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

Women's Right to Vote in Kentucky

In 1838, the Kentucky Legislature granted limited voting rights to unmarried women and widows who owned property, were over 21 years of age, and  lived in the school district. The women could vote on school board issues, the selection of county school district trustees, and school taxes.

Few women were able to actually vote based on the criteria, and according to author J. D. Wright, Jr., the voting rights were revoked in 1902 because more African American women were going to the polls than white women.

The trouble was said to have started in Lexington when an unpopular colored man was to be named head of the colored schools and there was an outpouring of African American women at the polls. Though the rights were revoked, the 1838 School Suffrage voting rights for women in Kentucky set a precedent that was followed by Kansas in 1861, Wyoming in 1869, England in 1870, New Zealand in 1877, and many other states in the U.S.

For more see J. Reis, "Winning the right to vote," The Kentucky Post, 11/08/2004, Kentucky Life: History section, p. K4; Lexington, Heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright, Jr.; the article on black and white women voting in The Bourbon News, 2/11/1902, p. 4; and "School Suffrage in Kentucky - Boston Transcript," Friend's Intelligencer, 1902, vol. 59, p. 221 [available at Google Books].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Kentucky post (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington, heart of the Bluegrass
NKAA Source: The Bourbon news (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Friend's intelligencer (periodical)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Women's Right to Vote in Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-03-24 16:09:02