Complete A-Z list of entries

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest




staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database

<National Youth Administration (NYA)>

Return to search page.

African American Library Employees, WPA, NYA, & Kentucky, 1940
Start Year : 1940
Though Louisville, KY, had been a leader in the training of Negro librarians beginning in 1912, by 1940 those efforts had come to an end. The training program at the Louisville Western Branch Library ended in 1931. Also gone were the 1932 library training program started by Eliza Atkins [Gleason] at the Louisville Municipal College and the 1936 state training agency housed at the Municipal College for the training of Negro library employees [source: Library Service to African Americans in Kentucky by R. F. Jones, pp. 94-95]. The continuation of the Western Branch library training program at Hampton Institute Library School ended in 1939 [now Hampton University]. The Atlanta University library school would open in 1941 [now Clark Atlanta University]. In 1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt was reelected, the country was still experiencing the Great Depression with record unemployment, and in Europe, it was the second year of what would become known as World War II. Employment was hard to come by, including library jobs, though Louisville was still the one location in Kentucky that offered the most employment opportunities for Negro librarians and library employees, which included teens and young adult library assistants who were hired via the National Youth Administration (NYA). Some of the adult librarians and library assistants were hired via the Work Projects Administration. Changes had taken place with the federal programs by 1940; the NYA, a New Deal program created during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, was no longer a part of the WPA; it moved to the Federal Security Agency with the passage of the Reorganization Act of 1939. Also in 1939, the Works Progress Administration was renamed the Work Projects Administration; both were referred to as the WPA. The WPA was a New Deal agency (a federal assistance program) that employed mostly men for public works projects. The WPA Library projects mostly hired women. The library projects were sponsored by the public library commissions or boards of education in the participating states. There was a qualified workforce in Kentucky: the Negro librarians were some of the most educated women in the state and the race. Below are the names, education levels, and additional information about African Americans in and from Kentucky who were employed as librarians and library assistants in 1940; WPA and NYA workers are indicated. - - [sources: 1940 U.S. Federal Census; Wilson Bulletin for Librarians, April 1938; and Library Extension Under the WPA, by E. B. Stanford]. [See also NKAA entries for the National Youth Administration (Kentucky), Colored Libraries, and African American Schools].

 

NYA=National Youth Administration

WPA=Work Projects Administration

 

Anna Allen (b. 1924), daughter of Booker Z. and Viola Allen / completed 8th grade / Lancaster, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anne Anderson (b. 1907), wife of Charles W. Anderson, Jr. / completed 4th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Librarian, Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University]

Alice Baker (b. 1924), daughter of Lone and Nellie Baker / completed 9th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Beulah Bolan (b. 1891), widow / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Gwendolyn Blakley (b. 1918), daughter of William and Martha Blakley / completed 3rd year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, reading project

Lorella Bradford (b. 1917), grandniece of Charles Batts / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, college

Jesse M. Brashear (b. 1922), daughter of John W. and Fanny Brashear / completed 9th grade / Hardin County, KY / Library Assistant, school

Frances Bush (b. 1909), daughter of Brize and Nettie Bush / completed 1st year of college / Cincinnati, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Sallie Churchville (b. 1904), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Minnie Cooper (b. 1884), widow / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

James Cowherd (b. 1916), son of Lee and Stella Cowherd / completed 12th grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Literary Project

Bessie Crenshaw (b. 1920), daughter of Samuel and Bessie Crenshaw / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Anna Dell (b. 1896), divorced / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public school

Julius Dickerson (b. 1909), divorced / completed 3rd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA, public library

Thelma Dunlap (b. 1923), daughter of Johnie Ross / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Gertrude Durett (b. 1911), single / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Toy Library

Clara Frank (b. 1902), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Sophia Freeman (b. 1898), widow / completed 12 grade / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, high school

Thelma P. Froman (b. 1923), daughter of John Des and Minnie Froman / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Wyetta Gilmore (b. 1906), married / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Vivian Glass (b. 1904), divorced / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, public library

