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The African American Herndons from Simpson County, KY
Start Year : 1852
The following information was submitted by Gayla Coates, Archives Librarian at the Simpson County Kentucky Archives. Melford, Solomon, Bob, and Amy were the slaves of James Herndon in Simpson County, KY. In 1852, they were all to be freed when James Herndon's will was probated. The will stipulated that the slaves were to be freed if they agreed to go live in Liberia, Africa; otherwise, they were to remain in bondage to a member of James Herndon's family. Robert Herndon (b. 1814) and Melford D. Herndon (b. 1819) sailed to Liberia in 1854 aboard the ship Sophia Walker. Solomon Herndon (b. 1811) left aboard the ship Elvira Owen in 1856. In Monrovia, Liberia, Melford Herndon attended the Day's Hope mission school where he learned to read and write. He became a missionary among the Bassa people. During the American Civil War, his salary for his missionary work was discontinued. Melford returned to the U.S. and was able to secure assistance for the mission in Liberia. He also brought two of his sons to Liberia. While in the U.S., he was ordained a minister at the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Herndon also collected $2,000 to build a school and meeting house for the Bassa people. He returned to Liberia in 1865 and continued his work without a salary. In 1869, Melford Herndon left his brother in charge of the school in Liberia and again returned to the U.S. for additional fund-raising and to locate his other four children. In 1873, Melford Herndon was back in Herndonville, Liberia. He would again return to the U.S., bringing with him ten Africans who would become students at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. When he returned to Liberia, he brought along his sister, Mrs. Julia Lewis, from Kentucky. They sailed on the ship Liberia, which was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Colonization Society. For more see G. Coates, "Melford D. Herndon: Freed Slave and Missionary to Liberia," Jailhouse Journal, vol. 18, issue 2 (04/2009), p. 22. [The Simpson County Historical Society is housed in the old jail, thus the name of its journal.]
Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Simpson County, Kentucky / Monrovia and Herndonville, Liberia, Africa

African American Slavery in Mexico - Tom West
According to author J. K. Turner, Tom West was born free in Kentucky and later became a slave in what was described as an experiment in Mexico. Turner met West in 1908-1909. West had earned $2 per day in a brickyard in Kentucky, and he left the U.S. for Mexico by way of Florida along with 80 other African Americans, with the promise of earning $3.75 or 7.5 pesos per day. They were to work at coffee and rubber plantations in La Junta. Once in Mexico the group was locked away at night, and armed guards watched over them as they worked during the day. Unbeknownst to West and the other African Americans, they had been sold as slaves to an American plantation owner and were forced to work off their purchase price before they would be paid for their labor. Those who escaped and then captured were beaten, and according to Turner, the Diaz government turned a blind eye to the whole affair. African American slavery in Mexico was considered a failure, and Tom West was freed after two years on the plantation but remained in Mexico. For more see Barbarous Mexico, by J. K. Turner.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Mexico & Kentucky
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Mexico

African Americans Returning to the U.S from Honduras [Jimmy Johnson]
End Year : 1940
Jimmy Johnson was born in either 1911 or 1913 in Louisville, KY, and lived at 99 W. Springfield Street in Roxbury, MA. Not many African Americans from Kentucky had migrated to Massachusetts before or after the Civil War. The U.S. Census shows just one free African American from Kentucky living in Massachusetts in 1850, 28 in 1870, and in 1920, 184. Among those 184 there were three Johnson families, but Jimmy Johnson was not listed as a member of any of those families. According to the La Perla (ship) passenger list for July 1932, Johnson was described as a "USC (United States Citizen)=Stowaway=From Boston." The La Perla was owned by the United Fruit Company, a U.S. Corporation based in Boston, MA; the company traded in tropical fruit grown in the West Indies and Central American countries and sold in the U.S. and Europe. United Fruit Company was the largest employer in Central America and managed the postal service in Guatemala. Its steamers transported the fruit, mail, passengers, and cargo between the United States and Central America. In 1928, Roy T. Davis, the U.S. Minister to Costa Rica, wrote the Secretary of State, Frank B. Kellogg, to say the State Department had been informed that Marcus Garvey (UNIA) had received a large donation and monthly subscriptions from Negro employees of the United Fruit Company in Costa Rica. Garvey was denied a return visit to Costa Rica and prohibited from visiting Honduras. The exact number of American Negroes living in Honduras prior to the 1930s is not known. May Ford, a former slave from New Orleans, LA, had sailed to Honduras in 1868 with his former owner, George Henry Friarson, aboard the steamship Trade Winds. Friarson had plantation interests in Honduras and returned to the U.S. after a brief stay. May Ford decided to remain in Honduras and had various jobs, including work on fruit plantations. He was about 76 years old when he returned to the U.S. in 1904 aboard the Anselm (owned by the United Fruit Company); May's passage was paid for by Friarson's son. In 1910, six year old Beresford L. Grant, a U.S. citizen, returned from Honduras with his mother, Wilhelmina Grant (born in England). The Grants and two other Negroes born in England arrived at the Tampa, FL, Port on June 6, 1910, aboard the Carrie W. Babson. The Grants and one of the other passengers had been living in Belize, British Honduras. There were other American Negroes who returned to the U.S. from Honduras as stowaways. In 1932, Kentucky native Jimmy Johnson returned to the Boston, MA, Port aboard the La Perla; he had boarded the ship at the Puerto Castilla Port in Honduras. The port had been built by the United Fruit Company and was used to transport goods from the Castilla Division of the United Fruit Company. The Castilla Division operated until the late 1930s. It is not known why Jimmy Johnson went to Honduras, what his occupation was while there, or why he stowed away on the La Perla to return to the United States. Two other stowaways from Honduras were 20-year-old Amos Bailey from Hattiesburg, MS, and a man who went by the name Vans Miller (18 or 19 years old) and claimed to be a U.S. citizen from Philadelphia, PA. According to the Galveston, TX, Passenger List, Bailey and Miller had been laborers in Honduras, and both left from the Puerto Castilla Port aboard the Comoyagua (owned by the United Fruit Company) and returned to the U.S. at the Galveston Port on June 24, 1936. Bailey was admitted to the country as an American Negro citizen, but Miller, who spoke both English and Spanish, was denied. For more about the United Fruit Company see Bananas: how the United Fruit Company shaped the world, by P. Chapman. For more about the United Fruit Company in Honduras see M. Moberg, "Crown colony as Banana Republic: the United Fruit Company in British Honduras, 1900-1920," Journal of Latin American Studies, vol. 28, issue 2 (May 1996), pp. 357-381. For more about the fleets owned by the United Fruit Company, see The Ships List website for the United Fruit Company. For more about Marcus Garvey and Honduras, see The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers, vol. 12, edited by R. A. Hill. For more about May Ford, see "Back to slavery home," The Washington Post, 08/22/1904, p. 12.
Subjects: Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA)
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Roxbury, Massachusetts / New Orleans, Louisiana / Chicago, Illinois / Hattiesburg, Mississippi / Belize and Puerto Castilla, Honduras, Central America

The African Repository and Colonial Journal (periodical)
Start Year : 1825
End Year : 1892
Published by the American Colonization Society, the journal was first known as The African Repository and Colonial Journal. In 1850 the title changed to The African Repository and in 1892 to Liberia. The journals contain reports, records, and activities of the American Colonization Society. Included in the issues are the names of slave owners, estates, and the freed slaves who were to be colonized in Liberia, Africa. An example of the listing can be found under the heading "African Colonization in Kentucky at the Google Book Search site.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Inheritance, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

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

Avery, Rose and Minnie [Becca Richards]
During the last two months of 1857, there were several articles in the newspapers in London, England, about two fugitive slaves from Kentucky said to be named Rose and Minnie Avery. The young women were between 18 and 20 years old. In November, the women were seen begging on Black-man Street, both were said to be dressed in the white attire that U.S. slaves wore. The women were taken to the police station by Constable Hinchliffe, 85M, who said he had witnessed one of the women carrying a box used to collect money, and the other woman carried a placard that read "Fugitive Slaves." At the Southwark Police Court, the women said that they were fugitive slaves from a plantation in Kentucky and had escaped to Philadelphia, PA, after their father died and their mother was sold. They said that a benevolent person and free colored persons had taken care of them and later paid their passage on the ship "Jane" that took them to Greenock, England. They supposedly had arrived the previous spring and had not been able to find employment in domestic services in Greenock, so they had walked to London and were living on Bishopsgate-street with a Mrs. Flynn and her husband Mr. Flynn who was a laborer. The women said that they still had not found employment and had resorted to begging on the street. When ask if they had any skills, they said that they could knit. The women had one shilling and the magistrate gave them 4s from the poor box. The news of the slave fugitives from Kentucky was soon printed in the newspapers. The women were described in the North Wales Chronicle newspaper as very attractive, well educated, quadroons who were half-castes ["Story of two Kentucky fugitive female slaves," 11/21/1857, issue 1607]. The police station received numerous letters with small sums of money and offers to take-in the young women. The women had already received a portion of the money, and they were to buy wool for the making of gloves and caps, which they were to sell rather than begging on the streets. Each week, they received money from the donations received at the Southwark Police Station. In December, on their return to court, the women said that they had rented a room from a Mrs. Smith in Crown-court, Wentworth-street, for 2s per week. This was verified by the constable. The women presented the gloves and caps that they said they had made, and they showed how much money they had in their possession. They said that they had been given 5s and 10s from strangers who had heard about their plight, but most of their money had been used for food and a few clothes. The magistrate ordered that they be given a few more shillings from the contributions sent to the court on their behalf. The women also presented a letter that was supposedly from a man in Brighton who wanted to take them in as a nurse and to work in his shop, but the letter was not signed. The magistrate ask that the women report back to court in a week, and sooner if the man who wrote the letter came back to see them. In the mean time, the women's story would continue to be investigated by the Mendicity Society and the Southwark Police Court. As the women were leaving court, a New York merchant gave the constable £2 with which to purchase clothing and boots for the women. The women received the items. When they returned to court, there were three reports, one from the Mendicity Society, one from police investigator Officer Hewett, and one from the M division of the police department. According to the reports and the witnesses who were also in the courtroom, the women were impostors. The older of the two women lived with a black man on Crown-court, Wentworth-street. She may have been from America, but only recently arrived in England. The younger woman lived with an Irish woman who may have been her mother. Her father was an older black man who lived at St. Luke's Workhouse, Chelsea, and the younger woman had visited him and given him money. She had also written a letter to him and signed her name as Becca Richards. Also, the ship "Jane" that had supposedly brought the two women to England, had not been in Greenock for 18 months. The younger woman and the older black man denied knowing each other, though witnesses in the courtroom identified her as the person who had visited him several times and said that she had written the letter. The magistrate concluded that the younger woman was a fake, and therefore, both women were fakes. The women were directed to leave the court and were warned that if they were picked up again for begging, then they would be severely punished. Benevolent persons who had sent money to the courts and the police station, for the women's care, would be contacted and asked if they wished their money to go to the women through application, or have the money added to the poor box. For more see "Southwark. - Kentucky Fugitive Slaves," The Morning Post, 11/18/1857, p.7; "Southwark," Daily News (London, England), 11/18/1875, issue 3591; "Fugitive slave girls from Kentucky," The Morning Chronicle, 11/26/1857, issue 28371; "Fugitive slave girls in London from Kentucky," Hampshie Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 11/28/1857, p.3; "The Fugitive slaves from Kentucky," The Morning Chronicle, 12/1/1857, issue 28375; "Kentucky fugitive slaves; extraordinary deception," North Wales Chronicle, 12/12/1857, issue 1609; and "The Kentucky fugitive slaves turn out to be impostors," Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 12/12/1857, p.3.
Subjects: Freedom, Hoaxes, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Greenock and London England, Europe

Baker, McHouston T., Sr. "Mickey"
Birth Year : 1925
Death Year : 2012
Mickey Baker, born in Louisville, KY, spent his younger years in orphanages and learned to play music in school bands. In 1940, he ran away to New York. Baker is a guitarist who has played on hundreds of recording sessions, including those of Ray Charles and Ivory Joe Hunter. Some of his songs are Animal Farm, Baker's Dozen, Hey Little Girl, and Love is Strange. His album Wildest Guitar was released in 2003. Mickey Baker moved to France in the 1960s and he died there in November 27, 2012. He was the son of Lillian Smith, born October 15, 1925, according to the Kentucky Birth Index. Though he lived most of his life in France, he never gave up his American citizenship. For more see Blues Who's Who, by S. Harris; Mickey Baker at the allmusic website; and B. Weber, "Mickey Baker, guitarist, is dead at 87," New York Times, 11/30/2012, p.B17.

  View 1962 video of Mickey Baker, "What'd I Say" at
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York / Toulouse, France, Europe

The Barclays
Arthur Barclay (1854-1938) served as Secretary of State and was the 14th President of Liberia, Africa from 1904-1912. He changed the term of office from two years to four years and was re-elected three times. His nephew, Edwin J. Barclay (1883-1955) completed the term of President C. D. B. King. Edwin was the 17th president of Liberia and had the term of office changed from four years to eight years; he was re-elected twice. Edwin and his successor were the first African heads of states to be invited to the U.S. [by President F. D. Roosevelt]. Edwin Barclay's visit to the White House marked the first time journalists from African American weekly newspapers were assigned to the White House to cover a diplomatic visit. The Barclay family had been politically active in Liberia since the end of the 1800s; Ernest J. Barclay (d. 1894), had served as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Secretary of State, both in Liberia. Ernest and Arthur were the sons and Edwin was the grandson of former Kentucky slaves who left the U.S. during the Civil War. The family stopped in Barbados where Edwin Barclay's father Ernest, and his uncle Arthur, were born. They were two of the many children of Anthony and Sarah Barclay. In 1865, the family moved to Africa. They were among the 300 West Indians migrating to Liberia, most of whom were from the British West Indies. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Dictionary of African Historical Biography, 2nd ed., by M. R. Lipschutz and R. K. Rasmussen; The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich; "2 Presidents in one family," Baltimore Afro-American, 06/05/1943, p.3; Liberia by H. H. Johnston and O. Stapf [v.2 available online at Google Book Search]; and "Negro guest in White House," The Sunday Morning Star, 04/04/1943, p.24.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Barbados, Caribbean / Liberia, Africa

BBC's Kentucky Minstrels
The BBC's Kentucky Minstrels was a popular radio show, a blackface minstrel series produced by Harry S. Pepper and broadcast by the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) from 1933-1950. The show was an exaggerated depiction of African Americans in the "good ole days" of plantation life in the U. S. South (Kentucky), accentuated with the use of stereotyped racist and sexist humor. The main characters were played for many years by three African Americans who had left the United States for the entertainment business in England: Isaac "Ike" F. Hatch (c. 1891-1961), Harry Scott (1879-1947), and Eddie Whaley (1886-1961). Hatch was a trained vocalist and songwriter who had been a member of the W. C. Handy Orchestra. He moved to England in 1925. Scott and Whaley had worked together as a comic act touring the United States; they went to England in 1909. In 1934, Scott and Whaley became the first black performers to star in a British film, Kentucky Minstrels, which was directed by John Baxter and written by Harry S. Pepper and C. Denier Warren (who was also an American). A less distorted version of blackface minstrels continued to be broadcast on BBC television during the 1950s and 1960s. A favorite was the Black and White Minstrel Show, which ran from 1958-1978; the show did well in the ratings, drawing an audience of nearly 17 million. For a more detailed analysis and history, see M. Pickering, "The BBC's Kentucky Minstrels, 1933-1950: blackface entertainment on British radio," Historical Journal of Film, Radio, & Television, vol. 16, issue  2 (1996), pp. 161-194; and "Race, Gender and Broadcast Comedy: the case of the BBC's Kentucky Minstrels," European Journal of Communication, vol. 9 (1994), pp. 311-333.

See photo image of Harry Clifford Scott 1915 at the flickr site by puzzlemaster.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: England, Europe

Buckner, George Washington
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1943
George W. Buckner was born a slave in Green County, KY; after being freed, he went on to become a physician. Buckner taught school in Kentucky and Indiana for 17 years before moving to Monrovia, Liberia, where he was the U.S. Minister to Liberia from 1913 to 1915. He was the first African American diplomat appointed to a foreign country. For more see The Political GraveyardWho's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and Who Was Who in America: A component volume of Who's Who in American History, vol. 4, 1961-1968. See also The Diplomat and the Librarian in Little Known Black Librarian Facts (blog).

See photo image of G. W. Buckner at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Green County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, Africa

Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent
Start Year : 1885
Prior to the end of the Civil War, the formation of Negro colonies in Central and South America had been attempted by President Lincoln and others. In 1885, the idea was revisited by a Negro organization known as the Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent. There were 50 prominent members from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, and a few other states. The group met for several years and in 1893 were prepared to put their plan into action: Negroes in the U.S. were to form colonies prior to each colony being deported to a new homeland in various countries in Central or South America. Colonel John M. Brown, a county clerk of Shawnee County, Kansas, was president of the organization, and S. W. Wine of Kansas City was secretary. The Brazilian government had given assurance that it would help the Negro colonists. There was strong opposition to the plan from Negro leaders throughout the U.S. There was also speculation that the southern Negro labor force would be depleted and the North would lose the best members of the Negro race. For more information see The Negro a Menace to American Civilization by R. W. Shufeldt [available full view at Google Book Search]; and "Negroes going to Brazil," New York Times, 04/03/1893, p. 8. See also Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada.
Subjects: Immigration, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Central America / Brazil, South America

Chittison, Herman
Birth Year : 1908
Death Year : 1967
Herman Chittison was born in Flemingsburg, KY, then left Kentucky to attend school in Tennessee when he was 13 years old. He was the son of Charles and Sarah Chittison. After completing high school, Herman Chittison enrolled at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1925, but he soon left school to pursue his music career. Chittison was a self-taught jazz pianist who had studied chemistry in college. Once his music career took off, he traveled to New York, then played in Europe and Egypt and toured with Louis Armstrong. Chittison returned to the U.S. during World War II. For seven years he played on the weekly CBS radio series, Casey, Crime Photographer. For more see Biographical Dictionary of Jazz, by C. E. Claghorn; Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, 9th ed., ed. by L. Kuhn; and F. E. Lockwood, "Flemingsburg Jazz pianist lives on in ebony and ivory, musician's artistry reached across racial divide," Lexington Herald Leader, 02/26/2000, Main News section, p. A1.

See photo image of Herman Chittison at the Library of Congress Digital Collections.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio, Migration South, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Flemingsburg, Fleming County, Kentucky / New York / Europe / Egypt

Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM), Kentucky
Start Year : 1881
Long before the Christian Woman's Board of Missions (Disciples of Christ) was formed, the year 1819 was the beginning of woman's missionary work as a distinctive agency. The first organization was the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in New York (source: Historical Sketch of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions by E. J. Dickinson; H. E. Moses). That particular organization ceased in 1861, though other efforts had been put into place over the 42 years and would eventually lead to the formation of the Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM) in 1874. The CWBM's first work with Negroes was in 1881 in Jackson, MS, where Negroes were to get the same kind of help as the CWBM had given in Jamaica [p.40]. The work in Mississippi lasted for 13 months. In the late 1880s, there was work in Kentucky that fell under the heading of "extension in the home field" [p.41]. This was not necessarily work geared toward Negroes in Kentucky because a different avenue had been found for that work, partially due to the fact that the membership of the CWBM was whites only.  


Working around the restricted membership, it was in Kentucky in 1880 that the first black led organization was formed. A group of black women took the lead and formed the Kentucky Christian Woman's Board of Missions Convention [source: The Stone-Campbell Movement edited by D. N. Williams, D. A. Foster, and P. M. Blowers, p.49, see "The CWBM and Race"; and the NKAA entry Conventions of the Colored Christian Churches in Kentucky]. Also, in 1896, black women in Mississippi formed the Mississippi Women's Missionary Society. Both the Kentucky and the Mississippi organizations did work with the national CWBM, but the two groups operated independently of CWBM and of each other. The segregated groups would eventually be merged into CWBM. 


The first Negro branch of the national Christian Woman's Board of Missions (CWBM) was formed in Arkansas in 1896. The branch was organized by Sarah Lue Bostic who would go on to organize and lead other Negro branches. Another effort took place in 1889 when the American Christian Missionary Society (ACMS) formed a Board of Negro Education and Evangelization in Louisville, KY [source: Journey Toward Wholeness by B. M. Cardwell and W. K. Fox]. The organization gave support to colored institutes in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Louisville Bible College in Kentucky [pp.49-50]. It was a struggle for the ACMS to maintain the institutes. The following year, the national CWBM formed their Negro education and evangelization board which took over the work with Negroes that had been attempted by the ACMS. The work with Negroes is mentioned throughout the CWBM historical sketch, as are efforts in Kentucky, and the contributions and efforts from persons and organizations in Kentucky. There was also a Negro CWBM worker who came to Kentucky, and did so by way of Mississippi and Liberia. The journey actually started with his teacher, Jacob Kenoly (1876-1911), a minister who was born in Laclede County, MO. Kenoly was an educated man, his education started in Missouri and culminated in Edwards, MS at the CWBM school Southern Christian Institute. Kenoly attended this particular school because he wanted to go to Africa as a missionary. One last stop for his training was in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Once his education was completed and Jacob Kenoly had the money need for the voyage, he left the United States and arrived in Monrovia, Liberia as a Disciples missionary on July 26, 1905. He did good work until his death in 1911 due to a boating accident in Liberia.


Jacob Kenoly was the Disciples' second Negro foreign missionary sent to Liberia, Africa. The first had been a former slave named Alexander Cross who was from Kentucky [source: The Life and Work of Jacob Kenoly by C. C. Smith, pp.28-30]. Alexander Cross went to Monrovia in January of 1854, and died about a month after his arrival. When Jacob Kenoly arrived in Liberia 51 years later, he was told about Alexander Cross and he made it a point to talk with individuals in Monrovia who had known Alexander Cross. Jacob Kenoly was a minister and a school teacher in Liberia, and one of his students was James Isaiah Rundles, Sr. This was not the name Rundles was given at birth, but it was the name he was given when he started attending school. James Rundles may have been an orphan; when he sailed to the United States, on the passenger list he gave his father's name as George Washington Rundles [source: FamilySearch, Passenger List]. James I. Rundles, Sr. was an outstanding student, and Jacob Kenoly selected him to become the first Liberian student to go to the United States to study. Funding was solicited, and James I. Rundles, Sr. arrived at the Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, MS on November 2, 1909 [sources: C. C. Smith, "A Sketch of the life of Jacob Kenoly," The Missionary Review of the World, v.25 (new series), v.35 (old series), January-December 1912, pp.752-760 [online at Google Books]; and The Life and Work of Jacob Kenoly by C. C. Smith]. 


The plan was for James I. Rundles, Sr. to get his education and return to Liberia as a missionary to his people. But, Rundles remained in the U.S. He married Bertha B. King from Hermanville, MS [source: Church Street: the Sugar Hill of Jackson Mississippi by G. Sweet and B. Bradley]. The couple moved to Kentucky where in 1917, James I. Rundles, Sr. was doing missionary work in Crofton, KY, for the Christian Woman's Board of Missions [source: James I. Rundles' WWI Draft Registration Card]. It was also noted on his registration card that Rundles had served for 4 years as a sergeant in a militia. He was claiming "exempt" from military service in the U.S. because of his missionary work. The couple would return to Mississippi and in Jackson, James I. Rundles was a minister, principal of a school, a business owner, and a community leader [source: James "Jim" Rundles, Jr., "Up and down Farrish Street," @, 10/24/2014 [online]. James I. Rundles, Sr. was given the birth date of September 14, 1888. He was born in Schiffelin, Liberia, according to his WWI Draft Registration Card, and he died around 1930 after returning to Liberia, according to authors Sweet and Bradley. 


For more information see "Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by J. E. Kleber, pp.186-187; Negro Education: a study of the private and higher schools for colored people in the United States, v.1, by the U.S. Office of Education, T. J. Jones; and Christian Church Women by D. B. Hull. An early photo image of James I. Rundles, Sr. is in the January 17, 1918 issue of The Christian Century: a journal of religion, v.XXV, no.3 [available at Google Books]. The image caption is "Four of Jacob Kenoly's Boys from Liberia at Southern Christian Institute. Left to Right: Peter Dunson, James Rundles, Robert Gooden, and Jerome Freeman."

Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Immigration, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, African / Crofton, Christian County, Kentucky / Arkansas / Mississippi

Clay, Henry (former slave)
Birth Year : 1861
Clay was born to slaves in Louisville, KY, and in 1892 left for New Orleans to join a railroad construction crew that was transported to Guatemala, Central America. The crew of 75 men were to build a railroad from Puerto Barrios to Guatemala City. The pay was to be in Guatemalan silver at $10 per day per worker, but none of the men got paid because the contractor ran off with the silver and left the crew stranded. Clay remained in Guatemala for 39 years. He was one of the last three crew members still alive when he returned to the United States in 1931. Many of his fellow crew members had died fighting during the revolts in Guatemala; revolutionists were recruited with the promise of $150 in silver and a rifle. Clay had preferred to fish for a living rather than fight as a Guatemalan revolutionary. For more see "Old Negro returns, ends 39-year exile," New York Times, 07/15/1931, p. 21.
Subjects: Freedom, Military & Veterans, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New Orleans / Puerto Barrios and Guatemala City, Guatemala, Central America

Coleman, William David (Liberia)
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1908
William D. Coleman was born in Fayette County, KY. He was a slave who gained his freedom then settled in Liberia, Africa. Coleman was Vice President of Liberia before becoming its 12th president (1896-1900). He first completed President J. J. Cheeseman's term and was then elected to the presidency. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. DunniganThe Political and Legislative History of Liberia, by C. H. Huberich; and William David Coleman, a Liberia Past and Present website.

See image of William D. Coleman at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Fayette County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

Coleman, William Johnson "Bill" (musician)
Birth Year : 1904
Death Year : 1981
Bill Coleman, born in Centerville, KY, was the son of Robert H. Coleman and Roberta Johnson Coleman. The family moved to Cincinnati, OH, when William Coleman was a child. He later became a trumpet player, spending most of his adult life in Paris, France. Coleman was a jazz musician who taught himself how to read music. He toured all over Europe and a bit in Asia, returning occasionally to the U.S. to perform. His playing style was compared to Jabbo Smith's. Coleman recorded with some of the greats, including Fats Waller. The album Bill Coleman in Paris, 1936-1938 highlights some of his playing and singing. Bill Coleman later returned to France, where he continued to perform until his death in 1981. His book, Trumpet Story, tells of his music career and his travels, the title was published in French in 1981, and in English in 1989. Bill Coleman was the nephew of John A. Coleman, Sr. For more see Grove Music Online [available on the University of Kentucky campus and off campus via the proxy server]; and The World of Jazz Trumpet: a comprehensive history & practical philosophy, by S. Barnhart.

See photo images of Bill Coleman in the Library of Congress, American Memory, William P. Gottlieb - Photographs from the Golden Age of Jazz.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Centerville, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Cinicnnati, Ohio / Paris, France, Europe

Coles County, Illinois [Anthony and Jane Bryant]
The African American settlers of Coles County, Illinois, came from Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee, all around 1840. The settlers from Kentucky included Isom and Lucy Anne Bryant (Lucy was from Kentucky); the Derixson (or Derrickson) Family, escaped slaves from Nicholas County, Kentucky; and Mr. and Mrs. George Nash (George was from Kentucky). A famous slavery case that took place in Coles County involved Anthony Bryant, a free man, and his wife Jane Bryant, a slave, and her four children [some sources say six children]. Slave owner Robert Matson, from Bourbon County, wanted to take Jane and the children from Coles County back to Kentucky, and he enlisted the help of lawyers U. F. Binder and Abraham Lincoln. Matson lost the case, and the Bryant Family moved to Liberia, Africa. For more see History of Negro Slavery in Illinois and of the Slavery Agitation in that State, by N. D. Harris (1904); and J. W. Weik, "Lincoln and the Matson Negroes," Arena, v.17, 1896-97 Dec-Jun, pp.752-758 [available full view at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Court Cases, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Nicholas County, Kentucky / Bourbon County, Kentucky / Coles County, Illinois / Liberia, Africa

Colored Emigration Movement
Start Year : 1830
End Year : 1856
Colored emigrationists worked toward the development of a plan for free Colored persons to leave the United States, both before and after the Fugitive Slave Bill became law in 1850. Geographic locations that were considered for settlements included Canada, Liberia, Haiti, Santo Domingo, British West Indies, California, Mexico, and Central America, and they were among the same locations considered by the colonizationists and abolitionists. September 20, 1830, the Convention of Coloured Persons met in Bethel Church in Philadelphia, PA, to "consider the propriety of forming a settlement in the province of Upper Canada, in order to afford a place of refuge to those who may be obliged to leave their home, as well as those inclined to emigrate with the view of improving their condition" [source: Richard Allen, "Movements of the people of colour," Genius of Universal Emancipation, April 1831, vol.11, p.195]. The name of the organization was modified with the influence of William Cooper Nell, an integrationist in Boston, MA. The Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People, and Their Friends, was held in Troy, NY, October 5-9,1847. Delegate representatives were appointed from the northern states of New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and the southern or border state of Kentucky was represented by Andrew Jackson (Colored). Within the organization, Jackson was a member of the Executive Committee on the National Press for the Free Colored People of the United States. The committee was to investigate the creation of a unified press that would help advance the colored race. In addition to planning for emigration, the convention members sought to establish business and economic independence by trading with Jamaica and Africa. Attending members included Frederick Douglass, who was an anti-colonist and anti-emigrationist, and two fugitive slaves from Kentucky, Lewis Hayden and William W. Brown. In 1854, the National Emigration Convention of Colored People was held in Cleveland, OH, August 24-26, led by Martin R. Delany. In addition to emigration for free Colored persons, the idea was expanded to the creation of a Colored nation. Most of the delegates were from Pittsburgh, PA, and the others came from Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky and Canada. Those opposed to emigration, such as Frederick Douglass, were not invited or welcomed at the 1854 convention. The convention was held again in 1856. As the country moved toward the Civil War, the attention of the national Colored emigrationists was focused less on leaving the United States, and more on the uncertainty of what might happen in the United States. Emigration of free Colored persons was not a new idea, small colonies from the United States existed before the convention met in Philadelphia in 1830, see the NKAA entries Freemen Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic), Town near Amherstburg, Ontario, and Kentucky, Canada. For more about later colonies see the NKAA entry Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada. See also William Cooper Nell, Selected Writings 1832-1874, by D. P. Wesley and C. P. Uzelac; "Proceedings of the National Convention of Colored People and Their Friends, held in Troy, N.Y., 6-9 October 1847" in Minutes and Proceedings of the National Negro Conventions, 1830-1864 by H. H. Bell; see "National Emigration Convention of Colored People" in The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History online; H. H. Bell, "The Negro Emigration Movement, 1849-1854: a phase of Negro nationalism," The Phylon Quarterly, vol.20, no.2, 2nd Qtr., 1959, pp. 132-142; and H. H. Bell, "Negro Nationalism: a factor in emigration projects, 1858-1861," The Journal of Negro History, vol.45, no.1 (Jan., 1962), pp. 42-53.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Troy, New York / Cleveland, Ohio

Compton, J. Glover
Birth Year : 1884
Death Year : 1964
J. Glover Compton, born in Harrodsburg, KY, was a noted ragtime jazz pianist and entertainer. He was the husband and, for a time, musical partner of vocalist Nettie Lewis. Beginning in 1902, Compton performed in the theater in Louisville, KY. He moved on to Chicago in 1910, where he later led the band known as J. Glover Compton and the Syncopaters. Compton had at one time worked with the Whitman Sisters before traveling abroad. In 1928, while in Paris, France, Compton took a bullet in the leg when a disagreement erupted between musicians Sidney Bechet and Mike McKendrick and the two exchanged gunfire. Two pedestrians were also shot, but no one was killed. Compton had been traveling in Europe for a couple of years with the Palm Beach Six when the group settled in Paris, and Compton later worked with Crickett Smith. On the day of the shooting, Compton, said to be the instigator, reported that Bechet had fired the first shot. Compton was McKendrick's friend. Both Bechet and McKendrick were arrested and sentenced to 15 months in jail. They later settled their differences, but Bechet, who lived the last decade of his life in Paris, never forgave Compton. In 1939, Compton returned to the U.S. and performed again in Chicago with Jimmie Noone. In the 1950s, he owned and operated a bar in Chicago. J. Glover Compton was the son of Laura L. Bowman Compton and John Glover Compton, Sr. [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census and Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index]. For more see "No one in any big time way" in Some Hustling This!, by M. Miller; and the J. Glover Compton Biography, by E. Chadbourne at
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Theater: Companies, Education, Exhibitions, Performers, and Performances in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Paris, France, Europe

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

Cooper, Opal D.
Birth Year : 1889
Death Year : 1974
Opal Cooper was born in Cromwell, KY, to Louis and Ellen Cooper. The family moved to Chicago, and by his late teens, Opal Cooper was a professional tenor soloist, performing in concerts and recitals. In 1915, he appeared in Darkydom, a musical that opened in Harlem as a part of Flournoy Miller and Aubrey Lyles' vaudeville act. Cooper continued performing until he enlisted in the army, where he served as a drum major during World War I. His unit returned to the U.S. in July 1919. Six months later, Cooper took a job with the Seth Weeks Jazz Band so he could return to Europe. Realizing how much money they could make, Cooper and the other musicians formed their own group, the Red Devils, and their itinerary included various European cities. When the group broke up in 1923, Cooper remained in Europe and continued to perform with other performers. He returned to live in the U.S. at the beginning of World War II. Cooper could play a number of instruments, and he continued to sing and perform into the 1960s, later becoming a cab driver. The Opal D. Cooper Papers are at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York. For more see chapter 26 in Lost Sounds: blacks and the birth of the recording industry, 1890-1919, by T. Brooks. See photo images of Opal D. Cooper and The Red Devils at Passport Photos - Jazz Musicians on flickr.

Subjects: Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Cromwell, Ohio County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Europe

Cowan, Fred
Birth Year : 1958
Fred Cowan was born in Sturgis, KY. The 6' 8" center/forward was a member of the University of Kentucky basketball team from 1977-1981; in his freshman year the team won the NCAA Championship. Cowan played in a total of 111 games during his college career, scoring a total of 975 points. He scored a career high 44 points against Clemson in 1979. Cowan is listed as one of the top 100 players of all time at the University of Kentucky. He was selected by the Houston Rockets in the sixth round of the NBA 1981 draft but chose to play basketball in Japan, which he did for 10 years. He has had a number of businesses, including a demolition company. Today Cowan is a mortgage broker and owner of Statewide Mortgage Services in Madisonville and Lexington, KY. He is a brother of the late Brenda Cowan. For more see C. R. Hallstaff, "UK Basketball 100 years; Top 100 Players of All Time," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/24/2002, Sports section, p. O2X; and M. Davis, "He won't die rich, and he's not trying," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/10/2005, HealthFamily section, p. E1.

See photo image of Fred Cowan at
Subjects: Basketball, Businesses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Sturgis, Union County, Kentucky / Japan, Asia

Cross, Alexander and Martha A.
Birth Year : 1810
Death Year : 1854
Alexander Cross, born March 10, 1810, was a slave in Kentucky who would become a free man and the first missionary of any race sent to Africa by the Disciples of Christ [source: The Life and Work of Jacob Kenoly by C. C. Smith, pp.28-30]. Alexander Cross arrived in Monrovia, Liberia in 1853, died a month later, and the next black missionary the Disciples sent was Jacob Kenoly in 1905. Alexander Cross was born near Trenton, KY, he was a slave owned by Thomas Cross who lived in Clarksville, TN and owned land in Todd County, KY where Alexander Cross was born [sources: Jennifer P. Brown, "Church paid for slave's freedom," Kentucky New Era, 02/03/2001 [online]; and "Hopkinsville church purchased slave's freedom," Kentucky New Era, 02/08/2011 [online]. Alexander Cross was a barber, and with permission, he was allowed to buy his time to work in Hopkinsville, KY. While in Hopkinsville, Cross had an affiliation with the Christian Church and would be come the candidate for missionary work in Africa. Some of the officers of the church, led by Robertson Torian, purchased Alexander Cross' freedom for $530, and he was emancipated on October 5, 1853, with the agreed upon understanding that he would be migrating to Liberia, Africa as a missionary [source: Been Coming Through Some Hard Times by J. Glazier]. Alexander Cross could read, had an understanding of the Christian religion, and he was an orator. He was further educated and trained to become a missionary by members of the Christian Church in Hopkinsville, and he was ordained as a minister in October of 1853. Alexander Cross and his family left the United States aboard the ship Banshee, on November 5, 1853, and arrived in Liberia in January of 1854. The family had been given a sum of money collected from the American Christian Missionary Society, the Christian Church in Hopkinsville, and other churches in Kentucky. The money was to sustain the family during their first year in Liberia. They settled in the area of Liberia known as Kentucky [NKAA entry Kentucky Colonization Society]. Alexander Cross took sick as soon as he arrived in Liberia in January of 1854, and he died on February 14, 1854. His seven year old son, James M. Cross, also died from fever. His wife Martha survived and is said to have married another missionary in Liberia. Martha Ann Cross had been a free woman of color prior to the family moving to Liberia, and with her status as a free person, her son was also free, and the Christian Church in Hopkinsville, KY, would not have had to consider purchasing their freedom. The Disciples did not support the abolition of slaves. There had been criticism aimed at the church by anti-slavery advocates. In response to the criticism in 1853, Alexander Campbell addressed the body at the National Convention, and spoke of Ephraim Smith who had paid his own way to Liberia, Africa to visit the missions there. Smith had returned with the recommendation that the American Christian Missionary Society also have a mission in Liberia [source: The Stone-Campbell Movement edited by D. N. Williams, D. A. Foster, and P. M. Blowers]. Alexander Campbell also spoke of the churches in Kentucky that had found a "colored brother" (Alexander Cross) who was willing to go to Liberia as a missionary. The idea of sending black missionaries to Liberia was not new. Other denominations had already established the pattern of having the freedom of male slaves purchased so that the newly freed men could become missionary preachers in Liberia. For more information see The Millennial Harbinger, 4th series, v.4, 1854, edited by Alexander Campbell and C. L. Loos, p.358, "Death of Our Missionary to Liberia." 
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Trenton, Todd County, Kentucky / Clarksville, Tennessee / Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, Africa

Dean, Dora [Dora Dean Babbige Johnson]
Birth Year : 1872
Death Year : 1949
Dean, whose birth name was Dora Babbige, was born in Covington, KY. She was known in vaudeville as "The Black Venus." She was married to Charles E. Johnson, and they performed as a couple, often billed as the creators of the Cake Walk dance. Dean and Johnson were a stylish and graceful dance team who perfected the Cake Walk into a high-stepping swank. They also performed soft shoe and wing dancing; they were stars of "The Creole Show," emphasizing couples dancing. Dean and Johnson were the first African American couple to perform on Broadway. They were also the first to perform in evening attire; they were the best dressed couple on stage. Dean was described as possessing a plump, striking figure; she posed for German painter Ernest von Heilmann, and the painting was unveiled in 1902 at the coronation of King Edward VII and exhibited at the Paris Expo. The couple was also the first to use steel taps on their shoes and the first to use strobe lighting. Beginning in 1903, they lived and performed mostly in Europe and some in Australia and the U.S. They returned home in 1913. The couple had divorced in 1910, and once back in the U. S. they continued performing but did not perform together for a long while. In 1930, Dean had an acting role in the film Georgia Rose, an all African American talkie by white director Harry Gant. Dean and Johnson reunited as a team and a couple in 1934, and both retired by 1942. They spent the remainder of their lives in Minneapolis, MN. For more see Tap Roots, by M. Knowles; "Dora Dean" in the Biographical Dictionary of Dance, by B. N. Cohen-Stratyner; and vol. 2 of the African American National Biography, edited by H. L. Gates, Jr. and E. B. Higginbotham.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration West, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Europe / Australia / Minneapolis, Minnesota

Drewes, Lula B. Morton
Birth Year : 1945
Lexington native Lula Morton (Drewes) was the first African American student at Transylvania College (now Transylvania University) in 1963. She was the first in her family to attend college. At the May 2014 graduation ceremonies for Transylvania University, Dr. Lula Morton Drewes was given an honorary doctorate. She is a graduate of Bryan Station High School, Transylvania College with a B.A. in psychology, and she earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and did post-graduate studies in Germany. She served with the Peace Corp in Chad, Africa, and now lives in Germany and is a healthcare provider in Berlin. Lula Morton had come to Transylvania shortly after the school was denied a Ford Foundation Grant because the school was segregated. Transylvania is a liberal arts private college. In 1963, two seniors at Transylvania, Patrick Molloy and Michael Mitchell, decided it was time to desegregate the school and they went in search of an African American student who might be a good student at Transylvania. Lula Morton, who was at the top of her senior class at Bryan Station High School, was selected. Morton thought she had received a scholarship at Transylvania, but unbeknownst to her for 40 years, Patrick Molloy and his mother, Betty Haggin Molloy, paid for her education. For his great effort, Patrick Molloy was also recognized with an honorary doctorate during the 2014 graduation ceremonies at Transylvania. Michael Mitchell received the President's Award. For more see C. Truman, "Three pioneers of integration receive awards at Transylvania commencement [online]," Lexington Herald-Leader, 05/24/2014, p.B1.


  See Dr. Lula Morton Drewes in the "Transylvania University Convocation 2013" video on YouTube


Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Nashville, Tennessee / Chad, Africa / Berlin Germany

Duncan, George
Duncan's birth place has been given as Lynchburg, VA, and Louisville, KY. He was an entertainer who partnered with Billy Brooks from Washington, D.C. Known as Brooks & Duncan, they spent much of their careers abroad. Writer Rainer Lotz refers to them as "an African American team of eccentric knockouts." Brooks and Duncan left the United States in 1878 with a minstrel company, and living and performing in various countries for almost 50 years. In 1922, they were in Egypt leading the Devil's Jazz Band with four Greek musicians. For more see R. E. Lotz, "A Musical Clown in Europe," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 18, issue 1/2 (1990), pp. 116-126 [quotation from p. 116]; and "Lord have a duck" in Some Hustling This!: taking jazz to the world, 1914-1929, by M. Miller.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Europe / Egypt, Africa

Fletcher, Theodore Thomas Fortune, Sr.
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1988
T. Thomas Fortune Fletcher, Sr. was an educator and a poet. He lived for ten years in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he established and was principal of Medane Alem Secondary School for boys. He was also a professor of English at the Haile Selassie First University. Fletcher was born in Nicholasville, KY, the son of Robert and Mattie B. Spillman Fletcher. T. T. F. Fletcher, Sr. earned his English and journalism graduate degree from Columbia University, and his Ph. D. from New York University. His 1945 dissertation is titled Robert Bage, a Representative Revolutionary Novelist. When Fletcher was an undergraduate at Fisk University, several of his poems, including "Night" and "White God," were published in 1927 in Ebony and Topaz: a collectanea, edited by Charles S. Johnson. His other poems were published in a number of sources including three poems in The Crisis in July of 1935: "To one who died in the spring," "Request," and "I have found beauty infinitely sad" [poems online in Google Book Search]. Fletcher was also an international traveler, he was living in New York when he arrived from France in 1928, from Italy in 1934, from Scotland in 1936, and from Egypt in 1947 [source: New York Passenger List]. Fletcher was an associate professor of English at Lincoln University in Missouri prior to his taking a special leave and sailing to Ethiopia in July of 1946, at the invitation of the Imperial Ethiopian Government. When Fletcher returned to the U.S. in 1956, he was hired as an English Professor, and would become a dean, at Cheyney State University. He retired from the school in 1974. One of his former students was newsman Ed Bradley (1941-2006). Theodore Thomas Fortune Fletcher, Sr. was the husband of Jeane Simon (1908-1997), from New York, and the father of Theodore Jr. For more see p.704 in The American Negro Reference Book by J. P. Davis; "Only sense of humor keeps Harlem Poet living, he says," Baltimore Afro-American, 01/25/1930, p.2; "Party given for principal," Baltimore Afro-American, 04/14/1951, p.10; "Sigma Gamma Rho ships to Addis Ababa," Baltimore Afro-American, 07/25/1953, p.6; and J. Nicholoson, "Theodore Fletcher, Cheyney Scholar," Philadelphia Daily News, 04/13/1988, Local section, p.71.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Poets, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky / New York / Missouri / Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Freemen Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic)
Birth Year : 1824
In 1824, an isolated community of about 200 freemen (or escaped slaves) from Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Kentucky was established on Samana Bay as a colony of the Haitian Republic. It has also been written that Haitian President Jean Pierre Boyer conspired with abolitionists in Pennsylvania to finance the passage and resettlement of the former slaves as a strategic move to strengthen his rule. Boyer and his forces had overthrown the previous government of Spanish Haiti in 1822 and slavery had again been abolished. There were a series of rebellions, and Boyer was overthrown in 1843. Haiti became independent in 1844. The Dominican Republic also became independent from Haiti in 1844, and the territory included Samana Bay and the American inhabitants. There would be several attempts by Haiti to retake the Dominican Republic, and the Dominican government sought protection by attempting to become annexed to either Spain or the U.S. During the American Civil War, there were plans by the Lincoln Administration to purchase the country, but the plans fell through. In 1874, Samana bay and inlet were purchased by an American company, backed by the U.S. Government. Samana was redeveloped into what was to become an independent country. The ownership lasted for one year; the company overextended its finances and was not able to pay the annual rent owed to the U.S. Government, so the treaty was revoked. At various points throughout the 19th Century and the early 20th Century, the U.S. Government pursued the idea of annexing the Dominican Republic and leasing Samana Bay to be used as a naval station; Congress vetoed the plans. The U.S. did not establish a presence in the Caribbean until the Spanish-American War. For more see American Negro Songs, by J. W. Works; Central and South America, by A. H. Keane and C. R. Markham [available full-text at Google Book Search]; and Adventure Guide to the Dominican Republic, by H. S. Pariser. See website.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization
Geographic Region: Kentucky / South Carolina / Pennsylvania / Haiti / Samana Bay, Dominican Republic

