There are more notable African Americans with Kentucky roots and ties than any one person knows about. Very little has been written about many of them and it is a challenge to find what was written in the past. For some, their stories have only been told by word of mouth. The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA) has been developed as a finding aid to bring together a brief description of pertinent names, places, and events, and to list the sources where additional information may be found. This is not currently an all inclusive database, but we are working toward that goal and suggestions are welcomed.

Recently Updated/Added

Spencer, Moses

Moses Spencer was listed as a free person in William's Lexington [Kentucky] Directory, City Guide, and Business Mirror, Volume I, 1859-60, compiled by…

Stoney Point (Warren County, KY)

According to J. W. Cooke, the African American community of Stoney Point actually began in 1848 when John White died; six of his enslaved were freed;…

Slave Riot Scare (Harlan County, KY)

In September 1842, David Todd and William S. Westervelt, both white students from Oberlin College, were on trial in Harlan County, KY, charged with…

Chambers, Greenberry and Charlotte

Greenberry Chambers, from Barren County, KY, is a former enslaved man recognized as the first permanent settler of Blaine Township in Minnesota.…

Van Leer, Darryl

Darryl Van Leer, an actor, vocalist, writer, and photographer, was born in Madisonville, KY. He is a graduate of Western Kentucky University. Van Leer…

Burdett, Gabriel

Gabriel Burdett was born a slave in Garrard County, KY. In the 1850s, he was a preacher at the Forks Dix River Church in Garrard County. In 1864 he…

Horton, John Benjamin

Born in Georgia, Colonel J. B. Horton came to Kentucky in 1940 to become an advertising salesman with the Louisville Defender newspaper, then advanced…

Jackson, James W.: Migration to Colorado

Jackson was only one of the hundreds of African Americans who left Kentucky for the West. According to the U.S. Census, there were 687 African…