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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
Beam, Ulysses S. and John W. Beam
Dr. U. S. Beam (1868-1942) was the first African American physician to practice in Lima, OH. Born in Kentucky, he was an older brother of Dr. Augustus G. Beam. Both were graduates of the Louisville National Medical College and maintained a medical practice together in Lima, OH, for a brief period in 1906. Dr. U. S. Beam had previously practiced in Muncie, IN, moving to Lima in 1892. He was a wealthy doctor in Lima, where he spent the remainder of his life except for a brief period when he was forced to returned to Kentucky in 1909. Dr. Beam left Lima after his brother, John W. Beam (born in KY -d.1909), a lawyer and real estate agent, was arrested for the murder of widow Estella Maude Diltz, who was white. There were rumors of a lynching party being formed, and Dr. Beam, whose wife was white, feared there would be retaliation towards him. Also, the U.S. Marshall had a subpoena for Dr. Beam pertaining to another matter. Dr. Beam closed his medical practice and fled to Kentucky with his father, Hines Beam, who had come to Lima to secure an attorney for his son, John. In November 1909, John W. Beam was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the Ohio Penitentiary; it was reported that he committed suicide while in prison, December 1909. Dr. Ulysses Beam returned to his practice in Lima, where he is listed in the U.S. Federal Census for 1910, 1920, and 1930. He died at his home in 1942 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, OH. For more see "Dr. Beam Gone," Lima Times Democrat (05/26/1909), p. 8; and "Dr. Beam dies in home after long illness," The Lima News (10/12/1942), p. 4. For more on John W. Beam's case, see "Suicide faked by slayer to avoid possible lynching," Chicago Tribune (05/25/1909), p. 2; "Declare Beam sane in every single particular," The Lima Daily News (10/25/1909), p. 1; "Beam sentenced by Judge Bailey," The Lima Daily news (11/05/1909), p. 5; and "Thomas Dillion helped Beam pave way to eternity," The Lima Daily News (12/14/1909), p. 1.
Subjects: Lawyers, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Corrections and Police, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases, Suicide
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Muncie, Indiana / Lima, Ohio
Bell, Robert F.
Birth Year : 1862
Death Year : 1931
R. F. Bell was the first African American police officer in Lexington, KY, joining the force in 1918. Locals referred to him as "Senator Bell." His picture was included in the Lexington Police Department photo dated April 12, 1937, courtesy of Amanda Elliott, at the former Lexington History Museum - in the Black and White Photographic Collection. In 1907, R. F. Bell was a betting commissioner for J. A. Drake, A. B. Gates, and A. B. Hutchinson of New York [sources: The Negro Population of Lexington in the Professions, Business, Education and Religion by L. Harris, p. in photocopy c.2 of title at UK Special Collections; and "Colored Circles" in the Lexington Leader, 10/27/1902, p.2]. Bell also bought and sold real estate. He was the husband of Florence Searcy (b.1883 or 1884), they married in 1904, and the couple's home was located on E. Fifth Street in Lexington, KY [source: 1910 U.S. Census]. The family included a son named Searcy; a daughter named Florence R. Bell in the census records, and her name later appears as Roberta; and a sister-in-law named Carrie Searcy also lived with the family. By 1920, Robert F. Bell was a widow. Florence Searcy Bell had suddenly died February 23, 1912, she is buried in Cove Haven Cemetery [sources: Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000; and Florence Searcy Bell in Find A Grave]. Robert F. Bell never remarried, he died at his home after a long illness on September 28, 1931 [sources: "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 09/29/1931, p.12; and Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000].
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Corrections and Police, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Cosby, Laken, Jr.
