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

Steve Crosby v Edmund "Kid" Rucker (boxing)

In 1897 the state of Kentucky and the city of Louisville did not permit boxing matches between African Americans and whites for fear of race riots.…

Meeks, Florian, Jr.

Florian Meeks, Jr. was born in Owenton, KY, the son of Florian, Sr. and Martha L. Meeks. The family of six lived on E. Adair Street, according to the…

Jockeys/Trainers in Kentucky

While fewer African American jockeys became riders in the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing competitions, African American men were still employed…

Samples, John

John Samples, born in Kentucky, was a competing jockey. He rode the horse Wanderer for Rice and McCormack and Longfellow for John Harper. He won the…

Harlem Race Track Employees from Kentucky

Initially named the Harlem Jockey Club, the Harlem Race Track was located in the Village of Harlem, in Proviso Township, a suburb of Chicago, IL. It…

The White Slave, by Bartley Theo Campbell

The White Slave was a play written by Bartley Campbell, who was white. The playopened on April 3, 1882, at the Fourteenth Street Theatre in New York…

Ferguson, Thelma B.

Thelma B. Ferguson, born in Memphis, TN, was, in 2005, the first African American woman to be named President of Chase Bank Kentucky. In 2008,…

Hicks, Madeline Maupin

Madeline Maupin Hicks was the first African American female to attend the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, from which she graduated in…

Cook, Isabel and John Hartwell

It has been mistakenly assumed that the Cooks were Kentucky natives. John Cook was born to a free family around 1838 in Washington, D.C. Isabel Marion…