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

Ray, Joseph R., Sr.

(born: May 14, 1887  -  died: Nov. 24, 1959) 

Joseph R. Ray, Sr. was born in Bloomfield, KY. In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed him Director of the Racial Relations Service of the Housing and Home Finance Agency. He had also been the first African American appointed to the Louisville, KY Board of Equalization. He served as a buyer and appraiser for the Louisville Housing Authority and the Louisville Board of Education.

Ray served as the second cashier of the First Standard Bank in Louisville, KY and would become president of the bank in 1929. It was one of the first African American banks in the state.

Joseph Ray, Sr. was a World War I veteran; he served with the Camp Zachary Taylor, 159th Depot Brigade. He was the husband of Ella Hughes Ray and the father of Joseph "Joie" Ray, race-car driver. Joseph Ray, Sr. was a graduate of Kentucky Normal and Industrial School [now Kentucky State University] and attended the University of Chicago.

For more see "Joseph Ray in new role in H.H.F.A.," Courier-Journal, 05/29/1959, p.4; The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; The Last and Most Difficult Barrier, Segregation and Federal Housing Policy in the Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1960, a 2005 Report Submitted to the Poverty and Race Research Action Council," by A. R. Hirsch, Department of History, University of New Orleans; "Joseph Ray Sr., 72, U. S. Housing Aide," Special to the New York Times, 12/1/1959, p. 39; and "Joseph R. Ray (1887-1959)" at the findagrave website. See also "Kentucky's Joe," US [Magazine], v.1, issue 1, February 1954,  p.27 {Mae Street Kid was one of the associate editors of US Magazine}.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Nelson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bloomfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Ray, Joseph R., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-01-18 18:58:29