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

Williams, Kermit

(born: 1930  -  died: 2006) 

Kermit Williams attended Mayo-Underwood, an all African American school in Frankfort, Kentucky. School integration in 1956 allowed Williams and a few other African American students to transfer to Frankfort High School. In Williams' sophomore year he became the first African American to play football at the school, playing halfback as well as defensive back. In 2006, Williams was inducted into the school's Football Hall of Fame. One of the obstacles Williams faced as a football player was a stipulation in the will of John R. Sower, who had donated the land where the football field was located: Sower's will stipulated that the athletic field was to be used by whites only, but the coach allowed Williams to play anyway. Before one game, crosses were burned near the football field, yet Williams went onto the field and scored two touchdowns, giving Frankfort High the win. The night was covered by Life magazine. Williams continued to play football throughout his high school years and was also outstanding in basketball and track. For more see "The Enlightened One," The State Journal, 08/23/2006; and J. Sergent, "Coming of Age: how a product of the segregated South became an advocate for change," Vanderbilt Magazine, Fall 2002, pp. 68-69 & 86.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Life (periodical)
NKAA Source: State journal (Frankfort, KY) (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Vanderbilt magazine (periodical)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Williams, Kermit,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed February 18, 2020,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:32