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1878 Abdallah Park "Colored" Fair (Harrison County, KY)
Start Year : 1878
"I wonder how many who read this will remember when our colored citizens gave a fair at Abdallah Park? Along about 1878, I put it, and I was there. My father allowed his stable boy to show some stock and sent me along to act as kind of fiduciary agent." For more about the fair and additional history, see "African-American Life in Cynthiana - 1870 - 1940," Harrison Heritage News, February 2004, vol. 5, no. 2 (published monthly by Harrison County Historical Society. PO Box 411, Cynthiana, KY 41031).
Subjects: Colored Fairs, Black Expos, and Chautauquas, Parks
Geographic Region: Cynthiana, Harrison County, Kentucky
Allensworth, Allen [Allensworth, California]
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1914
Allen Allensworth was born a slave in Louisville, KY, the son of Levi and Phyllis Allensworth. He escaped and became a nurse during the Civil War and later joined the Navy and became a chief petty officer. After the war, he returned to Kentucky and became a schoolteacher, an ordained minister, and a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1880 and 1884. He was appointed chaplain of the 24th Infantry by President Cleveland and received promotion to lieutenant colonel. In 1890, Allensworth moved to California and established a company to assist African Americans in their migration to California. The town of Allensworth was developed, the first and still the only California town founded by African Americans. Today the area where the town once stood is Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park. Allen Allensworth was the husband of Josephine Leavell Allensworth, also a Kentucky native. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; "Rev. Allen Allensworth, A.M." on pp.198-199 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky; History of Allensworth, CA; Friends of Allensworth; and for more about Allen Allensworth's military career see his entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier by F. N. Schubert.
See photo image of Allen Allensworth on p.189 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Parks, Religion & Church Work, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Nurses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Allensworth, California (no longer exists)
At Leisure's Edge
Start Year : 2001
A one hour documentary of Kentucky's historic black parks, by B. L. Shearer, Jr. For more see At Leisure's Edge.
Watch the documentary online at BoydShearer.com.
Geographic Region: Kentucky
Birth Year : 1821
Death Year : 1857
Stephen Bishop was 17 years old in 1838 when both he and Mammoth Cave were purchased by Franklin Gorin, a Kentucky attorney. A year later, they were both sold to Dr. John Croghan. Bishop, the first African American cave explorer, was the first guide and explorer of Mammoth Cave, the world's longest cave system. He knew the cave system better than all others, which made him a responsible tour guide. He also made a published map of the cave. After receiving his freedom, Bishop had planned to take his wife Charlotte and their son to live in Liberia, Africa, but he died before he could do so. Stephen Bishop is buried in the cemetery near the entrance to Mammoth Cave. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; In Remembrance (pdf); The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and J. C. Schmitzer, "The sable guides of Mammoth Cave," Filson Club History Quarterly, 1993, vol. 67, issue 2, pp. 240-258.
Subjects: Explorers, Freedom, Liberia, Liberian Presidents & Diplomats, Parks
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky
Start Year : 1838
Nick and Matt [or Mat] Bransford and Stephen Bishop were slaves who served as guides at Mammoth Cave; Matt was a guide for 49 years, beginning in 1838. He was the son of Thomas Bransford and a slave woman. Henry Bransford, Matt's son, was a guide for 19 years. Matt W. and Lewis Bransford, Henry's sons, were also guides, Matt for 32 years. Lewis resigned in 1940, and in 1948 Mammoth Cave was turned over to the federal government. Eight of the Bransford men had been guides in Mammoth Cave. In 2002, Jerry Bransford became a guide at the cave, he is the great-great-grandson of Mat Bransford. For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; Louisville Defender, 04/12/1942; The News-Enterprise (Hardin County, KY), 02/09/04; J. C. Schmitzer, "The sable guides of Mammoth Cave," Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 67, issue 2 (1993), pp. 240-258; K. Ohlson, "Illuminating his heritage," American Profile, 11/8-14,2009, pp.6-7; and Making Their Mark: the signature of slavery at Mammoth Cave by J. Lyons.
See photo image of Matt Bransford at NYPL Digital Gallery.
See photo image of William Bransford at NYPL Digital Gallery.