Lillian C. Hall (b. 1891), wife of John Wesley Hall / completed 4th year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, Attucks High School

Willa Hall (b. 1918), daughter of Bessie and Gabie Hall / completed 1st year of college / Indianapolis, IN (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA Project

Margaret Hampton (b. 1916), single / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Rachel D. Harris (b. 1869), widow / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Beatrice Hatchett (b. 1921), daughter of Elisha Hatchett / completed 12th grade / Henderson, KY / Library Assistant, school work program

Hattie Hays(b. 1886), widow / completed 12th grade / Fulton County, KY / Librarian, school project

Robert Jackson (b. 1911), husband of Naomi Jackson / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Recreation Center

Marjorie Johnson (b. 1906), married / completed 6th year of college / Paducah, KY / Librarian, school

Mary Jones (b. 1919), single / completed 10th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA Library

Cordelia Knight (b. 1920), daughter of Patrick and Emma Knight / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, Municipal College Library

Naomi Lattimore (b. 1904), wife of John A. C. Lattimore / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, public and college libraries

Hariett Lawson (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Gary, Indiana (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public school

Evelyn Lewis (b. 1914), single / completed 1st year of college / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, WPA Project

Pearl Lewis (b. 1890), widowed / completed 8th grade / Letcher County, KY / Librarian, WPA Office

Charlotte Lytte (b. 1913), single / completed 12th grade / Springfield, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public college

Eva Mallory (b. 1901), wife of Robert A. Mallory / completed 1st year of college / Minneapolis, MN (born in Kentucky) / Librarian

Esther Maray (b. 1920), daughter of Caroline Maray / completed 12th grade / Cleveland, OH (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, NYA

Charles Marrs (b. 1917), son of Charles and Julia Marrs / completed 12th grade / Chicago, IL (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, public library

Ruth McCoy (b. 1916), single / completed 4th year of college / New Orleans, LA (born in Kentucky) / Library Assistant, university

Elnora McIntyre Muir (b. 1886), married / completed 5th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Library Assistant, public library

Mamie Melton (b. 1897), widowed / completed 8th grade / Washington, PA (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, neighborhood house

Carolyn E. Mundy (b. 1908), wife of John Mundy / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Tennessee) / Librarian, public school

Mary Myall (b. 1907), single / completed 4th year of college / Xenia, OH (born in Kentucky) / Librarian, university library

Hugh Osborne, Jr. (b. 1919), married / completed 4th year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Alabama) / Librarian, judge's office

Hugh Osbourne (b. 1919), single / completed 7th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Alabama) / Law Librarian, Court of Appeals

Alice Parker (b. 1912), married / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, WPA

Noverta Peoples (b. 1922), daughter of John B. and Leana N. Peoples / completed 11th grade / Paducah, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Lizzie Pierce (b. 1882), wife of B. L. Pierce / completed 11th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, public library

Pruline Pigeon (b. 1910), wife of Barbee Pigeon / completed 8th grade / Indianapolis, IN / Librarian, WPA

Lizzie S. Price (b. 1878), wife of Henry M. Price / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY / Librarian, free public library

Elmarie Robinson (b. 1911), single / completed 11th grade / Covington, KY / Librarian, public school

Rose Sellers (b. 1921), daughter of Oliver P. and Mary Sellers / completed 1st year of college / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Georgia Shipley (b. 1921), daughter of Lovie and Jerry Shipley / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, library project

Gertrude Silves (b. 1902), widow / completed 3rd grade / Louisville, KY / Librarian, Ribhi (sp) Library

Bessie R. Stone (b. 1917), married / completed 5th year of college / Frankfort, KY / Library Assistant, Kentucky State College for Negroes [now Kentucky State University]

Lee Ella Watkins (b. 1918), daughter of Virginia Watkins / completed 12th grade / Louisville, KY / Library Assistant, NYA

