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

Nelson-Johnson, Esther Byrd

(born: 1931  -  died: 2008) 

Esther Byrd Nelson-Johnson was born in Hickman, KY, one of the six children of Louis and Hestella Holmes Byrd.

In 1982, Nelson-Johnson became a part of the history of the female leadership of the Sacramento, CA NAACP: she was the fourth woman elected president of the branch, serving four terms.

For 30 years, Nelson-Johnson was a counselor at the American River College. She had taught school in Virginia and Missouri before moving to California in 1963.

Nelson-Johnson is remembered for her leadership and advocacy for women, young people, and African Americans, as well as for the programs she developed to assist students. She is also remembered for her research and the resulting exhibits she created to show the contributions of African Americans and women.

When the NAACP Office in Sacramento was bombed in 1993, the organization's history was safe with Nelson-Johnson. She was a historian and collected resources that documented the history of civil rights in Sacramento.

Nelson-Johnson was the author of A Model Community Counseling Program for Ethnic Minority Low Income Women, Leaving on the Black Star Line, and Cotton Patch Cooking.

She was the first person in her family to attend college, earning a bachelor's degree at Kentucky State University, a master's at Chapman University, and a doctorate at Nova University.

For more see R. D. Davila, "Former NAACP chief fought for education and civil rights," Sacramento Bee, 2/13/2008, Metro section, p. B4.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fulton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Hickman, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: A Model community counseling program for ethnic minority low income women
NKAA Source: Leaving on the Black Star Line
NKAA Source: Cotton patch cooking
NKAA Source: Sacramento bee (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Nelson-Johnson, Esther Byrd,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 30, 2021,

Last modified: 2021-01-19 18:04:13