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

Duncan, John Bonner

(born: 1910  -  died: 1994) 

John Bonner Duncan was born in Springfield, KY, leaving the state in 1930 to attend Howard University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He was also a 1938 graduate and distinguished alumni of the Robert H. Terrell Law School.

A government employee, Duncan served from 1952-1961 in the appointed position of Recorder of Deeds for the District of Columbia. President John F. Kennedy appointed him to the D.C. governing board in 1961; he was the first African American commissioner of the District of Columbia. In 1964, he was reappointed to the position by President Lyndon B. Johnson and served until 1967. At the end of his second term, Duncan was appointed assistant to the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior for Urban Relations. He retired from government in 1969.

Duncan was a community and civic leader in a large number of organizations, including the NAACP and the Washington Urban League, and he served on the board of the United Negro College Fund.

The John B. Duncan Papers are available in the George Washington University Libraries Archival Collection. For more see "John B. Duncan, 84, 1st black commissioner," Obituaries, Washington Times, 6/23/1994, Section C, p. C8; and Levy, Claudia, "D.C. Commissioner John Duncan Dies," Washington Post, June 22, 1994 (online archive).

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Washington County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Read about Springfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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NKAA Source: Washington times (newspaper)

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“Duncan, John Bonner,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-02-15 19:25:04