<Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce>
Return to search page.
African American County Extension Agents and Home Demonstration Agents, Kentucky
Start Year : 1918
End Year : 1950
Below are the names of African American county extension agents and home demonstration agents in Kentucky from 1918-1950. The names come from the minutes of the University of Kentucky (UK) Board of Trustees (available online full-text at the Explore UK website). The agents were hired at the UK Agricultural Experiment Station. It was the Hatch Act of 1887 [info] that established and funded agricultural experiment stations at land grant schools with a college of agriculture in each state. The land-grant schools were founded by the Morrill Act of 1862 [info]. For Kentucky, the institution that fit all the criteria was the University of Kentucky; it was a land-grant school with a College of Agriculture, and would therefore have the state agricultural experiment station. Throughout the country, agricultural experiment stations would become cooperative extension services with funding from the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 [info]. After much debating, the Smith-Lever Act allowed states to decide which land-grant college or colleges would administer the state's Smith-Lever funds that would establish extension systems. There had been a compromise because of the protest from southern states that did not want the extension system to be housed at African American land grant schools. And though there was an African American land grant school in Kentucky, Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University), for the state of Kentucky, the administrator of the Smith-Lever funds would be the University of Kentucky; therefore, allowing UK to oversee the hiring of agents for the extension system. Funding from the Capper-Ketcham Act of 1924 was to further develop the Smith-Lever Act with extension work in agriculture for men and boys, and also with home economics for women and girls, for example 4-H Clubs and Future Farmers of America [info]. In Kentucky, the 4-H Clubs was segregated with the Rural Youth Conference for Negroes held at Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University) [source: see "Black Participation" within Kentucky 4-H History website]. In 1935 the Bankhead-Jones Act increased federal funding to the land-grant schools for agriculture and mechanical arts [info]. The extension service had already hired county agents, men who traveled throughout their assigned regions working mostly with male farmers providing the latest industry information related to agriculture business and family farming. Other workers were home demonstration agents, women who worked mostly with women and girls on the farm to contribute to the health and happiness of farm family members through food production (gardening) and preservation (canning), and other home economy activities. Within the agricultural experiment station in Kentucky, the agents' duties were divided by sex, and there was further division by race; African American agents, both men and women, were hired to work with African American families. Though the University of Kentucky student body would not start to desegregate until 1949, this did not apply to the hiring of African Americans who had been employed starting in the latter 1800s as janitors, maids, cooks, and other service employees and as performers at entertainment events. It was during WWI that African Americans were first hired as county agents and home demonstration agents in Kentucky.
- A. L. Garvin - (Colored) Emergency Assistant County Agent - Mercer County - July 1, 1918 - one year contract - $100 per month - ($66 2/3 per month paid by Emergency Fund) - p.4
- Hattie Peoples - Colored Home Demonstration Agent - Madison County - June 16, 1920 - 6 1/2 months contract - $75 per month - p.23
- L. B. Jett - (Colored) County Agent - Mercer County - June 16, 1920 - 6 1/2 months contract - $100 per month - p.23
- F. D. Wharton - County Agent (Ext Colored People) - Shelby County - May 2, 1923-May1, 1924 - $100 per month - p.9
- F. D. Wharton - Continuation - County Agent for Colored Farmers - Shelby County - September 1, 1925-December 31, 1925 - $108 1/3 per month - p.10
- H. A. Laine - Continuation - (Colored) County Agent - Madison County - April 1, 1932-May 31, 1932 - $83 1/3 per month - p.8
- Henry A. Laine - Negro County Agent - Jessamine County - July 1, 1937-June 30, 1938 - $1,100 per year - Bankhead Funds and Offset to Federal Funds - p.86
- John H. Finch - Negro County Agent - Warren County - July 1, 1937-June 30, 1938 - $1,000 per year - Bankhead Funds - p.83
- Runyon Story - Negro County Agent - Christian County - July 1, 1937-June 30, 1938 - $1,000 per year - Bankhead Funds - p.89
- Rachel Lee Davis - Assistant Colored Home Demonstration Agent - Fulton County - September 1, 1937-June 30, 1938 - $1,200 per year - Bankhead Fund - p.80