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky
Birth Year : 1824
Death Year : 1906
Richard Brock, born a slave in Kentucky, was given as a wedding present to the daughter of his master. The daughter moved to Houston, Texas, and brought Brock with her. Brock would become a leader in the Houston community: he owned a blacksmith business and became a land owner, he helped found two churches, and had part ownership of the Olivewood Cemetery. The cemetery was the first for African Americans within the Houston city limits. In 1870, Brock became the first African American Aldermen in the Houston city government. Brock is listed as a mulatto in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, and he and his wife Eliza (b.1837 in Alabama) were the parents of five children. They would have five more children. Richard Brock was co-founder of the first masonic lodge in Houston for African Americans and he helped found Emancipation Park. In 1900, Richard Brock was a widow living with three of his daughters and two grandchildren. The Richard Brock Elementary School in downtown Houston is named in his honor. For more see "Exhibit honors former slaves who emerged as pathfinders,"Houston Chronicle, 02/08/1987, Lifestyle section, p. 1.
Subjects: Businesses, Education and Educators, Migration West, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Religion & Church Work, Blacksmiths, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Fraternal Organizations
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Houston, Texas
Cabell, Aaron H.
Birth Year : 1855
Death Year : 1915
Aaron H. Cabell was born in Henderson, KY, he was the slave of John B. Cabell. He was related to the Cabell pharmacists - Atwood, Roger, and Delmo. Aaron Cabell established a grocery store in Henderson in 1874 and a mercantile store in 1915. He owned a good deal of stock and property in Henderson, including the estate of Jacob Held and Held Park, which was renamed Cabell Park. He was a delegate to the Republican Convention in Chicago in 1888. Aaron was a brother of George Cabell, and according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, they were two of the six or more children of Harriet (b.1823) and James Cabell (b.1820). Aaron Cabell married Amanda Rucker on September 23, 1875, according to the Kentucky Marriage Records. For more see "Mr. Aaron H. Cabell," The Colored American, 11/01/1902, p.5 [article online at Chronicling America]; Who's Who of the Colored Race, 1915; and "Henderson, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, First Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, August 23-24, 1900, reel 1, frames 164-165 [also available online at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Businesses, Parks
Geographic Region: Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky
Cherokee State Park (Kentucky Lake, KY)
Start Year : 1951
Cherokee State Park was a Historic Restoration Project that was completed in 2010. The park originally opened in 1951, the third segregated park for African Americans in the United States, the first in Kentucky and the South. It was publicized as "the finest colored vacation site in the South." The area consisted of 300 acres with a beach, cottages, boat and fishing docks, a picnic area, a bathhouse, and a dining hall, which seated 200. The land was leased from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) under a 19-year contract, and the land title was to go to Kentucky when the state was financially able to take on the facility. With the advent of desegregation, the park was closed in the 1960s and became part of Kenlake Park; only a few of the buildings remain today. For more see Cherokee State Park, a flier by the Kentucky State Parks; earlier articles in the Courier Journal (Louisville), 05/11/1946 & 05/31/1951; J. Lucas, "State giving lift to former Black park," Evansville Courier & Press, 07/18/2005, Metro section, p. B1; and Kentucky's Segregated Parks and 1930 Black Population [.pdf], a University of Kentucky website. See also Friends of Cherokee State Park on Facebook and K. Lough, "Cherokee Park renovation celebrated," Murray Ledger & Times website, 09/16/2010.
Geographic Region: Kentucky Lake, Livingston, Marshall, and Trigg Counties, Kentucky
Civil War Colored Troops, Columbus, KY
Birth Year : 1861
During the Civil War, Fort DeRussey was located within what is now the Columbus-Belmont State Park. The town of Columbus was considered the state's most powerful Confederate stronghold in 1861; the location was crucial to the defense of the Upper Mississippi River. The following year, the town would be taken over by the Union Army and Columbus would become a refuge for runaway slaves, and second to Camp Nelson for recruiting and training African American soldiers. Fort DeRussey was renamed Fort Helleck, and by the end of the war, the majority of the Union soldiers in that part of the state were African American. For more see B. Craig, "Monday PMs Feature; Fortress town became haven for runaway slaves," The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 11/28/1999.