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2014
Laken Cosby, Jr. is a graduate of Lousiville Central High School, he was born in Alabama. In 1988, he became the first African American chairman of the Jefferson County School Board. Cosby was also appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education in 1994 by Governor Brereton Jones; Cosby was vice chairman of the board for three terms. In 2002, Cosby was not reappointed to the board by Governor Patton. Laken Cosby, Jr. was the son Maudie B. Cosby and Laken Cosby, Sr. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He was also owner of the Laken Cosby Real Estate Company. For more see "Cosby is Jefferson County board's first black chairman," in 1988 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Seventh Report, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, p. 36; M. Pitsch, "Longtime advocate of school reform replaced on board," Courier-Journal, 05/11/2002, News section, p. O1A; and A. Wolfson, "Laken Cosby Jr., civil rights leader, dies at 83," Louisville Courier-Journal, 06/14/2014, online obituary.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Board of Education
Geographic Region: Huntsville, Alabama / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Darnes, Rebecca and William
The Darneses were activists and community leaders in Cincinnati, OH. William Darnes, a barber, was born in 1809 in Pennsylvania. Rebecca, his wife, described as a mulatto, was born in 1811 in Kentucky. Both she and her husband were free, according to the 1850 Census. Her mother was born in Maryland. The Darneses were fairly well-off real estate owners in Cincinnati. William had been a Master Mason at the St. Cyprian Lodge in Pittsburgh, PA. When he arrived in Cincinnati, he had applied for admission to the white lodge and was denied. William Darnes would become a founding member of the St. Cyprian Lodge in Cincinnati, which was approved in 1847. In 1849, it would become the first African American grand lodge in Ohio. Rebecca was a member of the Daughters of Samaria and a member of the Society of Friends. Around 1844, she and her husband had joined others, including Salmon P. Chase, to assist in Lydia P. Mott's efforts to establish a home for orphaned and homeless Colored children in Cincinnati. The Darneses also helped raise Alexander G. Clark (1826-1891), who was William Darnes's nephew and would become a civil rights leader in the West. For more see Frontiers of Freedom, by N. M. Taylor; History of the Negro Race in America, 1619-1880, vol. 2, by G. W. Williams [available full text at Project Gutenberg and Google Book Search]; African American Fraternities and Sororities, by T. L. Brown, G. Parks and C. M. Phillips; and "Alexander G. Clark" in the Encyclopedia of African American Business, by J. C. Smith, M. L. Jackson and L. T. Wynn. [*Rebecca Darnes was an aunt, by marriage, to Alexander G. Clark. His mother, Rebecca Darnes Clark, has been described as African.]
Subjects: Barbers, Civic Leaders, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations, Women's Groups and Organizations, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Pennsylvania / Cincinnati, Ohio
Ewing, Thomas H.
Birth Year : 1856
Death Year : 1930
Reverend Ewing was born in Kentucky just prior to the Civil War. He left Paducah, KY, and walked to Kansas City, MO, then moved on to Nebraska, where he earned his medical degree, graduating with honors. Ewing had a private medical practice and later returned to Kansas City in 1887 to become pastor of the Vine Street Baptist Church. The church had a small, poor, divided congregation, and the church property was indebted. Ewing helped get the church back in good standing and built a larger building. He directed his congregation toward savings plans; he organized an economics club and financial clubs to help members get their own homes and to invest in real estate. Vine Street Baptist Church became one of the largest African American Baptist churches in Kansas City, and more than 100 members owned their own homes. Ewing had also followed his own advice: he owned farms and other properties in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri. He was the husband of Fannie Ewing, born 1857 in Kentucky, according to the 1855 Kansas State Census Collection, when the couple was living in Leavenworth with their 3 year old son. T. H. Ewing was referred to as the wealthiest Colored Baptist minister in the entire West. For more see Take Up the Black Man's Burden, by C. E. Coulter; and "T. H. Ewing" in Who's Who Among the Colored Baptists of the United States by S. W. Bacote.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration West, Religion & Church Work, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky / Kansas City, Missouri
Ferguson, Denver and Sea (brothers)
