Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest

staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database


Return to search page.

Coleman, George
Birth Year : 1798
Death Year : 1908
Coleman was a famous jockey in the 1830s. He rode in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and other locations. He had been a slave in Kentucky who belonged to the Lindsay Family. In his later years, Coleman was a member of the circus managed by Dan Rice. He eventually settled in Seguin, TX, where he died. For more see "Former slave dead at 110," The Washington Post, 07/18/1908, p. 1.
Subjects: Circus, Jockeys, Horsemen, Horse Breeders, Trainers, Betting, & The Derby, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / New York / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania / Washington D.C. / Seguin, Texas

Goshen, Colonel Ruth
Birth Year : 1824
Death Year : 1889
Colonel Ruth Goshen, a circus employee who was billed as an 8-foot giant, went by many different names: Ruth, Routh, Deruth and Rutherford. His birthplace was also in question until just prior to his death; circus managers would claim that Goshen was born in Jerusalem, or Prussia, or Turkey, or that he was an African American from Kentucky. Neither his names nor birth locations were correct: Goshen was not Arabic nor African American nor Turkish nor Prussian. Nor was he 8 feet tall. Goshen was about 7'6" tall and his real name was Arthur Crowley [Caley]; he was born on the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, bordered by England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. For more see "Colonel Ruth Goshen" in American Sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers, by M. Hartzman; Arthur Caley, at the A Manx Note Book website; and "The Giant is Dead," The New York Times, 02/14/1889, p. 3.

See photo image of Colonel Ruth Goshen at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Circus, Hoaxes
Geographic Region: Isle of Man, Europe / Kentucky

Johnson, "Big Winnie"
Birth Year : 1839
Death Year : 1888
Johnson was born in Henry County, KY, on either Boyd Club Farm or E. M. Bryant Farm. She was billed as the biggest woman in the world. Johnson was a widow and mother of ten children, she turned to show business after her husband died in 1882. At her death, Johnson weighed 849 pounds. She had been showcased from a boxcar, travelling throughout the United States. Johnson died of fatty degeneration of the heart and was buried in Laurel Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. At the time of her death, only three of her children were alive. For more see "Big Winnie Johnson," American Sideshow: an encyclopedia of history's most wondrous and curiously strange performers by M. Hartzman; and "Big Minnie's Burial, The Prize Fat Colored Woman Laid to Rest Yesterday," The Baltimore Herald, 09/14/1888.
Subjects: Circus
Geographic Region: Henry County, Kentucky / Baltimore, Maryland


Return to the search page.