Subjects: Freedom, Military & Veterans, Parks
Geographic Region: Columbus-Belmont State Park, Columbus, Hickman County, Kentucky
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp 510 at Mammoth Cave, KY
Start Year : 1926
The CCC camps were based at Mammoth Cave for the workers who were to transform the area into a national park, as Congress designated in 1926. One camp was specifically for African Americans. The Mammoth Cave location was thought to be ideal due to the large, readily-available labor force and the cave's remote location would allow for an African American camp because it was away from white communities. All of the CCC men were inducted at Fort Knox and received haircuts, uniforms, immunizations, discipline, assignments of hard work, and isolation. African American artist and enrollee D. W. Higgenbotham became ill and died at the site, and there were rumors that the campsite was haunted. Problems between the races resulted in the white enrollees being moved to a new location while the African Americans remained at Camp 510, which became known for a while as the "graveyard." For more see J. C. Schmitzer's thesis, The black experience at Mammoth Cave, Edmonson County, Kentucky, 1838-1942; and "CCC Camp 510: Black Participation in the Creation of Mammoth Cave National Park," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, 1995, vol. 93, issue 4, pp. 446-464.
Geographic Region: Mammoth Cave National Park, Edmonson County, Kentucky
Claysville and Other Neighborhoods (Paris, KY)
Claysville was established by African Americans at the end of the Civil War on what was then the outskirts of Paris, KY. The community was located on land that was purchased from Samuel H. Clay, whose farm bordered the area on one side. Claysville was more of a separate community than other African American neighborhoods within Paris: it included churches, stores, and businesses. The main entrance was off Main Street, under a one lane railroad viaduct hemmed on one side by a two story building, on the other side by a stream. The entrance is still in use. The back entrance was off Winchester Street. The Branch School for African American children, where inventor Garrett A. Morgan, Sr. was educated, was located in Claysville. The community has been renamed Garrett Morgan's Place, and a Kentucky Historical Marker [number 1493] was rededicated in 2000, but most still refer to the area as Claysville. The community name was spelled Clayville on the Sanborn Maps of Paris, Bourbon County [available at Kentucky Digital Library]. A Colored school house can be found on sheet two of the Oct 1901 map. The school was located on Trilby Street, Lot H. Beginning in the 1970s, Urban Renewal razed the old structures in Claysville, new homes and housing projects were constructed, and a park was added down by the stream. Many of the present residents are descendants of Claysville's earliest home owners. Other African American areas used to exist in Paris: Cottontown, off Main Street just past the railroad overpass heading toward Millersburg, down by the creek; Newtown and Judy's Alley, off High Street heading toward Lexington (homes in both areas were replaced by housing projects); and Singles Alley, off Eighth Street heading toward Georgetown, all of its older homes torn down. Ruckersville or Ruckerville, bound by Lilleston Ave., Second Street, and a creek, had a large number of African Americans. The land is thought to have been part of the Grimes' farm at one time. The old homes were razed by Urban Renewal in the 1970s and 1980s and new homes and apartments were constructed and a park was added down by the creek. Little or nothing has been published about these areas, but a visit with the various community members will garner much more information. For more on Claysville see Famous Inventor, 1877-1963, in the Kentucky Historical Marker Database; and search using the term "Claysville" in the newspaper, Bourbon News, available online at Kentucky Digital Library - Newspapers and at Chronicling America.
Subjects: Communities, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky
Covington Tigers Baseball Team (Covington, KY)
According to writer Jim Reis of The Kentucky Post, it is not known when the Covington Tigers were organized, but they were mentioned in the newspaper as early as 1918. Although not in a league, the team played both African American and white teams. On June 24, 1918, the team beat the African American team from Camp Sherman, Ohio; about 2,000 people attended the game at Federal Park. In 1919, the team moved to Newport, KY. For more see J. Reis, "Baseball, church played key roles in black history," The Kentucky Post, 02/10/1997, p. 4K.
Subjects: Baseball, Parks
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky / Newport, Campbell County, Kentucky
Crawford, Don L.
Birth Year : 1921
Death Year : 2000
In 1961, Don L. Crawford became the first African American to be elected a Dayton City Commissioner. He was also the first person to be both a commission clerk and executive assistant to the commission, he retired in 1990. Crawford was also recognized for his public speaking ability. Born in Clinton, KY, he was a mathematics and physics graduate from Kentucky State University. Crawford left Kentucky for Dayton after his college graduation. He was a high school mathematics teacher and basketball coach before joining the U.S. Navy during WWII. In 1946, he became a social work administrator and later became more involved in the local politics. A park and Don Crawford Plaza were named in his honor. For more see A. Robinson, "Ex-commissioner Crawford dies," Dayton Daily News, 12/14/2000, p.1B; and MS-332 Don L. Crawford Papers at Wright State University Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects: Education and Educators, First City Employees & Officials (1960s Civil Rights Campaign), Migration North, Military & Veterans, Parks
Geographic Region: Clinton, Hickman County, Kentucky / Dayton, Ohio
Crenshaw, Walter Clarence, Jr.