Denver Darious Ferguson (1895-1957) and Sea Ferguson (1899-1974) were born in Brownsville, KY, the sons of Samuel H. and Mattie Whitney Ferguson. Denver was a journalist and established The Edmonson Star News. He was also a WWI veteran then moved to Indianapolis in 1919 and owned a printing company. Sea, a college graduate, followed his brother to Indianapolis and worked in his printing company. The brothers would leave the printing business, and around 1931 they began establishing entertainment businesses on Indiana Avenue: Trianon Ballroom, Royal Palm Gardens, the Cotton Club, and Sunset Terrace Ballroom. They also established Ferguson Brothers' Booking Agency and brought many big name African American entertainers to Indianapolis, and some lesser known names including Kentucky natives Jimmy Coe and Gene Pope. The Ferguson brothers also owned Ferguson Hotel. They are recognized for making Indianapolis a major stop on the African American entertainment circuit. Denver Ferguson was said to be quite a wealthy man up to WWII [source: "Denver Ferguson, pioneer businessman dies," Indianapolis Record, 05/18/1957, pp.1&7]. Sea Ferguson is said to have become a millionaire as a result of his real estate business. He was also an officer with the The National Negro Bowling Association (TNBA). Sea Ferguson is said to be the 3rd African American to build a bowling center; Ferguson's Fun Bowl opened in March 1941 at 750 N. West Street in Indianapolis, IN. For more see "Sea Ferguson's Fun Bowl," The African Diaspora Archaeology Network, March 2008 Newsletter, p.9 [online .pdf].
Subjects: Bowlers and Bowling, Businesses, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Brownsville, Edmonson County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana
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
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1986
In 1948, Ovan Haskins purchased land on Newtown Pike in Lexington, KY, for the development of the city's first African American subdivision. The subdivision, approved in 1949, was financed with private capital. The construction of homes began in 1950, and the subdivision was located on a single street named Haskins Drive [a dead end street]. There were to be 26 homes; all but four of the 55'x95' lots had been sold by August 1950. Ovan Haskins was born in Lexington, KY; he was an insurance supervisor and manager and a real estate broker. As a member of the Blue Grass Athletic Club, he helped found the Lexington Hustlers baseball team. He also helped found the Second Street YMCA in Lexington and served with the Lexington Human Rights Commission. A picture of one of the newly constructed homes on Haskins Drive is on p. 74 in Lexington, Kentucky, by G. Smith. The Ovan Haskins Oral History interview is available at the UK Libraries' Special Collections as part of the Blacks in Lexington Oral History Project. For more see J. Hewlett, "Former developer Ovan Haskins dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/23/1986, p. B11; "New subdivision for Negroes," Herald-Leader, 05/13/1951, p. 47; and the following articles from the Lexington Leader: "Haskins subdivision groundbreaking," 05/19/1950, p. 25; "Construction started in Haskins addition," 08/07/1950, p. 14; and "Negro subdivision off Newtown Pike begins," 08/22/1950, p. 13.
Read about the Ovan Haskins oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Baseball, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Hatcher, E. Porter, Jr.
Birth Year : 1936
Hatcher was an insurance agent and real estate broker. He was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly, serving from 1978-1999, representing the 43rd District (Jefferson County). He is one of the few African Americans to garner consecutive re-elections. Hatcher resigned his seat in 1999 and pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. A special election was held and Hatcher was replaced by Louisville 12th Ward Alderman Paul Bather. For more information, contact the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission and see "Editorial: Hatcher's Resignation," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/05/1999.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Legislators, Kentucky, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Hayden, Anderson "Andrew" and Anna David Hayden
Anderson Hayden (1852-1911) was a former slave who owned a blacksmith business and real estate in Cynthiana, KY. Fairly well-off, he lived in a white neighborhood. Hayden's first name is given as Anderson in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. He was born in Bourbon County, KY, the son of Anderson Hayden and Cynthia Sherman, according to his death certificate. He was the husband of Anna David Hayden (1855-1948) who was born in Harrison County, KY, the daughter of Baldwin David and Hannah Stauff, according to her death certificate. Anderson Hayden was in an asylum in Lexington, KY when he died in 1911, and his wife Anna died in Harrison County, KY. For more see Evidences of Progress Among Colored People, by G. F. Richings.
