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

Abbington v Board of Education of Louisville (KY)

When the Louisville Board of Education denied the petition for equal pay for African American teachers, a suit was filed by the NAACP on behalf of Vallateen Virginia Dudley Abbington. The case of Abbington v. Board of Education of Louisville was filed on December 5, 1940, in the Federal District Court.

Abbington (1907-2003), a native of Indiana, was a school teacher in Louisville at the time. She was one of the African American teachers who received 15% less salary than white teachers. The case, brought by the NAACP, was argued by Thurgood Marshall. The School Board agreed that if Abbington would drop her lawsuit, the discrimination in salaries would cease. The lawsuit was withdrawn, and a retroactive clause in the suit gave African American teachers back pay.

The equalization of teacher salaries was a campaign by the NAACP that began in 1936. Abbington v Board of Education of Louisville was the third case for the NAACP, the first such case in Kentucky.

Abbington left Louisville and moved to St. Louis, MO, where she is remembered as a social worker, civic leader, and civil rights leader.

Vallateen Dudley was born in Indianapolis, IN, the daughter of George (born in KY) and Annie L. Dudley.

For more see Papers of the NAACP, Part 3, The Campaign for Educational Equality: Legal Department and Central Office Records, 1913-1950 / Series B, 1940-1950 / Reel 8; "Kentucky Cases" in The Negro Handbook 1946-1947, edited by F. Murray; "Alumna, 96, remembered as strong-willed activist," Exemplar (Eastern Michigan University), Winter 2004, Special Annual Report Issue; and "Vallateen Abbington, social worker, civic leader," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10/19/2003, Metro section, p. D15.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Abbington v Board of Education of Louisville (KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-11 21:02:39