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

Simmons, William J.

(born: 1849  -  died: 1890) 

William J. Simmons was the second president of Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute (later Simmons University). He was an education advocate who fought for better education for African American children. He was editor of the American Baptist newspaper and established Eckstein Norton Institute in Cain Springs, KY. Simmons was the author of Men of Mark (1887), the forerunner to the irregular serial publication, Who's Who of the Colored Race. Simmons was also an activist; while serving as chair of the executive committee of the Convention of Colored Men of Kentucky, he was the first African American to speak before the Kentucky Legislature on the injustices put upon African Americans in Kentucky. For more see Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams; and Life Behind a Veil, by G. C. Wright.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Simmons, William J.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-08-26 21:56:11