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

African American Schools in Boyle County, KY

Between 1866 and 1870, there were at least four colored schools in Boyle County that were supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [see the NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky]. According to William F. Russell's thesis, The History of Education of Boyle County, pp. 217-221, Willis Russell taught the first colored school in Danville, located in a frame house on Green Street (around 1837); a second school on Green Street was taught by Gib Doram. There were also schools taught at the Methodist, Presbyterian, and Baptist Churches. There was also a private school that cost $2.00 per month. The colored schools in Boyle County were counted in the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

In 1881, John W. Bate came to Danville and took over teaching at what had been the Danville Freedmen School [source: Russell thesis, pp. 218 & 228]. The school house was described as a "barn-like frame structure" that was replaced by a brick school building in 1912. The school was under the county school system until 1892 when it was placed under the newly established city school system; all other colored schools remained under the county system. During the 1920s, the Danville Colored School had over 400 students in grades 1-12 taught by 12 teachers, four of whom taught the high school classes [source: Russell thesis, pp. 219-221]. High school students were bused to the school from Lancaster and Stanford, KY.

In the county school system, from 1880-1881, there were seven colored schools reported by the county commissioner of schools [source: Russell thesis, pp. 208-210, & 227]. Four of the teachers were Martha Tadlock, Robert Turner, Lizzie Green, and James Hughes [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The schools had one room with one teacher. More county schools opened after 1881 and there were 12 in 1895, with 11 schools taught for five months and 1 school taught for more than five months [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.236-239]. One school was held in a log building and the others were held in frame buildings. There were 15 teachers 1895-96, and 16 teachers 1896-97. The highest average attendance for the two year period was 633 sudents in 1895.

In 1900, the highest average attendance for all schools in Boyle County was 1,009 students [source: Russell thesis]. By 1925, the high school had been renamed Bate High School, it was a Class 1 school, and J. W. Bate was the principal and one of the four high school teachers [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, pp.39 & 69]. By 1928 many of the elementary schools had been discontinued and there were only six in the county and one in Danville. Another school that had been established in 1885, for colored deaf children, was within the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf and Dumb, located in Danville [see NKAA entry Early Schools for Negro Deaf and Blind Children]. The colored school for the deaf was actually a department, it opened on February 2, 1885, with eight pupils, Morris T. Long as teacher and supervisor, and his wife, Nannie R. Long, was the matron [source: Russell thesis, pp. 149-155]. In 1929, the instructors were Mrs. Mary Fosdick and A. D. Martin. Between 1885 and 1929, there were never more than 16 students in the *colored department.

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Boyle County were Margaret Andrews, Lucill Bennifield, Lillian Caldwill, Sophia Craig, Lala M. Dele, Gerogia Dannaher, Malinda Doneghy, Horase Epperson, John Fisher, Florence Ingram, Maggie E. Jones, Susie Lich, Ella M. Marshall, Eliza Mitchell, Elizabeth Parr, Jesse Raach, Sanford Raach, Frances Richardson, Zula Sanders, Gertrude Sledd, Sara Sutka, and Earnest Wofford [source: 1940 U.S. Federal Census]. The first schools to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.421, were Danville High School and The Kentucky School for the Deaf. The Danville schools were fully integrated in 1964.

  • Danville Freedmen School
  • Bate School
  • Danville American Missionary Association School supported by the Bureau
  • Parksville American Missionary Association School supported by the Bureau
  • Shelby City Freedmen School
  • Danville School #1 on Green Street (Willis Russell)
  • Danville School #2 on Green Street
  • Methodist Church School
  • Presbyterian Church School
  • Baptist Church School
  • Stony Point School
  • Wilsonville School
  • Perryville School
  • Zion Hill School
  • Atoka School
  • Junction City School
  • Aliceton School (name provided by Mike Dennis of the Danville-Boyle County African American Historical Society)
  • Colored Department of the Kentucky Asylum for the Tuition of the Deaf and Dumb
  • Mitchellsburg School (source: "Black History in Boyle County - - Mitchellsburg," Sankofa: the Danville Boyle County African American Historical Society Newsletter, vol. 3, no. 8, February 2023) 

*See the Biennial Reports of the Kentucky Institute for Deaf Mutes, 1887-1903 for more information about the Colored Department.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boyle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Danville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Parkersville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Shelby City, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Stony Point, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Wilsonville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Perryville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Zion Hill, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Atoka, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Junction City, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Boyle County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-02-01 15:08:11