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

Dunham, Norman Earle

(born: April 4, 1893  -  died: August 7, 1951) 

Norman Dunham was a physician and surgeon in Covington, KY, and he served on the staff of Mercy Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. Dunham was one of a few African American doctors from Kentucky on the hospital staff [including, T. L. Berry and Richard P. McClain]. His wife Sadie Lyerson Dunham, from Tennessee, was a school teacher in Cincinnati. The couple lived in Covington on Russell Street [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. They later moved to E. 611 W. Court Street in Cincinnati and moved again to E. 813 Mound Street [source: 1940-1951 volumes of Williams' Cincinnati (Hamilton County, Ohio) City Directory and Williams' Cincinnati (Ohio) City Directory].

Norman Dunham was a member of the executive committee of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity and the Tri-City Medical Association. He was a mason who served as the medical examiner for the United Brothers of Friendship.

Dunham was born in Scott County, KY, according to his draft registration card, and grew up in Lexington, KY. He was the son of Levi and Louise Dunham. He attended a colored school in Lexington and was a graduate of the academy at Clark University [now Clark Atlanta University]. Dunham completed his pre-med course at Fisk College [now Fisk University], attending 1914-1917.

He then returned to Kentucky, where he was a partner in a farming operation in Louisville in 1917, the year he completed his draft registration card. Dunham left farming and went into the military, serving as a private in the Student Army Training Corps (SATC) [source: Mary E. Smith Cemetery record]. The SATC was a new program that replaced ROTC during World War I. SATC was a nationwide military program started by the Committee on Education and Special Training of the War Department. The program trained commissioned and non-commissioned officers on 157 college and trade school campuses that were under contract with the War Department. The men in the program were college students as well as from the general population. [For more about African Americans entrance in the SATC, see "Where the Color Line was Drawn" in chapter 23 of Scott's Official History of the American Negro in the World War, by E. J. Scott.]

After his time in the military, Dunham attended Meharry Medical College and graduated in 1921 with an M.D. He died August 7, 1951 and is buried in the Mary E. Smith Cemetery in Elsmere, KY [source: "Mary E. Smith African American Cemetery, 1950-1967," a one page .pdf document in the Northern Kentucky Genealogy Database at the Kenton County Public Library website].

For more information about Norman E. Dunham, see his entries in Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney; and The Kentucky African American Encylopedia (online at Google Books).

*Dr. Dunham's mother's name has been corrected to Louise Dunham. This correction was made at the request and verification of Marcia Wilson, a great-granddaughter of Louise and Levi Dunham.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Scott County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Kenton County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Elsmere, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Covington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Dunham, Norman Earle,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-07-10 17:21:13