "How the NAACP Began" at the NAACP.org website; H. L. Moon, "History of the Crisis," The Crisis, November 1970; and K. Schuster, "Wyatt Turner dies; pioneer helped found Brookhaven chapter, active in Obama's presidential campaign," Newsday, 01/23/2009, News section, p. A8.

See photo image at the end of the article "Frank M. Turner" on p. 394 of The Crisis.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Education and Educators, Fathers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Mothers, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Queens, New York

Twyman, Luska J.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1988
Luska J. Twyman was born in Hiseville, KY, the son of Eliza Twyman. In 1968 he became the first African American mayor of Glasgow and, for 17 years, the only African American mayor in Kentucky. He was also the first African American to serve on the U.S. Commission of Human Rights. Twyman was a 1939 graduate of Kentucky State University and a World War II veteran. He was a former principal of the Ralph Bunch School for African Americans in Glasgow. The Luska J. Twyman Memorial Park in Glasgow is named in his honor. There is also a Kentucky Historical Marker [#2019] honoring Twyman in the Glasgow Public Square. For more see "Kentucky City Council Names Black Mayor," Jet, vol. 35, issue 1 (Oct. 10, 1968), p. 4; Luska Twyman in the Kentucky Files - Biography at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; and S. Brown, "Luska Twyman, Kentucky's first Black mayor, dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/29/1988, City/State section, p. C1.

See photo image of Luska J. Twyman at the Glasgow Daily Times Archive website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Hiseville and Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Underwood, Edward Ellsworth
Birth Year : 1864
Death Year : 1942
A physician, Underwood moved to Kentucky to become Assistant City Physician in Frankfort. He organized and was the first president of the Frankfort NAACP Chapter. He was the first African American to sit on the Board of Trustees at Kentucky State University. In 1898 he formed the State League of Republican Clubs in Kentucky and was its first president. He was also a Kentucky delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1904. Underwood is author of A brief history of the colored churches of Frankfort, Kentucky (1906) [full-text available in the Kentucky Digital Library], as well as several poems; and he was editor of the Blue Grass Bugle for 10 years. He was born in Ohio, the son of Harriet and Reverend Johnson P. Underwood, and the husband of Sarah Walker Underwood, according to his death certificate. For more see Who's Who in Colored America 1927.

  

See photo image of Dr. Edward E. Underwood at Kentucky Historical Society Digital Collections.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Poets, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Ohio / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Utterback, Everett Emory
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1992
Everett Utterback was a social worker, an athlete, and an attorney in Pittsburgh, PA. He prepared legal contracts for Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords baseball team (Negro League). Utterback prepared contracts with players such as Leroy Satchell Paige, and boxers such as John Henry Lewis, world light heavy weight champion 1935-1939. Everett Utterback was born in Mayfield, KY, the son of Monima and Eldridge Utterback. According to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, the family of five lived on Second Street, and was supported by Eldridge who was brick mason. The family was still in Mayfield, KY in 1930, but without Everette who was attending the University of Pittsburgh on a track scholarship. In 1931, he was the first African American captain of the track team at the University of Pittsburgh. Utterback had competed in a 1929 Decathlon and came in second behind Barney Berlinger. In 1930 and 1931, he won the national championship in broad jump, and the ICA [Intercollegiate Athletics] broad jump championship. Also in 1931, Utterback won the Penn Relays Championship in the hop, skip, and jump. During his career, he won nine championships in the Penn Relays. He was a member of the IC4A indoor championship mile relay team. He set a number of track records. Utterback was also a graduate of Duquesne Law School [now Duquesne University School of Law] and retired as general counsel of the Pittsburgh Housing Authority. He had served as director of management of the housing authority with 5,900 units and 20,000 residents, and he was a social worker. He was a senior partner of Utterback, Brown and Harper, and was one of the lawyers working with the Pittsburgh NAACP to desegregate public facilities. Utterback was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, and was the first African American Lettermen of Distinction at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2006, he was recognized posthumously with a proclamation from the Allegheny County Council, and the Spirit of King Award from the Port Authority. For more see P. Jayes, "Memento recalls a different world," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/17/1983, p.14; see Everett Utterback in "Barney Berlinger leads Decathlon," The Bismarck Tribune, 04/26/1929, p.9; "Agency board institute is planned here," Altoona Mirror, 02/17/1950, p.1&4; see Everett Utterback in Urban Renewal in Selected Cities, Nov.4-Dec.31, 1957, U.S. GPO; see Everett Utterback in "Pitt to honor Olympic Champion John Woodruff, " The Courier [Pennsylvania], 05/11/1972, p.6; Who's Who Among Black Americans, 1977-1995; and contact the Allegheny County Council for the Proclamation to Everett Utterback dated January 12, 2006, Rich Fitzgerald, President.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Athletes, Athletics, Housing Authority, The Projects, Lawyers, Migration North, Track & Field, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Valentine, Lee A.
Birth Year : 1910
Born in Mayfield, KY, Valentine was an insurance salesman with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, beginning in 1946. He was also responsible for leading the campaign to build a new 10-room elementary school for African American children. Valentine was vice president of the Elizabeth City Civic and Welfare League and publicity chairman of the NAACP chapter. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Civic Leaders, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Social Workers, Migration East, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky / Elizabeth City, North Carolina