Subjects: Businesses, Blacksmiths, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Hutchinson, Jerome, Sr.
Birth Year : 1926
Death Year : 2007
Born in Louisville, KY, Reverend Hutchinson was the first African American to chair the Louisville-Jefferson County Planning Commission in 1979. He became a member of the commission in 1976. He was a graduate of Central High School and attended Louisville Municipal College. He was owner of Jerome Hutchinson and Associates, a marketing and real estate business. He also owned and was chairman of the television station WYCS-TV, the first African American-owned television station in Kentucky. Hutchinson had also been an associate minister at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Louisville. He was the father of Seretha Tinsley and Jerome Hutchinson, Jr. For more see P. Burba, "Businessman Jerome Hutchinson, Sr. dies," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 07/27/2007, News section, p. 6B.
Subjects: Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work, Television, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson 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
Magowan, James E.
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1933
The following information comes from the James E. Magowan archival file at the Montgomery County Historical Society and Museum in Mt. Sterling, KY. James E. Magowan was a successful businessman and a community leader. He was born in Montgomery County, the son of Amanda and John Wesley Magowan, and a brother of John, Noah, Susan, and Emily Magowan. The family lived in Smithville, KY. James Magowan, his brothers, and sister, Susan, all attended the Academy at Berea. As an adult, James Magowan was a real estate agent, loans and collecting agent, notary public, carpenter, contractor, and owner of the Magowan Theater and the colored skating rink in Mt. Sterling. James Magowan developed the Lincoln View Cemetery next to Olive Hill Cemetery in Smithville. The Lincoln View Cemetery opened on April 1, 1929, with James Magowan as president, his son, Jesse E., 1st vice president, and his wife, Lizzie, his daughter, Sarah, and his son-in-law and daughter, Watson D. Banks and Estella Magowan Banks, board members. James Magowan established a subdivision for African Americans next to the cemetery, and he owned and managed the waterline to the homes, charging a monthly fee for the service. He established the Mt. Sterling Colored Fair Association in 1909. He was owner of the James E. Magowan Grocery Store, which was located within the J. E. Magowan Hall (built in 1914) at the corner of East Locust and Fox Streets. James Magowan leased-out the grocery store and other space within the building. Additional information about James E. Magowan comes from "Achievements of the late James E. Magowan" on pp. 23-24 in Montgomery County Kentucky Bicentennial, 1774-1974, by S. A. Harris. James E. Magowan was a school teacher for six years. He led the effort to extend the gas line into Smithville, and in 1915 he was president of the organization that had a sidewalk completed from the city limits of Mt. Sterling to the entrance of Olive Hill Cemetery. James Avenue in Mt. Sterling was named in his honor. James E. Magowan is buried in the Lincoln View Cemetery in Mt. Sterling, KY.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Civic Leaders, Communities, Construction, Contractors, Builders, Education and Educators, Colored Fairs, Black Expos, and Chautauquas, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Carpenters, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Notary Public, Skating Rinks, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Mount Sterling and Smithville, Montgomery County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1960
Frank Minnifield was born in Lexington, KY. At 5'9" and 140 pounds, he was an outstanding high school football player at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, playing tailback and safety; the team made the playoffs his senior year. It was thought that he was too small to play college football; nonetheless, Minnifield, 40 pounds heavier, was a walk-on his first year with the University of Louisville (KY) football team in 1979, earning scholarships his three remaining years. In 1981, he led the team in punt returns and led the nation as the number one college kick returner with 30.4 yards per return. Minnifield began his pro career in 1982 playing for the Chicago Blitz, a U.S. Football League (USFL) team that would become the Arizona Wranglers. The team was runner-up in the USFL Championship game in 1984. That same year, Minnifield filed suit against the Arizona Wranglers over the Wranglers' attempt to prevent him from playing with the Cleveland Browns, a National Football League (NFL) team. Minnifield signed as a free agent with the Browns in 1984 and retired from the team in 1992. He played in 122 games and was a four time pro bowler (1986-1989) and three time All-NFL choice by the Associated Press. Minnifield was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998. After retiring from the NFL, he took advantage of years of preparation: having earned a real estate license in 1988 and sold real estate during the off-season, Minnifield returned to Lexington and established Minnifield All-Pro Homes. In 1993, he became the first African American executive elected to the Lexington Chamber of Commerce Board. He was the only African American home builder in Lexington in 2000. In 2011, Frank Minnifield was named chair of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees. For more see Frank Minnifield on the University of Louisville football website; J. Clay, "Minni, Lexington's Frank Minnifield, knew he'd make it as a pro," Lexington Herald-Leader, 10/18/1984; and J. George, "Building for the future ex-NFL star Frank Minnifield wants more blacks in industry," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/12/2000.
