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

African American Schools in Louisville and Jefferson County, KY

Some of the earliest schools for African Americans in Louisville, KY were established in the 1820s. In 1865, there were 7 colored schools with 12 teachers and 730 students [source: H. C. Burnett and H. S. Foote, "From Kentucky (4th paragraph)," New York Times, 07/23/1865, p.5]. There were at least three schools supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands between 1866 and 1870 [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky]. In the 1870s there were at least 15 schools. The first high school for African Americans in Kentucky was located in Louisville in 1873 and was mentioned in several leading newspapers in the United States [source: "The First Colored high school in Kentucky," The New York Times, 10/09/1873, p.1].

In 1880, there were more African American teachers in Louisville and Jefferson County than any other Kentucky town/city or county. The Jefferson County and Louisville teachers in 1880 were Silas Adams, Bell Alexander, Lucy Booker, Sallie Bowman, Thomas Brown, Albert Burgess, Isaac Caldwell, John Collins, Addie Couisins(?), M. F. Cox, L. C. Cox, Lucy Duvall, James Gray, Allen W. Henson, Martha Johnson, William A. Kenzie, W. P. Lewis, Mary Meed, Clarence M. Miller, Isidora Miller, William T. Peyton, Elizabeth Smiley, Mary S. Spradling, Mamie Sublett, Joseph Taylor, John Thomas, Frank Thomas, Tilda Walker, Anna Walker, Jenney Wise, E. C. Wood Sr., Silas Adams, Ada Bedford, Martha Buckner, Virginia Burks, Louretta Carter, Joseph M. Ferguson, Daniel Gaddy, Nancy Hickman, Mack McKinley, I. M. Maxwell, Eliza Jane Mitchell, Elizabeth Morris, Lizzie Patterson, Charles Preston, Mary Robeson, Larry Scott, Nellie Slaughter, Rebecca Smith, and Martha Webster [source: U.S. Federal Census].

In 1895, there were 23 colored schools and 22 teachers in the public school systems in Louisville and Jefferson County, according to the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.457-461. {The number of schools, students, and teachers were undercounted by the superintendent.} The average attendance was 905 students during the 1895-96 school term, and 651 students during the 1896-97 school term. In 1925, there were 13 elementary schools in Jefferson County with 20 teachers, and in Louisville there were 155 elementary teachers and 32 high school teachers [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67 & p.69].

In 1940, there were more than 400 Negro teachers in Louisville and Jefferson County [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Schools listed as having "white & colored" students in 1955 were Kentucky School for the Blind and St. Agnes [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]. The first schools to be listed as integrated are on pp. 432-436 of the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57: a total of 88 schools were noted as integrated; 17 schools in the Jefferson County School system; and 71 schools in the Louisville Independent School system.

  • Bannecker School
  • Bond School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • California School
  • Central School
  • Colored High School
  • Colored Normal School
  • Convent of the Good Shepherd - 518 S. 8th Street**
  • Cotter School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Frederick Douglas School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.49]
  • Dorsey Chapel Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The courier Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Dunbar School
  • DuValle Jr. High School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Eastwood Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Eastern School
  • Eighth Ward School
  • Ely Normal School supported by the Bureau
  • Forest School (Anchorage) [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.862]
  • Fulton Colored School (source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville for 1888, p.31)
  • General Palmer School [source: "Third Day," Louisville Daily Courier, 06/15/1867, p.3]
  • Griffytown Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Highland Park School
  • Hunter's Trace Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Immaculate Heart of Mary School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.218]
  • Industrial School of Know Mission for Colored Children - [founded in 1886, located at 1122 Madison Street, Louisville, KY, conducted by the Women's Missionary Society of the Presbytery of Louisville, KY]*
  • Industrial School of Reform, Colored Girls Building
  • Alexander Ingram School (Jeffersontown) [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.862]
  • Jefferson Jacobs Colored School (Harrods Creek) (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Jeffersontown School
  • Jeffersonville School (Freemen's Bureau) [source: U.S. Commissioner's Court, Daily Courier, 05/23/1868, p.3]
  • Jackson Street School
  • Kentucky Conference High School [source: The Christian Recorder, 10/02/1869 - - “…a preparatory school to Wilberforce University. …”]
  • Kentucky School for the Colored Blnd (260 Haldeman Avenue, source: "The Blind Institution," The Courier-Journal, 10/6/1886, p.6)
  • Lincoln School
  • Louisville Christian Bible School - [opened in 1873 by W. H. Hopson, conducted by P. H. Morse for four years, school was an experiment] - - The Apostolic Times, 09/18/1873, p.4, col.s 2-3
  • Louisville Free Kindergarten Association, Colored Normal Department
  • Louisville Teacher Training School
  • Madison Street School
  • Maiden Lane School
  • Main Street School
  • Moore School
  • National Home Finding Society for Colored Children, School/Orphanage (1909-1923) 
  • Newburg School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1930-1931, p.70]
  • Orell School [source: Principal A. L. Garvin's Letter and correspondence within Dargan House collection (online) at Indiana University]
  • Parkland School
  • Paul Dunbar Colored School (source: "Teachers named for the Louisville schools last night," Courier-Journal, 06/13/1918, p.7)
  • Pearl Street School
  • William H. Perry School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.217]
  • Pleasant Grove Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Portland School
  • Portland Freedmen School
  • Ratliff Institute
  • Ridgewood School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.216]
  • Shelby Street School
  • South Louisville School
  • South Park Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Special for Boys School [Prima F. Washington, Principal, school located at 13th and Liberty, source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.51]
  • St. Augustine School - 1314 W. Broadway**
  • St. Mark's High School - [incorporated in 1867 by trustees Rev. B. B. Smith, Joseph S. Atwell, N. B. Rogers, Jesse Meriwether, and John C. Towels, and as ex-officio, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church, school operated under the auspices of the Episcopal Church] - - Approved March 8, 1867, Chapter 1806, "An Act to Incorporate St. Mark's High School" in Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed, 1867, v.II, pp.342-343.
  • St. Peter Claver - 532 Lampton Street**
  • Jane Grey Cannon Swisshelm School (1838)
  • Talbert School
  • Coleridge Taylor Colored School  (source: "Teachers named for the Louisville schools last night," Courier-Journal, 06/13/1918, p.7)
  • Twelfth Ward School
  • Twenty-ninth Street School
  • Twenty-seventh and Cedar Streets School
  • Virginia Avenue School
  • Booker T. Washington School
  • Western School
  • Western Girls' High School
  • Wheatley School
  • Wilson Street School
  • Worthington Colored School (source: "Effort medal winners given," The Courier-Journal, 05/19/1928, p.3)
  • Young School