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

WACs' Protest at Camp Breckinridge, KY
Start Year : 1943
In 1943, six African American members of the Women's Army Corps (WACs) resigned from the Army after their unit staged a protest over job assignments. The unit was under the command of 1st Lieutenant Myrtle Anderson and 2nd Lieutenant Margaret E. B. Jones. They were the first group of African American women enlistees to be stationed in Kentucky. They were a division of the first Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAACs) that had been established at Fort Des Moines, Iowa in 1942; a total of 118 African American women were trained at the location. In 1943, the WAACs were being transitioned over to the WACs. The unit transferred to Kentucky had been trained to become supply clerks, but once stationed at Camp Breckinridge, they were assigned tasks such as stacking beds and scrubbing the floors of the warehouses and latrines. The women protested, and Anderson and Jones complained to their superior officer Colonel Kelly, but nothing was done. There was also the complaint that white soldiers had entered the women's barracks at night and officers had to protect them. As the tension continued to increase, the last straw came when the women were told to wash the walls of the laundry; the women went on strike. After five days, the Army responded by allowing the women to leave the service without honor. Those who resigned were Beatrice Brashear, Gladys Morton, Margaret Coleman, Mae E. Nicholas, and Viola Bessups, all from New York, and Ruth M. Jones from New Jersey. The Army's official response was that the "girls" had not been given a proper assignment and there was a disturbance. The Camp Breckinridge Public Relations Office acknowledged the resignations but had no additional comments. For more see "6 WACs Resign: WAC clerks decline to scrub floors," Philadelphia Afro American, 07/10/1943, pp. 1 & 15. For more about Camp Breckinridge, see the Camp Breckinridge entry in the Kentucky Encyclopedia, and History of Camp Breckinridge, by P. Heady.

By the final months of 1943, African American WACs were performing mail clerk duties at Camp Breckinridge, KY, as seen in photo image of Pfc. Ruby O'Brien from Beaumont, TX; Pvt. Millie Holloway from Louisville, KY; and others in photo dated November 30, 1943. Photo at NYPL Digital Gallery from U.S. Office of War Information.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Women's Groups and Organizations, Women's Army Corps (WACs)
Geographic Region: Camp Breckinridge [or Fort Breckinridge], Henderson, Webster, and Union Counties, Kentucky (no longer exists) / Fort Des Moines [Fort Des Moines Museum], Des Moines, Iowa

