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

African American Schools in Wayne County, KY

According to an article in Overview, both African American and white settlers of Shearer Valley and Simpson Branch (then called Turkey Ridge) came together to build the first church/school house for colored and white children in Wayne County, KY. The school, built in 1868, was named Little Flock School and Church [source: History of Public Education of Wayne County, 1842 to 1975, by Ira Bell].

William Simpson, who was white, was the first teacher. The names of 76 Negro teachers, beginning in 1885, are listed on pp. 18-19 in History of Public Education of Wayne County, 1842 to 1975, by I. Bell.

There was one colored school in Wayne County in 1886, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Later other African American schools were established in the county in Dogwood, Duncan Valley, Mill Springs, Monticello, and Meadow Creek. According to Harry F. Young's  thesis, History of Education in Wayne County, pp. 35-37 and 69-73, in 1890, all of the colored school buildings were log structures that were in total  valued at $700. The schools were poor and the teachers not very well prepared.

During the  1895-96 school term, there were seven colored schools in Wayne County; the following school term had eight colored schools with one teacher at each [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-97, pp. 721-725].

Male teachers' average monthly pay was $24.75 during 1895-96, and $18.74 during 1896-97. Female teachers' average monthly pay was $25.06 during 1895-96, and $19.17 during 1896-97. There were never more than eight teachers in the colored schools in Wayne County.

The average attendance was 143 students 1895-96, and 165 students 1896-97. Looking at the 37-year period from 1890-1927, the highest average enrollment at the colored schools in Wayne County was 191 students (during the 1920-21 term), the lowest 60 students (during the 1917-18 term). 


In 1925, L. Iva White was the supervising teacher of the Wayne County Industrial School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.  66]. The school, located in Monticello, had teachers for a term of service of seven months. The school received $350 from the Jeanes Fund. In  1931 there was a high school in the Monticello School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p. 78], a Class 3 high school with one teacher and an average attendance of six  students. William E. Didlicks was principal of the Monticello School.

In 1940 there were four Negro teachers in Wayne County, including Edna Bertram and Carl M. Burnside [source: U.S. Federal Census and  "K.N.E.A. membership by counties," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 9, nos. 1-3, p. 54]. For more see "Negro Schools," Overview, vol. 13, issue 1, 1992. Overview is published by the Wayne County Historical Society in Monticello.

In 1955, there were three colored schools in Wayne County. Wayne County High School was listed as having both "white & colored" students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p. 230]. The following year, the Wayne County High School and the Rocky Branch School were listed as integrated, and the Monticello Independent Schools were noted as "white, colored, and integrated" [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p. 448].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Wayne County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Shearer Valley, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Turkey Ridge, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Dogwood, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Ducan Valley, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Mill Springs, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Monticello, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Meadow Creek, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Wayne County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 20, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/1382.

Last modified: 2021-08-02 17:21:57