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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

Bradford, Billy
Birth Year : 1935
In 1998, Billy Bradford became the first African American mayor in Elsmere, KY, as well as the first in northern Kentucky. He has continued to be re-elected, beginning his ninth year as mayor in 2007. For more see B. Driehaus, "Three mayors ousted in local elections," The Kentucky Post, 11/06/2002, News section, p. K12; and K. Eigelbach, "Florence re-elects incumbents - that includes council, mayor," The Kentucky Post, 11/08/2006, News section, p. A9. See also, the Billy Bradford entry on pp.112-113 in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky edited by P. A. Tenkotte and J. C. Claypool.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Elsmere, Kenton County, Kentucky

Denning, Joe William
Birth Year : 1945
Joe W. Denning was born in Bowling Green, KY, son of Marion E. and Evelyn Huskey Denning.  He is a 1970 graduate of the Kentucky State Police Academy and attended Western Kentucky University.  In 1975, Denning, a former state trooper, became the first African American to serve on the Bowling Green School Board.  In 1991, he was elected a city commissioner. Denning was pro-tem mayor of Bowling Green, KY in 2011, and later replaced Mayor Elaine Walker after her resignation to become the Kentucky Secretary of State.  Denning was elected mayor of Bowling Green in 2012. He is the first African American Mayor for the city. For more see "17 blacks are local school board members," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 24; and Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006.

See photo image and additional information about Joe W. Denning "Commissioner Joe Denning will become city's first black mayor"  by A. Robinson, 01/08/2011, at
Subjects: Corrections and Police, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Dulin, James W.
Dulin is from Christian County, KY. He worked in the coal mines. In 1972, he became the first African American elected to the Earlington City Council  and in 1973 became the first African American appointed mayor of Earlington; he completed the term of the previous mayor. Dulin was the second African American mayor in Kentucky. For more see Human Rights News, Aug.-Oct., 1973, p. [4], col. B.
Subjects: First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Christian County, Kentucky / Earlington, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Fowler, Sharon
Birth Year : 1947
Fowler is mayor of West Buechel. She is in her third term; she was elected mayor in 1994 and re-elected in 1998. She was also on the West Buechel City Council from 1990-1994. Fowler is owner and director of Paradise Island Academy Day Care Center. West Buechel, located in Jefferson County, KY, was incorporated into a 6th class city in 1952. For more see S. Smith, "W. Buechel mayoral matchup looks familiar," Courier-Journal, 10/11/2006, Neighborhoods section, p. 1C.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: West Buechel, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Grear, William A. "Bill"
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 2006
Grear was born in Russellville, KY, the son of Oretha Williams Grear and Charles C. Grear. He was the first African American-elected official in Florida: in 1968 Grear was elected city commissioner of the City of Belle Glade. He was elected vice mayor in 1974 and mayor in 1975. Grear was also owner of B and E Rubber Stamps and Trophies. He was a barber and a director of a child development center. He was the husband of Effie Carter Grear, a school teacher and principal of Glades Central High School. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1975-2006 ; M. Malek, "Bill Grear, Belle Blade's first Black commissioner, dies at 82," The Palm Beach Post, 08/18/2006, Local section, p.2B; and African American Sites in Florida by K. M. McCarthy.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration South, Mayors
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Belle Glade, Florida