Wade, Alice
Birth Year : 1939
Death Year : 2008
Alice Wade, born in Jeffersonville, IN, is remembered as one of the most dependable and committed voices in the Louisville, KY, civil rights movement. When she was not out front, she was many times working behind the scenes. Wade and Ann Braden were friends and worked side by side; they met in the 1980s. Wade was a volunteer, coordinator, and organizer for The Braden Center and the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, both in Louisville, KY. She also worked beside activist Rev. Louis Coleman; on July 4, 1999, she and Colman were two of the 12 people arrested for trespassing at the Valhalla Golf Club, where they were protesting against the absence of minority and women owned vendors at the PGA tournament. Wade led marches and protest against racism and police brutality. For more see P. Burba, "Civil-rights activist Alice Wade dies at 69," Courier-Journal, 05/22/2008, News section, p. 1B.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration South
Geographic Region: Jeffersonville, Indiana / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Waits, Ernest J., Sr. "Ernie"
Birth Year : 1920
Death Year : 2004
Ernie Waits, Sr. is often referred to as the first African American DJ [disc jockey] in both Kentucky and Ohio [source: E. S. Murrain, "Payola and the Pied Pipers," Tone, 09/01/1960, p. 11]. In Kentucky, he was a DJ at WNOP in Newport, KY [source: see "Gab Bag" in the column "Vox Jox," Billboard, 04/21/1951, pp. 28 & 33]. In Cincinnati, he was a DJ at WZIP [source: "Chicago Chatter," Billboard, 05/28/1949, p. 40]. Waits was also among the first African American broadcasters in both radio and television in Cincinnati, Ohio, his home town. He was a singer and musician, as well as a civil rights leader who helped start organized labor. He was an international representative for the United Auto Workers, integrated the Democrat Party of Hamilton County, Ohio, and was the first African American in Cincinnati to become a New York Stock Exchange registered representative. He owned a bowling alley and other businesses and helped establish the Black Expo in Cincinnati. Ernie Waits was born in Georgia and grew up in Cincinnati. He was the son of Jesse and Mozell Harper Waits. He was a veteran of World War II. For more see Ernie Waits, Sr. in the video Road to Equality at CETConnect.org; Ernie Waits in the H. Wilkinson article, "Berry showed them the way," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/19/2000 [online at enquirer.com]; Ernie Waits in the Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, by L. F. Sies; Who's Who in Black Cincinnati 2003-2004 Edition, M. C. Sunny and R. Love; and R. Goodman, "Civil Rights fighter Ernest Waits dies," Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/22/2004 [online at enquirer.com].

  See photo image of Ernie Waits Sr. within article about Theodore M. Berry at the Cincinnati Enquirer website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Radio, Television, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Georgia / Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio / Kentucky

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

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

Walls, John H.
Birth Year : 1890
Death Year : 1983
Dr. Johh H. Walls, born in Tennessee, established well-baby clinics in Louisville African American neighborhoods. Walls was on the governing board of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital. He was the husband of Murray B. Atkins Walls; they were both involved in the civil rights efforts in Louisville. The Walls Family Papers are available at the University of Louisville Libraries.

Access InterviewThe 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, Medical Field, Health Care, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Tennessee / 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, Alexander
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1917
Alexander Walters was born at the Donahoe Hotel in Bardstown, KY, the sixth child of Henry Walters and Harriet Mathews, both of whom were slaves. He was the husband of Katie Knox Walters, and later married Lelia Coleman Walters. In 1877, Alexander Walters was licensed to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion denomination; he was a member of St. John AME Zion Church in Bardstown. He was elected the 24th Bishop of the AME Zion Church and preached at many churches before arriving at Mother Zion of New York Church in 1888. Walters became the first president of the National Afro-American Council in 1898 and was re-elected seven times. He would become a bishop in the AMEZ Church. He was also vice-president of the NAACP in 1911, when the organization was incorporated. Walters was an outspoken civil rights advocate, calling for the formation of the Afro-American League and for African Americans to look beyond the Republican Party for justice. Among his many writings was the co-authored Address to the Nations of the World... For more see My Life and Work, by Bishop Alexander Walters [available full-text at the UNC Documenting the American South website]; The History of the Negro Church, by C. G. Woodson; Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; and R. E. Clement, "Phylon Profile, VII: Alexander Walters," Phylon, vol. 7, issue 1 (1st Qtr., 1946), pp. 15-19.

See photo image of Bishop Alexander Walters at BlackPast.org.

See photo image of the Donahoe Hotel (renamed Newman House) from My Life and Work by A. Walters, at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People)
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / New York

Walters, Arthur M.
Birth Year : 1918
Death Year : 2010
Arthur M. Walters, born in Magnolia, KY, was a social services administrator most recognized for his role as executive director of the Louisville Urban League from 1970-1987. He led the League's involvement in the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Walters already had a B.A. when he earned a M.Ed. at the University of Louisville. He belonged to a number of organizations and received many awards. Walters also received a number of military recognitions: the Medal of Merit, the Bronze Star for heroism, the Soldier's Medal for Bravery, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 4 bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and many more. The Louisville Urban League's Arthur M. Walters Award is named in his honor. For more see Arthur M. Walters at the Louisville Urban League website; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.