For additional information about the early Colored schools in Louisville, see the entry "African American Education" in the Encyclopedia of Louisville, by J. E. Kleber; and see the references to "colored schools" within chapter 17 in volume 2 of History of the Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties by L. A. Williams & Co.

Sources: *see Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, 1896-1897, p.765; for more on the Industrial School of Know Mission for Colored Children see Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 18, 0000UA129, File: Negro Schools. Located in the University of Kentucky Special Collections; **see "Mailing List: Catholic City Schools - 1935-1936" by the Diocese of Louisville, in Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 18, 0000UA129, File: Negro Schools. Located at the University of Kentucky Special Collections. 

See "Don't forget the date," Courier-Journal, 08/20/1906, p.2; "Teachers and their salaries," Courier-Journal, 05/28/1909, p.6; Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, 1909 and 1911; see the NKAA entry Early School in Louisville, KY; see photocopy image of South Park School in Jefferson County on p.30 at Rosenwald schools in Kentucky, 1917-1932 [.pdf]; and see the Kentucky Public School Directory. See also "Still I rise!" Public discourse surrounding the development of public schools for African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, 1862 – 1872 by M. B. Robinson (dissertation).

Read about the oral history interviews on the 1975 first cross-district racial integration plan for Louisville schools: 1) Interview with Lyman  T. Johnson, February 29th, 1980, and 2) Interview with Judge James Gordon, March 12th, 1980.  

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Anchorage, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jeffersontown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Newburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Parkland, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Portland, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Ridgewood, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Entry: African American Schools, Freedmen Schools - Kentucky, 1866-1870
NKAA Entry: Gaddie, Daniel Abraham, Sr.
NKAA Source: Biennial report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky with accompanying documents for the two years beginning July 1 ... and ending June 30 ... (periodical)
NKAA Source: Kentucky public school directory (serial)
NKAA Source: The Kentucky school directory (serial)
NKAA Entry: Taylor, James T. "Big Jim" [Harrods Creek, KY]
NKAA Source: The Christian recorder (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Apostolic times (periodical)
NKAA Entry: Ratliff, William Marvin, & Ratliff Institute
NKAA Entry: Atwell, Joseph Sandiford
NKAA Entry: Merriwether, Jesse [Mount Moriah Lodge No. 1]
NKAA Source: Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed
NKAA Source: Encyclopedia of Louisville
NKAA Source: History of the Ohio falls cities and their counties, with illustrations and bibliographical sketches
NKAA Source: Report of the Superintendent of public instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for school year ending ...
NKAA Source: Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1 (archives)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Caron's directory of the city of Louisville (annual)
NKAA Entry: Early School in Louisville, KY
NKAA Source: "Still I rise!" Public discourse surrounding the development of public schools for African Americans in Louisville, Kentucky, 1862 – 1872 (dissertation)
NKAA Source: Louisville daily courier (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Louisville Free Kindergarten Association, Colored Normal Department
NKAA Entry: Report: Negro School Districts and Their Needs by L. N. Taylor
NKAA Entry: Garvin, Ananias Lorenzo
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Barren County, KY
NKAA Entry: Louisville Central High School/Central High School Magnet Career Academy
NKAA Entry: Migration from Canada to Kentucky by 1870
NKAA Entry: Cook, Isabel and John Hartwell
NKAA Entry: Lange, Laura J. Vance
NKAA Entry: American Baptist Home Missionary Society Schools in Kentucky, 1895
NKAA Entry: Butler, William F.
NKAA Entry: Singleton, Rev. Octavius S., and the National Home Finding Society for Colored Children
NKAA Entry: Morris, Charles Satchell, Sr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Louisville and Jefferson County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 21, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/index.php/items/show/2631.

Last modified: 2022-12-31 02:22:23