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

James, Andrea M.

Andrea M. James, born in Lexington, KY, was the first African American woman elected to the Lexington City Council. She served two two-year terms, 2007-2010. During her tenure, she was actively involved with a number of community projects, and she has also founded and participated in a number of organizations. All are listed below. Andrea M. James is the wife of Rodney L. James, the co-founder of Lexington Academy of Barbering, Lexington’s first Black-owned barber college.

  • Worked with others on the committee that led in the rebirth of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, striving to engage the community and redesign the theatre and the addition of the cultural arts center.
  • Co-Commissioned the Lyric Theatre’s first art pieces, photos by Geoff Maddock, in partnership with Jim Gray.
  • Worked on the committee to name and design William Wells Brown Elementary School in East End.
  • Worked with the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden committee to restore the space where Isaac’s mansion once stood.
  • Worked on community engagement and design for Legacy Trail Phase III from the Coolavin Rail Trail to IMMAG (Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden).
  • Led a group of East End residents and stakeholders in the creation of the East End Small Area Plan. 
  • Served on Lexington’s Tree Board.
  • Worked with CM Don Blevins, Jr. and others to create the Commission for People with Disabilities, a city board that addresses issues related to people and services related to all types of disabilities, seen and unseen.
  • Created the language for the policy on abandoned property and the blight tax for LFUCG.
  • Art In Motion, President 2014 - the group installed the artistic bus stop at the corner of Elm Tree Lane and Third Street.
  • Body and Soul, Program associate - created with Anita Courtney and Louise Tallen, a program that introduced healthy eating and exercise practice to black church communities of Lexington.
  • Bluegrass Double Dollars, Co-creator - created with Ashton Potter Wright, a program which doubled SNAP benefits for recipients at local farmer’s markets and local stores. [SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program]
  • Cart-Coop, Co-developer - created with Richard Young, Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova, a program to develop and engage neighborhood creatives in collaborative art installations and education.
  • Idle Hour Barber Shop, Co-owner
  • Les McCann School for the Arts, Co-creator
  • No H1 for Me, Led effort - the first neighborhood to defeat a historic overlay application.
  • Royster Road, Uttingertown and Columbustown Neighborhood Association
  • S & A Strategies, LLC , Co-founder - created with Sarah Brown, a consulting company specializing in candidate preparation and local political campaign strategy.
For more information see the "WUKY StoryCorps: Public service becomes transformatie journey for two Lexington women," online (text and audio) [no date] at the WUKY website; see "Black women in local politics," 04/19/2019, online (text and photograph) at the African American & Africana Studies, University of Kentucky website; see J. Townes, "Local African American women speak out on equal pay at campus panel discussion," 03/23/2018, an online article at Kentucky Kernel website; and see "Opioid addiction response and research," Episode #S15 E3, 09/15/2019, a KET [Kentucky Educational Television] webpage with Renee Shaw.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“James, Andrea M.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 28, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-12-03 18:53:53