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

African American Schools in Nicholas County, KY

One of the earliest colored schools in Nicholas County, KY, was located in Carlisle, it was a Freedmen School supported by the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools]. The year 1867 is the date given as the beginning of the colored school system in Nicholas County by author Mary Bradley Moss, in her thesis The History of Education of Nicholas County, p.104. In 1880, Samuel Mitchell was the teacher at Head Quarters [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The first report about the schools was recorded in 1881. There were four colored schools, one of which was held in the old jail house in Carlisle, and the other three were held in log cabins [source: Moss, p.104]. The school sessions were 2-3 months per year.

By 1891, there were seven colored school districts with one school in each district, and the overall attendance ranged from 228 students to 150 students. Male teachers earned $30.16 per month and female teachers earned $30.47 per month [source: Moss, p.105]. In 1897, the school in Henryville was replaced with a new two story, frame building and there were two teachers [source: Moss, p.106]. The number of colored schools began to decrease in 1894, and by 1928, there were four: Henryville (2 schools), Moorefield, and Headquarters [source: Moss, p.107]. The principal at the Henryville Colored School taught the high school department and two female teachers taught the other grades [source: Moss, pp.107-108]. At the Henryville school, the principal was a high school graduate and earned $75.00 per month, while the female teachers had two years of college and earned $93.15 per month. All three were the highest paid teachers at the colored schools.  The colored schools were under the county school system [source: Moss, p.109].

In 1916, Mary E. White and Mary F. Williams were two of the three teachers who were members of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 25-28, 1916, p.38]. Mrs. Lizzie D. McGowan was one of the school teachers in 1923 [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p.67]. In 1940, the Negro teachers in Nicholas County were Ethel L. Jones, Carrie D. Murray, and Mary Francis Williams [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Prior to the beginning of school desegregation at the Carlisle High School in 1955, Negro high school students in Nicholas County were bused to Western High School in Paris, KY [source: Finding the Fifties by D. J. Dampier; and History of Nicholas Countyby J. W. Conley]. The Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p. 444, lists the Carlisle Independent High School as the first in the county to start integrating the student population.

  • Freedmen School
  • Colored Schools (7)
  • Carlisle School
  • Henryville School (2)
  • Moorefield School
  • Headquarters School
  • Booker T. Washington School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.883]

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Nicholas County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Carlisle, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Henryville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Headquarters, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Moorefield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2018-05-07 20:06:40