- Hattie Robert Bethea - Colored Home Demonstration Agent - Fulton-Hickman Counties - July 1, 1938-June 30, 1939 - $100 per month - Capper-Ketcham Funds - p.58
- Rachel Lee Davis - Colored Home Demonstration Agent - Christian County - July 1, 1938-June 30, 1939 - $100 per month - Capper-Ketcham Funds - p.58
- John H. Finch - Continuation Colored County Agent - Warren County - July 1 1938-June 30, 1939 - $83.33 1/3 per month - Smith-Lever Funds - p.65
- Henry A. Laine - Continuation Negro County Agent - Jessamine County - July 1, 1938-June 30, 1939 - $91.66 2/3 per month - Smith-Lever Funds - p.68
- Runyon Story - Negro County Agent - Christian County - July 1, 1937-June 30, 1939 - $91.66 2/3 per month - Federal Supplementary Funds ($100 increase on College) - p.72
- James Harris - (Colored) County Agent - Christian County - Salary Adjustment - March 1, 1943 - p.64
- Louis [J]. Duncan, Jr. - Assistant County Agent (Negro) - Christian-Todd Counties - June 14, 1944-June 30, 1944 - p.40
- Louis [L]. Duncan, Jr. - Assistant County Agent (Negro) - Christian-Todd Counties - January 1, 1945-June 30, 1945 - p.17
- J. H. Finch - Assistant County Agent (Negro) - Warren-Barren Counties - January 1, 1945-June 30, 1945 - p.17
- Maudline P. Lewis - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - April 16, 1945-June 30, 1945 - p.30
- Bennett K. Brown - Assistant County Agent (Negro) - Logan-Todd Counties - January 1, 1945-June 30, 1945 - p.16
- A. C. Burnette - Field Agent in Charge of Negro Education Work - Change of Occupation Authorized - September 1, 1946 - p.32
- Thelma Banks House - (Negro) Home Demonstration Agent - Henderson-Daviess Counties - November 1, 1946 - p.
- Maudline L. Brown - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - Fulton-Hickman Counties - Salary Adjustment - Effective January 1, 1947 - p.58
- Rachel Davis - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - Christian-Todd Counties - Salary Adjustment - Effective January 1, 1947 - p.58
- Verna E. Guinn - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - Shelby, Franklin, Scott Counties - Salary Adjustment - Effective January 1, 1947 - p.58
- Bettie S. Harris - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - Fayette, Jessamine, Madison Counties - Salary Adjustment - Effective January 1, 1947 - p.58
- Shella Proctor - Negro Home Demonstration Agent - Logan-Simpson Counties - Salary Adjustment - Effective January 1, 1947 - p.58
- H. A. Laine - Was County Agent in Jessamine County - New Job: Negro education progress and viewpoints as they apply to Negro farm families - Salary Adjustment - 1947 - p.60
- Maudline Brown - Negro Assistant Home Demonstration Agent - Hickman, KY - November 30, 1947 - p.22
- Verna Guinn - Negro Assistant Home Demonstration Agent - Frankfort, KY - November 30, 1947 - p.22
- John L. Watson - (Negro) Assistant County Agent - Warren-Barren Counties - June 1, 1947 - p.28
- Amanda L. Manly - Negro Assistant Home Demonstration Agent - Franklin, Shelby, and Scott Counties - December 1, 1947 - p.61
- John H. Finch - Assistant in Negro Work - Salary Adjustment - July 1, 1947 - p.23
- John L. Watson - Assistant County Agent in Negro Work - Warren-Barren Counties - Salary Adjustment - January 1, 1948 - p.75
- Verna E. Guinn - Negro Assistant Home Demonstration Agent - Fulton-Hickman Counties - Re-entering Service - Effective November 1, 1949 - p.26
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce
Geographic Region: Kentucky
Anderson, Robert B.
Birth Year : 1843
Death Year : 1930
Anderson was born in Green County, KY. His mother and siblings were the property of Colonel Robert Ball, and his father was the property of Alfred Anderson. When he was six, Anderson's mother had a dispute with the mistress and was sold for field work in Louisiana. Robert never saw his mother again. In 1864, Anderson ran away to Lebanon, KY, where he joined the Army. He served in the west and received an honorable discharge, whereupon he returned to Kentucky but eventually moved out west, in 1870 settling in Nebraska. As a farmer, he had both years of prosperity and years of poverty until he finally found security with a farm of 1,120 acres that grew to be 2,000 acres. Anderson married in 1922 at the age of 79; his wife was 21. His wife's family soon moved in and his wife took over his affairs, which resulted in the land being heavily mortgaged. It was around that time, in 1927, that Anderson had his book published by the Hemingford Ledger: From slavery to affluence; memoirs of Robert Anderson, ex-slave. In 1930, he deeded all of his property to his wife. Robert Anderson died after the car he was riding in overturned; his wife, her brother and a friend survived. Ball's wife, Daisy Anderson, who passed away in 1998, had been one of the three surviving Civil War widows in the U.S. For more see D. D. Wax, "Robert Ball Anderson, ex-slave, a pioneer in Western Nebraska, 1884-1930," Nebraska History, vol. 64, issue 2 (1983), pp. 163-192.
