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

Harmon, Martha

(born: 1841) In 1911, Martha Harmon, a widow, held the distinction of being the oldest student in the public schools in the state of New York. The board of education awarded Harmon two gold medals, one for the accomplishments of her studies, and the second for her attendance record. She had been born a slave in Kentucky. She lived at 198 W. 134th Street with her widowed daughter Mary O. Watson (b.1863 in KY) and her grandson Arthur Harmon, and two lodgers, one of whom was Richard McPherson (1883-1994), aka Cecil Mack, a lyricist and music publisher from North Carolina. For four years Harmon had attended public night school no. 157 at 125th Street and Manhattan Avenue. The school was in session from October to April of each year. Harmon walked to school each day, never missed a class, and was late only once. She had moved from Kentucky to Dayton, OH, where she spent most of her adult life before moving to New York. For more see Martha Harmon in "Items of race interest," The Freeman, 05/06/1911, p.2; and "70 years old she wins two medals," Cleveland Gazette, 06/24/1911, p.1.

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NKAA Source: The Freeman [Indianapolis Freeman] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Cleveland gazette (newspaper)

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“Harmon, Martha,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-01-18 01:46:54