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

Richards, Ralph Harrison

(born: 1919  -  died: 2002) 

In 1953, African Americans were finally allowed to apply for membership to the Louisville (KY) Bar Association, and Ralph H. Richards was one of three African American attorneys whose applications were accepted. Richards had a private law practice in 1951 and was appointed assistant police court prosecutor in 1964. During the 1970s he served as an assistant commonwealth attorney. Ralph H. Richards graduated from Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] in 1942 and earned his law degree from Howard University in 1951. He was a WWII veteran, having enlisted in the Army in Cincinnati, OH, on July 22, 1943, according to his enlistment records. He was born in Cincinnati, OH, the son of Lucian and Julia Richards, both from Kentucky. In 1920, the family lived on Preston Street according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see P. Burba, "Ralph H. Richards," Courier-Journal, 10/27/2002, NEWS section, p. 5B; and "Attorney named prosecution aide in Ky court," Jet, vol 19, issue 10 (12/16/1965), p. 10.

Additional information provided by family member, Sharyn Mitchell. Ralph H. Richards was raised in Winchester, KY and was a graduate of the Oliver High School. Although they stayed with relatives in Cincinnati, OH, when their father was working their during the summers, the family never really lived in Cincinnati. Ralph H. Richards ran to become a judge in the mid 1970s. His mother, Julia Gray Richards, was originally from Marble Creek in Jessamine County and attended Berea College. She was there when Berea closed to Blacks in 1904 due to the Day Law.

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Clark County, KY
NKAA Source: Courier-Journal [Louisville] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  McAlpin, Harry Sylvester

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Richards, Ralph Harrison,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed March 3, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-05-13 21:11:28