See photo image of Arthur M. Walters at courier-journal.com.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Military & Veterans, Urban Leagues
Geographic Region: Magnolia, Hardin County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Walters, Lelia Coleman
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1949
Lelia Coleman Walters, born in Bardstown, KY, was the second wife of Alexander Walters. She broke many racial barriers, including becoming the first African American woman principal of a public school in Kentucky; for nine years she was principal of the Shelby Street School in Louisville. In 1916, by executive order of President Wilson, Walters was employed as a clerk and interpreter with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service on Ellis Island; she retired in 1935. For twelve years, she was also president of the African Redemption Society, where she was associated with Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey. Walters had attended school in a Roman Catholic convent and graduated from Louisville High School. In 1895, she completed a business course at Coon's Commercial High School in Kansas City, MO, and was the first African American to graduate from any Missouri school for whites only. For more see "Mrs. Alexander Walters," New York Times, 03/18/1949, p. 25; and Lelia Walters photo on p. 72, and additional information, in My Life and Work by Bishop Alexander Walters [available full text at the UNC Documenting the American South website].


Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri / New York City, New York

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

Wheeler, John W.
Birth Year : 1847
Death Year : 1912
Wheeler was born free in Lexington, KY. He moved to St. Louis in 1873 where he was a politician and the publisher of the St. Louis Palladium newspaper. A republican and follower of Booker T. Washington, he echoed Washington's message for African Americans to become more self-reliant. He also used his newspaper to speak out against discrimination toward African Americans, actively seeking to mobilize black votes for the Republican Party. For more see Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights, ed. by C. D. Lowery, J. F. Marszalek and T. A. Upchurch.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Voting Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri

White, Albert S., Sr. and Sally J. Seals
Albert S. White, Sr. (1869-1911), was born in Kentucky, the son of Albert and Jane Buckner White. He was an attorney and dean of Louisville (KY) Central Law School, where he served from 1896-1911. He fought for African American voting rights; when White and others insisted on voting in the 1890s, they were beaten by Louisville police officers. White was a graduate of State University [Simmons, KY] and Howard University Law School. In 1902 he was appointed a U.S. Revenue Agent following the election of Kentucky's first Republican governor, William O. Bradley. White was unsuccessful in his quest to be named the Minister to Liberia. He was killed by Louis A. Evans in a dispute over the removal of personal belongings at the Lyric Theater, located at 13th and Walnut Streets in Louisville. His wife, Sally J. Seals White (b.1868 or 1871 in KY), was the first woman to graduate from Central Law School, where she was also an instructor. In 1904, she became the first African American woman to be admitted to the Kentucky Bar. White had a bachelor's degree from Fisk University. For more see Central Law School Alumni Information, a University of Louisville website; C. B. Lewis, "Louisville and its Afro-American citizens," Colored American Magazine, vol. 10 (no.3-4), pp. 259-265; Life Behind a Veil, by G.C. Wright; Emancipation: the making of the Black Lawyer, 1844-1944, by J. C. Smith; "Negro woman admitted to bar...," The Landmark, 09/23/1904, p. 3 (also in Marshall Expounder, 09/23/1904, p. 2); and "Albert S. White is shot to death," Lexington Leader, 07/22/1911, p.8. See also the entry for Central Law School.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Voting Rights, Lawyers, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Whyte, Garrett
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2000
Whyte was born in Louisville, KY, according to his Army enlistment records. [Mt. Sterling has also been given as his birth location.] He completed an art education degree at North Carolina A&T State University in 1939. Whyte was an artist for the Chicago Defender, taught art at a high school and was an art professor at Chicago City College System [now City Colleges of Chicago]. In addition to teaching, Whyte was an artist for a number of organizations before he retired in 1980. He is remembered for his art and for the creation, for the Chicago Defender, of the comic strip, "Mr. Jim Crow," one of the first Civil Rights graphic satires. Whyte was a WWII Army veteran. For more see J. D. Stevens, "Reflections in a dark mirror: comic strips in Black newspapers," Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 10, issue 1 (Summer 1976), pp. 239-244; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Artists, Fine Arts, Education and Educators, Jim Crow, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Williams, Frances Harriet
Birth Year : 1899
Death Year : 1992
Williams, a civil rights activist, was born in Danville, KY, and grew up in St. Louis, MO. She was the daughter of Frank and Fannie B. Williams. Frances Williams was valedictorian of her high school class, and graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in 1919, Phi Beta Kappa, having majored in chemistry and economics. She earned her masters in political science from the University of Chicago in 1931. Williams had an active career with the YWCA, and the NAACP. She was on the staff of Senator H. H. Lehman (D-NY), served as Assistant to the Executive Secretary of President Harry S Truman's Committee on Civil Rights, and was a staff member of the Office of Price Administration. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. DunniganWho's Who in Colored America, 1950; "Frances H. Williams" in Women and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965 edited by D. W. Houck and D. E. Dixon; and a picture of Frances H. Williams on p. 138 of Crisis, vol 18, issue 3, July 1919 [available at Google Books].
Photo image in top lefthand corner of page 138.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Saint Louis, Missouri

