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

African American Schools in Powell County, KY

There were three African American schools in Powell County, KY, in 1886, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In 1906, the examination for Colored school teachers was held in Stanton, KY [source: "Examination for colored school teachers...," Clay City Times, 06/24/1906, p. 3]. Within the Powell County Educational Division No. 1, the teacher at West Bend Colored School was Valeria Samuels in 1916, and the Clay City Colored School teacher had not been selected [source: "Teachers selected," Clay City Times, 06/08/1916, p. 4].

In 1925, there were 2 colored schools, one in West Bend and one in Clay City, each with one teacher, and there were 69 students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.68]. The Clay City School was replaced with a Rosenwald school that was built 1926-27 [source: Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky, 1917-1932, p.66]. In 1927, Scott Mitchell was the teacher at West Bend Colored School, which included a two year high school [sources: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association,  April 20-23, 1927, p. 53, and April 8-21, 1928, p. 19]. By 1932, there were still 2 colored elementary schools with a total of 80 students, and the West Bend Colored High School had 9 students taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1932-1933, p.57]. 

The school term 1932-33 was the last for the West Bend High School; though the high school students continued to be counted in the Kentucky Public School Directory. Perhaps the high school students attended school in a nearby county. In 1941, Allie Gentry was the principal at West Bend Colored School [source: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 11, issue 2, p. 19]. By 1943, one of the two colored schools was closed [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1943-44, p.541]. The last colored school in Powell County, believed to be the West Bend School, was noted in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1959-60, p.806; there were 14 students enrolled in the school that was taught by one teacher. 

According to the title Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky, pp.65-66, the West Bend Colored School was a Rosenwald School located on Turley Road, built between 1917 and 1920, and the school closed in 1960. The school had closed during school integration in Powell County. The process had started with the Powell County High School noted as being "white & integrated" in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.445, and the following year the same school is listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1957-58, p.642.

  • Clay City School
  • Stanton School
  • West Bend School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Powell County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Clay City, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about West Bend, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Stanton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Powell County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-11-21 22:37:19