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

McPheeters, Alphonso A.

(born: 1900  -  died: 1963) 

Born in Lexington, KY, Alphonso A. McPheeters was the son of Joseph and Katie Bell McPheeters. He was a graduate of Wilberforce University and returned to Lexington where he was a school teacher for several years. He had been enrolled in Hampton Institute [now Hampton University] when he completed his WWI Draft Registration card, and McPheeters listed the family home address as 222 Cedar Street in Lexington, KY. Alphonso A. McPheeters went on to earn his doctorate degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1944. During this period, McPheeters lived in Atlanta where he was an instructor at Clark College [now Clark Atlanta University] for eleven years, beginning in 1930, and in 1941 he was elected dean of Clark College, a post he held for 21 years. In 1971, the instructional laboratory building, McPheeters-Dennis, was named in honor of Dr. Alphonso A. McPheeters and Dr. Joseph J. Dennis.

Also during his tenure at Clark College, in 1955, McPheeters served as the U.S. Information Officer in Accra, Gold Coast [now named Ghana], West Africa. On November 2,1960, McPheeters, and Rufus E. Clement were two of the seven administrators from Clark College to meet with Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. to discuss student and adult leadership in the local sit-in movement [source: The Martin Luther King, Jr. papers Project - .pdf online]. Among his many accomplishments, Alphonso A. McPheeters was a founder and charter member of the Lexington Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; the chapter was founded June 9, 1928 [source: Louisville Sphinx: Alpha Lambda, Summer 2009 edition, p.4].

Alphonso A. McPheeters was the husband of Annie L. Watters McPheeters (1908-1994), she was a graduate of Clark College. The couple married in 1940. Annie McPheeters was the director of the West Hunt Branch of the Atlanta Public Library; she was one of the first African American librarians employed in the public libraries in Atlanta. Named partially in her honor is the Washington Park/Annie L. McPheeters Branch Library. Also named partially in her honor is the Cary-McPheeters Gallery of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History.

For more information see the Annie L. McPheeters Papers at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, which has Alphonso A. McPheeters biographical items and reports in Series I: Personal materials, 1942-1993, folders 5-7; see "Prof. A. A. McPheeters,..." on p. 212 in The Crisis, July 1941 [online at Google Books]; "The American Negro in college, 1943-44" on p.253 in The Crisis, August 1944 [online at Google Books]; The Clark College Panther, 1963 Yearbook, pp.2-3; The Clark College Legacy by J. Brawley, pp.124-125 & 275-276; Polk's Lexington (Kentucky) City Directory, 1931-32, p.374; see the Alpha Beta Lambda Chapter website; and see Annie L. McPheeters in The New Georgia Encyclopedia [online].

*This entry was submitted by Juanita Landers White, who also provided copies of the references.

Additional information provided by Artemesia Warden Adams, niece of Alphonso A. McPheeters:

1. Alphonso A. McPheeters earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilberforce University.
2. He earned both his M.A. and Ed. D. at the University of Cincinnati.
3. He taught at Dunbar High School in Lexington, Kentucky.
"Dean McPheeters dies at residence," Atlanta Daily World, 04/23/1963, pp.1 & 2.
"Rites held for Dr. McPheeters," Atlanta Daily World, 04/25/1963, pp.1 & 5.
"Dean Alphonso McPheeters," Atlanta Daily World, 04/26/1963, p.4.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“McPheeters, Alphonso A.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 30, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-01-05 16:44:09