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

Caldwell, John Martin, Jr.

(born: 1902  -  died: 1987) 

Born in Henry County, KY, Reverend John Martin Caldwell, Jr. was the son of Anna Hobbs Caldwell and John Martin Caldwell, Sr. Beginning in 1932, he was pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Evansville, IN, continuing in that position for 57 years.

Caldwell, a 1949 graduate of Evansville College [now University of Evansville] completed his theology degree at Simmons University (Louisville, KY).

He received a citation from President Roosevelt for his service on the draft board during World War II. Caldwell was also a member of the Masons and the author of the annual publication Zion Pulpit.

In 1967, he became the the first African American official in Evansville, elected to the City Council and serving three terms. Caldwell was also president of the Evansville NAACP for 15 years, leading the fight to integrate businesses and the University of Evansville.

Caldwell was a member of the group that sued the city of Evansville to stop segregated housing. He  received the first Mayor's Human Rights Award in 1977. The housing projects, formerly Sweeter Public Housing, were renamed the Caldwell Homes and Terrace Gardens in memory of John Martin Caldwell.

For more see the John Martin Caldwell entry in the Biographical Directory of Negro Ministers, by E. L. Williams; and "The Rev. John Caldwell," Evansville Courier, 9/28/1999, Metro section, p. A3.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Henry County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Simmons College (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: Zion pulpit (annual)
NKAA Source: Biographical directory of Negro ministers
NKAA Source: Evansville courier & press (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Caldwell, John Martin, Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 30, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-13 16:28:40