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

African American Schools in Adair County, KY

As early as 1880 a colored school existed in Adair County, KY; Kittie Miller was the teacher in Columbia [source: U.S. Federal Census]. There continued to be colored schools according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, school year ending June 30th, 1886 and June 30th, 1887, pp. 68 & 123. References to the schools can be found in William G. Aaron's thesis History of Education in Adair County, Kentucky. By 1895, there were 13 colored schools in the county, five in log buildings and eight in frame buildings [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp. 194-197]. The average attendance was more than 300 students taught by 13 teachers in 1895-96 and 14 teachers in 1896-97.

In 1912, the Columbia Colored School was taught by Parker Jackman, who had been teaching since shortly after the end of the Civil War; he was one of the first African American teachers in Adair and Russell counties. There were as many as 14 colored schools in Adair County, but the number decreased to 10 by 1933 [Aaron, p. 112]. In 1917, bids were accepted for the building of a colored school in Kelleyville [source: "Notice," Adair County News, 7/25/1917, p. 4]. In 1920, bids were accepted for the building of the Elroy Colored School in District G, Division 2 [source: "To Contractors," Adair County News, 1/28/1920, p. 4].

In 1921, the colored teachers earned between $65-$75 per month and in 1931 between $44-$56 per month [Aaron, p. 86]. Attendance ranged from 384 students in 1901 to 161 students in 1931 [Aaron, p. 89]. The Columbia County High School for colored students opened in 1925, funded by the County Board of Educationat a cost of $3,800 [Aaron, p. 107]. Another school in the county then  was the Rosenwald School Taylor Street, named Jackman High in honor of Parker Jackman. There were ten high school students for the 1931-32 term.

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Adair County were R. L. Dowery, Arena Duvall, Mares Grider, Sottie Harris, Pabla Hughes, Viven Johnson, Bessie Lasley, Mollie Lasley, Stephen Samuel, Nina Mae Vaughan, Ida White, Paralee White, and Ora Lee Willis [source: U.S. Federal Census].

Integration of the schools in Adair County occured in 1956 after parents of Negro students filed a lawsuit via the NAACP (James A. Crumlin, Sr.)  [sources: "Court orders Adair Board to end segregation, Leader, 12/1/1955; and Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p. 41].

  • Colored Schools (14)
  • Columbia School
  • Jackman High School
  • Kelleyville School
  • Elroy School
  • Knifley #2 School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 839]
  • Montpelier School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 839]
  • Pellyton #2 School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 839]

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Adair County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Columbia, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Kelleyville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Elroy, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Knifley, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Montpelier, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Pellyton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Adair County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 27, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/2737.

Last modified: 2022-09-07 16:54:40