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

Keys, Martha Jayne

(born: 1892  -  died: 1975) In 1948, Martha J. Keys, an evangelist, was the first woman to be ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She had campaigned and introduced a bill to the AME General Conference for the ordaination of women in 1935 (and/or 1936) and again in 1940. In 1951, after she was ordained, Martha J. Keys was pastor of the Evangelical Rescue Mission at 2113 W. Walnut in Louisville, KY, according to Caron's Louisville (Jefferson County, KY.) City Directory. Keys was born in Mayfield, KY, the daughter of Thomas J. and Lizzie A. Keys. She earned her D.D. at Payne Theological Seminary in 1930. She was president of the West Kentucky Conference Branch for five years. In 1947, she had been pastor of five churches. She lived in Louisville, KY when she authored the one act, gospel drama titled The Comforter, which was copyrighted [D 22176] on April 12, 1933 under the name Evangalist Dr. Martha J. Keys Marshall. For more see Catalog of copyright entries, Part 1, Group 3, v.6, issue1, p.135 [available online at Google Book Search]; see Martha Jayne Keys in The Encyclopaedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church compiled by Bishop R. R. Wright.

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“Keys, Martha Jayne,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-10-03 14:23:09