African American Schools in Barbourville and Knox County, KY
As early as 1895, there were 6 colored schools in Knox County, KY, and the schools were in session for 5 months each year, and with one teacher at each school [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.479-483]. The average attendance was 195 for 1895-96, and 141 for 1896-97. The Barbourville Colored School was taught by Zuetta Minor in 1907 and by Prof. Edward Kirtley in 1908 [source: "Colored School," Mountain Advocate, 12/25/1908, p. 1].
By 1905, there were seven colored schools in Knox County, KY, and that included the new brick school building in Barbourville, and there were plans to combine two of the school districts [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky, 1905-1907, pp. 135-137]. In 1910, the Barbourville School, considered a county school, had 35 students on the first day of classes; Mary Dee Robinson was the teacher [source: "Colored School Opens," Mountain Advocate, 07/15/1910, p. 3]. The Bertha Colored School held its commencement in January of 1910. Miss Laura Gibson had been the school teacher for two years [source: "Commencement: Colored School of Bertha," Mountain Advocate, 01/14/1910, p. 3]. Laura Gibson lived in Emanuel [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p. 59].
The Barbourville schools had been overseen by a white school board until 1921, when the Board of Council of the City of Barbourville ordained that the white school have a white board of education, and the colored school have a colored board of education [source: "Ordinance," Mountain Advocate, 09/16/1921, p. 4].
In 1940, R. H. Thompson was principal of the Rosenwald High School in Barbourville [source: Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 11, no. 1, October-November 1940, p. 32]. The Negro teachers in Knox County in 1940 were Benjamin F. Brown, Grace Etter, Laura Gibson, and Horace J. Neal [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Miss Laura Gibson retired from teaching at Barbourville Independent in 1942 [source: "Honor to whom honor is due," Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal, vol. 13, no. 1, November-December 1942, p. 7]. The Barbourville Independent Schools were first to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.438.
- Colored Schools (7)
- Barbourville Independent School
- Barbourville School
- Bertha School
- Emanuel School
- Rosenwald High School
- Rosenwald Elementary School