Birth Year : 1935
Death Year : 1969
Born in Millersburg, KY, Walter C. Crenshaw, Jr. was a graduate of Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and taught in the Canton (Ohio) City School System. He was later appointed Executive Director of the Canton Area Housing Authority. Crenshaw Middle School and a park in Canton are named in his honor. Walter C. Crenshaw, Jr. was the son of Anna Frances Williams Crenshaw and Walter C. Crenshaw, Sr. For more see the Crenshaw Middle School website; and C. M. Jenkins, "Canton educator tills, waters young minds...," Akron Beacon Journal, 09/26/1993, Metro section, p. B1.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Housing Authority, The Projects, Migration North, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Millersburg, Bourbon County, Kentucky / Canton, Ohio
The Daily Aesthetic Projects (website and oral histories)
Start Year : 1997
The Daily Aesthetic website on African American parks in Lexington, Kentucky, prior to integration in 1956.
The Daily Aesthetic Oral History Project: "This project focuses on African American culture during the time of segregated park systems in Lexington, Kentucky. These interviews, originally conducted by Boyd Shearer, Jr. for a multimedia presentation, contain descriptions of African American park activities, particularly in Douglass Park. Activities ranged from doll shows, to carnivals, to sports programs. This community also celebrated the visual arts, music, and holidays such as the 4th of July and Easter. The focus of this collection is not discrimination experienced by African Americans at this time, but rather how the park provided a place for them to come together and cultivate a sense of identity and community."
Read more about The Daily Aesthetic Oral History recordings available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item records in the SPOKE Database. The recordings are available online.
Goodlowtown, Goodloetown, or Goodloe (Lexington, KY)
Goodlowtown was a community in itself, established around 1871; by 1887 it had grown to include Gunntown and Bradley Street Bottoms. It was the largest Negro residential area in Lexington. The community was located on bottomland that had been used during the Civil War for mule stalls. The Colored Normal School was located in Goodloetown, with J. G. Hamilson as principal and Miss Mary E. White was a teacher, according to the Lexington City Directory, 1873 and 1874. Today Goodloe is a predominately low-income African American neighborhood partially shielded from view by Thoroughbred Park in downtown Lexington. The area includes portions of DeWeese, Race, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Streets. For more see J. Kellogg, "The Formation of Black Residential Areas in Lexington, Kentucky, 1865-1887," The Journal of Southern History, vol. 48, issue 1 (Feb. 1982), pp. 21-52; and P. Hobgood, "Constructing Community: an Exhibition of the Voices of Goodloetown," Kaleidoscope: University of Kentucky Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship, vol. 4 (2006), pp. 39-44.
Subjects: Communities, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Iroquois Park (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1924
In 1924 two African American teachers, Margaret Taylor and Naomi Anthony, took their students to Iroquois Park for an outing. As they were leaving, the security guards and a group of whites informed the teachers that the park was for whites only. The teachers said that they were not aware of the restriction and would look into the matter. A scuffle of sorts occurred; after the teachers and students were roughly handled, it was termed a near riot, and the teachers were arrested. After several hours the women were taken to the downtown police station where a large crowd of African Americans had gathered. African American leaders and white city leaders debated the issues. The outcome -- the teachers were reprimanded by the school board, the courts fined Naomi Anthony $10 for attacking a park guard, and the Board of Park Commissioners adopted a resolution of segregation in the Louisville public parks. For more see Life Behind a Veil, by G. Wright.
Subjects: Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Court Cases
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Jackson, Jordan C., Jr.