Read about the Frank Minnifield oral history interview available in the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Businesses, Football, Migration North, Migration West, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Cleveland, Ohio
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
Prewitt, Clifton B.
Birth Year : 1826
Prewitt was born a slave in Scott County, KY. He did not attend school. When freed from slavery, he hired himself out, which enabled him to buy a farm. After 18 years of farming, he went into real estate. He bought and sold for speculators and earned a considerable amount of money, enough for him to own more than twenty houses, which he rented to both African Americans and whites. He was the husband of Harriett Prewitt (b.1830 in KY), and in 1880, the family lived in Boston (Scott County), KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Clifton Prewitt was the father of Martha Prewitt, who was the wife of W. D. Johnson. Only two of his 14 children were alive in 1897. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Boston, Scott County, Kentucky
Rioting in Louisville, KY (1968)
Start Year : 1968
In the 1960s, racial tension had been growing in Louisville. On May 27, 1968, a rally took place at 28th and Greenwood to protest the arrest of Charles Thomas and Manfred G. Reid. Earlier that month, on May 8, Patrolmen James B. Minton and Edward J. Wegenast had stopped Thomas, a schoolteacher, because he was driving a car that was similar to one used in a burglary. The stop was made in an African American neighborhood. A crowd began to gather, and Patrolmen Michael A. Clifford and Ralph J. Zehnder arrived as backup. Reid, a real estate broker, was nearby and questioned the arrest. Patrolmen Clifford ordered Reid and others to get back; he was poking Reid in the chest with his finger. A scuffle occurred between Clifford and Reid. A crowd of 200 or so African Americans gathered and began yelling at the officers. Reid and Thomas were arrested. Three weeks later, a rally was called in response to the arrests; 350-400 people attended. There were several speakers, and a rumor circulated that Stokely Carmichael would be speaking. At the end of the rally a confrontation occurred between some who had attended the rally and the police who were patrolling the intersection of 28th and Greenwood. The skirmish escalated, growing into a full-fledged riot in the West End, lasting for almost a week. Six units of the national guard, over 2,000 guardsmen, were ordered to Louisville. Looting and shooting occurred, buildings were burned, two teens were killed, and 472 people were arrested. For more see K. H. Williams, "'Oh Baby... It's Really Happening:' The Louisville Race Riot of 1968," Kentucky History Journal, vol. 3 (1988), pp. 48-64; "Troops and Negroes Clash in Louisville Disorder," New York Times, 05/29/1968, p. 17; and the many articles in the Louisville Times, Courier-Journal and other local papers beginning May 28, 1968.
See photo image from rioting in Louisville, KY in 1968, at KET Living the Story website.
Subjects: Rioting, Insurrections, Panics, Protests in Kentucky, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
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, and Chautauquas, 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) / Work Projects Adminstration (WPA)
Geographic Region: Columbus, Hickman County, Kentucky / Cairo, Illinois / Detroit, Michigan / Buffalo and Albany, New York / Chicago, Illinois
Spradling, William Wallace
Birth Year : 1866
Death Year : 1940
Born in Louisville, KY, Spradling owned more real estate in Louisville than any other African American. He was Vice President of the Louisville Cemetery Association and Director of the Falls City Realty Co. He served as vice president of First Standard Bank, the first African American bank in Kentucky. Spradling was a delegate to the convention that nominated Republican Mayor Grinstead in 1907. He was the son of Washington and Henrietta Richardson Spradling, and the husband of Mary E. Wilson Spradling (1876-1964), who was born in KY. The couple had lived at 501 Rose Lane Street, according to William Spradling's death certificate. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Stewart, Logan H.