Bruce Weaver (b. 1917), single / completed 2nd year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Indiana) / Library Assistant, school library

Garnett Witherspoon (b. 1911), wife of James Witherspoon / completed 2nd year of college / Paducah, KY (born in Illinois) / Librarian, college

Thelma Yancey (b. 1914), single / completed 4th year of college / Lexington, KY (born in Montana) / Librarian, college

Hortense H. Young (b. 1904), wife of Coleman Milton Young II / completed 4th year of college / Louisville, KY (born in Texas) / Librarian, Municipal College Library

Subjects: Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration North, Women's Groups and Organizations, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA), National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Johnson, Christine Claybourne
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1999
Johnson was born and raised in Versailles, KY, the daughter of Mattie A. Williams Claybourne and Braxton D. Claybourne. She graduated from the Versailles Colored high school in 1927. She won a gold medal for her poetry. She lived in Detroit in the 1940s, where she worked with the National Youth Administration and established day care centers in churches. Johnson attended nursing school and studied music before earning her undergraduate degree in biology from Loyola University in 1948. She earned a master's degree in education from DePaul University in 1950. Johnson was a member of the Nation of Islam and was principal and director of the University of Islam Primary School in Chicago. She traveled to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Johnson also published plays and poems; her poem, "Cadence," was published in Outlook Magazine. She was the author of Poems of Blackness and three children's textbooks: Muhammad's Children, ABC's of African History and Masks. For more see "Christine C. Johnson" in For Malcolm, by D. Randall and M. G. Burroughs; and A. Beeler, "Longtime teacher Christine Johnson," Chicago Tribune, 03/22/1999, Metro Chicago section, p. 7.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Poets, Children's Books and Music, Nurses, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Chicago, Illinois

National Youth Administration (Kentucky)
Start Year : 1935
End Year : 1943
The National Youth Administration (NYA) was established in 1935 by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. NYA was a division of the Works Progress Administration by way of the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act. The Depression had drastically impeded the education and employment of more than 20 million young people. NYA provided student aid work funds for the part-time employment of persons between the ages of 16 and 25 to help them continue their education and enhance their employability and to help them develop constructive leisure activities. The Division of Negro Affairs, headed by Mary McLeod Bethune, oversaw the participation of Negro youth. Financial support and staffing were to be at the same percentage as the percentage of Negroes in a given state, though in reality the support was much less. The Kentucky NYA Office was located in Louisville at 9th and Broadway, with Robert K. Salyers as director. There were district offices in Madisonville, Louisville, Lexington, and Paintsville. Theodore E. Brown was State Supervisor of Negro Activities. For the program year 1936-37, there were 415 Negro college students who received NYA aid at Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University], West Kentucky Industrial College [now West Kentucky Community and Technical College], and Louisville Municipal College for Negroes [now merged with University of Louisville]. Funding for graduate students was administered by the Washington Office, and Negroes from Kentucky could apply for out-of-state assistance. (There were no in-state graduate programs in Kentucky for African Americans.) High school and elementary students received up to $6 per month for their work, and for the program year 1936-37, there were 1,265 Negro youth of Kentucky employed through the NYA school aid program. Participants who were out of school were certified members of relief families, and they were employed in projects such as sewing, carpentry, construction and repair work on schools and public property, child care, and recreation. There actually was not much done in the area of recreational opportunities for Negroes: projects were established for supervised play leaders at playgrounds and at nursery schools and recreational education institutes were held to train participants. The projects were located in Louisville, Covington, Bowling Green, Winchester, and Paducah. Some of the crafts and toys made by the NYA youth were given away at the Community Christmas Tree, and others were showcased at the NYA exhibit displayed during the KNEA meeting in Louisville. The recreation work was often cited as having decreased delinquency. In 1938, Harvey C. Russell, Sr. was the state NYA Supervisor of Negro Activities in Kentucky, see his online article at the Kentucky Digital Library - Journals: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 9, issues 1-3 (January-February 1938), pp. 47-50; see also "N. Y. A. offers employment opportunities for state youth," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 13, issue 2, pp. 29-31. For more detailed information see Negro Youth and the National Youth Administration in Kentucky, by T. E. Brown; W. G. Daniel and C. L. Miller, "The Participation of the Negro in the National Youth Administration Program," The Journal of Negro Education, vol. 7, issue 3, (July 1938), pp. 357-365; and National Youth Administration for Kentucky: Basic Information on NYA Workers in Kentucky by the NYA Work Project. National Youth Administration images are available online at Google.