Birth Year : 1848
Death Year : 1918
Jordan C. Jackson, Jr. was born in Lexington, KY, the son of James Ann and Jordan C. Jackson, Sr. An attorney and an African American Republican leader in Kentucky, Jordan Jr. was the first African American undertaker in Lexington, along with his partner William M. Porter. Jackson eventually bought out Porter. Prior to getting into the undertaking business, Jackson was editor of the American Citizen newspaper. He also contracted with the federal government to carry mail from the train to the post office. He was chairman of the committee behind the creation of Douglass Park in Lexington, KY. He was married to Isabelle Mitchell Jackson and brother of John H. Jackson. For more see Biographical Sketches of Prominent Negro Men and Women of Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; and Ante-bellum free Negroes as race leaders in Virginia and Kentucky during Reconstruction (thesis) by C. B. King, p. 136.
See photo image of Jordan C. Jackson, Jr. on page 513 in Evidences of Progress Among Colored People by G. F. Richings, at the UNC Documenting the American South website.
Subjects: Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers, Lawyers, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Postal Service, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Johnson, George "GG"
Birth Year : 1939
George Johnson was born in Columbus, Georgia. He is the first and only African American head golf professional in Kentucky. In 2004, he was one of nine golf professionals named to manage Louisville Metro Park clubhouse operations for the next five years. Johnson is the Head Pro at Bobby Nichols Golf Course in Waverly Park, Louisville, KY, where he has been since 1997. George Johnson became a professional golfer in 1964, qualifying for the U.S. Open in 1965. In 1971 he won the Azalea Open and became the fourth African American to win a PGA tournament. Johnson is a lifetime member of the PGA Tour. In 2008, George Johnson was inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame. For more see the annual George "GG" Johnson Golf Scramble fliers. For more about George Johnson's career, see D. Poore, "Golf league seeks minorities," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 05/02/2007, Neighborhoods section, p. 19.
See photo image and additional information about George "GG" Johnson at the bottom of the Urban Youth Golf Program website.
Subjects: Golf and Golfers, Migration North, Parks
Geographic Region: Columbus, Georgia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Johnson, "Sweet" Lou
Birth Year : 1934
Lou Johnson was born in Lexington, KY. The 5'11", 175-pound Johnson was the first African American from Lexington to play major league baseball. The street Lou Johnson Way and Lou Johnson Park, both in the Pralltown neighborhood of Lexington, are named in his honor. He attended old Dunbar High School and later played semi-pro ball with the Lexington Colts. He went on to play in the Negro League on the Indianapolis Clowns team. In 1950 he joined the Chicago Cubs and went on to play for six different teams before ending his baseball career in 1969. Johnson hit two home runs during the Los Angeles Dodgers' 1965 World Series victory. For more see Kaleem, J., "Sweet Gets His Street," Lexington Herald-Leader (08/12/04), p. 1; and Lou Johnson at the Baseball Almanac website.
See photo image of Lou Johnson at Negro Leagues Baseball eMuseum website.
Subjects: Baseball, Parks
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette Count;y, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / Los Angeles, California
Kendall, Joseph N.
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1965
Kendall was born in Owensboro, KY. In July 2007, he became the first Kentucky State University inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, located in South Bend, IN. Kendall was considered one of the greatest passers in college football and a good all around player. He not only played quarterback, but was a running back, punted with both feet, and played on defense. In 1934, he led Kentucky State University to a national black college football championship and an undefeated season. In 1935, he led the team to an Orange Blossom Classic victory. The Pittsburgh Courier named Kendall a First Team All-America three times between 1934-36. He was inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. During Kendall's college football career, Kentucky State had a 29-7-3 record. He was selected for the African American All-Star team that played against the Chicago Bears in 1935; it was the first time that an African American team played against an NFL team. Kendall was also a good baseball and basketball player. He served in the Army for two years, then graduated from Kentucky State in 1938. His original higher education plan had been to attend Paducah to study culinary arts, but once he was seen playing football, he was encouraged to enroll and play for Kentucky State. After college, he was hired to teach and coach at the African American Rosenwald High School in Harlan, KY, and in 1946 became principal of the school. In 1948, he returned to Owensboro to become the football coach at the school he had graduated from, Western High School. The Kendall-Perkins Park in Owensboro is named in honor of Joseph N. Kendall and Joseph Perkins. For more see L. Vance, "College football hall of fame welcomes 3 African-American QBs," at blackathlete.net; S. Hagerman, "One of the finest: Late Western High standout to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 07/16/2007, section C, p.1; and contact CESKAA.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Football, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky / Harlan, Harlan County, Kentucky
Lake Barkley African American Heritage Weekend (Cadiz, KY)
Start Year : 2007
The first "Tribute to African American Heritage Weekend" was held August 10-11, 2007, at Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz, KY. The celebration focused on the the history and contributions of African Americans in Western Kentucky and included a tour of Cherokee Park in Kenlake State Resort Park. The event was also referred to as an Emancipation Day celebration. For more see "Lake Barkley State Resort Park To Hold First Tribute To African American Heritage Weekend Aug. 10-11", 07/08/2007, press release at Kentucky.gov website, and News-Democrat & Leader, 08/10/2007, News section, p. A3; and D. Chester, "Emancipation Day important to Blacks," The Leaf-Chronicle, 07/08/2007, Opinion section, p. 2C.
