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

African American Schools in Rockcastle County, KY

(start date: 1865  -  end date: 1938) 

A colored school in Rockcastle County, KY, was established several years prior to 1884, according to the thesis of Egbert F. Norton: History of Education in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, pp. 57-58. Norton estimated that the colored school house had been built in 1865 [source: Norton, p. 79]. In 1886, there were two colored schools; one in Brodhead and one in Mt. Vernon [see NKAA entry African American Schools, 1886]. In 1899, the teacher of the colored Mt. Vernon school was Remetha Ford [source: "The colored school here..." in the column "LOCAL and OTHERWISE," Mount Vernon Signal, 11/17/1899, p. 3].

By 1903, there was only one colored school, according to the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky For the two years beginning July 1, 1901, and ending June 30, 1903, p. 232. In 1906, it was reported in the Mount Vernon Signal that there were 23 colored students in Rockcastle County [source: "Kentucky's Annual School Census," 07/13/1906, p. 3]. One of the last terms for a colored school in Rockcastle County was noted in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1927-1928, p.64; there was one school, one teacher, and 19 students enrolled in the school. 

According to E. F. Norton, by 1930, there were nine Negro children of school age listed in the school census of Rockcastle County, and the average school attendance was 0. There may have been a 0 attendance because there was no school for the children. Norton stated, on p. 79 of his thesis, "Colored education in Rockcastle became less serious during this period, because of the gradual decrease in colored population in the county."

The numbers may have been decreasing, but the children were overlooked when it came to providing them with a school. There were 79 Blacks listed in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Rockcastle County, KY, including 17 children between the ages of 6 and 18. Looking at prior years, the U.S. Census population in Rockcastle County, KY, listed 92 Blacks and 38 Mulattoes in 1910; 71 Blacks and 35 Mulattoes in 1920; 79 Blacks in 1930.

By 1933, there was another colored school in Rockcastle County; the school was located in Mt. Vernon and had an enrollment of 11 students who were taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1933-34, p.58]. Miss Lena Marshall was the school teacher in Mt. Vernon in 1935 [source: KNEA Journal, vol. 6, no.1, p. 59], and she was the first teacher from that county to enroll in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association. The 1937-38 sessions were the last term of the school; there was one teacher and 7 students were enrolled in the school [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1937-38, p.56].

In 1940, there were still Negro children of school age in Rockcastle County: 14 year old Genena Jacker had completed the 7th grade; 10 year old Joyce Jacker had completed the 3rd grade; 14 year old Pete L. Jarber had completed the 7th grade, he was working, a farm laborer; 11 year old Morris Newcomb had completed the 1st grade; and there was no school information about 8 year old Sallie Newcomb [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The students may have attended the schools for African American children in adjoining counties.

There are no notations in the Kentucky School Directory, 1964-65, that the Rockcastle County Schools integrated prior to the end of the school term.

  • Brodhead School
  • Mt. Vernon School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Rockcastle County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Mount Vernon, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Brodhead, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Rockcastle County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-01-24 18:25:44