Greenstead, Elizabeth Kay
Greenstead is described as a mulatto servant who lived in Virginia and sued the Col. John Motram estate for her freedom in 1653. She later married the lawyer who handled her case, William Greenstead. They had two sons, John and William. Their descendants include Danville, KY, school Principal William C. Grinstead and Louisville Mayor James F. Grinstead (1845-1921), born in Glasgow, KY. For more on Elizabeth Kay Greenstead see PBS Frontline: The Blurred Racial Lines of Famous Families; and M. H. Guthrie, "Black ancestry shines new light on color," Dayton Daily News, zone 6, p. 4, 01/30/03. See also James Fauntleory Grinstead, and Mayors of Louisville: records, 1870-1909, at the Filson Historical Society.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration West, Mayors
Geographic Region: Virginia / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Hardin, William Jefferson
Birth Year : 1830
Death Year : 1890
Born a free person in Russellville, KY, Hardin was a politician, speaker and barber. He won two elections to the Wyoming Territory Legislative Assembly, the first African American to do so. He also served two terms as mayor of both Park City, Utah, and Leadville, Colorado. Hardin was educated by Shakers in Kentucky, and he would become a teacher for free Colored children in Bowling Green, KY. He left Kentucky in 1852 to head out West and settled in Colorado Territory in the early 1860s. By 1882, he was serving his second term as a Republican legislator in the Wyoming Territory. Hardin was considered very wealthy, said to have assets worth $20,000. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, by R. W. Logan & M. R. Winston; William Jefferson Hardin at the website; and "Honorable W. J. Hardin...," Weekly Louisianian, 02/04/1882, p.2.

  See photo image of William Jefferson Hardin at
Subjects: Barbers, Migration West, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Mayors
Geographic Region: Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky / Wyoming / Park City, Utah / Leadville, Colorado

Hutton, Henry T. "Hut"
Birth Year : 1915
Death Year : 1994
In 1985, Henry Hutton almost became the fourth African American mayor in Kentucky and the first in eastern Kentucky. Hutton was temporarily named mayor of Fleming-Neon after a court decision in his favor. Hutton had run against Mayor James Seals, who won the primary as a Democrat, he won by 37 votes. Letcher Circuit Judge F. Byrd Hogg voided the win because Seals had filed improperly for the office as an Independent but ran on the ballot as a Democrat. An appeal was filed and the ruling was overturned. The mayor's race was only one of the many noted achievements of Henry T. Hutton, who was born in Stonega, VA. He is listed in the 1940 U.S. Census as the son of Annie Saxton and the stepson of Dane Saxton, who was a coal miner. Henry Hutton came to Letcher County, KY, in 1946 to work in the coal mines. In 1985, Hutton was a retired coal miner and a politician. He had served as a constable, city councilman, and mayor pro tem. He had been the owner of Red Bud Coal Company, an underground mine that hired five African Americans and 16 Whites. Hutton was the first African American coal mine owner in the Letcher County area. He later worked for the Beth-Elkhorn Coal Corp. and retired from the company in 1974. He and his wife Elsie Hutton also owned Hut's Barbeque Restaurant on Back Street in Fleming. Henry Hutton also served as Sargent-At-Arms for the Kentucky General Assembly. He served as an aid to Senator Kelsey Friend, Sr. from Pikeville, KY. He was president of the Letcher County NAACP and a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky River Area Development District. Hutton was Grand Chancellor Commander of the Kentucky Knights of Pythias, Chancellor Commander of Hannibal Lodge No.93 Knights of Pythias in Jenkins, KY, and Treasurer of David Temple Lodge No. 110 Free and Accepted Masons in Jenkins. In 1988, he received the Carter G. Woodson Award from Berea College and was also inducted into the Letcher County Mountain Heritage Hall of Fame. Henry Hutton Road in Fleming is named in his honor. For more see "Eastern Kentucky town to get first black mayor," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 10/03/1985, p. 7-A; and "Fleming-Neon area leader dies at 76," {from March 16, 1994 issue}, Issue: 1994 in Review, News-Press (Cromona, KY), 12/28/1994, section A, p. 5.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Mayors
Geographic Region: Stonega, Virginia / Fleming-Neon, Letcher County, Kentucky

Irvine, Bobby Lee
Birth Year : 1935
Born in Spencer County, KY, he was the first African American mayor of Taylorsville, KY, elected in 1980. He received the highest number of votes for the non-partisan councilmen positions. For more see "Three Kentucky cities have black mayors," in 1982 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, 6th Report by Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 20.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Taylorsville, Spencer County, Kentucky

