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

Granson, Milla [Lilly Ann Granderson]

(born: 1821  -  died: 1889) 

Milla Granson, born in Petersburg, VA, was a slave in Kentucky. Her owner's children taught her to read. She, in turn, secretly taught other slaves to read, which helped some to write passes that led to their freedom. It has been discovered that Milla Granson's name was also Lilly Ann Granderson [source: Email 05/03/2018 from Janet Halfman, author of Midnight Teacher]. Her name in Virginia was Lillie Ann Eliza Cox. When her Kentucky owner suddenly died, Lilly Ann was sold downriver. She was purchased by an owner who lived near Natchez, MS. She would again start to teach the slaves to read and write, and after slavery, Lillie Ann was instrumental in pushing forward the founding of Natchez Seminary (today Jackson State University). She would become the wife of Oliver Granderson. Lillie Ann Granderson died in 1889 and is buried in the Natchez City Cemetery. For more see Black Women in America, 2nd ed., vol. 2; and Midnight Teacher by J. Halfman.

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NKAA Source: Black women in America 2nd ed.
NKAA Source: Midnight teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and her secret school

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Granson, Milla [Lilly Ann Granderson],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-08-07 20:38:11