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

Perry, William H., Sr.

(born: 1860  -  died: 1946) 

William H. Perry, Sr. was born in Terre Haute, IN. After the death of his father, Charles B. Perry, William and his mother, Anna Hill Perry Anderson, moved to Louisville, KY.

Perry was a graduate of Louisville Central High School, becoming a teacher at the school following his graduation in 1877. He was also a graduate of the Illinois Medical College. In 1908 Perry became the first African American physician to receive his license by passing the Kentucky State Board of Medical Examiners. He was also one of the co-founders of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital.

The William H. Perry, Sr. Elementary School in Louisville was named in his honor posthumously in 1952; Perry had been head principal of the school, 1891-1927. The school  later merged with the Roosevelt School to become  the Roosevelt-Perry Elementary School.

Perry was also a graduate of Central Law School, and  he earned an A.M degree from State University, both in Louisville. He was also a poet, writer, and orator; he read one of his poems at the dedication of the State Normal School [now Kentucky State University]. He also studied with the Chautauqua in Terre Haute, IN and in New York.

For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; Biographical Sketches Of Prominent Negro Men and Women in Kentucky, by W. D. Johnson; "Professor William H. Perry, Sr. passes," KNEA Journal, vol.  18, issue 1 (1946), pp. 12-13; and "Willam H. Perry of Louisville" at Indiana Memory at digital.library, (includes a photograph of Perry).

Mark Shepard provided additional information from the Personal Papers of William H. Perry, part of the grass-roots collection at the Lost Creek Historical Society.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Perry, William H., Sr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-08-19 18:01:06