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<Negro Business League>

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Ballard, William H., Sr.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1954
William Henry Ballard, born in Franklin County, KY, was one of the first African Americans to open a drug store in the state: Ballard's Pharmacy was established in Lexington, KY, in 1893. Ballard was also a historian; he is the author of History of Prince Hall Freemasonry in Kentucky, published in 1950. He came to Lexington when he was 17 years old, having previously lived in Louisville where he graduated from a public school. He was also a graduate of Roger Williams University [in TN]. Ballard was a school teacher in Tennessee and in Kentucky. He earned his B.S. in Pharm., D. in 1892 in Evanston, IL. In addition to owning his own drug store, Ballard was also director of Domestic Realty Company, and president of Greenwood Cemetery Company, both in Lexington. He served as president of the Emancipation and Civic League, and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention in 1898. He was the son of Matilda Bartlett Ballard and Dowan Ballard, Sr. He was married to Bessie H. Brady Ballard, and the couple had six children. Their oldest son, William H. Ballard, Jr. was a pharmacist in Chicago, and two of their sons were physicians. William H. Ballard is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY [photo]. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; W. H. Ballard, "Drugs and druggists," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 186-189; and Dr. William Henry Ballard, Sr. in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.
Subjects: Authors, Businesses, Education and Educators, Historians, Medical Field, Health Care, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League, Pharmacists, Pharmacies
Geographic Region: Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Brown, James and Bridgett
In 2006, the husband and wife team of James, born 1970 in Chicago, and Bridgett, born 1973 in Louisville, KY, opened Brown's Bakery in Lexington, KY. James Brown has been a retail manager at Morrison Healthcare Food Services, and he was employed at Kroger and the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. Brown's Bakery is not the first African American owned bakery in the city, but it is a continuation of a long history of African American bakeries and bakers dating back to the 1800s. Author John D. Wright mentions in his book that there was a black-owned bakery in Lexington between 1870-1880. In 1901, Charles H. Allen, a baker and confectioner who owned his own business, was included in the Negro Business League's 2nd Convention report given by Dr. L. D. Robinson on Lexington businesses. Brown's Bakery, located on Leestown Road, was the most recent African American owned bakery in Lexington. In 2011, the bakery moved to Versailles Road in Lexington, KY. James Brown received his culinary degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). For more see S. Thompson, "I yam what I yam," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/05/2006, A La Carte section, p. J1; Sweet Treats, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #441 [available online]; and visit brownsbakery.com. For more about earlier bakers see Lexington, heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. See also Kentucky bakers entry in the NKAA.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Gomez, Wanti W. [Louis Jones]
Wanti (or Wante) W. Gomez is said to have appeared in Durham, NC, from 'out of nowhere' in 1920. He was first an independent agent with the Mutual Building and Loan Association, and with that major success, he was named director of the company's education department. Gomez left the position and founded the Bankers Fire Insurance Company, which was also a success. Gomez chose a low profile as secretary of the company. Bankers Fire was listed in Best Insurance Reports, vol. 22, 33rd ed., 1922-23, p. 54, wherein Gomez was credited as having several years of insurance business [online at Google Book Search]. In 1924, he pushed for the establishment of the National Negro Finance Corporation within the National Negro Business League. The Finance Corporation was a complete failure in the late 1920s. Gomez was long gone by that time, having disappeared from Durham in 1926 and taking with him assets from his business, Durham Commercial Security Company. He was never heard from again. It was soon learned that Gomez's real name was Louis Jones and he was a fugitive from Kentucky who was wanted for arson. He had left the Bankers Fire Insurance Company in good standing, and Wanti Gomez is still considered one of the major contributors toward the making of Black Wall Street in Durham. For more see Black Business in the New South, by W. B. Weare; Durham County, by J. B. Anderson and Historic Preservation Society of Durham; "Bankers Fire Insurance Company, Durham, N. C., condition December 31, 1921, as shown by statement filed," The Landmark, 04/27/1922, p. 3.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Migration East, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Durham, North Carolina