Birth Year : 1879
Born in Union County, KY, Stewart became a real estate operator and builder. He led the real estate movement in Evansville, Indiana. African Americans owned less than $10,000 in real estate in 1900; that increased to more than $100,000 in 1926. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; Who's Who in Colored America, 1927; and We Ask Only a Fair Trial: a history of the Black community of Evansville, by D. E. Bigham.
Subjects: Businesses, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Union County, Kentucky / Evansville, Indiana
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1957
Horace Sudduth was born in Covington, KY, the son of Charles and Mattie Sudduth. He was president of the Walnut Hills Enterprise Company, president of the Industrial Loan and Savings Company, president and organizer of the Creative Realty Company, and owner of the Sudduth Real Estate Agency. The Horace Sudduth Award, for outstanding achievements in land and real estate, is named in his honor. For more see Who's Who in Colored American, 1933-37; Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 1: Jan 1946-July 1949; and S. Middleton, "We must not fail!: Horace Sudduth, Queen City entrepreneur," Queen City Heritage, vol. 49, issue 2 (1991), pp. 3-20.
See photo image of Horace Sudduth on p.23 in Jet, 11/19/1953.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Businesses, Migration North, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Cincinnati, Ohio
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
Taylor, James T. "Big Jim" [Harrods Creek, Kentucky]
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1965
Taylor developed the Harrods Creek community in Jefferson County, KY. He purchased the land in 1919 and sold lots to African Americans. The Jacob School was built in 1916, named for Jefferson Jacob, a former slave. Students came from Harrods Creek and nearby African American communities such as The Neck and Happy Hollow, both of which no longer exist. The school and the community are recognized with a Kentucky Historical Marker [#2038]. James Taylor, raised by his grandmother, grew up to become a farmer, a school bus driver, a road and bridge builder, and president of the James T. Taylor Real Estate Co. Wilson Lovett was vice president of the company, Joseph Ray, Sr. secretary, and Abram L. Simpson manager. For more see B. Pike, “Looking back: subdivision may be named after early developer,” Courier-Journal, 08/28/2002, Neighborhoods section, p. 1N; and D. R. Smith, “Cover Story: 40059,” The Lane Report, September 2006.
Subjects: Businesses, Communities, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Harrods Creek, Jefferson County, Kentucky / The Neck and Happy Hollow, Jefferson County, Kentucky [no longer exist]
Terrell, William H.
Birth Year : 1876
Death Year : 1946
William Terrell was born in Hopkinsville, KY, the son of Samuel S. and Martha Smooth Terrell. William Terrell lived in Chicago where he formed a real estate partnership, Murry & Terrell, and later the partnership of Anderson & Terrell. He was president of both the A-T Varnish Remover Co. and the Standard Literary Society. For more see Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915.
Subjects: Businesses, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois
Travis, Oneth M., Jr.
Birth Year : 1923
Death Year : 1979
O. M. Travis was born in Monticello, KY, the son of Fannie Goss Travis and Oneth Travis, Sr. Oneth Jr. had a real estate office on E. 3rd Street in Lexington, KY, he was a real estate agent and an insurance agent. In 1979, he was one of two African American council members in Lexington, KY; prior to his sudden death, Travis was seeking his fourth term as council member of the 1st District, a predominately African American area northeast of downtown Lexington. The other African American council member was Bob Finn, who represented the 2nd District, another predominately African American area. One of the fights led by Travis was against the referendum for the East Short Street Urban Renewal Project proposal to clear 80 acres, said to be slums, bound by East Main, Third Street, and Midland Avenue, and cut through by Corral and DeWeese Streets. Travis wanted the city to enforce the building code for the area and the properties be brought up to standard, rather than the area being completely razed and replaced with new housing. Oneth Travis, Jr. was the husband of Leola Madison Travis, the family lived at 188 Eddie Street in Lexington. He was a graduate of Wilberforce University. For more see "Travis recalled as strong voice for blacks here," Lexington Leader, 03/22/1979, p.A-3; "The empty chair: Council honors Travis, the man who sat there," Lexington Leader, 03/23/1979, p.A-1; and B. L. Mastin, "Panel sought referendum on Urban Renewal plan in '64," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/13/1984, Lifestyle section, p.D5.
