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

Richards, Ralph Harrison

(born: Feb. 5, 1919  -  died: Oct. 25, 2002) 

In 1953, African Americans were finally allowed to apply for membership to the Louisville (KY) Bar Association; Ralph H. Richards was one of three African American attorneys whose applications were accepted.

Richards, who had a private law practice in 1951, was appointed assistant police court prosecutor in 1964. During the 1970s he served as an assistant commonwealth attorney.

Richards graduated from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1942, earning  his law degree from Howard University in 1951. He was a World War II veteran, having enlisted in the Army in Cincinnati, OH on July 22, 1943, according to his enlistment records.

Richards was born in Cincinnati, the son of Lucian and Julia Richards, both from Kentucky. In 1920, the family lived on Preston Street, according to the U.S. Federal Census.

For more see P. Burba, "Ralph H. Richards," Courier-Journal, 10/27/2002, NEWS section, p.  5B; "Attorney named prosecution aide in Ky court," Jet, vol.  19, issue 10 (12/16/1965), p. 10; and "Ralph Harrison Richardson (1919-2002) at

The following additional information was provided by family member Sharyn Mitchell. Ralph Richards was raised in Winchester, KY and was a graduate of Oliver High School  there. Although the family stayed with relatives in Cincinnati when the father was working there during the summers, the family never really lived in Cincinnati. Ralph ran for  a judgeship in the mid-1970s. His mother Julia Gray Richards was originally from Marble Creek, KY in Jessamine County and attended Berea College. She was there when Berea was closed to Blacks in 1904 because of the Day Law.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Clark County, KY

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: McAlpin, Harry Sylvester

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Richards, Ralph Harrison,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-23 17:35:02