Subjects: Education and Educators, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, National Resources, Works Progress Administration (WPA) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA), National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Smith, Holloway
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1970
Kentucky native Holloway Smith was the second African American football player at Iowa State. The first African American player was Jack Trice, who died in 1923 from injuries received during a football game; Iowa State football stadium is named in his honor. Holloway Smith arrived at Iowa State three years after Jack Trice died. Smith had played one year of football at Michigan State and the following year he became a right tackle on the Iowa team while working toward his bachelor's degree in agricultural education. Smith was an all-state lineman; he stood 6'4" and weighed around 220 pounds. He dominated on the football field, but that was not enough to surpass the Missouri Valley Conference agreement with southern opponents to not use colored players in their competitions. The black press referred to it as the "gentlemen's agreement" [source: F. M. Davis, "World of sports," Capital Plaindealer, 12/13/1936, p. 7; note Smith's name is misspelled as "Hollingsworth"]. In 1926 that agreement kept Holloway Smith out of three games. In 1927, he was only barred from the Missouri game, in spite of which, Smith had a good season and was named 3rd Team All-Missouri Conference. After graduating from Iowa State in 1928, Holloway Smith was a school teacher in Marianna, AR. He was a boarder at the home of Henry and Anna Baker, according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census. In 1935, he had lived in Louisville, KY, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. By 1936, Holloway Smith was still a teacher when the African American newspapers proclaimed him the last Negro football player in the Big Six Conference with Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska. Holloway Smith had moved on from his football days. While in Pine Bluff, AR in 1940, he was a teacher and he was also a National Youth Administration (NYA) worker, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, and he would become the state NYA supervisor. Holloway, his wife, and his sister Bettie Smith, lived at 2020 Reeker Street in Pine Bluff. Holloway Smith left Arkansas in the 1940s. He served as a temporary member of the YMCA U.S.O. Club on 3rd Street in Pittsburg, CA, in 1945, according to the USO-Staff Conference minutes dated June 11, 1945. At the U.S.O., Holloway was standing-in for Maurice Hardeman, who was attending an orientation course in New York. [The USO-Staff Conference minutes are within the National Jewish Welfare Board War Correspondence. National Jewish Welfare Board, Army-Navy Division Records, I-180, at the American Jewish Historical Society.] By 1951, Holloway Smith was living in Monterey, California, according to Polk's Monterey Pacific Grove City Directory, 1951, p. 430; he operated Ella's Southern Kitchen Restaurant. He is last listed as a cook in the 1957 Monterey city directory. Holloway Smith last moved to Reno, Nevada, where he died in January of 1970, according to the U.S. Social Security Death Index. Holloway Smith was born in Spottsville, KY, November 19, 1896, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card completed in Henderson, KY. He was the son of James and Harriett Smith, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He had been the husband of Eunice Smith who was born around 1902 in Jackson, Mississippi, according to the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. For more information see Black History Month: Holloway Smith; After Trice, an Iowa State website; and "Holloway Smith" in Nevada State Journal, 01/22/1970, p.39.

 

 

See photo image of Holloway Smith at Iowa State website.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Spottsville, Henderson County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Ames, Iowa / Marianna and Pine Bluff, Arkansas / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Pittsburg and Monterey, California / Reno, Nevada

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, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

Return to the search page.