Willis, Edward D. (horse trainer & newspaper man)
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1930
Willis was one of the most noted trainers in the history of harness racing and one of few African Americans to drive trotters on the Grand Circuit. He set a new world record of 2:19 1/4 for yearling trotters with Miss Stokes, and later lowered the record another quarter of a second with Peter Volo. Willis was employed at the Patchen Wilkes Farm on Winchester Pike in Lexington, KY, owned by millionaire Mrs. W. E. D. Stokes from New York. Willis had previously worked for horse breeder Robert P. Pepper in Frankfort, KY. He resigned from his job at Patchen Wilkes Farm in 1914. Willis' second career was editor and publisher of the Lexington Weekly News, a newspaper in Lexington KY that succeeded the Lexington Standard. He began as editor of the newspaper in 1912. Willis was also an activist and led a protest against the 1916 movie, Birth of a Nation, by D. W. Griffith. He was on the committee that created Douglass Park in Lexington. For more see the following articles from The Lexington Leader, "Willis was famous Negro horse trainer," 12/06/1930, p. 1; "Ed Willis quits Patchen Wilkes," 03/10/1914, p. 8; "Good advice from Colored editor," 10/25/1912, p.4; and "Lexington news," 12/22/1912, sec. 1, p.5; and see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and The Daily Aesthetic.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, & The Derby, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Wilson, Atwood S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1967
Atwood S. Wilson was a chemist, educator, civil rights leader and community leader in Louisville, KY. He was born in the California neighborhood of Louisville to Allen and Mary Wilson. A 1910 graduate of Central High School in Louisville, he graduated magna cum laude from Fisk University in 1915 with a major in science and mathematics. He went on to earn a B.S. in chemistry (in 1920) and a M.S. in education (in 1934) from the University of Chicago. He first taught at State Street High School, located in the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green, KY, beginning in 1915, then left the school in 1917 to serve as a chemistry researcher at the American University Experiment Station during World War I. After the war, Wilson returned to Louisville and served as secretary-treasurer of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA) from 1922-1942. He also chaired the organization's Merger Committee, which led in the integration of Kentucky's education organizations, the KNEA and KEA. In 1928, Wilson was named the first principal of Madison Junior High [the school was later named Russell Junior High]. In 1934, Wilson became principal of Central High School and led the planning and building of the new Central High School, which opened in 1952; it was the first comprehensive high school in Kentucky. Wilson was also principal of the Central High Adult Night School, grades 1-12, from which he retired in 1963. During his tenure, he also held a number of appointments, including membership on the executive committee of the National Youth Administration in Kentucky. In 1944, Wilson was appointed a trustee on the Board of the Louisville Free Public Library, and in 1948 he presented the resolution that abolished segregation at the main library building. Wilson was the first African American in the South to be recognized with a citation for his service on a library board. He received many other awards, including the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service to the Boy Scouts of America, presented to him in person by President Hoover in 1933. Wilson also received an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Simmons University [Kentucky] in 1954. In recognition of his contributions, in 1974 the Kentucky Education Association co-named an award in his honor: "The Lucy Harth Smith-Atwood S. Wilson Award for Civil and Human Rights in Education." Atwood S. Wilson is mentioned in several biographies on the life of Muhammad Ali; Wilson encourage Ali [then known as Cassius Clay] to finish high school, though he was at the bottom of his class. Wilson was impressed by Ali's dedication and work ethic toward becoming a world boxing champion. In 2000, Wilson was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights' Hall of Fame, and, in 2005, was among the first inductees to the Central High School Distinguished Hall of Fame. Atwood S. Wilson was the grandfather of Kentucky Appeals Court Judge Denise Clayton. Information for this entry was submitted by Mrs. Susie M. Guess, daughter of Atwood S. Wilson. See also pp. 20-21 in Muhammad Ali. by A. O. Edmonds.