Subjects: Parks, Emancipation Day / Juneteenth Celebrations
Geographic Region: Cadiz, Trigg County, Kentucky
Lyles, Lenny E.
Birth Year : 1936
Lenny E. Lyles was born in Nashville, TN, and grew up in Louisville, KY, where he attended Central High School. Lyles became a track star, and a running back and defensive back at the University of Louisville (1953-1957). He holds school football records with 42 touchdowns and 300 points, and he led the nation in 1957 by rushing 1,207 yards. In 1958 he was drafted by the Baltimore Colts [now Indianapolis Colts] in the first round of the NFL draft. He played pro football for 12 years. A life-size bronze statue of Lyles was presented at Cardinal Park in Louisville in October 2000. The statue was created by Louisville sculptor Ed Hamilton. For more see Lenny Lyles in the Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines, vol. 11: Sept. 1976-Aug. 1979; Lenny Lyles at databaseFootball.com; Lenny Lyles Statue; and "Lenny Lyles, blazing a different trail" in Who's Who in Black Louisville, 2nd ed., p.59.
See photo image and additional information about Lenny Lyles at the University of Louisville website.
Subjects: Football, Parks
Geographic Region: Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Negro Village Site (Marshall County, KY)
Start Year : 1938
The Negro Village Site was part of the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Kentucky Dam Project. The following information comes from the Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute (website removed), by Bill Mulligan at Murray State University (KY). Kentucky Dam Village is located in Gilbertsville, KY, and the Kentucky Dam Village District is part of the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. During the late 1930s, the workers' villages were constructed for the TVA's Kentucky Dam Project. The Negro Village was established in 1938 and removed after the dam was completed in 1945. The temporary homes had been built by Negro builders at Pickwick Landing Dam and barged downstream to the Kentucky Dam. The local people did not want the community to become a long term addition to the county. There were 19 homes, a recreation building, two dormitories and a school, which was a converted farm house. The dormitories were under-utilized, and there were not enough homes because the workers brought their families with them. Some of the families found housing in nearby towns. The village was placed away from the white village, which was in accordance with TVA policy to help keep peace between the races. Nonetheless, there were racial and social tensions between the Black and white workers, so much so that complaints were filed by the local Black Chapter of the Hod Carriers Union. Louisville had one of the largest chapters of the union, which was dominated by African Americans. The Black chapters of the Hod Carrier Unions supported the employment rights of the African American workers on TVA dam projects. In 1940 there were two fights that led to the Thanksgiving Strike that shut down the project for three days. Three workers were fired, but after reconciliations, the men were rehired. For more information, visit the Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute site or contact the Murray State University Libraries or the Tennessee Valley Authority. See E. L. Rousey, "The Worker's life at Kentucky Dam, 1938-1945," Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 71, issue 3 (1997), pp. 347-366.
Subjects: Communities, Parks, Union Organizations, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Gilbertsville and Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Marshall County, Kentucky
Park Club No.1 [Tyrone Park and Picnic Grounds]
Start Year : 1911
In 1911, the Lexington Park Club No.1 leased a tract of land in Tyrone, KY, and converted it into a park and picnic area for Colored people. The park was located on the Kentucky River, there was a large building for meetings and the land contained a natural spring. Charles Kirtley was the contact person for bookings, his address was 626 Congress Street in Lexington, KY. Tyrone, first known as Streamville in 1869, was located three miles outside of Lawrenceburg, KY. There were two African Americans in Tyrone in 1900, Clara and Charlie Jordan, and by 1920, there were 22, most with the last name Boller, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Park Club No.1 in "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 05/21/1911, p.6.
