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

Cole, I. Willis

(born: 1887  -  died: 1950) 

I. Willis Cole was born in 1887 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a graduate of Le Moyne Junior College [now Le Moyne College]. When Cole came to Kentucky, he was a salesman who shortly thereafter became the founder of the African American newspaper, the Louisville Leader, the leading African American newspaper in Louisville. Cole used the medium to protest discrimination toward African Americans. He was a supporter of the Garvey Movement and served as the regional director of the National Negro League. In 1921, Cole was unsuccessful in his campaign for the Kentucky Senate. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; River Jordan: African American Urban Life in the Ohio Valley, by J. W. Trotter & J. W. Trotter, Jr.; Life Behind a Veil: Blacks in Louisville, Kentucky, 1865-1930, by G. C. Wright; and p. 363 of The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: 1826-August 1919, by R. A. Hill, M. Garvey, & the Universal Negro Improvement Association.

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“Cole, I. Willis,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-24 13:09:37