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

National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, and Kentucky

In 1907, the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools (NATCS) was established from the National Colored Teachers Association, an organization started in 1903. The association's goal was to promote higher ideas, better teaching methods, and cooperation between teachers to adapt education to community needs. In 1908, the 5th Annual Conference of the NATCS was held in Louisville, KY, June 24-26, hosted by the State Association of Teachers of Colored Schools, and the Teachers' Association of Louisville. The conference sessions were held in the white high school. Berea College President William G. Frost asked for and received a place on the program to discuss the "New Berea" [what would become Lincoln Institute].

Albert E. Meyzeek, from Louisville, would later serve on the Executive Committee of NATCS. In 1934, Kentucky native Francis M. Wood was elected president of NATCS and he established a permanent office in Washington, D.C. The following year, the elected president was Rufus E. Clement, Dean of the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes in Louisville, KY. In March of 1937, the 4th regional NATCS meeting was held in Cincinnati, OH, and included Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, and Tennessee.

Later in 1937, the NATCS name was changed to American Teachers Association, and in 1966 it was merged with the National Education Association. Long before the establishment of the NATCS, in Kentucky, the State Association of Teachers in Colored Schools had been formed in 1877 by Kentucky Superintendent H. A. Henderson. With its long history, W. E. B. DuBois considered the Kentucky association the strongest among the top five state colored teachers associations. The name of the Kentucky organization was changed in 1913 to the Kentucky Negro Educational Association (KNEA). In 1920, NATCS President John M. Gandy visited the state organizations in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania, while outlining the annual NATCS meeting that was to be held in Baltimore, Maryland.

KNEA would follow the structure of NATCS in establishing departments, one example being the Parent Teacher Association. Members of KNEA were encouraged via ads in the KNEA Journal to join the NATCS. In 1926 a resolution was adopted by the KNEA membership for a delegate from each of the KNEA departments to become an affiliate with the the corresponding department of NATCS.

For more see "National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools" on p.171 in Negro Education, v.1, Bulletin 1916, No.38, by the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Education; see the NEA-ATA Joint Committee web page; see the following three articles - "Join the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools" an ad on p.18, "Resolutions reported and adopted, April 24, 1926" on p.19, and "The Parent Teacher Association..." on p.7 of the Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 21-24, 1926; see W. T. B. Williams, "The National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools" on pp.423-424 in The Southern Workman, January 1908, v.37; Efforts for Social Betterment Among Negro Americans by W. E. B. DuBois; "The New Berea," Cleveland Gazette, 07/18/1908, p.3; "Educators meeting," Washington Bee, 05/29/1920, p.1; "NATCS Regional Meet," Cleveland Gazette, 03/27/1937, p.1; and R. E. Clement, "II. Richard Robert Wright," Phylon, vol.9, no.1, 1st Qtr., 1948, pp.62-65.

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“National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, and Kentucky,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 28, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-08-16 21:51:31