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

Palmer, Zirl A.

(born: 1919  -  died: 1982) 

Zirl A. Palmer was the first African American to own a Rexall franchise in the United States. Palmer opened his drugstore in 1952 (source: "Palmer is no stranger to racial discrimination," Lexington Herald Leader, 09/16/1979, p.E-1). His drugstore was located at 444 E. 5th Street in the 1950s, according to Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) City Directory. The store had been relocated on Georgetown Street in Lexington, KY, within the West End Shopping Plaza, when it was bombed on September 4, 1968. Dr. Palmer, his wife, and their four year old daughter were temporarily trapped in the store by the falling debris (source: "Explosion and fire rock five shops; 8 persons injured," Lexington Leader, 09/04/1968, p.1). The drugstore did not reopen after the bombing. Zirl Augustus Palmer was born in Bluefield, Virginia, December 11, 1919; he was the oldest child of James and Lola Allen Palmer (source: 1920 U.S. Census, which mistakenly noted him as female). Dr. Palmer was among the few African American pharmacists in Lexington, and he was the first African American to become a member of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, named to the board by Governor Wendell Ford. Dr. Palmer was a graduate of Bluefield State College and Xavier University of Louisiana College of Pharmacy. For more see the "University of Kentucky. Board of Trustees," Lexington Leader, 08/24/1972, p. 1.

Kentucky County & Region

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY.) city directory (annual)
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Palmer, Zirl A.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-01-05 01:54:44