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

African American Schools in Union County, KY

As early as 1880, there were colored schools in Union County, KY; the teachers were Mollie Kirk, and Pamelia H. Wynn in Caseyville [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1886, there were 9 colored school districts and 6 of them had schools; three of the school districts were too poor to afford schools [see NKAA entry for African American Schools, 1886]. By 1895, there were 11 school districts, nine of the districts had a school, and 2 of the schools were in session for more than 5 months [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.707-710]. Two of the schools were held in log buildings and 7 were held in frame buildings. There were 13 teachers in the 9 schools. The schools had an average attendance of 368 students 1895-96, and 389 students 1896-97. During the two year term of 1899-1901, the teachers' average monthly wages were $45.11 the first year, and $35.50 the following school term [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1899-1901, p.15].

In 1931, there was a colored high school in Sturgis, KY, with an average daily attendance of 10 students taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1931-1932, p.74]. There was also a colored elementary school at Sturgis with an average daily attendance of 91 students taught by 2 women teachers.  Dunbar School was located in Morganfield, and was named for poet Paul L. Dunbar. There had been a colored high school in Morganfield since 1932 when there were 14 students taught by 1 teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1932-1933, p.58]. There were three teachers in the Dunbar High School in 1941 and two grade school teachers; the high school students from around the county were transported by bus to Dunbar High School [source: "Dunbar Colored High School," information by C. L. Timberlake, Principal of School, and reported by Sarah D. Young of Sturgis, typed 05/20/1941. Found within the Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 25, File: Union County].

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Union County were John M. Hoke, Alphonso Lovelace, Elizabeth McCulley, Amos Parker, Emma Peppin, Mary L. Reed, John Robinson, Hattie Robinson, Dorothy Slaughter, Clarence Timberlake, and George Wakefield [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1955, there were four graduates from the Blessed Martin School located near Waverly, KY [source: Union County Advocate, 05/19/1955]. The graduates were Joseph Curry, Betty Chambers, Hershel Harris, and Frances Hammond. The total student enrollment was 26 high school students who were taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56, p.229]. There was also an elementary school with an enrollment of 51 students taught by 2 teachers. The colored school in Uniontown had an enrollment of 13 students taught by one teacher [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.448]. The Sturgis school for whites was the first to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1957-58, p.644]. For more about the desegregation of the Sturgis School see Sturgis and Clay: showdown for desegregation in Kentucky education by John M Trowbridge and Jason Lemay. 

  • Colored Schools (9)
  • Caseyville School
  • Blessed Martin School
  • Dunbar School 
  • Sturgis School
  • Uniontown School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Union County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Caseyville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Sturgis, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Morganfield, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Waverly, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Uniontown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

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

Last modified: 2017-09-25 21:07:34