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

African American Schools in Lawrence County, KY

Education for African Americans in Lawrence County, KY, began after the Civil War. The early schools were held in the homes of ministers and by sympathetic whites, according to John E. Elkins' thesis, The History of Education of Lawrence County. "Later Negro teachers were secured and the school was conducted in the church." --[source: Elkins, p. 101].

In 1886, there were two colored schools in Lawrence County, according to the Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth of Kentucky for the school year ending June 30, 1886 and for the school year ending June 30, 1887. At some point after 1887, only one school remained in Louisa [source: Elkins, p. 101]. Though the school was located in Louisa, it came under the county school system.

In 1900, the teacher's salary was $28.79 per month  and student enrollment was 45. There were 44 students in 1916, and by 1935 there were 30 students.

The first colored school building, constructed in 1923, was a one-room frame building that cost about $1,500,   $800 of which was received from the Julius Rosenwald Fund; the remainder was paid by the Lawrence County Board of Education. Grades 1-8 were taught at the school.

In 1933, the school teacher was Mrs. Bertha Murphy,   a graduate of Kentucky Institute for Colored Persons [now Kentucky State University]; her salary was $84 per month. There was no colored high school in Lawrence County; the county board of education paid $50 per year for Negro high school students from Lawrence County to attend Booker T. Washington High School in Ashland, KY. In 1935, there were four students who traveled each school day from Lawrence County to attend high school in Ashland. The Louisa Elementary and High School (for Whites) were the first to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p. 438.

  • Early Church Schools
  • Colored Schools (2)
  • Louisa School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Lawrence County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisa, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Lawrence County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-07-18 17:28:47