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

African American Schools in Clay County, KY

In 1886, there were four colored school districts in Clay County, KY [see African American Schools, 1886]. There were five colored schools in 1897; two of the school houses were made of log and three were frame buildings [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, July 1895-June 1897, pp.308-311]. There was one teacher at each school, a little more than 200 total students were enrolled in the schools, and about half attended school on a regular basis. By 1901, there were six colored schools in the county [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, July 1899-June 1901, p.198]. In 1923, Mrs. Mattie A. Clarke was the school teacher at the Manchester Colored School [source: Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p.54].

By 1925, the number of colored schools had been reduced to three schools with five teachers and 129 students, and two years later, there was only the one colored school in Manchester with two teachers and 74 students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67, and 1927-1928, p.63]. By 1932, there were three teachers. In 1940, one of the Negro teachers was Margaret Drake [source: U.S. Federal Census]. Unlike many counties, the number of Negro children enrolled in the colored school did not continue to decline in Clay County. During the 1955-56 school term, there were 123 students and four teachers. In 1961, the school had grades 1-8, still with four teachers, and the head teacher/principal was William Croley [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p.849].

There was not a high school for Negro children in Clay County, KY; a high school had been attempted, but the school was dropped because there were too few students [source: see NKAA entry African American Schools, High Schools]. The Clay County High School [for Whites] was integrated during the 1962-63 school term, and the Manchester elementary schools started to integrate during the 1964-65 school term [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1962-63, pp.109-108, and 1964-65, p.94].

  • Colored Schools (6)
  • Manchester School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Clay County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Manchester, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Clay County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-10-11 01:19:54