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

Anderson, W. H.

(born: 1843) 

In 1852 the separate coach bill became law in Kentucky. In 1893, Rev. W. H. 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]. 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.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Simmons College (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: Kentucky's Black heritage; the role of the Black people in the history of Kentucky from pioneer days to the present
NKAA Source: The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society (periodical)
NKAA Source: Our Baptist ministers and schools

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Anderson, W. H.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 3, 2021,

Last modified: 2017-12-20 23:41:34