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

Plato, Samuel M.

(born: January 10, 1882  -  died: May 13, 1957) 

Samuel M. Plato, born in Waugh, AL, was the son of James and Katie Hendrick Plato and the husband of Nettie M. Lusby Plato (b. 1879 in KY). They are listed in the 1910 and 1920 U.S. Federal Census.

Prior to his marriage, Plato entered State University of Louisville (KY) in 1898 and two years later moved to Pennsylvania to enroll in an architecture course. After having finished the course, Plato moved to Marion, IN.

One of the first African American architectural designers and building contractors, Plato built over 39 post offices throughout the U.S. He was one of the few African Americans to receive contracts to build defense homes during World War II.

Plato came to Louisville from Marion around 1921 and remained there for the rest of his life. Contrary to what has been written, Plato's first wife Nattie M. Lusby Plato did not die in Marion but in Louisville on October 9, 1924 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, according to her death certificate.

Plato's second wife, Elnora Davis Lucas Plato (1890-1975), was not from Indiana; she was a Kentucky native who died in Washington, D.C., according to the Social Security Death Index.

For more see Samuel M. Plato in African American Architects, by D. S. Wilson; Samuel M. Plato, 1882-1957: a collection of accomplishments, by L. I. Neher and B. D. Shutt; In Black and White. A guide to magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books concerning Black individuals and groups, 3rd ed., edited by M. M. Spradling; Owens-Lalude, Judith C., "Plato Plaza, Louisville, KY," in The Archives, Summer 2014, p. 4; and Black History News & Notes, 1992, no. 47-54, p. 4. The Plato Family Papers, 1924-1967, are available at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, KY.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Plato, Samuel M.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-01-06 14:38:22