Listen to the oral history and read the transcript of Daisy Anderson and Alberta Martin, two of the last living Civil War widows, at radiodairies.org.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Authors, Freedom, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Green County, Kentucky / Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky / Box Butt County, Nebraska
Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad Tomato
The following information comes from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange website and from the unpublished book manuscript on gardening by retired UK Librarian Kate Black. "[Heirloom carried through the Underground Railroad by an unnamed black man as he crossed to freedom in Ripley, OH, from KY. Seeds were passed on to Aunt Lou, who passed them on to her great nephew, and eventually on to heirloom tomato enthusiast Gary Millwood.]" Kate Black interviewed Gary Millwood prior to his death in May of 2013. It was during their conversation that Milwood introduced her to Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad Tomato, a dark pink fruit that he found in Ohio. For more see Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad Tomato, a Tatiana's Tomatobase website.
See video "Saving Tomato Seeds - Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad" on YouTube.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Ohio
Burnette, Atlas Crawford
Birth Year : 1885
Death Year : 1960
A. C. Burnette, born in North Carolina, was the second African American employed by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Extension Service, where he began work in 1919 and retired in 1944. He was in charge of Negro extension work in Kentucky. Burnette was a 1903 graduate of North Carolina A&M College [now North Carolina State University] and taught at the school for a few years after his graduation. Burnette had several other jobs before he arrived in Kentucky just prior to the building of Lincoln Institute. He helped clear the fields for the construction of the school, and once the school was in operation, he taught agriculture for six years. He left the state for a brief period, then returned to head the Kentucky State College Agricultural Department [now Kentucky State University] for three and a half years before becoming an agent with the UK Agricultural Extension Service in 1919. He was hired by Dean Thomas P. Cooper. Burnette had an assistant in Madison County. Among his many responsibilities, Burnette assisted with the development of 4-H for Negro youth, which grew to have more than 5,000 members. He organized the Negro Club in Madison County, KY. Also during his tenure, the number of meat cattle owned by Negro farmers more than tripled and food crop production doubled. After his retirement, Burnette was replaced by John Finch. In 1947, A. C. Burnette Day was held in Hopkinsville, KY. In 1952, there were three African American agricultural agents and six home demonstration agents, all serving 32 counties. In those counties with few Negro farmers, all farmers were served by the white county agent. According to A. C. Burnette's WWI Draft Registration Card submitted to the Local Board of Franklin County, KY, and dated September 12, 1918, he was born February 28, 1885 and was the husband of Florence Bradley Burnette. A. C. Burnette died October 7, 1960 and is buried in the Cove Haven Cemetery in Lexington, KY. For more see J. T. Vaughn, "Farm agent fears work cut life span from 100 to 80," Lexington Leader, 06/16/1952, p. 8. See also The College of Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Kentucky, by J. A. Smith; and the Thomas Poe Cooper Papers at the University of Kentucky's Special Collections Library.
*[A. L. Garvin was the first African American hired by the UK Agricultrual Extension Service. He was hired in July of 1918 as a (Colored) Emergency Assistant County Agent for Mercer County with a one year contract - $100 per month - ($66 2/3 per month paid by Emergency Fund) - p.4, University of Kentucky, Board of Trustees Minutes.]