Graves, George L.
Birth Year : 1879
August 1912, George L. Graves was among the six mine employees returning to the United States aboard the ship Seguranca from Veracruz, Mexico [source: List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival, August 2, 1912, p.14]. The ship docked at New York, New York. The men had been working on one of the oil wells in the Veracruz area, and may have returned to the U.S. due to the rebellion against President Francisco I. Madero during the Mexican Revolution. George L. Graves was 33 years old and single, he was born in Harrodsburg, KY. He was one of many Americans who lived in Mexico and were employed by the American-owned oilfield companies. This was prior to the Tampico Affair in 1914 and the invasion of Veracruz by American troops. For more about the American presence in Mexico and the oil industry see The Ecology of Oil by M. I. Santiago; Oil, Banks, and Politics by L. B. Hall; and A. Kahn, "The dynamics of color : mestizaje, racism, and blackness in Veracruz, Mexico" in Shades of Difference by E. N. Glenn.
Subjects: Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Mexico & Kentucky
Geographic Region: Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Mexico

Grubbs, Albert, Sr.
Birth Year : 1832
Death Year : 1901
Albert Grubbs, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY. He is referred to as one of the pioneers of Sacramento, having arrived in California in 1854, two years after the death of Henry Clay. Grubbs had been the servant of Henry Clay, whom he had accompanied throughout the United States. Grubbs closed Clay's eyes when Clay died. In California, Grubbs was in the laundry and teaming businesses. In 1901, he was bedridden and a lamp tipped over on him. Grubbs, one of the oldest African Americans in Sacramento, was badly burned and, as reported at the time, not expected to survive his injuries. He was the father of Albert Grubbs, Jr., a trusted employee of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, who received a letter of commendation in 1906. Albert, Jr. had been a drummer boy, and his father had been a member of the Sacramento Zouaves, an African American military company formed to provide military training at the end of the Civil War. Similar companies were formed in other locations in California. Albert Jr.'s son, an electrician who got discouraged by prejudice in the United States, learned Spanish and moved with his wife, Carrie Phelps, who was from Chicago, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. For more see The Negro Trail Blazers of California, by D. L. Beasley; "Sacramento man who was Henry Clay's servant," The Evening Bee, 01/13/1900; "Albert Grubbs terribly burned," The Evening Bee, 10/19/1901: and "Albert Grubbs" in the Obituary section of the Los Angeles Times, 10/31/1901.
Subjects: Migration West, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Sacramento, California / Chicago, Illinois / Buenos Aires, Brazil, South America

Grundy, Anthony
Birth Year : 1979
Anthony Grundy, a 6'3" shooting guard and point guard, played his last year of high school basketball at Warren Central in Bowling Green, KY (1996-97). Born in Louisville, KY, Grundy had transferred from Louisville Central High School where he was named one of twenty McDonald's All-Americans in Kentucky [source: Frakes, J. "Principal denies Central broke rule," Daily News, 12/12/1996, Section B, p.1 (available online)]. The transfer was contested and the case was eventually heard by the U.S. District Court [source: J. Beck, "Central hoopsters' hearing passes, decision pending," Daily News, 02/09/1997, Section B, p.4-B (available online)]. Grundy was allowed to play at Warren Central High School (1996-97), though the school was heavily penalized by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) [source: "1997-06-10, June Special Meeting, Board of Control Minutes," KHSAA (available online)]. The entire incident has been referred to as one of the most impact transfers in Kentucky high school athletics history. On the basketball court, Grundy averaged 26.2 points per game and lead Warren Central to the 14th District Championship, but that was the end of the season; due to KHSAA penalties, the team was not allowed to play any post-season games, though Grundy was allowed to play with the Kentucky All-Stars team [source: J. Frakes "Grundy shines with Ky. All-Star team," Daily News, 06/30/1997, Sports Section, p.8A (available online)]. Grundy next attended Hargrave Military Academy (1997-98) before enrolling at North Carolina State Univesity (NCU) in the fall of 1998. During his basketball career at NCU, he was named ACC All-Tournament 2nd team his first year; lead the team in scoring his second year; was an honorable mention of the ACC All-Defensive team his third year; had 120 assists his senior year; and he is ranked 11th in the schools history for made 3-point shots [source: Anthony Grundy at the North Carolina Wolfpack webpage; and Anthony Grundy at]. Anthony Grundy made his NBA debut in 2006 when he signed a 10 day contract with the Atlanta Hawks. Overall, his professional basketball career has allowed him to see much of the world while playing in the Italian League, the Greek League, the Turkish League, the Philippine Basketball Association where his team won the 2011 PBA Governor's Cup, and the Iranian Basketball Super League. 


  See Anthony Grundy #16 AZAD Basketball Club, Iran Basketball Super League (IBSL) 2014, on YouTube.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisivlle, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Raleigh, North Carolina / Italy and Turkey, Europe / Philippines and Iran, Asia

Hampton, Kym
Birth Year : 1962
Born in Louisville, KY, Kym Hampton graduated from Iroquois High School in 1980, where she was a basketball and track star. She played college ball at Arizona State University, scoring over 2,000 points and setting eight career records, graduating in 1984 with a degree in theatre. She was inducted into the Arizona State Hall of Fame in 1989. She is also ninth on the NCAA's all-time career rebounds list. Hampton played professional basketball outside the U.S. for 13 years, and during her final year with the Italian League in 1996, was the leading rebounder. The WNBA team, New York Liberty, signed Hampton during the Elite Draft in 1997; she was the first African American player from Kentucky in the WNBA. The New York Liberty team was runner-up in the finals against the Houston Comets in the 1997 and 1999 WNBA Championship games. Hampton retired from the league in 1999 after a knee injury, taking her career in other directions with modeling, acting, the music business, basketball camps, and public speaking. In 2005 she was inducted into the Dawahares'/Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. For more see J. Demling, "Hall of Famer Hampton finds there's a spotlight after basketball," Courier Journal, 03/16/2005.

See photo image of Kym Hampton at the Diamond and Company website.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Migration West, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Arizona / Italy, Europe / New York

Hampton, Pete George
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1916
Born in Bowling Green, KY, Pete G. Hampton was the first African American to be recorded playing a harmonica. According to his 1905 passport application, Hampton was also a variety actor, and he had an artificial right eye. He recorded as a banjo soloist and singer, the recordings were made in Britain and Germany between 1903-1911. He recorded, toured and lived in Europe with his wife, Laura Bradford Bowman. It is said that he recorded more than any other contemporary African American. In 1913 Hampton, his wife, and her father returned to the United States, where Hampton died three years later. For more see Who was the first blues harp player to record? by Pat Missin; the Laura Bowman entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; and a more detailed biography and photo image see K. Mason, "Pete G. Hampton," The Amplifier Online, 04/02/2010. Listen to Pete Hampton performing "Dat Mouth Organ Coon", link from Vintage Harmonica 78s website.
Access Interview
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Europe

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

Hawkins, Sarah Spiepp Shorter [Family of Alain L. Locke]
Birth Year : 1823
Death Year : 1901
Though the story of Sarah S. Hawkins has been written and rewritten in a number of published works, those repeated words are actually a misinterpretation of the facts. The purpose of this entry is to give clarity to the life and family of Sarah Spiepp Shorter Hawkins.


Sarah Shorter Hawkins was said to have been born in Kentucky, she was the grandmother of noted philosopher Alain LeRoy Locke (1885-1954) [info at]. Sarah S. Hawkins was also said to be a teacher that helped establish schools in Liberia, Africa. While in Liberia, she supposedly married Ishmael Locke (1815-1852), a free man and teacher from New Jersey who was also in Liberia helping to establish schools [source: Alain Locke: faith and philosophy by C. Buck, p.13]. The couple is said to have returned to the United States around 1849. The story takes on some unexplained turns at this point. Ishmael Locke and Matilda Saunders Locke, who was said to have been born in Liberia, are married and become the parents of Pliny Ishmael Locke. Pliny married Mary Jane Hawkins in 1879. Mary Jane was the daughter of Sarah Shorter Hawkins. Pliny and Mary J. Hawkins Locke were the parents of Alain L. Locke who was born in Philadelphia, PA and may have initially been named Arthur Locke [source: The Philosophy of Alain Locke edited by L. Harris, p.293]. According to author Christopher Buck, Sarah Shorter Hawkins was the daughter of Charles Shorter, a free man who fought in the War of 1812, and the Shorter family were supposedly missionaries to Africa under the direction of the Society of Friends. This was the same organization that was to have supported Ishmael Locke while a student at Cambridge University, and later supported his building of schools in Liberia.


There is, however, another version of Sarah Shorter Hawkins' life and family based on census records, city directories, and death certificates. There is a Charles Shorter family listed in the 1820-1840 federal census records that show them living in Washington, D.C., and the family is listed as colored and free. There is no mention of the family having come from Kentucky or any member having been born in Kentucky. Charles Shorter is also listed in the 1847 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, African American Cenus; there are 5 persons in the househould and Charles Shorter is the only male, two of the women were dressmakers. According to the 1850 Federal Census, Sarah Shorter Hawkins was born in Pennsylvania around 1823. She is married to William Hawkins who was born about 1820 in Washington, D.C. The couple lived in Philadelphia with Sarah's parents Charles Shorter (born abt.1785) and Harriet Shorter (born abt.1792). Charles and Harriet Shorter were both born in Washington, D.C. according to the census record. There is no occupation listed for Sarah S. Hawkins in the 1850 census, her husband William Hawkins was a seaman and her father Charles Shorter was a cab driver. In 1860, Sarah, her husband William, and their 9 year old daughter Mary Jane Hawkins (b.1850), were still living in Philadelphia with Harriet Shorter; Charles Shorter had died. The state of Maryland is listed as Sarah S. Hawkins birth location. By 1870, William Hawkins had died and his daughter Mary Jane lived with her widow mother Sarah Shorter Hawkins and her widow grandmother Harriet Shorter. A decade later, Sarah Shorter Hawkins was a boarder with a family in Philadelphia; her mother Harriet Shorter had died, and her daughter Mary Jane Hawkins had married Pliny Ishmael Locke on August 20, 1879 [source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 335]. Sarah S. Hawkins did housework for a living. Her grandson, Alain L. Locke, was born in 1885. For more about Alain L. Locke see Who's Who of the Colored Race, v.1, 1915, p.178; and the Alain LeRoy Locke Papers at the Mooreland-Spingarn Library at Howard University.


As for Alain Locke's paternal grandfather Ishmael Locke, at the age of 27, he was baptized April 1, 1842 in St. John's Episcopal Church in Salem, NJ [source: Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Collection Name: Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 775]. According to author Thomas Shourds, Ishmael Locke went to Liberia and returned after a few years. He was sick when he returned and lived but a few years more before succumbing to his illness. There is no mention of Ishmael Locke having a wife with him when he came back to the United States. Ishmael Locke opened a school in Camden, NJ. In the 1850 census, he is a school teacher who married Matilda Saunders Locke prior to 1848, and the couple and their two small children lived in Camden. The children's names were listed as Fayette, 2 years old, and Samuel, 5 months old, both children were born in New Jersey. Ishmael Locke was 37 years old when he died of consumption in Rhode Island on November 30, 1851 [sources: New Jersey Index of Wills, Inventories, etc. v.1, 264D. Inv.1852; History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony, New Jersey by Thomas Shourds, p.386; and Rhode Island, Deaths, 1630-1930]. According to the 1850 census, his wife Matilda Saunders Locke was born in Virginia, USA [and not in Liberia]. In the 1860 census, Matilda Locke, a seamstress, and her sons, Phenton and Pliny, were still living in Philadelphia. Phenton Locke was born about 1848. Pliny Ishmael Locke was born about 1850 in Philadelphia and died August 23, 1892 in Philadelphia [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, FHL Film Number: 1901920]. For more about Ishmael Locke see "Locke and Rocke Families" in History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony, New Jersey by Thomas Shourds, pp.385-386. See also the Alain LeRoy Locke Papers at the Mooreland-Spingarn Library at Howard University. After his death, Ishmael Locke's wife, Matilda Locke, was continuously listed as his widow in the city directory [sources: Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1877, p.878; up to Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1895, p.1116]. Matilda Locke lived at 2221 S. 5th Street with her daughter-in-law Mary Jane Hawkins Locke who was also a widow. According to her death certificate, Matilda Locke was born about 1834 in Philadelphia, she died March 14, 1895 at the Home of Aged and Infirmed Colored Persons, and she is buried in the Olive Cemetery in Philadelphia [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, FHL Film Number: 1872272].


Three years before Pliny I. Locke died, he and his wife, Mary Jane Hawkins Locke, lost their 7 year old son Arthur Locke on March 22, 1889 [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, FHL Film Number: 1003715]. After the death of her son and her husband, Mary J. Hawkins Locke lived with her mother-in-law, Matilda Saunders Locke at 221 S. 5th Street in Philadelphia [source: Gopsill's Philadelphia City Directory for 1894, p.1186]. Matilda Locke died in 1895 and Mary J. Hawkins Locke left Philadelphia. In 1900, she was living in Camden, NJ and working as a school teacher, and her mother Sarah Shorter Hawkins was living with her [source: 1900 U.S. Census]. Sarah Shorter Hawkins died January 22, 1901 in Camden, NJ and is buried in the Olive Cemetery in Philadelphia [source: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, FHL Film Number: 1845285]. Mary Jane Hawkins Locke, born July 26, 1850, died in Washington, D.C. on April 23, 1922 and is buried in Harmony Cemetery [source: District of Columbia, Selected Deaths and Burials, FHL Film Number: 2115942]. On her death certificate, her mother's maiden name is given as Sarah Spiepp Shorter.