Knight, David Lawson
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1922
In 1897, David L. Knight established the first transfer line in Louisville, KY, owned by an African American, and he claimed to be the first to hire an African American woman as bookkeeper and stenographer. The transfer business involved hauling freight for export or import, as explained by W. T. Garnett, a transfer agent in Louisville, KY. Knight was president of the Negro Business League of Louisville in 1909, the year that the National Negro Business League held its 10th Annual Convention in Louisville. Kentucky Governor A. E. Willson and Louisville Mayor James F. Grinstead [Greenstead] were on hand to welcome the association to Kentucky. David L. Knight was born in Kentucky, he was the husband of Fannie Terance. According to the U.S. Federal Census, by 1910, David L. Knight was a widower with three children: Robert (20), Leona (16), Josephine (18). Robert (1890-1926) was a teamster with his father's transfer business. The family lived on South 18th Street in Louisville, KY. Though he is listed in Caron's Dirctory of the City of Louisville, for 1923, p.2315, David Lawson Knight died October 9, 1922 according to death certificate registered# 3152. For more see p.21 in A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright; C. B. Lewis, "Louisville and its Afro-American citizens," Colored American Magazine, vol.10, no.3-4, pp.259-265; see Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919: D. L. Knight, "Transfer Business" [frame 248], and W. T. Garnett, "Transfer Business" [frame 273] both at the 3rd Annual Convention, Richmond, Virginia, August 25-27, 1902, reel 1; and "First Day's Session," 10th Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, August 18-20, 1909, reel 2, frames 148-167.
Subjects: Businesses, Accountants, Bookkeepers, Certified Public Accountants, Stenographers, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

National Association of Colored Fairs
Start Year : 1921
In 1921, James A. Jackson (1878-1960) began his push for the establishment of the National Association of Colored Fairs. Jackson, who was born in Pennsylvania, had performed in minstrels and was a journalist and promoter. He believed that a national fair association would strengthen and financially benefit fair officials, park owners, theater owners and managers, and Black communities. Jackson also proposed that the national fair association be affiliated with the National Negro Business League. As editor of the Negro Department of Billboard magazine, he compiled the first directory of colored fairs, which included fairs in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Colored fairs had been held in Kentucky since shortly after the end of the Civil War. In a 1922 Billboard editorial, Jackson gave attendance statistics for the major fairs. The National Association of Colored Fairs was chartered at a meeting in Norfolk, VA, in 1922. The organization was a subsidiary of the National Negro Business Men's League. For more see "The National Association of Colored Fairs" in Pages from the Harlem Renaissance, by A. D. Hill. For more on James A. Jackson, see his entry in the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Subjects: Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky / United States

National Colored Press Association/American Press Association, 1881-1909; National Negro Press Association, 1909-1939
Start Year : 1881
End Year : 1939
The first organizational meeting of African American editors and publishers was held in Louisville, KY, in 1881. The next two meetings, held in Washington, D.C., resulted in the formation of the National Colored Press Association. In 1887 the organization's annual meeting was again held in Louisville, the proceedings covered by the Courier Journal, beginning August 9. The organization's name was eventually changed to American Press Association (APA). John "J.Q." Adams, from Louisville, KY, was the first president of the APA. The APA became defunct, and in 1909 the National Negro Press Association (NNPA) was organized, and its first convention was held in Louisville. Members were African American editors and journalists coming together to strengthen the influence of the African American press. The Negro Business League had inspired the association, which became an affiliate member of the league. In 1940, the National Negro Press Association was coming to an end when the National Newspaper Publishers Association (also NNPA) was established. For more see The Negro Press in the United States, by F. G. Detweiler; A History of the Black Press, by A. S. Pride & C. C. Wilson II; the National Newspaper Publishers Association website; and "Minutes of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Session of the National Negro Press Association Held in Louisville, KY, April 11-14, 1928," available in the Black Culture Collection, by Micro Photo Division, Bell & Howell Co., 1972.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Negro Business League (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1916
In 1916, the state of Kentucky did not have a state Negro Business League but did have thirteen chartered local leagues: Bowling Green (J. R. Vass, chair); Covington; Danville (John W. Bate[s], chair); Frankfort (T. K. Robb, chair); Owensboro (Dr. R. B. Bell); Paris (Dr. J. W. Mebane, chair); Lawrenceburg (J. K. Stovall, chair); Georgetown (Manlius Neal, chair); Hopkinsville (E. G. Lamb, chair); Lexington (Dr. W. H. Ballard, chair); Louisville (W. H. Stewart, chair); Winchester (Rev. H. D. Coleaire, chair); and Madisonville (P. R. Cabell, Jr., chair). For more see Negro Year Book: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro, 1916-1917 [full view available via Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Kentucky: Bowling Green, Warren County / Covington, Kenton County / Danville, Boyle County / Frankfort, Franklin County / Owensboro, Daviess County / Paris, Bourbon County / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County