Subjects: Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Monticello, Wayne County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
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
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
Whitney, Francis E.
Birth Year : 1916
Death Year : 2006
Whitney was born in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1948 he began operating the F. E. Whitney Real Estate Agency in Hopkinsville. He co-organized and was secretary/treasurer of the Durretts Avenue Realty Co., Inc., which developed and built the Gladys-Gail Village, the first subdivision developed by African Americans in Hopkinsville. The subdivision established a new trend in housing for African Americans. Whitney was appointed to the Interim Council of the City of Hopkinsville by Governor Wetherby in 1953, serving for 21 years as a city councilman. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Businesses, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky
Williams, Frank Lunsford
Birth Year : 1864
Death Year : 1953
Frank L. Williams was born in Louisville, KY, he graduated from Berea College in 1889 and taught in the mountains of Kentucky during the summers. He was an Institute Instructor for both whites and African Americans and also Chair of Mathematics at Louisville High School. Frank L. Williams went on to earn a masters degree at the University of Cincinnati in 1908. In August of 1900 he became the principal of William Grant High School in Covington, KY [sources: A Utopia Experiment in Kentucky, R. D. Sears, p.93; and The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, edited by P. A. Tenkotte and J. C. Claypool, p.552]. Williams replaced Principal Samuel L. Singer. Frank L. Williams was also a founding member of the Covington Progressive Building and Loan Association. After leaving Covington in 1908, the following year Williams became principal at Summer High School in St. Louis, MO, and remained there until he was replaced by George D. Bramley in 1930 [sources: The Crisis, August 1930, v.37, no.8, p.277; and p.2188 in Gould's St. Louis Directory, 1909]. By 1939, Williams was principal of Vashon High School in St. Louis, MO, he was principal from 1932-1940 [sources: The Crisis, September 1939, v.46, no.9, p.286; and "A History of Vashon High School," a St. Louis Public High School website]. He was also appointed a member of the St. Louis Housing Authority; he was chairman of the Board of Managers of the Pine Street YWCA; he was on the Board of Curators of Lincoln University of Missouri; and president of New Age Building and Loan Association. The building and loan business was founded in 1915 and was run by Frank L. Williams until his death in 1953 [sources: African-American Business Leaders by J. N. Ingham and L. B. Feldman, p.272; and "St. Louis teacher-banker leaves $134,169," Jet, v.4, no.2, May 21, 1953, p.10]. Frank Williams was also on the St. Louis Bond Commission and led in the fund drive for the building of the Homer Phillips Hospital. He was active in the YMCA; invested in real estate and owned several buildings and an apartment house; and he wrote a weekly column for the St. Louis Argus. His contributions to the City of St. Louis were many, and named in his honor was the Frank L. Williams School at 3955 St. Ferdinand, the school opened in 1964 [source: Discovering African American St. Louis by J. A. Wright]. Frank L. Williams was the husband of Fannie B. Miller who was born in Danville, KY, they were married in February of 1891. They were the parents of four children: Susie, Maurice, Lunsford, and Frances. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; and Frank L. Williams in The Educational World, August 1946, pp.36-38. *The Educational World is available in Berea College Special Collections, Frank L. Williams file.
Subjects: Bankers, Banks, Finance, Financial Advisors, Education and Educators, Housing Authority, The Projects, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Migration West, Realtors, Real Estate Brokers, Real Estate Investments, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association), YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Berea, Madison County, Kentucky / Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / St. Louis, Missouri