No records have been located that verify Sarah S. Shorter Hawkins was born in Kentucky or ever lived in Kentucky.  Nor have any records been located that indicate she was ever married to Ishmael Locke in Liberia, Africa or in the United States.

Subjects: Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia, Africa / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Washington, D.C. / Camden, New Jersey / Virginia

Headspeth, Woody
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1941
In 1899, Woody Headspeth was considered the "fastest colored rider in the country," except for the Major, [Marshall W. Taylor], according to the article "Woody Headspeth has secured..." in the column "Spokes from a wheel" in the Recorder (Indianapolis, IN), 10/21/1899, p. 2. He had raced once in Chicago at the Ravenswood track, where he came in third. He also had ridden in the bicycle races held at the Colored Fair in Lexington, KY, and always finished first, and he rode at the Newby Oval in Indianapolis, IN. Headspeth's fastest times in 1899 were the mile at 1.493-5, and the two mile at 3.39 flat with his teammate Jack Robinson. The year 1899 was also when Woody Headspeth married Winnie Partee, daughter of Samuel Partee and Charity Dotson Partee, on March 18 in Marion County [Indianapolis], IN. Woody's birth location is given as Kentucky on the marriage certificate along with the birth year 1880, as well as his father's name, Frank "Hedgepath" [source: Indiana Select Marriages, 1790-1992, FHL Film Number 413541 & 499380].


In 1900, Woody Headspeth and Reese Lewis, from Tennessee, were employed as bicycle repairmen in Chicago; they roomed at the home of Frank Harris, from Kentucky, and Mamie Harris, from Georgia [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. Woody Headspeth was living in Indianapolis in 1901; he is listed on p. 503 of R. L. Polk & Co.'s Indianapolis City Directory for 1901. In 1901, in Springfield, OH, Woody Headspeth won the six-day, 135 1/2 mile race at the Coliseum with a time just two seconds behind the world record [source: "Woody Headspeth's Victory," in the column "Sport" edited by Breakaway in the Freeman, 10/05/1901, p. 7]. He was again a champion in 1902 at Pabst Park in Milwaukee, WI [source: "Headspeth a star: colored rider wins five-mile and ten-mile motor-paced bicycle race,"Wisconsin Weekly Advocate, 09/04/02, p. 5]. Winnie "Hedgepeth" was still living in Indianapolis in 1902; she is listed on p. 507 of the R. L. Polk & Co.'s Indianapolis City Directory, 1902 as living at 758 W. 13th Street. Woody Headspeth was still racing in the United States, but he was about to become an expatriate in Europe.


Woody Headspeth was still a young man; his birth, according to the 1900 U.S. Census, took place in March 1882 in Kentucky, but according to his U.S. Passport Application dated September 14, 1905, he was born June 14, 1881, in Indianapolis, IN. There is other conflicting information on other passports belonging to Woody Headspeth. In 1905, he was already living in Paris, France, when he submitted his passport application to the U.S. Embassy there. On his application, he lists bicycle rider as his occupation, Paris, France as his temporary residence, and Indianapolis, IN, as his permanent address; he was requesting a passport from the U.S. Embassy for travel to Russia. In 1908, Woody Headspeth submitted another U.S. Passport Application to the American Embassy in Paris, France; his occupation was listed as professional cyclist; his birthday as June 15, 1881; and again he was seeking the passport to travel to Russia [application dated March 2, 1908]. There was a fourth U.S. Passport Application, dated June 22, 1921. The name on that application is spelled Woody "Hedspath," son of Frank "Hedspath" who was born in "Levenon, KY" [Lebanon, KY] and was deceased. Woody's birth date is given as June 15, 1884. According to the application, Woody Headspeth had visited the U.S. in 1904 and still gave Paris, France, as his temporary address at 30 rue Nollet, and his permanent address as Indianapolis, IN. His occupation was bicycle racing and he intended to visit several other European countries. According to his 1921 application, his previous passport (the third application) had been granted by the American Embassy in Berlin, Germany, on September 3, 1903. The date may be a typo; Woody Headspeth had applied for an emergency passport in Berlin, Germany, on September 3, 1913. According to that application, Woody Headspeth was a "bicycle-rider" with no passport, "which I have left at home." His permanent residence was Indianapolis, IN; He stated he had last left the U.S. in April of 1908 and was at present temporarily sojourning in Berlin, Germany. He wanted the passport to travel to Russia on business. Accompanying the application was a certificate that Woody Headspeth was a professional cyclist who was a member of the National Cycling Association of the United States.


It is not known when Woody Headspeth's career as a bicyclist ended in Europe. Woody Headspeth died in Portugal on April 16, 1941, at the Hospital Curry Cabral in Lisbon [source: Report of the Death of an American Citizen, American Foreign Service, May 8, 1941, Ser. No. 1221]. He died from typhus and intestinal tuberculosis and was buried in Lisbon, Portugal in the Bemfica Cemetery on April 21, 1941, grave #3303. His effects were to be burned on the advice of the attending physician. Woody Headspeth had in his possession his last American passport, No.3419, issued in Paris, France on February 4, 1941; he was a "member of the Repatriation Group 14 from Paris [France] under Red Cross auspices. Personal effects were old, mostly in poor condition, and almost valueless. Deceased was destitute." When Woody Headspeth was rescued from France, it was during WWII and the Germany Army had occupied Paris.


Relatives listed on the death report of Woody Headspeth was a daughter, Mlle. Genevieve Le Maitre Hedspath at Maria Boven, par Rostenem, Cotes-du-Nord, France; and the daughter's mother, Mlle. Rosalie Le Maitre, c/o M. Lallines, à Ker. Two telegraphs were sent with the notice of Woody Headspeth's death, one to his daughter on April 22, 1941, and one to Jim Gibson on April 19, 1941.


Additional Sources:


Zeidler Miklós, "Egy régi pálya a polgári korban – a Millenáris Sporttelep: VERSENYPÁLYA A CSÖMÖRI ÚTON," KORALL 7-8, p. 125. [Hungarian]. Woody Headspeth is referred to as the black "Lightning Man" in reference to a 1906 race he won in Hungary. - art trade on the internet [Hungarian]. Postcard with photo image of Woody Headspeth. "Woody Headspeth, African American cyclist. World Champion"


Nemzetközi kerékpár-verseny. 1906 Június. [Hungarian].


PorfelhÅ‘lovagok: a magyar kerékpározás története az elsÅ‘ világháborúig. 2012. ápr. 18. Németh Balázs [Hungarian].


  See photo image and additional information at the Woody Headspeth Wikipedia page [written in German].  
Subjects: Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths, Bicycles, Cyclist, Cycling, Wheelmen
Geographic Region: Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Chicago, Illinois / Paris, France, Europe / Russia, Europe / Berlin, Germany, Europe / Lisbon Portugal, Europe

Hughes, James Nathaniel
Birth Year : 1871
Death Year : 1934
Hughes was born in Charlestown, Indiana. He was the father of Langston Hughes and the son of Emily Cushenberry and James H. Hughes. James H. was a former slave whose mother was a slave; her father was Silas Cushenberry, a Jewish slave trader from Clark County, KY. James H. Hughes' father was also a slave. He was the son of Sam Clay, a distiller from Henry County, KY. It is not known exactly when the Hughes family left Kentucky, where their four oldest children were born, but it is believed the family left prior to the Civil War. Their son, James Nathaniel Hughes, lived in Louisville for a brief period, where he passed the postal civil service exam but was not hired by the post office. He eventually moved on to Oklahoma, where he married Carrie Langston in the late 1890s. After their first child died in 1900 and Langston Hughes was born in 1902, James left his family. He settled in Mexico, never to return to the United States; he remarried, practiced law, and was a land owner. For more about the Hughes Family see Langston: My Cousin, by the Hughes Family Interest, Inc.; F. Berry, Langston Hughes, pp. 1-2; Langston Hughes of Kansas, by M. Scott [excerpt from Kansas History, vol. 3, issue 1 (Spring 1980), pp. 3-25]; The big sea: an autobiography, by L. Hughes; and The Life of Langston Hughes, vol. I: 1902-1941, by A. Rampersad. Additional information for this entry was provided by Marjol Collet, Director of the Langston Hughes Family Museum in Gary, Indiana.
Subjects: Fathers, Lawyers, Mothers, Postal Service, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Mexico & Kentucky
Geographic Region: Charlestown, Indiana / Clark County, Kentucky / Henry County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Oklahoma / Mexico

Johnson, Emma White Ja Ja
Emma White, the daughter of former slaves, was born in Kentucky. She was educated and was one of the hundreds of African Americans who migrated to Liberia after the American Civil War. White was not successful with her venture in the West African coastal trade, she lost all of her money, and in 1875 moved to Opobo (today southern Nigeria). Opobo had been established in 1870 by Jubo Jubogha, a former Igbo slave who rose in status and became King of Opobo. He traded in oil palm with Europe. Emma White was employed by Jubogha to write his correspondence, and she was a teacher and governess for his children. Jubogha established a school in Opobo with a Mr. Gooding as the teacher. A second school was opened in Sierra Leon. When Mr. Gooding resigned his post, Emma White became the head of the Opobo school. White was taking on more responsibilities, moving into the inner circle of the King's business affairs and accompanying him on business trips; an article in the Cleveland Gazette refers to her as the "Treasury and Grand Visier" to King Ja Ja. The King had established himself as the middleman between European traders and the interior markets under his jurisdiction. Opobo had become prosperous, it was a major trade center due to King Ja Ja's business, political, and military strategies. In 1873, Jubo Jubogha was recognized by the British government as King of the independent nation of Opobo. But British traders soon tired of having to do business through Opobo with its restrictions, and taxes and tariffs. At the same time, there was threat of a German invasion of West Africa and the established trade business. King Ja Ja agreed to place Opobo under the protection of England. Unbeknown to him, in Europe the 1885 Treaty of Berlin had resulted in the dividing-up of various portions of Africa. It was a move toward colonies and gaining resources that would be governed by Europeans, and the move away from the independence and self-governance of African nations by Africans. England claimed the Oil Rivers Protectorate, which included King Ja Ja's land and the right to direct access to inland trade markets, cutting out King Ja Ja as the middleman. The scramble for Africa included an intentional trade depression of African markets. In Opobo, Emma White had gained significant wealth by 1881, and she retired from Opobo. Two years later she was broke and returned to ask King Ja Ja for assistance. Believing that she had betrayed him, the King prohibited her from entering Opobo. After several appeals, Emma White was again employed by the King. In appreciation, she changed her name to Emma Ja Ja, and kept the name after she married an Opobo man. In the British Parliamentary Papers, Emma Ja Ja Johnson is referred to as King Ja Ja's adopted daughter. In 1887, King Ja Ja signed a treaty of agreement with England to allow free trade in his territory, but the King continued to block attempts at inland trade. He was tricked into boarding the British ship Goshawk to discuss the matter, and was deported to Accra, Gold Coast [today Ghana]. He was accompanied by his wife, Patience, Emma Ja Ja Johnson, a cook, a steward, 3 servants, and a carpenter. In Accra, King Ja Ja was tried and found guilty of actions against the interests of England. As punishment, he was banished from Opobo and further deported to St. Vincent Island in the British West Indies, and provided with between 800 and 1,000 pounds sterling annually. In 1891, King Ja Ja's health was failing and the British government finally gave permission for him to return to Opobo. He died en route. Emma Ja Ja Johnson was banished from Opobo by the British government; she was accused of being the instigator to all the troubles between England and Opobo. For more see King Jaja of the Niger Delta by S. J. S. Cookey; see "Miss Emma [Jackson]..." in the Cleveland Gazette, 04/11/1885, p.2; A History of the Igbo People by E. A. Isichei; British Parliamentary Papers, Africa. No.2 (1888). Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5365], v.74.149, 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers; "The Cannibals of the Opobo," Courier and Middlesex Counties Courier Gazette, 05/11/1889, p.2; and British Parliamentary Papers, Africa No.7 (1888), Reports of the Slave Trade on the East Coast of Africa, 1887-88, Command Papers: Accounts and Papers, [c.5578], v.74.1,. 19th Century House of Commons Sessional Papers.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Liberia and Opobo, Africa

Jones, Gayl A.
Birth Year : 1949
Born in Lexington, KY, Gayl A. Jones is a noted author. In the 1970s she published Corregidora, Eva's Man, and White Rat. She is also a poet, short story writer, and novelist. She was a faculty member at the University of Michigan. Jones left the school in 1984 and lived for a while in Europe. She published The Healing in 1998, the year of her husband's suicide, after their return to the U.S.; they had settled in Lexington. Gayl Jones is the daughter of Franklin and Lucille Watson Jones. She is a graduate of Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Connecticut College (B.A.), and Brown University (M.A. & Ph.D.). For more see "The Saddest Story," Time Canada, vol. 151, issue 9, p. 42; The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature, edited by C. Buck; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; and World Authors 1990-1995, by C. Thompson.