Geographic Region: Tyrone, Anderson County, Kentucky
Porterfield, Rosella F.
Birth Year : 1919
Death Year : 2004
Rosella F. Porterfield was born in Daviess County, KY. She was a teacher and the first African American librarian in the Elsmere-Erlanger School System in northern Kentucky. She retired from the Elsmere-Erlanger System. The Elsmere Park Board rededicated the Rosella French Porterfield Park in 2002. She is referred to as the Rosa Parks of Northern Kentucky. In 1955, while head teacher at the African American School, Wilkins Heights, Porterfield approached the Elsmere superintendent and said that it was time to integrate the schools. The request was taken to the school board and approved. Porterfield was a 1940 graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University]. In 2007, Rosella French Porterfield was inducted into the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. For more see "Civil-rights pioneer Porterfield honored," The Enquirer (Cincinnati.com), 07/25/02; and C. Meyhew, "Rosella Porterfield, 85, helped integrate schools," The Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/10/2004, Metro section, p. 4C.
See photo image and additional information about Rosella F. Porterfield within Northern Kentucky Views Presents (.pdf).
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Librarians, Library Collections, Libraries, Parks, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Daviess County, Kentucky / Elsmere and Erlanger, Kenton County, Kentucky
Randolph, James E.
Birth Year : 1888
Death Year : 1981
James E. Randolph was a doctor who came to Covington, KY, in 1922, the first African American on the staff of St. Elizabeth Hospital. He delivered most of the African American babies born in Covington between 1922 and 1958. Dr. Randolph received many awards for service to the community; the Eastside Neighborhood Park is named in his honor. Dr. Randolph was born in Frankford, Missouri, the oldest child of Frank and Lizzie Randolph [source: 1900 U.S. Federal Census]. He was a graduate of Lincoln University at Jefferson City and Meharry Medical College in Tennessee. In 1997, Dr. Randolph was posthumously inducted into the Northern Kentucky Leadership Hall of Fame. For more see Dr. James E. Randolph in the Genealogy and Kentucky History: Covington Biographies section of the Kenton County Public Library website.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Parks, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky
Reed, William B. "Chief"
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1996
William B. Reed was born in Paris, KY. He was the last principal of the segregated Western School for Negroes. The Paris City Schools were fully integrated in 1966 and Reed would become the first African American Assistant Principal in the Paris City School system. He was also the first to become a city commissioner in Paris. He had been a star football and basketball player at Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] and he coached the Western High basketball team to a national championship in 1953. Reed was also the school's football coach. He was the first African American elected to the Paris City Council in 1977. The William "Chief" Reed Park in Paris is named in his honor. For more see "William Reed, Retired Educator, Coach, Dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, Obituaries, 10/11/96; and "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 22.
Subjects: Athletes, Athletics, Basketball, Education and Educators, Football, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky
The Richard Hazelwood Family (Henderson, KY)
The Hazelwood family members were only a few of the estimated 300,000 pioneers who made their way through the Cumberland Gap. In 1832, Daniel Hazelwood, the great-great-grandfather of Anthony Hazelwood, came through the Gap, bringing everything that he owned from Virginia to settle in Henderson County, KY. Included were his eight children and 30 slaves. One of the slaves was a young boy named Richard Hazelwood, who was born in Virginia between 1828-1830; Richard was the great-great-great-grandfather of Denyce Porter Peyton. Richard's name was among the list of slaves belonging to the estate of Daniel Hazelwood, who died in 1836. Prior to becoming a free man, Richard married Maria Floyd (or Friels), and their first child was a son named Joseph (1858-1920). When the slaves were freed, the family kept the name Hazelwood, though many of the various African American Hazelwood families in Henderson County were not blood kin. By 1900, Richard had moved his family to the city of Henderson, where he worked as a day laborer. His son Joseph would become a tenant farmer in Henderson and Daviess Counties. Joseph was married to Anna Watson in 1871; according to Denyce Porter Peyton, Anna had been an orphan and nothing is known about her family. Joseph and Anna had several children. Their daughter Edna Mae was married to James Lester Porter, the son of McDonald and Elvira Porter. The Richard Hazelwood family had been in Kentucky since 1832, but all but two of Joseph and Anna's children left Kentucky in search of better opportunities in Indiana and Ohio. In 2008, the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park completed a short film (available on DVD) of reenactments of pioneer families that came to Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap; the Hazelwood family and slaves are included in the film. For more information about the Richard Hazelwood family, contact Denyce Porter Peyton. For more information about Anthony Hazelwood, see A. Stinnett, "Businessman, community benefactor Hazelwood dies," The Gleaner, 12/08/2008. For more information about Cumberland Gap, contact the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. See also M. Simmons, "On the path of the pioneers," Knoxville News Sentinel, 10/20/2008, Local section, p. 10; and The Pioneers, DVD by the National Park Service.
