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

Simmons College (Louisville, KY)

Simmons (at times referred to as Simmons University) is the oldest African American college in Kentucky. Shortly after the formation of the State Convention of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, Elisha W. Green suggested that the newly formed organization focus on establishing a college for African Americans in Kentucky. A school was opened briefly in 1874, headed by Elder A. Berry. On November 25, 1879, a permanent school was established in Louisville at Seventh and Kentucky Streets, headed by the Marrs brothers, Elijah P. and J. C. The school, State University, was much later renamed Simmons University. In 1931 part of the campus was sold for the establishment of the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, and Simmons was reorganized into the Simmons Bible College. The Simmons Bible College Records and Simmons University Records, 1869-1971 are collected in an archive that includes school catalogs, yearbooks, promotional literature, scrapbooks, and photographs, together with minutes and other publications of the school's sponsoring agency, the General Association of Kentucky Baptists, formerly the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky. The archive is available in the University of Louisville Libraries' Archives and Special Collections. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education named Simmons College the second HBCU in Kentucky and the 107th HBCU overall. [Kentucky State University was the first HBCU in Kentucky]. For more about the history of Simmons University, see Black Higher Education in Kentucky, 1879-1930, by L. H. Williams.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Green, Elisha W. [Green v. Gould]
NKAA Entry: Berry, Elder A.
NKAA Entry: Louisville Municipal College for Negroes
NKAA Source: Black higher education in Kentucky, 1879-1930: the history of Simmons University

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Simmons College (Louisville, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-01-03 00:50:36