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

African American Schools in McLean County, KY

Within the 1886 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, it was reported that McLean County had five colored district schools that were held in churches [see the NKAA entry African American Schools, 1886]. The schools were held three to five months each year [source: A History of Education in McLean County, Kentucky by Leonard C. Taylor, p.33]. There were seven colored schools in 1890, and by 1939, there were three [source: Taylor, pp.58 & 62].

The Livermore Colored School operated for nine months and had 17 students. The other colored schools were in Calhoun and Sacramento [source: "Sacramento Black School by Janey Johnston - 1992" in Down Memory Lane in Sacramento, Kentucky]. Miss Geneva Clayborne, Miss Mary E. Eads, and Mrs. M. L. Humphrey, all of whom lived in Calhoun, were the teachers listed in the Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, pp.54, 57, & 63.

The Sacramento school was a one room building located behind the Sacramento Methodist Church. There is a picture of the teacher and students on the page titled "Sacramento Black School 1918-1920" in Down Memory Lane in Sacramento, Kentucky. There was not a colored high school in McLean County; the high school students were transported each day to Western High School in Owensboro, and the transportation and other costs were paid by the county board of education.

In 1939, the school attendance for Negro children in McLean County was 40 and five were high school students [source: Taylor, p.63]. Siblings Betty Jean and Henry Thomas were the first Negro students from Sacramento, KY, to graduate from high school [source: Down Memory Lane in Sacramento, Kentucky]. In 1940, only one Negro teacher, Myrtle Green, listed in the U.S. Federal Census for McLean County. Myrtle Green was at Calhoun. The prior year, there had been three Negro teachers in McLean County, buth that number was down to two in 1940, with Myrtle Green in Calhoun and one other teacher in the Livermore Independent Colored School [sources: "K.N.E.A. membership by counties," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, October-November 1939, v.9, no.s 1-3, p.53; and Kentucky Public School Directory, 1940-41, p.866]. 

During this period, the Sacramento Colored School had closed, leaving the Calhoun Colored School with an enrollment of 18 students, and the Livermore Colored School that had an enrollment of 15 students. The colored schools had a dwindling number of students and the Livermore Colored School was last listed in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1949-50, p.541; there were four students enrolled in the school. The listing of the last colored school in McLean County is on p.224 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56; there was an enrollment of 15 students. The following year, there was the first listing of integrated schools: Calhoun, Livermore, and Sacramento, on p.442 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57.

  • Colored Schools (7)
  • Livermore School
  • Calhoun School
  • Sacramento School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McLean County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Livermore, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Calhoun, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Sacramento, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2017-10-22 20:47:18