See photo image of Gayl A. Jones at the University of Michigan website.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Poets, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Suicide
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Flint, Michigan / Europe

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

Jones, Nancy "Nannie", and The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
Birth Year : 1860
Nancy "Nannie" Jones was born January 8, 1860, in Hopkinsville, KY, and raised in Memphis, TN, where she attended school at Lemoyne Institute (now Lemoyne-Owen College). She was an 1886 graduate of Fisk University, and had taught in Alpika [now Walls], MS while also a college student [source: Western Women and Imperialism: complicity and resistance by N. Chaudhuri and M. Strobel]. She was also a member of the First Colored Baptist Church in Memphis. Nancy Jones is remembered as a missionary with the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM). The ABCFM organized in 1810, was incorporated in 1812, and board members were from the National Council of Congregational Churches in the United States. The organization had a rule that single women could not be missionaries, but that rule obviously changed. Nancy Jones was the first unmarried Negro woman to be commissioned by the ABCFM, and the last Negro missionary the ABCFM sent to Mozambique, Africa. The pattern had been for American Negro women to accompany their minister husbands as missionaries to Africa, and all were sent to bring "civilization" and "Christianity" to the Africans. Mozambique was under Portugese rule, and the missionaries had to abide by the restrictions placed on foreigners [more information on Mozambique at The Homepage]. These rules and restrictions had not mattered to Nancy Jones; she was single and she wanted to be a missionary in Africa. She was willing to work on behalf of any missionary organization connected to any denomination, and she would accept any mission location in Africa. The president of Fisk University directed her to the Congregational American Board, and she and Dr. Judson Smith, Correspondence Secretary of the ABCFM, exchanged letters about her interests [source: We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible: a reader in Black women's history edited by D. C. Hine, W. King, and L. Reed, see chapter 7 "Give a Thought to Africa; Black women missionaries in southern Africa" by S. M. Jacobs]. The ABCFM was the first American board to send missionaries to Africa. Nancy Jones would become a missionary of the ABCFM in the Kambini mission in Inhambane, Mozambique, from 1888 to 1893. She arrived at the East Central African Mission to join several others: at Kambini - Benjamin F. Ousley (the first ordained Negro minister of the ABCFM) and Mrs. Henrietta F. Ousley (first Negro woman the ABCFM sent to Africa); at Bembe - Francis W. Bates and Mrs. Laura H. Bates; at Makodweni - J. D. Bennett, Mrs. Bennett, and Miss Allen, who were formerly connected with the Free Methodist Mission in Inhambane; at Mongwe -  Erwin H. Richards and Mrs. Mittie A. Richards [source: Annual Report of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1888-1892]. The missionaries and ministers were to setup churches and schools. Benjamin and Henrietta Ousley had arrived in 1884, and Nancy Jones arrived in 1888. Nancy Jones had requested to work with the Ousleys; all three were graduates of Fisk University, and Henrietta Ousley and Nancy Jones had known each other in school. While at Kambini, Henrietta was an interpreter and Nancy Jones taught school and would open a school for the area children. The children received a Christian education and they were required to work two hours each day to compensate for their food and clothes. The Ousleys returned to the United States in 1890 due to Benjamin's health. During their absence, Nancy Jones was joined in Kambini by the Bennetts who were white. Benjamin and Henrietta Ousley would return to Kambini, but they were forced to leave again in 1893 due to Benjamin's health and they would never return to Africa. When the Ousleys left, Nancy Jones was transferred to a mission in the Gazaland of Rhodesia from 1893 to 1897. She was again helping to establish a school and she was teaching children. The Gazaland Mission in Rhodesia was under British Rule. The Kambini Mission and other missions in the Inhambane Station under Portuguese Rule were closed. Nancy Jones was the only Negro at the Gazaland Mission and she faced prejudice from her co-workers: she was removed as a teacher and could no longer work with the children, her fellow missionaries did not want to live in the same housing with her, and she was relegated to doing chores such as cleaning, gardening, cooking, and shopping. In 1897, Nancy Jones resigned from the Gazaland Mission in Rhodesia and returned to Memphis, TN, in the United States. According to the announcement in the annual report, Nancy Jones was home for a much needed rest [p.28 in the 1896-97 Annual Report of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions]. In Memphis, Nancy Jones was a school teacher and is listed on page 527 in the R. L. Polk & Co.'s Memphis City Directory 1899. She is also listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census as head of a household that included a 17 year old African girl named Mary Jones (who had come to the United States with Nancy Jones), and also in the house was Nancy Jones' stepfather John Harris, and four boarders. The family lived at 400 Broadway, which had been Nancy Jones' home address when she applied for a passport in 1887 [source: U.S. Passport Application No.15025, November 25, 1887, in]. Nancy Jones was still listed as a teacher in the 1901 Memphis directory (p.579), and both she and Mary Jones were listed in the 1903 Memphis directory (p.575 & p.574). Not much is known about Nancy Jones' family or her life after her missionary work in Africa. According to the 1900 U.S. Census, both of her parents were born in Kentucky, and John Harris was her stepfather. Mary Jones is sometimes noted as her daughter, and perhaps she was an adopted daughter; however, Nancy Jones had not left the United States when Mary Jones was born in Africa in 1883. Also, in the "Recent News" article in Mission Studies: woman's work in foreign lands, January 1898, p.18 [online at Google Books], there is mention that Nancy Jones' only brother died in St. Louis, MO shortly after her return to the United States in 1897. The brother's name is not mentioned in the article. For more see "Nancy Jones" in the Dictionary of African Christian Biography [online]; and "On the Dark Continent. Ten Years-Miss Nancy Jones Returns with an Interesting," The Freeman, 02/05/1898, p.2.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Memphis, Tennessee / Alpika, Mississippi / Mozambique, Africa / Rhodesia, Africa

Kentucky Carnegie Colored Libraries International Influence
Start Year : 1927
The first Carnegie Colored Libraries were built in Louisville, KY: Western Branch in 1908 and Eastern Branch in 1914. The addition of the branches enhanced the recognition of the Louisville Free Public Library as the national leader in segregated library training and services for African Americans. There was an attempt on the part of the Carnegie Corporation to transfer the ideology to South Africa. In 1927, Frederick P. Keppel, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York visited South Africa and learned of the need for libraries. The corporation then sent Septimus A. Pitt and Milton J. Ferguson to Africa to assess the situation, and one of the outcomes from their visit was the development of the Non-European Library Service in South Africa. The Carnegie Corporation also provided grants to white South Africans for visits to libraries in the United States. In 1929, two of the visitors came to the Louisville Free Public Library seeking ideas on how to provide services to their “Negroes.” The visitors were Matthew W. Stirling, Librarian at Germiston, and Dugald Niven, Librarian at Bulawayo, Rhodesia [South Africa]. "We had the pleasure of showing them some of the colored work of the Louisville Free Public Library and they were very much impressed." The first Black librarian in South Africa, Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo (1903-1956), was employed by the Carnegie Non-European Library Service, 1937-1940. Dhlomo, a Zulu, had the title of Library Organizer at the headquarters in Germiston. For more see J. E. Holloway, “Negro Libraries in America,” Bantu World, Johannesburg, 12/19/1936, p. 8.; H.I.E. Dhlomo Collected Works, by N. Visser and T. Couzens; Memorandum: Libraries in the Union of South Africa, Rhodesia, and Kenya Colony [duplicate titles], one by S. A. Pitt and one by M. J. Ferguson; “Quarter of a century with library here is Settle’s record,” The Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/29/1929, Section 2, p. 8; M. K. Rochester, "The Carnegie Corporation and South Africa: Non-European Library Services," Libraries & Culture, vol. 34, issue 1 (Winter 1999), pp. 27-51; and the quotation from the Louisville Free Public Library, Regular meeting Board of Trustees, Wednesday, November 13, 1929, item d.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New York / Germiston, Transvaal, South Africa / Bulawayo, [Rhodesia] Zimbabwe

Kentucky Darkies Amateur Minstrel Society
The Kentucky Darkies, a white minstrel company in Liverpool, England, performed benefit Negro minstrels in blackface in the late 1800s. There was no connection to the state of Kentucky in the U.S. other than the entertainment marketing value of the perception of happy, singing and dancing African Americans in Kentucky. In 1897, the Kentucky Darkies performed in the Philharmonic Hall "in aid of the funds of the Liverpool Food Association." The Food Association, formed in 1893, went through several name changes before it became known as the League of Welldoers in 1909. The organization did charitable work to help alleviate social problems. See additional information in "Food Association's Benefit Entertainment," The Liverpool Courier, 05/29/1897, p. 7 (from which the above quotation was taken); "Food Association's Recent Benefit Entertainment," The Liverpool Courier, 06/01/1897, p. 3; and "Kentucky Darkies and Newspaper Criticism," Liverpool Mercury, 08/01/1893, issue 14220.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Liverpool, England, Europe

The Kentucky Four
Start Year : 1890
This dance group performed with Orpheus McAdoo's Minstrel and Vaudeville Company in the late 1890s when the company was located in Australia. Their performances were written about in the Freeman newspaper in the U.S. The dance group members were Katie Carter, a vernacular dance specialist; Muriel Ringold; Amon Davis; and Aaron Taylor (Master Livers). Katie Carter also danced in the South Before the War production. According to J. Malone, author of Steppin on the Blues, p. 60, Carter's buck and wing dancing helped establish the dance form as a major attraction in black shows. For more see Out of Sight: the Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895, by L. Abbott and D. Seroff.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Australia

Kentucky Jubilee Singers
Start Year : 1870
The chorus was probably formed in the mid-1870s but may have existed prior to that. The group toured around the country singing spirituals, and, unlike other jubilee groups, survived at least until the 1890s. In 1928, Forbes Randolph organized an eight-man chorus by the same name; the group was used in a stage production, made film shorts and recordings, and toured in Australia and Europe until the beginning of World War II. Arthur J. Gaines was one of the group members. A trio from the group, known as Day, Dawn, and Dusk, continued to perform until the 1950s. For more see chapter 7 of Lost Sounds: blacks and the birth of the recording industry, 1890-1919, by T. Brooks; and "The Kentucky Singers" in Under the Imperial Carpet edited by R. Lotz and I. Pegg, pp.157-163. *Songs performed by Forbes Randolph's Kentucky Jubilee Singers can be heard on the album, Church Choirs, Gospel Singers and Preachers Vol. 2 (1925-1955), availabe in African American Song, an online listening service by Alexander Street Press.
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Australia / Europe

Malone, Beverley L.
Birth Year : 1948
Beverley L. Malone was born in Hardin County, KY. She is a past chief executive officer of the National League of Nursing. Her prior employment includes the position of General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in Great Britain (2001-2006), the world's largest nursing union, with over 300,000 members. The organization was founded in 1916 and the headquarters is located in London. Malone was the first "foreign" person to head the organization. In her prior post, she had been appointed deputy assistant secretary for Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration. She was president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), 1996-2000, the second African American to head the organization. She was a dean, vice chancellor, and professor at North Carolina A&T State University. Malone is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati (BS and Ph.D.) and Rutgers University (MS), For more see "New CEO of National League for Nursing has a real passion for nursing education..." in AORN Connections, vol. 5, issue 5 (2007 May), pp. 12-13; C. Parish, "Beverly Malone leaves with a rallying cry: Keep on fighting," Nursing Standard, vol. 21, issue 14-16 (12/13/2006), pp. 14-16; and Beverly Malone at

Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Union Organizations, Nurses
Geographic Region: Hardin County, Kentucky / England, Europe

Martin, Clarence B.
Birth Year : 1963
Death Year : 2005
Clarence B. Martin, a native of Alabama, played high school basketball at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, AL. In college, he played center for the Western Kentucky University (WKU) Hilltoppers basketball team from 1982 to 1987; he was redshirted for the 1983-1984 season because of an injury. Martin scored 888 points and had 684 rebounds while setting a school record for season and career blocked shots. He was the third round pick of the Utah Jazz in the 1987 NBA draft, but due to knee injuries, Martin opted to play professional ball in Japan. After eight years, Martin returned to work in Danville, KY, and at WKU, where he was a board member of the Athletic Hall of Fame. Martin and his family later moved to Atlanta, where he passed away in 2005. Clarence Martin is buried in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Clarence Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established at WKU. For more see Clarence Martin at the Hilltopper Haven website; and A. Harvey, "Tribute album for WKU basketball great on sale," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 11/17/2005.

See photo image and additional information about Clarence B. Martin at the WKU Hilltopper Haven website.
Subjects: Basketball, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Alexander City, Alabama / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky / Japan, Asia

McClain, William C. "Billy"
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1950
Multi-talented William McClain was a minstrel actor and Hollywood motion pictures actor, he was also a dancer, a musician, a playwright, wrote music and lyrics, and was a short story writer. He played cornet in Lou Johnson's Minstrels, and spent many years with the minstrels in Europe and lived in Paris, France from 1906-1913. He was also a member of Orpheus McAdoo's Jubilee Singers and Concert Company in Australia. One of McClain's works was The Smart Set, written in 1901. He wrote several songs including Shake, Rattle, and Roll. McClain had also trained as a boxer, and he managed and trained famous heavyweight boxer Sam McVey. On the screen, McClain played the role of The King in Nagana in 1933, and appeared in more than 20 movies, the last in 1946. He played various restricted roles, such as a servant, butler, footman, cook, and janitor. In 1938, he played the role of Zeke in Kentucky, and in 1939, the role of a horse groomer in Pride of the Bluegrass [aka Steeplechase]. McClain was the husband of Cordelia McClain, and the father of actress Teddy Peters. At the time of his death, his age was estimated to be 93, but his birth year has also been given as 1866, and his birth location has been given as Kentucky and Indianapolis, IN. For more see "Arrangements incomplete for actor's rites," Los Angeles Sentinel, 02/02/1950, p.A4; "Billy McClain" in Who Was Who On Screen, by E. M. Truitt; A History of African American Theater by E. Hill and J. V. Hatch; and The Ghost Walks by H. T. Sampson.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Boxers, Boxing, Migration West, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Paris, France, Europe / Australia / Hollywood and Los Angeles, California

Merriwether, Jesse [Mount Moriah Lodge No.1]
Birth Year : 1812
Death Year : 1892
Merriwether [also spelled Meriwether and Meriweather] was born a slave and freed in 1847 under the condition that he go to Liberia. Merriwether went to Liberia as a delegate of the Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky in 1847. He returned to the U.S. in August 1848 and wrote an unfavorable report for emigration to Liberia. He also secretly established the first African American Masonic Lodge in his house on Walnut Street in Louisville, KY. Mount Moriah Lodge No. 1 was initially located in New Albany, IN, for three years. There was fear that there would be prejudice against the lodge in Kentucky, and the meetings were attended in secret. After three years the lodge was moved to Louisville. A core of the lodge remained in New Albany for the members who lived in that city. Jesse Merriwether was also a carpenter, he was the husband of Phoebe Merriwether, b.1828 in KY. He is the author of A brief history of the schools, public and private, for colored youths in Louisville, Ky. for fifty years, from 1827 to 1876, inclusive. In 1889, Merriwether was selected as a possible candidate for the legislature for the 6th District of Kentucky. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and for more about the beginning of the lodge see p.42 The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. See also the paragraph beginning Jesse Meriweather of Louisville... in the article "The Race Doings," Cleveland Gazette, 06/29/1889, p.1.
Subjects: Authors, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Fraternal Organizations, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Carpenters
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa / New Albany, Indiana

Migration to Ethiopia [Fannie B. Eversole, 1865-1951]
Start Year : 1930
End Year : 1935
Beginning in 1930, a number of African Americans and West Indians migrated to Ethiopia in search of the "Promised Land" in the Back to Africa Movement affiliated with Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association. The exact number of persons who left the U.S. was in question, with estimates as high as 100, and as low as 25. The group was led by Arnold Ford, rabbi of Beth B'nai Abraham [Harlem, NY, Black Jews]. The migrating families were promised land, livestock, and a farming life, but the promises were unfulfilled. In 1932, the U.S. State Department issued a release to discourage others from migrating to Ethiopia due to the number of destitute American immigrants, and because there were no government funds for transportation back to the States. By 1934, thirty-five immigrants had returned to the U.S. In 1935, the Italy-Ethiopia War put an absolute end to any further immigration, and all but two of the prior immigrants returned to the U.S. September 1935, U.S. Legation Officials warned that any Americans who remained in Ethiopia did so against the advice of the State Department. Three of the last African Americans to leave were the wife of Baron Jackson and her daughter, Predonia, from Alabama, and Mrs. Fannie B. Eversole. They had all gone to Ethiopia in 1931 as part of the Back to Africa Movement. The American Negro Benevolent Society paid their fare back to the U.S. Seventy year old Fannie Eversole (b.1865 in Paris, KY) arrived in New York Harbor, October 8, 1935, aboard the ship Berengaria, according to the New York Passenger List. Fannie Eversole had been the wife of Man G. Eversole (b.1865 in VA), and according to the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, they had been homesteaders in Glade, Washington. Fannie Eversole was living in Los Angeles, CA before leaving for Ethiopia in 1931. She had been a cook and a housekeeper. Upon her return to the U.S., she made her home at 1621 W. 35th Street in Los Angeles and is listed as retired in the 1940s California Voter Registration Records. According to the California Death Index, Fannie Eversole died in Los Angeles on June 22, 1951. For more see "Legation Officials advise Americans to leave Ethiopia," Florence Morning News, 09/11/1935, pp.1 & 6; ** "Addison E. Southard, U. S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, to U.S. Secretary of State in The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers; Africa for the Africans, 1923-1945, Volume X by R. A. Hill; Judaising Movements, by T. Parfitt, et al.; and Black Zion by Y. P. Chireau and N. Deutsch.

**[Addison E. Southard, 1884-1970,  was born in Kentucky.]
Subjects: Migration West, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentuck / Glade, Washington / Los Angeles, California / Ethiopia, Africa

Moseby, Solomon
In 1833, the government of Upper Canada authorized the return of runaway slave Solomon Moseby to his master, David Castleman, in Fayette County, KY. When authorities tried to take Moseby across the border to the United States, a riot ensued, the first race riot in Canada. Preacher Herbert Holmes was one of the men shot and killed; he was the leader of the resistance group of African and white Canadian women and men. Several others were injured. Moseby escaped and made his way to Britain. For more see D. Murray, "Hands across the border: the abortive extradition of Solomon Moseby," Canadian Review of American Studies, vol. 30, issue 2 (2000), pp. 187-209.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Fayette County, Kentucky / (Upper Canada) Ontario, Canada / (Britain) England, Europe

Pillow, Faith
Birth Year : 1954
Death Year : 2003
Born in Louisville, KY, Pillow was a singer and songwriter of blues, jazz and folk. Her 30-year career included ten years in Europe. She opened for Muddy Waters for three years. Pillow died unexpectedly during surgery at the University of Louisville Hospital. She was the daughter of Lucien and Archie Johnson Pillow. For more see Faith Pillow and listen online to her songs, at Faith Pillow website.
Access Interview
Subjects: Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Europe

Priest, James M.
Death Year : 1883
James M. Priest was the slave of Jane Anderson Meaux. Jane A. Meaux was born 1780 in St. Asaph [later Fort Logan], Lincoln County, District of KY, and died in Jessamine County, KY, in 1844. Jane Anderson Meaux stipulated in her will that all of her slaves were to be freed after her death, under the condition that they go to live in Liberia. Prior to her death, she educated and freed one of her slaves, James M. Priest. She sent Priest to Liberia, Africa, to evaluate the situation of the former slaves. When he returned, Priest was sent to school, 1840-1843; he graduated to become an ordained Presbyterian minister. James M. Priest had joined the Presbyterian Church when he was a slave. He expressed an interest in becoming a minister, and he was placed under the direction of Rev. Samuel Taylor in Jessamine County, KY. Priest was such a good student that Jane A. Meaux and Rev. Taylor decided he needed a more formal education, and they tried to get him admitted to Centre College in Danville, KY, around 1835. The school would not accept Priest as a student, and he was enrolled in McCormick Theological Seminary located in New Albany, IN. After graduation, James M. Priest returned to Liberia and was the first foreign missionary from McCormick Theological Seminary. Priest would become the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, 1864-1868. He was serving as the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia when he died in July of 1883. For more see p.205 of History of Kentucky, edited by C. Kerr et al.; p.9 of A History of the McCormick Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, by L. J. Halsey; pp.562-63 of Maxwell History and Genealogy, by F. A. W. Houston et al. [all available full-text at Google Book Search]; see Settlers to Liberia "April 1843" at The Ships List website; and "The death of James M. Priest...," Arkansaw Dispatch, 07/28/1883, p.2. A daguerreotype portrait [online] of Priest is available at the Library of Congress. For more of James M. Priest being denied enrollment at Centre College see "Dartmouth College - A Noble Example" in The Colored American, 04/29/1837 [available online in the Black Abolitionist Archive at the University of Detroit Mercy]. See also James M. Priest on page 549 in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions by G. H. Anderson.

  See photo image of James M. Priest at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Subjects: Early Settlers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Judges, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Saint Asaph [Stanford], Lincoln County, Kentucky / Jessamine County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

Proposed American Negro Colony in New Granada
Start Year : 1861
End Year : 1864
In 1861, President Lincoln, an admirer of the late Kentuckian Henry Clay, asked that Congress approve a plan for the colonization of all Negroes. A warm climate or tropical location was preferred: Texas, Florida, Mexico, Haiti, Liberia, or the lands [coal fields] in New Granada claimed by the Chiriqui Improvement Company [in present day countries within Central and South America]. In preparation for the emigration, slaves were to be gradually emancipated, beginning with the Border States [including Kentucky]. But that idea was dropped because it did not appeal to the members of Congress from the Border States. Still, the Chiriqui lands in New Granada were seen as the ideal locations for a loyal and U. S.-controlled colony of Negroes. In 1862, a group of freemen, the first ever to be invited to the White House, arrived to hear Lincoln’s request for their help in promoting the colony among other freemen. There was great opposition to the colony from Central American governments, especially in Costa Rica. The Bogotá [Colombia] government, led by Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, was in favor of the colony. The official Bogotá representative, Pedro A. Herrán, son-in-law of Mosquera, was in Washington. In Colombia, the U.S. Minister was Garrard County, KY, native Allan A. Burton. Several of the prior ministers had also been from Kentucky, beginning with former Congressman Richard Clough Anderson, Jr. from Louisville, who served in Colombia from 1823 until his death in 1826. Though the idea of a Negro Colony was welcomed by the Bogotá government, it was not a viable plan and was therefore suspended in 1862. The colonization fund was abolished in 1864. Haiti was no longer an option after the failure of the Ile à Vache Colony experiment in 1863. Liberia was eliminated when Lincoln issued the final Proclamation of Emancipation on January 1, 1863. For more see P. J. Scheips, “Lincoln and the Chiriqui Colonization Project,” The Journal of Negro History, vol.37, issue 4 (Oct., 1952), pp. 418-453; M. Vorenberg, “Abraham Lincoln and the Black politics of colonization,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association [available online], vol. 14, issue 2 (Summer 1993); Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States: during its first century, by C. Lanman, p. 593 [full view at Google Book Search]; and W. D. Boyd, “James Redpath and American Negro Colonization in Haiti, 1860-1862,” The Americas, vol.12, issue 2 (Oct., 1955), pp. 169-182. See Central and South American Immigration Association and Equal Rights League of the Western Continent. For information on earlier Haitian colony see Freeman Community on Samana Bay (Dominican Republic).

*New Granada included present day Colombia, Ecaudor, Panama, and Venezuela.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Colonies, Colonization, Slavery in Kentucky, Sources
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Texas / Florida / Mexico / Ile a Vache, Haiti / Liberia / Costa Rica, Central America / Bogota, Colombia, South America

Ray, William Benjamin, Sr.
Birth Year : 1925
William Benjamin Ray, Sr. was born in Lexington, KY, to Beatrice Clifton Smith and Mason Ray. He is an Army veteran and a graduate of Oberlin College and Boston University. In the United States, he was an opera singer with De Paur's Infantry, Karamu Theater, and Cleveland Playhouse. His career began in 1957 in Europe, where he performed in operas and orchestras and on stage and television. In 1974, he founded Black Theater Productions in Stuttgart, Germany, and served as its president until 1985. Ray is included in Blacks in Opera. He was a faculty member at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts Graz - Austria and a professor of voice at the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University and at the Howard University Department of Music. Ray is retired and lives in Odenton, Maryland. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 1985-2006; and N. Sears, "Another high note for singer - Legacy Award crowns opera career filled with mentoring, teaching," Special to The Sun, 02/04/2007, Local section, p. 1G.

See photo image and additional information about William Benjamin Ray, Sr. at bottom half of Sam's Subject Index webpage.
Subjects: Actors, Actresses, Education and Educators, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Stuttgart, Germany, Europe / Austria, Europe / Odenton, Maryland

Redd, Michael R.
Birth Year : 1944
Death Year : 2007
In 1963, Mike Redd, from Newburg (Jefferson County), KY, was the first African American named Kentucky Mr. Basketball. Redd was chosen over Clem Haskins, an outstanding basketball player in Taylor County. Redd, a 6'2" guard, is remembered as one of the best basketball players ever in the state of Kentucky. As an 8th grader, he scored 25 points in a varsity game, and helped take his Seneca High School team to the regionals in 1961 and 1962. His teammate was Wes Unseld. Seneca was the state high school basketball champion in 1963, with Redd averaging 26.5 points during the tournament. The team was coached by Bob Mulcahy. Mike Redd was named All-State three times. In 1963 he was named to the All-Tournament Team and was a member of the Parade All-American Team. He was named to the 1999 Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame (.pdf). Mike Redd played college ball at Kentucky Wesleyan for one year, averaging 20.7 points and 6.8 rebounds. He played a season at Sullivan Business College [now Sullivan University] in Louisville before joining the U.S. Marines, serving during the Vietnam War. Redd also played basketball while in the service and helped his team win two AAU Men's Basketball Championships: 1969 Armed Forces All-Stars and the 1970 Armed Forces All-Stars [source: p. 13 in 2010 Amateur Athletic Union Men's Handbook (online .pdf)]. After his enlistment was completed, Redd remained in Europe and played basketball in France for about a decade, then started a basketball school in Austria. Mike Redd spoke several languages. When he returned to the United States, Redd, a chef, bought restaurants in San Jose, CA and Nashville, TN. Mike Redd died in Atlanta, GA. He was the son of Susie Cairo Logan, who died December 15, 2007, in California a few hours prior to her son's death. For more see "Former Kentucky Mr. Basketball dies," Daily News (Bowling Green, KY), 12/19/2007, Sports section, p. 6C [online at Google News]; B. White, "Headline: What's up with...? Bob Mulcahy; Coach of great Seneca teams recalls glory days," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 03/15/2004, Sports section, p. E1; and C. Ray Hall, "Mike Redd: 1944-2007; Seneca's 1963 Mr. Basketball one of state's best ever," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/18/2007, Sports section, p. C1.
Subjects: Basketball, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Military & Veterans, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / France, Europe / Atlanta, Georgia

Rich, Geneva Cooper
Birth Year : 1911
Death Year : 1989
Geneva Cooper Rich was a musician who played the organ and the piano, and she was an internationally known singer from Louisville, KY. She studied music under R. Todd Duncan at the Louisville Municipal College. She received the title of "Unofficial Ambassador of Democracy" while in Morocco in 1954. Geneva Cooper Rich had gone to Rabat, Morocco to join her husband, Clayburn Rich (1916-1991), who was a sergeant in the U. S. Air Force. While there, she trained singing groups and she performed at the Non-Commissioned Officers' Club. Her notoriety grew and Geneva Cooper Rich soon signed a singing contract with Radio-Maroc to perform American gospel music. She was the first African American to sign a singing contract in Morocco. She also sang live for the American-owned broadcast station in Morocco. In recognition, she received a letter of commendation from Mrs. Eisenhower for her work as a gospel singer with the Armed Forces in Northern Africa. Prior to her career in Morocco, Geneva Cooper had been a member of several singing groups in Louisville, KY, and she had guest appearances on the television and the radio. She was one of the first African Americans to have a sponsored radio program in Kentucky. After leaving Kentucky and traveling with her husband, Geneva Cooper Rich lived in a number of locations. Her husband had been in the Air Force for 18 years in 1958 when the family of four moved from Blytheville, AR, to Lebanon, IN. They had planned to live in their trailer, but because they were Negroes, they were not allowed to station their trailer at any of the lots in the city. The family decided to live in a house and sold the trailer. In 1964, the family moved to North Highlands, CA; Clayburn Rich was stationed at McClellan Air Force Base. When the family moved to Kentucky, Geneva Cooper Rich was still performing and she sang the national anthem at the 1967 inauguration of Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn. She also wrote the song "The Modern Moses" in 1970 as a dedication to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. For more see "Radio Morocco presents Kentucky gal's spirituals," Washington Afro-American, 04/26/1955, p.7; see p.317 in The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan; "Appreciation," Indianapolis Recorder, 04/19/1958, p.6; "Arkansas family in trailer gets no Hoosier hospitality," Indianapolis Recorder, 03/29/1958, p.1 & 2; "Louisville singer, pianist, radio artist...," Jet, 07/09/1964, p.64; see Geneva Cooper Rich in "Judge Dawson to introduce new governor," Daily News, 11/19/1967, p.12; and see the entry "The Modern Moses" by Geneva Cooper Rich, on p.1080 in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, 3rd series, v.24, part 1, number 1, section 1, 1970: January-June, Books and Pamphlets, Current and Renewal Registrations, by Library of Congress, Copyright Office.
Subjects: Military & Veterans, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Radio, Television, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Rabat, Morocco, Africa / Blytheville, Arkansas / Lebanon, Indiana / North Highlands, California

Roye, John Edward and Nancy [Edward James Roye]
John Roye (d.1829) told others that he had been born a slave in Kentucky. He and his wife Nancy (d. 1840) moved to Newark, OH, where Roye became a prosperous land owner. He was also part owner in a river ferry, and left all that he owned to his son Edward J. Roye, b 1815 in Newark, OH. Edward Roye was a barber and he owned a bathhouse in Terre Haute, IN. He was educated and had been a student at the University of Athens (OH). He left the U.S. for Liberia in 1845 and was a merchant. Roye became one of the richest men in Liberia. He became the Chief Justice and Speaker of the House. He founded the newspaper Liberia Sentinel in 1845, a short-lived venture that lasted about a year. In January 1870 , Edward Roye became the fifth President of Liberia. During his presidency, he was accused of embezzlement and jailed in October 1871. He escaped, and it is believed he drowned sometime in 1872 while swimming to a ship in the Monrovia harbor. For more see "Edward Jenkins Roye," Newark Advocate, 04/22/1984; C. Garcia, "TH barber Edward James Roye became 5th president of Liberia," Tribune Star, 02/24/2007, pp.1&5; and Edward James Roye in The Political and Legislative History of Liberia by C. H. Huberich.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Fathers, Freedom, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration North, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Newark, Ohio / Liberia, Africa

Russell, Alfred F.
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1884
Born in Bourbon County, KY, or Lexington, KY, Alfred F. Russell was referred to as a white slave; it was believed that Alfred was the son of a fair-skinned slave named Milly and a white father, John Russell, who was the son of Mary Owen Todd Russell Wickliffe, the richest woman in Kentucky. With the help of Mary Wickliffe, Alfred and his mother left Kentucky for Liberia in 1833. Alfred later served as Vice President, then became the tenth President of Liberia (1883-1884) when he completed A. W. Gardiner's term. For more see Letters from Liberia to Kentucky; and The Political and Legislative History of Liberia, by C. H. Huberich.