Johnson, Arthur T.
Birth Year : 1947
Johnson was born in Earlington, KY. From 1972-1983, he was a council member for the City of Earlington, and in 1984 he was elected mayor. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Earlington, Hopkins County, Kentucky

Mumphrey, William
Mumphrey was elected mayor of Ghent, KY, in 2006. He is listed in "Carroll County Kentucky Summary 2006 General Election," The Madison Courier, News section, 11/09/2006.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Ghent, Carroll County, Kentucky

Sleet, Anne
Birth Year : 1932
In 2007, Anne Sleet became the first African American woman mayor of Perryville, KY. A former nurse and caterer, Sleet had also been a member of the city council prior to becoming mayor, succeeding her late husband, Raymond Sleet, who had been elected to the council four times. Anne Sleet was re-elected to the council for three consecutive terms and was unopposed when she ran for mayor. For more see G. Kocher, "Perryville's next mayor - Anne Sleet adds new chapter to family's proud history in Boyle County," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/27/2006, Main News section, p. A1.  See also the Sleettown entry.

    See Anne Sleet interview [#210] at "Connections with Renee Shaw," 02/10/2007, a KET (Kentucky Educational Television) website.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Nurses
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky

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

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.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Parks & Resorts, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Human Rights Commissions (Outside Kentucky)
Geographic Region: Hiseville and Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky

Washington, Roy L., Sr.
Birth Year : 1897
Death Year : 1953
Roy L. Washington was born in Lovelaceville, KY, the son of Isam M. Washington and Arbella Weeks. When he was a teenager, Roy Washington left Kentucky for southern Illinois, where he married Bertha Spence Jones (1898-1980). The couple later moved to Chicago, two of the more than 50,000 African Americans who had left the South by 1920 to settle in Chicago. The couple had four children, 2-6 years old, when Bertha separated from Roy. He retained custody of the children while earning $15 per week at the stockyard and attending Chicago-Kent College of Law at nights. Bertha lived nearby and assisted with the raising of the children. She would later marry Ernest Price, and they would have six children. Roy Washington received his law license in 1923, and he too remarried. Washington developed his law practice and was also a minister who preached at various churches in Chicago. He would become the Democratic Party precinct captain in the Third Ward and was also a police court prosecutor. When Roy Washington died in 1953, his youngest child, Harold Washington (1922-1987), took over his precinct position. Harold Washington also served as the Democratic representative to the Illinois State Legislature, 1965-1976; state senator, 1976-1980; and house member, beginning in 1980. He was the first African American mayor of Chicago, 1983-1987 (he died during his second term). Harold Washington was the brother of Ramon Price (1930-2000), Chief Curator of Du Sable Museum of African American History in Chicago. For more see J. Camper, et al., "The road to city hall, a half-century of black political evolution set the stage for the Harold Washington revolution," Chicago Tribune, 11/16/1986; Pinderhughes, D., "Washington, Harold." Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, pp. 2267-2268; and The Ancestry of Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987) by C.G. Brasfield.
Subjects: Fathers, Lawyers, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Legislators (Outside Kentucky), Mayors
Geographic Region: Lovelaceville, Ballard County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Williams, Herbert S.
Birth Year : 1941
In Septermber 2009, Herbert Williams became the first African American mayor of Franklin, KY. Williams was a city commissioner for 18 years, prior to being named mayor. His term will end in 2010, and the city of Franklin will then elect their next mayor. The former mayor, Jim Brown, left the position to become Franklin City Manager. For more see "Franklin selects first African American Mayor," WBKO13 (Bowling Green, KY), Local News, 10:00 p.m. broadcast [Central Time Zone], 09/14/2009 [video available online with NewsBank subscription]; and "Williams appointed mayor of Franklin," The Daily News, 09/12/2009.
Subjects: Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors
Geographic Region: Franklin, Simpson County, Kentucky


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