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

Lewis, Lyda F.

(born: 1948) In 1973, Lyda Lewis became the first African American to be named Miss Kentucky in the 26 year history of the competition. Lewis was the Kentucky representative to the Miss America pageant held in Atlantic City, NJ. Lydia Lewis, born in Maysville, KY, was a 1966 graduate of the then recently integrated Maysville High School, where she was one of the first African American cheerleaders. She is a 1970 graduate of Morehead State University. She was also the first African American homecoming queen at Morehead State in 1967.

Lyda Lewis was employed as a special education teacher in Louisville, KY, in 1973, and planned to pursue her master's degree at the University of Louisville. She had been the runner-up in the 1972 Miss Kentucky pageant, and with her win in 1973, she received a $1,000 scholarship, $500 cash wardrobe, and a 1973 automobile. Lyda Lewis was Miss Jeffersontown in 1972 and Miss Louisville in 1973. She was the third African American to participate in the Miss America pageant, the first from the South. After her pageant career, Lyda Lewis was an actor and model in New York.

For more see "First Black Miss Kentucky named," Lexington Leader, 07/16/1973; "Kentucky beauty queen wins on her second try," Jet, 08/09/1973, p. 17; "Miss Kentucky is black," New York Times, 07/16/1973, p. 16; and the Lyda Lewis entry by J. Klee in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, edited by P. A. Tenkotte and J. C. Claypool.

Kentucky County & Region

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Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Maysville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jeffersontown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Encyclopedia of northern Kentucky

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Lewis, Lyda F.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-12-01 00:59:34