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

Anderson, William Hardin

(born: 1843  -  died: June 8, 1919) 

In 1852 the separate coach bill became law in Kentucky. In 1893, Rev. William Hardin Anderson from Indiana and his wife Sarah J. Steward Anderson  tested the law by sitting in the white section of the train and refusing to move. They were put off the train and subsequently filed a $15,000 lawsuit against L & N  Railroad. U.S. District court ruled the law unconstitutional and void for interstate commerce, and the Andersons won their lawsuit.

W. H. Anderson was a Civil War veteran, having served in the 13th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry. He was the minister of McFarland Chapel in Evansville, IN in 1889 when he became the first minister in the state to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity from State University in Louisville, KY [Simmons University].

Rev. W. H. Anderson died in Evansville, IN, in 1919.

For more see Kentucky's Black Heritage, by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; A. A. Marshall, "Kentucky's separate coach law and African American response, 1892-1900," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 98, issue 3 (2000), pp. 241-259; and "Rev. W. H. Anderson, D.D." on pp. 36-42 in Our Baptist Ministers and Schools, by A. W. Pegues.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Anderson, William Hardin,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-09 13:13:31