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

Corbin, KY (1919)

On October 29, 1919, a white man was attacked and robbed by two white men with painted black faces in the railroad town of Corbin, KY. The next day a vigilante mob took revenge on the African American community, searching homes and businesses and eventually forcing the African American railroad workers into boxcars and shipping them south to Knoxville, TN.

The Louisville & Nashville Railroad (L&N) had hired the men, along with European immigrants, to expand the railroad in Corbin. The town of Corbin suddenly had a lot of new people, which created  tension. An increase in crime was attributed to the more recent African American residents.

The day of the riot, some White employers hid African Americans. After the railroad workers were shipped out, many African Americans left Corbin out of fear, with few remaining in the city.

For more see K. O. Griggs, "The Removal of Blacks from Corbin in 1919: Memory, Perspective, and the Legacy of Racism," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, vol. 100, issue 3 (Summer 2002), pp. 293-310; R. Henson, Trouble Behind: A Film About History and Forgetting, Cicada Films (1990); and coverage in various Kentucky newspapers. See also National Public Radio (NPR) "Kentucky town re-examines its racial history," July 3, 2007.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Whitley County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Corbin, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society (periodical)
NKAA Source: Trouble behind (videorecording)

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“Corbin, KY (1919),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-09-22 17:29:32