Clark Stonewall's Children [Monticello, KY]In July of 1955, the children of Clark Stonewall are thought to be the first African Americans to attend a previously all white school in Kentucky. The children, ages 6-15, attended Griffin School in Monticello, KY, with 35 white children, grades 1-8. The school term ran from July to February, Griffin starting a few months before many other Kentucky schools. The Stonewall children had been home-schooled prior to their enrollment; Clark Stonewall and his wife refused to bus their children to Travis Elementary for Colored children. [Travis School was named for Oneth M. Travis, Sr.]
The Stonewall family were the only African Americans in the southeast section of Wayne County. Griffin School was a one-room facility with no electricity; it was heated with a coal stove. Marie Blevins was the teacher; the previous teacher had requested a reassignment rather than teach at an integrated school. News about the school and the integration of the students was reported throughout the United States. The school was in poor condition, and the reports generated letters and donations, the latter of which were used to replace the front door of the school, add new desks, and purchase other needed items for the school. During the summer of 1955, the school board discussed the desegregation of Monticello High School and Wayne County High School.
For more see "1st 6 Negroes enter state public school," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 7/19/1955; "Integration in Kentucky," Jet, 8/11/1955, p. 25; "6 Negro children go to desegregated school in Kentucky," St. Joseph News-Press, 7/19/1955, p. 2; "Kentucky integrates first public school," The Afro-American, 7/30/1955, p. 2; S. Caudill and P. Burba, "Black History Month | July 19, 1955: Griffin School," Courier-Journal.com (Louisville), 2/2/2010; and "Wayne County to start desegregation in fall," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 6/16/1955. See also the NKAA entry for African American Schools in Wayne County, KY and the entries for African American Schools.