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

Buchanan, Walter S.

(born: 1882  -  died: 1954) 

Walter S. Buchanan was hired as president of Kentucky State University (K-State) in 1912, but he never arrived at the school; Green P. Russell was hired in his place. W. S. Buchanan was born in Troy, AL, the son of Frederick and Harriet Buchanan (Artis) [sources: 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census]. When hired by K-State, W. S. Buchanan was serving as the second president of Alabama A & M College (now Alabama A & M University); his tenure there was 1909-1921.

The first president of Alabama A & M was William H. Councill, who served from 1890 until his death in 1909. His son-in-law was Walter S. Buchanan, who was married to Councill's daughter, Ida. The couple is listed in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census as living on the Alabama A & M campus along with several family members. In 1912, though Buchanan had applied to be president of K-State and accepted the position, it was much too difficult for him to leave Alabama A & M. One of the reasons was the continuing fight for funding for Alabama A & M to continue to exist as a college, including the the battle for the school to receive Smith-Lever funding [see United States v. State of Alabama]. "When Buchanan became president he inherited a campus with twenty-two buildings including classrooms, dormitories, and shops. Buchanan also inherited a deficit in the school's budget. The state budget was $4,000 with a federal sum of $11,000. The two budgets totaled $15,000, about $5,000 short of the college's needs for annual expenses." - - [source: p. 13 of the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, NPS Form 10-900 (Rev. 10-90), Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University Historic District, 11/20/2001 (.pdf)].

In 1919, Alabama A & M was downgraded to a junior college, and in 1921 Buchanan resigned. W. S. Buchanan was a 1907 graduate of Harvard College, where he earned a B.A.S., and he received an honorary degree from Selma University in 1911 [source: "Life directors, life and active members, Alabama" N. E. A. Bulletin, September 1917, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 101].

There is no record of Walter S. Buchanan resigning from Kentucky State University in 1912, and he was never affiliated with the school after 1912. Walter S. Buchanan died May 28, 1954 in Pittsburgh, PA, according to the Pennsylvania Death Certificate #37107. Contact Alabama A & M University Library for additional information on the tenure of Walter S. Buchanan.

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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Russell, Green Pinckney
NKAA Source: N. E. A. Bulletin (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Kentucky State University Presidents, 1886-present

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Buchanan, Walter S.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2019-08-24 17:23:12