Negro Businesses (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1901
In 1901, the following Lexington, KY, businesses were included in Dr. L. D. Robinson's report at the 2nd Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago: [barbers] Benjamin Franklin, A. L. Hawkins, Anderson & Suter, A.B. Fletcher, Frank Buckner, Howard Miller; [grocery stores] John T. Clay & Sons, and A. W. Taylor; [baker and confectioner] Charles H. Allen; [cafes] Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Thompson, Walker & Roberts, Ladies Exchange, Richard Williams and Green Miller, and R. H. Gray, who owned several patents, a cafe, and an ice cream and soda parlor. For more see Dr. L. D. Robinson, "Negro Business Enterprise of Lexington, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 2nd Annual Convention, August 21-23, 1901, reel 1, frames 221-222.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Porter, William M.
Birth Year : 1850
Porter, born in Tennessee, was an undertaker in Lexington, KY. In 1905, he had been in business with J. C. Jackson for about 13 years. Porter came to Lexington from Cincinnati, OH, where at one time he had been the only African American undertaker in the city. Porter spoke during the convention of the National Negro Business League in New York, pointing out that he had been a hackman for 31 years before becoming an undertaker, and that it was not unusual for hackmen to make $12 or $15 per day because "the street cars were not so convenient." By 1920, Porter was again living in Cincinnati, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Wm. M. Porter, "Undertaking," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 6th Annual Convention, New York City, New York, August 16-18, 1905, reel 1, frame 529; and The Negro in Business by B. T. Washington.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Migration South, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Tennessee / Cincinnati, Ohio / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Saffell, Daisy M. and George William Saffell
In 1912, Daisy Saffell (1875-1918), an "expert" embalmer in Shelbyville, KY, spoke on behalf of the National Negro Funeral Directors' Association during the 13th Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago. Saffell estimated that there were 1,100 Colored undertakers and embalmers in the United States. [*Saffell is listed as a mulatto from Shelbyville, TN, in The Mulatto in the United States by E. B. Reuter, p.303* available full view at Google Book Search]. Saffell's death certificate lists Kentucky as both her birth and death location. She was born in Louisville, KY, where she attended school. She attended Roger Williams University and was later a graduate of Fisk University. Daisy Saffell taught for 15 years in Frankfort, KY, then left to become principal of the Lawrenceburg Colored School. She left teaching and enrolled in Clark's College of Embalming in Cincinnati, OH. With the completion of the program, Saffell became the second African American woman who was a licensed embalmer in Kentucky [Minnie Watson was first]. Daisy Saffell, who was an accomplished pianist, was editor of the Kentucky Club Woman, secretary of the District Household of Ruth of Kentucky, secretary of the Colored Funeral Director's Association of Kentucky, and treasurer of the National Association of Colored Funeral Directors. Named in her honor, the Daisy M. Saffell Colored Hospital was located in Martinsville, a community in Shelbyville, KY. Daisy Saffell was the daughter of Lizzie Travis, and in 1897 became the wife of undertaker George William Saffell (1876-1953). Daisy's funeral arrangements were handled by Thomas K. Robb, and Robb's funeral arrangements were handled by George W. Saffell. George was born in Kentucky, the son of Addie Weisger Saffell and George Saffell, according to his death certificate. In 1900, he had been a barber teacher and Daisy was a school teacher, they lived in Frankfort, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. By 1910, the couple had moved to Shelbyville, KY, where George was an undertaker and Daisy was a school teacher until she too became an undertaker. George Saffell was owner of the Calvary Cemetery, and he also had an ambulance service; the hearse was used as an ambulance. After Daisy's death, George Saffell married Mildred Stone in 1939. She would become a partner in the business after completing the Melton Mortuary School in Louisville, KY. George Saffell died in 1953. and Mildred continued managing the businesses. For more see "National Negro Funeral Directors' Association," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 13th Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, August 21-23, 1912, reel 2, frames 575-576; "Mrs. Daisy Saffell" on p.291 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; "Race progress in Kentucky: broad achievements of Mrs. Daisy M. Saffell," Baltimore Afro-American, 05/22/1913, p.2; and "Saffell Funeral Home" by G. Graham on pp.170-171 in The New History of Shelby County Kentucky.

