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

Withrow, Ada Brown

(born: June 16, 1908  -  died: January 9, 1951) 

Ada B. Withrow was a highly regarded educator from Lexington, KY. Her name can be found in the Lexington newspapers hundreds of times, starting in the 1915 "Colored Notes." She served as the principal of London Colored High School in London, KY, from 1927-1930. From 1930-1940, she was the sixth-grade teacher at Constitution School in Lexington, KY. From 1940-1945, she was the principal at George W. Carver School in Lexington. Withrow served as president of the Lexington Teachers Association. In 1945, she was named principal of Constitution School where she served until shortly before her death in 1951. 

As a child, Withrow had been an honor student at the Constitution Elementary School. She had also participated in the annual instrumental and vocal programs; she played both solos and duets on the piano. Withrow continued to be an honor student in high school. She was a member of the Phillis Wheatly YWCA where she played the piano during the physical education class for small children and for other programs. 

Ada B. Withrow was a 1925 graduate of Dunbar High School where she was awarded a $50 scholarship for college. In 1927, she graduated from the Normal Department at Kentucky State Industrial College (now Kentucky State University) and earned her A. B. degree from the school in 1935. She had almost completed her master's degree from the University of Cincinnati. She is thought to have been the first African American elected to the membership of the Cincinnati Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an honorary education fraternity.

Her community work included serving as the organist at First Baptist Church in Lexington, KY. Withrow was named to the committee charged with organizing Girl Scout troops for African American girls. In 1949, she was named to the executive board of the Lexington Girl Scout Council and represented all of the African American troops.

Ada B. Withrow was the daughter of Charles and Jesse Holiday Withrow. She is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Lexington, KY.

Sources: "School principal taken by death," The Lexington Herald, 01/10/1951, p.8; and other Lexington newspapers.

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NKAA Source: The Lexington herald (newspaper)

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“Withrow, Ada Brown,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 23, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-07 18:42:38