Subjects: Freedom, Genealogy, History, Migration North, Migration West, Parks
Geographic Region: Virginia / Cumberland Gap, Middlesboro, Bell County, Kentucky / Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky
Sleettown (Perryville, KY)
Start Year : 1865
End Year : 1931
Sleettown was an African American community developed after the Civil War on 96-acres near Perryville, KY. During the war, the land had been used as a staging ground for the Confederate Army during the Battle of Perryville, the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky. The history of Sleettown was collected and written by Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet and Mary Q. Kerbaugh. The Sleet Family's earliest known ancestors were Warner and Octavia Sleet. Their sons, Henry, Preston, and George, led in the development of Sleettown. The community had a general store, eating places, and a cemetery. As younger residents began leaving for employment in the city, the population steadily decreased until the last person left Sleettown in 1931; only one old house remains standing. Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Moneta Sleet was a member of the Sleettown family. In 2007, the Kentucky Parks Department purchased the land where Sleettown had existed. The site will be used to tell the history of both the Battle of Perryville and Sleettown. For more see A. Jester, "Sleettown tells a part of the tale," Lexington Herald-Leader, 09/30/2001, KyLife section, p. J3; G. Kocher, "Perryville's next mayor - Anne Sleet adds new chapter to family's proud history in Boyle County," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/27/2006, Main News section, p. A1; and "Sleettown to become part of historic site," Lexington Herald-Leader, City&Region section, p. B3.
Subjects: Communities, Freedom, Parks
Geographic Region: Sleettown [no longer exists] and Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky
Smith, Walton N.
Birth Year : 1924
Death Year : 2003
Smith, born in Hopkinsville, KY, was the first African American appointed to the executive board of the Hopkinsville Chamber of Commerce and also the first to chair the Area Development District in Kentucky. The Hopkinsville Housing Authority named the Walton Smith Park in his honor in 1982. Smith was a WWII veteran. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton.
Subjects: Housing Authority, The Projects, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky
Death Year : 1901
Dr. Turner's death in 1901 was the first suicide on record for an African American in Kentucky. It was thought that he hanged himself due to the shame of being indited for vending lottery tickets. His half nude body was found in the early morning, in the highest tree, 50 feet above ground, in Flora Park in Louisville, KY. The park was located at South and Ormsby Streets. Turner's death was also reported as a lynching. For more see "Suicide: of Dr. Samuel Turner this morning," Newark Daily Advocate, 06/29/1901, p. 1; "He hanged himself high," The Atlanta Constitution, 06/30/1901, p.2.
Subjects: Lynchings, Medical Field, Health Care, Parks, Undertakers, Cemeteries, Coroners, & Obituaries, Gambling, Lottery, Suicide
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Twyman, Luska J.
Birth Year : 1913
Death Year : 1988
Luska J. Twyman was born in Hiseville, KY, the son of Eliza Twyman. In 1968 he became the first African American mayor of Glasgow and, for 17 years, the only African American mayor in Kentucky. He was also the first African American to serve on the U.S. Commission of Human Rights. Twyman was a 1939 graduate of Kentucky State University and a World War II veteran. He was a former principal of the Ralph Bunch School for African Americans in Glasgow. The Luska J. Twyman Memorial Park in Glasgow is named in his honor. There is also a Kentucky Historical Marker [#2019] honoring Twyman in the Glasgow Public Square. For more see "Kentucky City Council Names Black Mayor," Jet, vol. 35, issue 1 (Oct. 10, 1968), p. 4; Luska Twyman in the Kentucky Files - Biography at the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; and S. Brown, "Luska Twyman, Kentucky's first Black mayor, dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 01/29/1988, City/State section, p. C1.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Education and Educators, Military & Veterans, Parks, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Grade Schools & High Schools in Kentucky
Geographic Region: Hiseville and Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky