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

Colored Men's Reading Room, Frankfort, KY

(born: 1885) 

In November of 1885, a group of African American men created a Reading Room over the barber shop of Henry Samuels on St. Clair Street in Frankfort, KY [source: The Frankfort Roundabout, 11/07/1885, p.2]. It was one of the earliest reading establishments for African Americans in Frankfort, KY. The local newspaper editor wrote that the Reading Room was a much better option "instead of going to a bar room." The men who established the Reading Room were not named in the article. The barber shop owner, Henry Samuels (1876-1944), was African American and a Frankfort native, the son of Alice Conda and Jerry Samuels [source: Kentucky Death Certificate State File No.11354]. It is not known how long the Reading Room existed. By 1910, Henry Samuels was listed as a porter in the city directories. 

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

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NKAA Source: The Frankfort roundabout (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Colored Men's Reading Room, Frankfort, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 1, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-08-22 08:00:45