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

African American Schools in Owen County, KY

During the 1877-78 school term, there was a total of three colored schools in Owen County, KY, according to the thesis of Capitola Simpson, History of Education in Owen County, p.111-119. One school was located in Owenton and two in New Liberty, and the following school year, two more schools were established, one in Harrisburg (Long Ridge) and one in Dallasburg. In 1880, two of the teachers were Joseph Johnston and Robert Langford, both in New Liberty [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Gratz Colored School was added during the 1881-1882 year and over the next few years there were also schools in New Columbus, Sparta, Monterey, Maple Grove, and Buck Run.

The earlier schools were taught in churches, and later in log cabins, frame buildings, and a box building. The teachers were brought to Kentucky from other states because it was felt that there were no qualified Negro teachers in the county. The schools were in session two or three months in the 1880s; five months starting with the 1893-94 school terms; and six months starting with the 1907-08 school term when there was an average school attendance of 145 students. The teachers' average monthly salary during the 1893-94 term was $33.00 for Negro male teachers and $25.00 for Negro female teachers. The salaries would fluctuate over the years, and during the 1908-09 school term, the average monthly salary for Negro males was $32.00 and Negro females earned $30.00.

By 1912, the number of colored schools decreased to seven; there were five schools in 1913; and four in 1915 [source: Simpson, p.222-228]. The average daily attendance for the term 1915-1916 was 100, and by 1929-1930, the average attendance was 86, with 15 students in high school. In 1940, the Negro teachers in Owen County included Daisy Fitzgerald, Priscilla Henry, and Ethel Ware [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The schools in Owen County began to integrate in 1958 with Owen County High School [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1958-59, p.1017]. 

  • Owenton School
  • New Liberty School
  • Harrisburg School
  • Dallasburg School
  • Gratz School
  • New Columbus School
  • Sparta School
  • Monterey School
  • Maple Grove School
  • Buck Run School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Owen County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Owenton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about New Liberty, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Harrisburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Dallasburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Gratz, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about New Columbus, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Sparta, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Monterey, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Maple Grove, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Buck Run, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: History of education in Owen County ... (thesis)
NKAA Source: Kentucky public school directory (serial)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Meeks, Florian, Jr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2017-10-22 20:06:36