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

Records: Race=Brown

"Brown" is one of the five color typology designations for humans developed by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), a founder of scientific racism theories. The term would come to be used to define race and ethnicity. For centuries, various groups of people throughout the world have been defined as "brown." The term was used in the United States to assign race on death certificates, military records, immigration records, federal census records between 1910-1920, and state census records in Iowa and Kansas between 1836-1925.

Some persons whose race was given as "brown" on the various records may be regarded as African American today. In Kentucky, there are more than 300 death records with race marked as "brown" dated between 1852-1953. There are also at least seven World War I draft registration records (registered in KY) with the term "brown" written in the space for race. Three of these persons were born in Italy,  two in the Philippines, one in Kentucky, and one did not have place of birth.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Records: Race=Brown,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 27, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-12-02 20:02:31