From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Francis, Lelia Iles

(born: 1903  -  died: 1999) 

Lelia I. Francis was born in Salt Lick, KY. She and her husband, Charles Francis, moved to Dayton, OH in 1943. A graduate of Kentucky State University, Lelia  taught in rural schools in Kentucky before moving to Ohio.

In 1947, Lelia became the first African American realtor in Ohio and the second in the United States; she was a real estate broker for more than 50 years. She also helped establish the Unity Bank and an African American mortgage company. Tle Leila Francis Community Service Award in Dayton is named in her honor.

Lelia was also an activist: she was one of the marchers arrested in 1967 for a protest that attempted to get more African Americans hired in downtown stores in Dayton.

For more see J. H. Smith, "Lelia Iles Francis Dies, she was the first black realtor in Ohio and fought for job opportunities and better schools," Dayton Daily News, 7/26/1999, METRO section, p. 3B.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bath County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Salt Lick, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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NKAA Source: Dayton daily news (newspaper)

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“Francis, Lelia Iles,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 22, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-08-06 17:32:39