See photo image of Alfred F. Russell and other Liberian presidents at the Liberia Past and Present website.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Bourbon County, Kentucky / Liberia, Africa

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

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

Sheppard, William Henry
Birth Year : 1865
Death Year : 1927
William H. Sheppard was born in Waynesboro, Virginia. He was a devoted Presbyterian whose parents were freed slaves; his father was a barber and his mother managed a women's health bath. Sheppard became a minister, then found a way to go Africa, even though at that time African Americans were not chosen to head African missions. Sheppard was an evangelist who fought to improve the living conditions of Africans. He was also the first American to collect African art. Sheppard referred to himself as "The Black Livingston." In his final years, Sheppard resided in Louisville, KY, where he was a leader in the community as well as pastor of the Grace Hope Presbyterian Church (1912-1927). The Smoketown housing development, Sheppard Square, is named in his honor. William Sheppard was featured during Family Saturday at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY, February 2003. The African art collection included items donated by Sheppard's family. In 2007, William H. Sheppard was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see M. Larry, "Speed will showcase William Sheppard's life," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/14/03; M. Lewis, "Jewel of the Kingdom," Mission Frontiers; and William Sheppard: Congo's African American Livingstone, by W. E. Phipps.

See photo image of William H. Sheppard at the Wikipedia website.
Subjects: Artists, Fine Arts, Barbers, Kentucky African American Churches, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Waynesboro, Virginia / Africa / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Spurgeon, James Robert
Birth Year : 1870
Death Year : 1942
Spurgeon, a Kentuckian who is said to be a Yale graduate, was appointed by President McKinley as Secretary Minister of the American Legation in Monrovia, Liberia. Spurgeon wrote The Lost Word; or The Search for Truth, a speech delivered before the Free Masons in Monrovia in 1899. Two years later, President McKinley was shot and killed, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States. By the end of December 1902, Spurgeon had lost his post when President Roosevelt appointed his replacement, 25 year old George Washington Ellis. There had been trouble in Monrovia, and it escalated when Spurgeon forwarded a report to the State Department stating that Liberian Minister J. R. A. Crossland, an African American from Missouri, was mentally unbalanced. Crossland had just shot another Negro, Thomas J. R. Faulkner, an electrical engineer from Brooklyn, who allegedly had tried to cut Crossland with a razor. After the incident, Spurgeon's and Crossland's working relationship continued to deteriorate and both men kept loaded weapons in their desk drawers. The United States was embarrassed by the entire matter and Spurgeon was dismissed. Spurgeon remained in Liberia, and in November 1904, he was speaking to a crowd in Monrovia on behalf of Franklin Leonard, Jr., Democratic candidate for Congress, when a riot broke out. The crowd was made up of about 1,000 Negroes from the United States who were supporters of Roosevelt. Spurgeon was booed and hissed at, and someone set fire to the banners decorating the wagon on which he was standing. The police arrived, the fire was put out, and there were scuffles between the crowd and the police. A white janitor at a nearby building began pushing members of the crowd off the building steps, and a woman who was shoved away returned with her husband, who was carrying a loaded gun. There was a fight over the gun, and while no one was shot, the woman and her husband were arrested. Order was finally restored. Spurgeon returned to the United States, and in 1907 he was named Prince Hall Past Master by Affiliation of Carthaginian no. 47 (Brooklyn, NY). For more see "Razors fly through air of Liberia," The Atlanta Constitution, 12/26/1902, p. 5; "Row at Negro meeting,"The New York Times, 11/08/1904, p. 2; and photo of Spurgeon as Past Master at New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

Subjects: Authors, Migration North, Fraternal Organizations, Riots and Protests Outside Kentucky, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Monrovia, Liberia, Africa / Brooklyn, New York

Still, Valerie
Birth Year : 1961
Born the ninth of ten children, Valerie Still, the 6' 1" forward was the leading scorer and rebounder in the history of the University of Kentucky basketball with 2,763 points and 1,525 rebounds; she was second in the nation in both categories. Her jersey (no. 12) was retired in Memorial Coliseum in January 2003. She played professional basketball in Italy for 12 years and also acted and had a television show there. She was a WNBA player with the Washington Mystics. Still was born in Camden, NJ. For more see Who's Who Among African Americans, 11th -15th ed., and Who's Who of American Women, 21st ed.

See photo image of Valerie Still at UK Athletics Blog, Cat Scratches.
Subjects: Basketball, Television, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Camden, New Jersey / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Italy, Europe

Thornton, James and Adeline Joyner
Mimi Lozano is the author of Black Latino Connection which includes the history of the family of Kentucky native James (1835-1911) and Adeline (1852-1940) Thornton. James was born a slave in Versailles, KY, and gained freedom when he joined the Union Army in 1864. He and other African American soldiers were sentenced for an attempted mutiny, and James received hard labor off the coast of Florida and was dishonorably discharged in 1866. He and his sons moved to Kerr County, Texas, where James married Adeline in 1871, she had been a slave in Florida. They would become the first African American landowners in Kerr County. Together they had thirteen children, some of whom migrated to Canada, and their son David migrated to Guadalajara, Mexico in 1901. For more see the Black Latino website at and contact Mimi Lozano.
Subjects: Freedom, Migration North, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Migration South, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, 1st African American Families in Town, Mexico & Kentucky
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Dry Tortugas, Florida / Kerr County, Texas / Guadalajara, Mexico

Tisdale, Clarence
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1945
Born in Louisville, KY, Tisdale toured with the McAdoo Jubilee Singers in Australia and New Zealand. The group also sang in England and France before returning to the U.S. in 1910. In 1914 Tisdale was a member of the Right Quintette; the group had four recordings in 1915. Tisdale also recorded by himself. He was living in New York in 1920, rooming with playwright Jessie Shipp and his son Jessie Jr., according to the U.S. Federal Census, the three lived on W. 131st Street. [Jessie Shipp, Sr.'s mother, Ellen Shipp, was a Kentucky native.] Tisdale was still living in New York in 1930, he formed his own trio in the 1940s just prior to his death. Tisdale was the son of Carrie Tisdale, who was matron of the Colored orphan home in 1900, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Clarence was a printer at the home, which was located on 18th Street in Louisville. For more see Lost Sounds: blacks and the birth of the recording industry, 1890-1919, by T. Brooks.
Subjects: Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Orphans and Orphanages in Kentucky, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Australia / New Zealand / England, Europe / France, Europe / New York

Tubman, Sylvia A. E.
Sylvia Tubman was one of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman and sent to live in Liberia, Africa. Sylvia was the wife of William Shadrach Tubman, the mother of Alexander Tubman, and the paternal grandmother of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. Emily Tubman was a slave owner who grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Mothers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa

Tubman, William Shadrach
One of the 69 slaves freed by Emily Tubman, William was sent to live in Liberia, Africa after he was freed. Emily Tubman grew up in Frankfort, KY, and after her marriage she spent part of the year in Frankfort and part in Georgia. William S. Tubman was the husband of Sylvia A. E. Tubman, the father of Alexander Tubman, and the grandfather of William V. S. Tubman, the 18th president of Liberia. For more see A study of the life and contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett.
Subjects: Fathers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Grandparents, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Georgia / Liberia, Africa

Tubman, William V. S.
Birth Year : 1895
Death Year : 1971
William V. S. Tubman's grandfather, (Brother) William Shadrach Tubman, and grandmother, Sylvia A. E. Tubman, were two of the 69 slaves freed and voluntarily transported to Liberia in 1844 by slave owner Emily Tubman (1794-1885), who grew up in Frankfort, KY. Once in Liberia, the slaves took the name Tubman and named their community Tubman Hill. William V. S. Tubman was born in Liberia, Africa, and became the country's 18th president (1944-1971), holding the office longer than any other president before or after him, winning six elections. On a visit to the U.S., he came to Frankfort, KY, in search of information about his family history. For more on Emily H. T. Tubman, see Index to Women of the World from Ancient to Modern Times. Biographies and portraits, by N. O. Ireland; and A Study of the Life and Contributions of Emily H. Tubman, by J. R. Bennett. For more on W. V. S. Tubman see Chambers Biographical Dictionary, 6th ed., edited by M. Parry; and A biography of President William V. S. Tubman, by A. D. B. Henries.

See video of William V. S. Tubman and family meeting the Pope in 1956, a British Pathè website.
Subjects: Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Presidents, National Presidential Candidates and Party Nominees
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Tubman Hill, Liberia, Africa

Tucker, Charles Ewbank
Birth Year : 1896
Death Year : 1975
Charles Ewbank Tucker was a lawyer, a civil rights advocate, and a leader in the AMEZ Church. He also was co-editor of The Herald Tribune, a Louisville newspaper with co-editors William Warley and Huron Clark [source: The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians by A. A. Dunnigan, p.528]. Tucker led early civil rights demonstrations and sit-ins in Louisville, KY, in the 1940s through the 1960s. Tucker also delivered the benediction at Nixon's Inauguration (1960). He was the husband of Rev. Amelia M. Tucker. Charles E. Tucker was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Olivia and William Tucker. The family lived in Jamaica. He was a 1913 graduate of Beckford and Smith's school in Jamaica and a 1917 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. He was the pastor of the Stoner Memorial AMEZ Church [at 1127 West Oak Street] in Louisville and completed the Kentucky Bar Exam in 1929. His son, Neville Tucker, was also a lawyer in Louisville. Charles E. Tucker became a bishop in 1956. He was a Republican. For more see Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright; and the Charles Ewbank Tucker biography in The Last Public Execution in America, by P. T. Ryan.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Kentucky African American Churches, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Baltimore, Maryland / Jamaica / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tyler, Charles Lacy
Birth Year : 1941
Death Year : 1992
Tyler was born in Cadiz, KY, and his family later moved to Indianapolis, IN, where he studied piano. He also played the clarinet and the baritone and alto saxophones. He moved to Cleveland, OH, in 1960, where he performed with Albert Ayler, and later moved on to New York. Tyler moved around while playing with a number of groups. He earned a teaching certificate at the University of California, Berkeley and taught music for several years at North Peralta Community College [now Vista Community College] and Mills College. In 1974, he left teaching and continued to play with various groups and tour in the U.S. and Europe. In 1985, Tyler settled in France, where he died in 1992. His recordings include the Charles Tyler Ensemble, Sixty Minute Man, and Saga of the Outlaws. He can be seen performing on the film Rising Tones Cross. For more see "Charles (Lacy) Tyler" in the Oxford Music Online Database. Listen to clips of Charles Tyler's recordings at iTunes Preview.
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Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Movies and Films
Geographic Region: Cadiz, Trigg County, Kentucky / Toulon, France, Europe

Watson, William
Birth Year : 1827
William Watson, a Kentucky native and an escape slave, was an education activist for the coloured in England. In January of 1857, Watson was in London at Trinity Chapel on Peckitt-street, where he delivered a speech on the importance of educating the coloured subjects of the British Empire. A collection was taken at the end of the program. Watson was attempting to raise money for the establishment of societies in various areas of England, and the societies were to oversee the education of coloured persons in a given area. Watson continued with his lectures and in November of 1859, the audience had so few boys that the presentation at the Mechanics' Institution was canceled. Watson was still at his mission in December of 1859 when he delivered a lecture at the Assembly Rooms at the Isle of Wright. The title of the lecture had been used in prior presentations, "Education and Trades of the Coloured Subjects of the Queen in the British Colonies." A collection was taken at the end of Watson's presentation. W. Watson was born in Kentucky where he was a slave. When he was 19 years old, he escaped to Canada, then moved on to England. Watson attended The King's College, located in London, England. For more see "The Coloured population of the British Empire," The York Herald, 01/24/1857, p.7; "Local and District News - Education," Berrow's Worcester Journal, 11/13/1858, p.5; "A Gentleman of Colour," Hampshire Advertiser & Salisbury Guardian, 11/05/1859, p.3; the December 17th, 1859, entry "Lecture by Gentleman of Color" from the Isle of Wight Observer at the Ryde Social Heritage Group website; and "Lecture," Isle of Wight Observer, 12/31/1859, issue 383.

In response to our inquiry about W. Watson, the following information on William Watson was transcribed and provided by King's College London. Please note there is a possibility that W. Watson and William Watson may not be the same person. We welcome any additional information.

Source: King's College London Entrance Papers for the Theological Department. Entrance Papers were forms completed on entry listing the name, address and fees paid.

"Name of Student at full length: William Watson
Age last Birthday, with date: 26 - Dec 10th 1849
Under which class of Candidates the Student is admitted:
Candidates Date of Admittance: 12 April 1850
Student's Residence in London: 150 Southwark B[ridge]
Fees for Two Term: £8 8s 0d
Matriculation: £1 1s 0d
Library Fee: £2 2s 0d
Cap and Gown: £1 10s 0d
The Calendar: 2s £13 3s 0d
Paid: 12 April 1850"
In the College Calendars for 1850-1851 and 1851-1852, William Watson is listed in the Theological Department under the 'Class of Candidates. Names of those attending this Class during the past year, who have not yet passed the necessary Examination preparatory to entering upon the full Divinity course.' However, he does not reappear in any of the following Calendars which would indicate that he was no longer attending the College.

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Subjects: Education and Educators, Freedom, Migration North, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Canada / London, England, Europe

Wilson, G. Marshall
Birth Year : 1906
Death Year : 1998
G. Marshall Wilson, who was born in Kentucky, lived much of his life in New York and died in Germany. He was a long time national and international photographer with Ebony, serving for 33 years with the magazine before retiring in 1986. Of his noted photographs is the image of Martin Luther King waving to the crowd in 1963 during the March of Washington. Wilson was an honorary pallbearer at the funeral of fellow Kentucky photographer, Moneta Sleet, Jr.; the two had worked together at Jet. For more see "Prolific Ebony photographer, G. Marshall Wilson, succumbs," Jet, 03/09/1998, p. 16 [article available full-text at Google Book Search, includes photo image].

Subjects: Migration North, Photographers, Photographs, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York / Germany, Europe

Winkfield, Jimmy
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1974
Born in Chilesburg [later Uttingertown] in Fayette County, KY, Jimmy Winkfield was the youngest of 17 children. He was the last African American jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, in 1901 and 1902. Winkfield left the U.S. after a contract dispute and became a national riding champion in Russia and a trainer in France. He retired from racing in 1930 and died in France in 1974. In 2004 he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. For more see The Great Black Jockeys and Wink: the incredible life and epic journey of Jimmy Winkfield, both by E. Hotaling.

See photo image and additional information at the African American Registry website.
Subjects: Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada
Geographic Region: Chilesburg (Uttingertown), Fayette County, Kentucky / Russia, Europe / France, Europe


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