See photo image of Atwood S. Wilson at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights website.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Chemists, Civic Leaders, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Women's Action Committee For Victory and Lasting Peace Convention in Louisville, KY
Start Year : 1946
While preparing for their convention in Louisville, KY, in 1946, the Women's Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace (WACVLP) was met with the challenge of segregation at the convention hotel. Mrs. Vera Whitehouse was chair of the WACVLP. The organization planned to hold the convention with its delegates from the National Association of Colored Women (NACW). The executive secretary of the NACW, Mrs. Christine Smith, refused to send delegates if the housing arrangements at the convention were to be segregated. The WACVLP considered moving the convention to Ohio if the segregated housing situation in Louisville could not be resolved. The Louisville hotel association discussed the matter with the WACVLP and it was decided that Negro delegates could attend the meetings, take meals, and use the same elevator as the white members. A colored pastor, Rev. Offutt, agreed to find rooms in private homes for the Negro delegates attending the convention. The Negro delegates included Miss Jane Hunter of Cleveland; Mrs. Audley Moore of New York; Mrs. Jane Spaulding of West Virginia; Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune from Washington, D.C., member of the National Council of Negro Women; Mrs. Sadie M. Alexander, an attorney in Philadelphia; and Mrs. L. B. Fouse of Louisville. Members of the WACVLP included Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt; Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt; Mrs. Paul Mellon; Dean Virginia Gildersleeve; Mrs. Anne O'Hare McCormick; Mrs. Ogdon Reid; Miss Dorothy Thompson; Dr. Emily Hickman. As the negotiations continued, it was soon too late to move the convention to Ohio and the concession was for the Negro delegates to be able to eat, meet, and use the same elevator as the white delegates, but the hotel association would not budge on the segregated housing. The WACVLP accepted the terms. In response, Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune declined to attend the convention. Mrs. Christine Smith withdrew the names of the five delegates who were members of the NACW. Mrs. Audley Moore, of New York, a member of the WACVLP, accepted the terms and agreed to attend the convention. Negro delegates who actually attended the WACVLP Convention were Mrs. Mary F. Waring who lived in Chicago and had grown up in Louisville; Mrs. Joy H. Earl of Cleveland; and Mrs. Emma Shores of Canton, Ohio. For more see "NACW strikes blow against Ky. Jim-Crow," The Afro American, 02/23/1946, p.15; "Women leaders refuse Jim-Crow offering of Action Committee: colored delegates may eat but not room in Ky. hotel," The Afro American, 04/06/1946, p.12; "Leaders shun Ky. meeting," Baltimore Afro-American, 04/30/1946, p.4.

*The Women's Action Committee for Victory and Lasting Peace was formerly the Committee on the Cause and Cure for War that was organized in 1925 after the U.S. rejection of the League of Nations. The Committee on the Cause and Cure for War had a name change in 1940 to the WACVLP. The name would change again to the Committee on Education for Lasting Peace. For more see finding aid at Harvard University Library for Committee on the Cause and Cure of War. Records, 1923-1948.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Work, Beulah White
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 2008
Beulah Work was a leader and board member of the Detroit NAACP and a union organizer and labor activist for the United Auto Workers (UAW). For 40 years she was employed as a quality control specialist at Ford Motor Company, according to "Beulah Work joins the ancestors," The Michigan Citizen, April 20, 2008, p. 3. The article also mentions that Beulah Work founded and chaired the Women in the NAACP (WIN) Committee and was honored for being the most successful NAACP voter registration recruiter in Detroit. Beulah Work was one of the women interviewed for the documentary, The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter; her interview is part of the collection of outtakes held at Harvard University Library: "Records of the Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter Project, 1974-1980." Beulah Work, born and raised in Madison County, KY, was the daughter of John Andrew White, Sr. and Bertha Ballew White. In 1920, the family of six lived in the community of White Hall, where John White was a farmer. In 1930, the seven member family lived in the community of Foxtown. Beulah White graduated from Richmond High School in 1931 and soon after moved to Detroit, MI. She was the widow of Merrill Work (1905-1981) from Tennessee. See "Beulah White Work, 95," in the Obituary section of the Richmond Register, 04/15/2008.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Women's Groups and Organizations, Union Organizations
Geographic Region: Madison County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan

Wright, James L. "Jimmy"
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 1999
Wright was originally from Kentucky. His union work began at a Kentucky equipment factory when he returned from the service at the end of World War II. His initial duties were sweeping and cleaning, typical jobs assigned to African American employees, and he advanced to forklift operator. The factory had a union that was just being initiated, and Wright became a union leader to help other African Americans advance in the company. He was a member of the National Negro Labor Council (NNLC) in Louisville, KY. His work was perceived as subversive and Wright was accused of being a Communist. Wright eventually left Kentucky for Chicago to become a full-time union organizer. In 1980, he was the first African American elected to head region 4 of the United Auto Workers (UAW), which included Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Wright was also the president of the UAW's political arm in Illinois; he also headed the regional civil rights department. He had received threatening phone calls during his campaign for office, but Wright persevered. He was even re-elected, but had to step down in 1984 due to health problems. For more see L. Forte, "James Wright, former UAW leader," Chicago Sun-Times, 07/28/1999, p. 74; and see Jimmy Wright in the film The Freedom Train, by Kingberry Productions & WDIV-TV.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Migration North, Union Organizations, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Yarbrough-Jumoke, Nailah
Yarbrough-Jumoke is a writer, poet,  and activist. In 1999 she was the first African American candidate for governor of Kentucky. She ran on the Natural Law Party (NLP) ticket and received a little more than 1% of the vote. In 2000 she won the Preservation Award from the Louisville Historic League for developing the Harriet Tubman Cultural Center. For more see "Ex-candidate fosters culture," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/18/200, p. B3.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Poets, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Young, Aurelia J. Norris
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 2010
Aurelia Young was a musician, composer, performer, writer, and educator. She was formerly a music professor at Jackson State College [now Jackson State University]. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and an original charter member of the Jackson (MS) Alumnae Chapter; Young served as the first president of the chapter 1941-1943. In 2008, she attended the chapter's "Legacy of Leadership" program. Aurelia Norris was born in Knottsville, KY, the daughter of John H., a farmer, and Hilda A. Stone Norris [sources: Kentucky Birth Index and the 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. By 1930, the family of five had moved to New London, OH, where John H. Norris was employed as a mechanic. Aurelia studied piano and violin and was a top graduate of her high school class. She was a 1937 graduate of Wilberforce University, where she studied music theory, organ, and French horn. She moved to Mississippi intending to teach for one year then leave, but she stayed after she married Jack Harvey Young, Sr. in 1938. Jack Young (1908-1976) would become a distinguished civil rights lawyer in Mississippi. Aurelia Young described her role in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement as a supporter of her husband's efforts. In 1955, Aurelia Young earned her Master of Music degree at Indiana University then continued her studies in Europe and Africa. She held the copyright [PAu002421668] to a trilogy created in 1995 entitled Trilogy. Aurelia Young died in Los Angeles, California on October 17, 2010 [source: Social Security Death Index]. For more see the Aurelia Norris Young entry in Accomplishments of Mississippi Women, funded by the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year; Mississippi Black History Makers, by G. A. Sewell and M. L. Dwight; P. Jenkins, "PTA hears panelist: accept me as human," Delta Democrat-Times, 10/14/1970, p. 10; Mississippi, America [videorecording] by J. McCray; and J. Irons, "The Shaping of activist recruitment and participation: a study of women in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement," Gender and Society, vol. 12, issue 6, Special Issue: Gender and Social Movements, Part 1, (Dec. 1998), pp. 692-709.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration South, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Knottsville, Daviess County, Kentucky / Jackson, Mississippi / Los Angeles, California

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

Young, Whitney M., Jr.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 1971
Whitney M. Young, Jr. was born in Lincoln Ridge, KY. He was the executive director of the National Urban League, and through this organization he pushed for equal opportunity, housing, education, and economic well being for African Americans. Young was a graduate of Lincoln Institute, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and the University of Minnesota. He was dean of social work at Atlanta University [now Clark-Atlanta]; the Whitney M. Young Jr. School of Social Work was named in his honor. He and Florence V. Adams co-authored Some Pioneers in Social Work: brief sketches; student work book (1957). In 1969, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award for civilians, by President Johnson. He was an adviser to Presidents Johnson, Kennedy, and Nixon. Young was married to Margaret B. Young and was the son of Whitney Young, Sr. and Laura Young. For more see Militant Mediator, by D. C. Dickerson.

See also "Whitney M. Young Jr.: Little Known Civil Rights Pioneer," a website by the U.S. Department of Defense.
See and download photo image at end of the article.

See photo image of Whitney M. Young, Jr. in UK Explore.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Authors, Education and Educators, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Urban Leagues, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Lincoln Ridge, Shelby County, Kentucky / Atlanta, Georgia

 

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