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Education and Educators, Migration West
Geographic Region: North Carolina / Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky
Garvin, Ananias Lorenzo
Birth Year : 1874
Death Year : 1952
Ananias L. Garvin was the first African American hired by the University of Kentucky Agricultral Extension Service. He was hired in July of 1918 as a (Colored) Emergency Assistant County Agent for Mercer County with a one year contract - $100 per month - ($66 2/3 per month paid by Emergency Fund) [source: p.4, University of Kentucky, Board of Trustees Minutes.]. A. L. Garvin and his wife Effie Williams Garvin (1879-1934), both Kentucky natives, were school teachers in the colored school in Harrodsburg, KY [source: 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. A. L. Garvin was the school principal and his wife was a school supervisor in 1920 when the couple lived on Price Avenue in Harrodsburg [source: 1920 U.S. Federal Census]. A. L. Garvin had been serving as the school principal since 1903 and he left the school in 1920 [see NKAA entry African American Schools in Mercer County, KY]. He and his wife moved to Louisville and lived on Chestnut Street; A. L. Garvin was working for at the Standard Life Insurance Company as the director of agents, and his wife was a homemaker [source: p.624 in Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1924; and 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. Effie Garvin died October 16, 1934; she was from Lexington, KY, the daughter of Don W. Williams and Amanda Colerain Williams [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File#25359]. In 1940, A. L. Garvin was teaching in the Jefferson County Schools and he was married to Ana Garvin, a school teacher in Louisville who was born in Virginia [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1941, he was principal of Orell School in Louisville [source: A. L. Garvin letter and correspondence within Dargan House collection (online) at Indiana University]. A. L. Garvin was born in Munfordville (Hart County), KY, the son of Emmitt and Catherine [Brawner] Garvin; and A. L. Garvin died at Central State Hospital in Louisville, KY on May 23, 1952 [source: Kentucky Certificate of Death File#1165210218; and 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. His death occurred a year before the 1953 Kentucky Court of Appeals decision in the case of A. L. Garvin et. al., Appellants v. Pythian Mutual Industrial Association et. al., Appellees [info at FindACase]. The case concerned the 1935 transfer of the Pythias Mutual Association building, at the corner of 10th and Chestnut Streets in Louisville, to the Pythian Dependent Widows and Orphans Aid.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Insurance Companies, Insurance Sales, Education and Educators, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky / Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Groves, Junius G.
Birth Year : 1859
Death Year : 1925
Junius Groves was born a slave in Green County, KY, or Louisville, KY. He walked to Kansas City in 1897, where he worked for 40 cents per day. Groves was able to save enough money to purchase a nine acre farm in Edwardsville, KS, which enabled him to later purchase a 500 acre produce farm there. At one time he produced more potatoes than any other farmer in the world, the harvest so large that a private railroad track was built on his land by Union Pacific Railway for shipping the produce. Groves was known as the "Potato King of the World." He also founded the community of Groves Center, KS, in 1913. For more see Junius K. Graves (sic) in The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and the Junius G. Groves entry on the Kansapedia website, by the Kansas State Historical Society.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Businesses, Migration West, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Green County or Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Kansas City and Edwardsville, Kansas
Birth Year : 1955
Merion Haskins was born in Campbellsville, KY. The 6'4" forward played high school basketball at Taylor County High School; he ranks fifth among its all-time leading scorers with 1,761 points. Haskins played college ball for the University of Kentucky (UK) from 1973 to 1977, playing in a total of 86 games and scoring 134 points. Haskins and Larry Johnson were the second and third African American players recruited by UK's Coach Joe B. Hall; they were two of the earliest African American recruits to the UK basketball team. Haskins, a UK College of Agriculture graduate, did not play professional basketball; he was employed as a leaf procurement officer with Philip Morris USA. He is the brother of Clem Haskins. For more see Merion Haskins in "Gumm, Cards back in groove with 74-50 romp at Knox," Central Kentucky News Journal, 03/01/2004; Merion Haskins on the Big Blue History website; and R. Weckman, "What a difference a generation makes" in the UK College of Agriculture's the magazine, Spring 2000.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Basketball
Geographic Region: Campbellsville, Taylor County, Kentucky
Hind experimented with plants and developed new farm crops; he was thought to be the first person to cultivate watermelons in Kentucky. Hinds Bend on the Kentucky River is named after him. Hind had been a slave at Boonesborough. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Freedom
Geographic Region: Boonesborough, Madison County, Kentucky
Tobacco in Upper Canada
Start Year : 1819
Escaped slaves from Kentucky and Virginia had raised tobacco in their respective state and took those skills with them to Upper Canada in 1819. During the 1820s, the city of Amherstburg became the major location for tobacco farming, and the city attracted even more escaped slaves with experience raising the crop. "Six hundred hogs head [sic] of tobacco was exported to Montreal annually." The Canadian tobacco market was glutted by 1827, resulting in the dramatic deterioration of both the price and quality of the tobacco, so the economic tobacco boom came to an end. For more see p. 23 in Unwelcome Guests: Canada West's response to American fugitive slaves, 1800-1865, by J. H. Silverman.
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce, Freedom, Migration North
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Virginia / Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada
Willis, Frank R.
Birth Year : 1874
Willis, from Louisville, KY, raised poultry; his chickens won national and international awards, including the World's Champion Cockerel award at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1933. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and Frank R. Willis in the following Crisis articles, "Industry," v.13, no.1, November 1916, p.29, and "Industry," v.19, no.2, December 1919, p.82..
Subjects: Agriculturalists, Agriculture, Produce
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois