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

Hodge, Willie James "W. J."

(born: October 4, 1920  -  died: December 27, 2000) 

W. J. Hodge was born in Calvert, TX and came to Louisville, KY in 1957 to become pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist Church. In 1958 he was elected president of the Louisville Chapter of the NAACP and in 1962 was elected president of the Kentucky Conference of the NAACP.

Hodge helped organize the 1964 March on Frankfort in support of the Kentucky Civil Rights Law. In 1977, Hodge became the first African American president of the Louisville Board of Alderman; he resigned from the board in 1982 to become president of Simmons Bible College (now Simmons College of Kentucky). He is a member of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame. Dr W. J. Hodge Street in Louisville is named in his honor.

Willie Hodge was the son of Idela Lewis and Ruben Hodge.

For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report, by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 20; Y. D. Coleman, "First Black Alderman president recently honored with a resolution," The Louisville Defender, 3/12/1992, p. 4; T. Shannon, "W. J. Hodge," Courier-Journal, 12/28/2000, NEWS section, p. 01A; and "Reverend Dr. W. J. Hodge" at the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights Hall of Fame website.

Kentucky County & Region

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Fifth Street Baptist Church (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: Kentucky directory of black elected officials
NKAA Source: The Louisville defender (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Hodge, Willie James "W. J.",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-03-16 16:50:45