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

Colored Swimming Pool (Louisville, KY)

The city swimming pools in Louisville, KY, were off limits to African Americans until the Colored Swimming Pool was constructed at 17th and Magazine Streets in 1924. This was probably the first public/city swimming pool in Kentucky that was specifically for African Americans. The Colored Swimming Pool and the playground, located on the west side of Louisville, are credited to the community leadership effort of William H. Sheppard. The pool was manged by Kenneth Bower as early as 1926 [source: Caron's Directory of the City of Louisville, Ky. for 1926, p.483], and the following year William H. Sheppard died. In his honor, the playground and pool were named the William Sheppard Park. For more than 25 years the pool continued to be designated in the city directory as the Colored Swimming Pool. From 1929-1930, Benjamin Gill was manager of the pool [source: Caron's Louisville City Directory for 1929, p.497; and 1930, p.493]. Julius Dickerson was the manager in 1931 [p.467]. In 1939, the pool was listed as being located on the corner of 16th Street [source: Caron's Louisville (Kentucky) City Directory, 1939, p.383]. The listing for 1949 was "Sheppard Park Colored Swimming Pool" on p.484 of Caron's Louisville (Jefferson County, KY.) City Directory. The Louisville city parks, including the pools, were desegregated in 1955. In the 1956 city directory, the word "colored" was dropped and the listing read "Sheppard Park Swimming Pool" [p.1022]. For more on the desegregation of Louisville city parks and pools see Freedom on the Border by C. Fosl and T. E. K'Meyer; and The Substance of Things Hoped for, the Evidence of Things Not Seen (thesis) by R. M. Lee.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Colored Swimming Pool (Louisville, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-29 23:05:08