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

African American Schools in Hardin County, KY

The first colored school in Hardin County, KY is thought to have been located in Elizabethtown in 1867, according to Hubert W. Comer's thesis, History of Education in Hardin County, pp. 74-75. The school term was three months and the average attendance was 45 students. The teachers' average monthly salary in 1893 was $26, and by 1908, $37. The first school may or may not be the same school that existed in 1869, referred to as the African School of Elizabethtown by author Lottie Offett Robinson in The Bond-Washington Story on p.28.

The African School was a subscription school; members of the African American community had purchased a lot to build the school house at the corner of Lincoln and Kennedy Avenue. Another school mentioned in Robinson's book was run by Reverend George W. Bowling (b. 1849 in VA): classes were held in a two-room cabin on Dixie Avenue [source: Robinson, p. 28]. Another school, District A School, came under the county jurisdiction but was located in town [source: Robinson, p. 36]. In the county area, there were 11 colored schools in 1880; that would increase to an all-time high of 15 schools with 17 teachers in 1893 [source: Comer, p. 76].

The number of county schools had decreased by 1908 to 10 schools with 11 teachers. Average attendance was about 50% of the overall colored school student census. Two of the county colored schools were located in Glendale [source: Robinson, p. 57]. There was also the West Point Colored Independent School, grades 1-8. In 1933, the county teachers' average monthly salary was $82.30; in 1935 there were four teachers with an average salary of $85.36 [source: Comer, pp. 114-115].

The only colored high school in Hardin County, East Side High School, was located in Elizabethtown [source: Robinson, p. 40]. It had opened in 1921 with a two-year curriculum and became a four-year high school in 1926 [source: Comer, p. 115]. It employed four teachers an had 31 students. Two years later the school was renamed Bond-Washington High School in honor of James M. Bond and Booker T. Washington [source: Robinson, p. 40]. It was attended by African American students from within the entire Hardin County area as well as those in LaRue County who paid tuition and those from Ft. Knox whose tuition was paid by the military.

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Hardin County were Ethel R. Lomax, Mary L. Martin, Sadie M. Rend, John B. Robinson, Mary S. Smith, and Bessie Thompson [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The Ft. Knox Reservation School (private), later listed as the Ft. Knox Dependent School, was the first to be listed as having "white & colored" students in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1948-49, p. 685. The Ft. Knox Dependent School was also among the first four schools in Hardin County listed as integrated in 1956; the other three were Elizabethtown High School, Elizabethtown Catholic High School, and the West Point Independent Schools [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p. 430. In addition, the Glendale School, Sonora School, and Vine Grove School were listed as "white & integrated." See also Educating rural African Americans in pre-brown decision America: one-room school education in Hardin county, Kentucky 1941-1954, by E. J. Hill.

  • Colored County Schools (15)
  • African School
  • Reverend Bowling's School
  • District A School
  • Glendale Schools (2)
  • East Side High School
  • Bond-Washington High School
  • West Point Independent School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Hardin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Elizabethtown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Glendale, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about West Point, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fort Knox, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2023-08-11 17:15:49