See photo image of Daisy Saffel[l] at the bottom of the left hand column on p.42 in the Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Education and Educators, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lawrenceburg, Anderson County, Kentucky

Smith, Elijah Strong
Smith, born in Henderson, KY, was a graduate of State University [later named Simmons College] in Kentucky. He moved to Alabama and was employed at the Union Mutual Aid Association in Mobile; the insurance company was started by C. F. Johnson, one of the wealthiest African American men in Alabama. Union Mutual Aid Association was incorporated in 1898, and had over $170,000 in income in 1913. Elijah Smith excelled within the company and after a short time was a district manager. He would soon become the district manager of the Tuscaloosa area. Smith was also president of the Negro Business Men's League in Tuscaloosa, a delegate to the national league in 1912, and secretary of the state league in 1916. He also held a number of positions within the Tuscaloosa Baptist Church and was president of the District Baptist Young People's Union and an advisory member of the Federation of Colored Women of Alabama. For more see "Elijah Strong Smith" in the Afro-American Encyclopedia; and for more on C. F. Johnson and the Union Mutual Aid Association see vol. 2, p. 208 of The Story of the Negro, by B. T. Washington [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and pp. 1134-1135 in the Annual Report of the Insurance Commissioner of the State of Alabama for year ending December 31, 1913 [available full-text at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Religion & Church Work, Migration South, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Negro Business League, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky / Mobile and Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Tandy, Henry A.
Birth Year : 1853
Death Year : 1918
Tandy was a contractor and builder from Lexington, KY. Along with his business partner, Albert Byrd, he did the brick work on the Lexington courthouse in 1898. At that time the courthouse was one of the largest in the U.S. At the turn of the century, Tandy was thought to have been the richest African American in Kentucky. He was the father of Vertner Tandy and the husband of Emma Brice Tandy, born 1855 in KY. The Tandy family lived at 190 West Main Street, next door to the Maj. B. G. Thomas/Margaret Pryor home. Henry Tandy was born in Estill County, KY. The names of his parents were listed as unknown at the time of his death. He was buried in Greenwood Cemetry in Lexington, KY, according to his death certificate. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings, at the Documenting the American South website; Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; "Henry Tandy," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/16/2005, p. C1; Tandy displays in the Isaac Scott Hathaway Museum; and N.[H.] A. Tandy, "Contracting and building," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 3rd Annual Convention, Richmond, Virginia, August 25-27, 1902, reel 1, frames 256-257.
Subjects: Businesses, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Fathers, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Estill County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Wheeler, John Leonidas
Birth Year : 1869
Death Year : 1957
John L. Wheeler left teaching to become a leader within the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, the largest African American owned business in the U.S. He was an 1897 graduate of Wilberforce College [now Wilberforce University]; immediately after graduating, he became a faculty member at Kittrell College, where he would become a president of the school for four years. [Kittrell College was a Black College in North Carolina, 1886-1975. The location is now Kittrell Job Corps Center.] In 1908, Wheeler left Kittrell College to accept a position with North Carolina Mutual, where he would become superintendent of the Raleigh District. Wheeler would later move to the records department in the Durham office. He also served as master of the Knights of Pythias while in Durham. He invested in real estate and owned property in North Carolina, Ohio, and New York. In 1913, Wheeler was named the North Carolina Mutual state agent for Georgia. In 1922, he was elected to the company's board of directors and in 1927 was named regional supervisor. In 1930, Wheeler was insurance superintendent in Atlanta, GA, and would become assistant director of agents in charge of the southern region. In Atlanta, he was also a member of the NAACP, the Negro Business League, and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Wheeler was born and raised in Nicholasville, KY, the son of Phoebe Wheeler, a former slave. He was the husband of Margaret Hervey (b. in 1880 in KY). For more see John Leonidas Wheeler in History of the American Negro and His Institutions, 1917, edited by A. B. Caldwell [online at Google Book Search]; and in An Economic Detour, by M.S. Stuart [online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Migration East, Migration South, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Fraternal Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / Raleigh, Durham, North Carolina / Atlanta, Georgia

 

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