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The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

Gerald L. Smith
Karen Cotton McDaniel
John A. Hardin
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 684
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  • Book Info
    The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia
    Book Description:

    The story of African Americans in Kentucky is as diverse and vibrant as the state's general history. The work of more than 150 writers,The Kentucky African American Encyclopediais an essential guide to the black experience in the Commonwealth.

    The encyclopedia includes biographical sketches of politicians and community leaders as well as pioneers in art, science, and industry. Kentucky's impact on the national scene is registered in an array of notable figures, such as writers William Wells Brown and bell hooks, reformers Bessie Lucas Allen and Shelby Lanier Jr., sports icons Muhammad Ali and Isaac Murphy, civil rights leaders Whitney Young Jr. and Georgia Powers, and entertainers Ernest Hogan, Helen Humes, and the Nappy Roots. Featuring entries on the individuals, events, places, organizations, movements, and institutions that have shaped the state's history since its origins, the volume also includes topical essays on the civil rights movement, Eastern Kentucky coalfields, business, education, and women.

    For researchers, students, and all who cherish local history,The Kentucky African American Encyclopediais an indispensable reference that highlights the diversity of the state's culture and history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6066-5
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-xii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xix-xxiv)

    In many ways, this encyclopedia is an extension of the early research and writings of an African American schoolteacher in Logan County, Kentucky, named Alice Dunnigan. In the 1930s, Dunnigan was teaching a course on Kentucky history and discovered that none of the textbooks referenced the contributions African Americans had made to the state’s history and culture. She began preparing a “daily ‘fact sheet’” on the role African Americans had played in the history of Kentucky. Th is information was later published in theLouisville Defenderin a weekly column titled “The Achievements of the Kentucky Negro.” The column generated...

  5. Guide for Readers
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  6. The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

    • A
      (pp. 1-30)

      ABBINGTON, VALLATEEN VIRGINIA DUDLEY (b. 1907?, IN; d. 2003, Los Angeles, CA), teacher, social worker, and civic leader who filed a lawsuit to equalize teacher salaries in Louisville. Born in rural Indiana to a family of eight children, Valla Dudley Abbington sold newspapers as a teenager. After the death of her parents, she worked her way through Michigan State Normal College and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. In 1938, she married Jesse Matthew Abbington.

      Abbington began her 18-year teaching career in North Carolina before moving to Kentucky to teach at Louisville’s Jackson Junior High School. The Louisville Board of Education...

    • B
      (pp. 31-85)

      BACCHUS, PERCIVAL L. (b. 1902, Virgin Islands, West Indies; d. 1962, Cincinnati, OH), doctor whose medical license was revoked after he was accused of performing an illegal abortion. Percival L. Bacchus was an African American medical doctor who practiced in Newport for more than three decades. He was born in the Virgin Islands on May 2, 1902, but when he was young, his family moved to New Jersey. Bacchus attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, and graduated in the late 1920s. He practiced for a short time in Nashville before coming to Kentucky, where he passed the Kentucky State...

    • C
      (pp. 86-131)

      CABELL, AARON HALL (b. 1855, Henderson, KY; d. 1915, Henderson, KY), merchant and the first African American to run for public office in Henderson, and CABELL, GEORGE CLARENCE (b. 1860, Henderson, KY; d. unknown, Henderson, KY), merchant. Aaron Hall Cabell and George Clarence Cabell were born in slavery to Civil War veteran James Cabell and Harriet Cabell. Aaron married Amanda Rucker and opened a grocery business while he was in his early 20s in Henderson, KY. The couple had only one child, Viola. They later sent her to Haven High School in Missouri, where she was the only African American...

    • D
      (pp. 132-156)

      DALY, RICHARD (b. unknown; d. unknown), active in the Underground Railroad. Although Richard Daly’s birth and death dates, like those of many Kentucky slaves, are unknown, he was still alive in 1894 in Windsor, Canada, when he was interviewed by a reporter for a Detroit, MI, newspaper. Daly’s four children were born between 1840 and 1850 in Hunter’s Bottom, Carroll Co., KY. His oldest daughter, Mary, was listed as being age 17 in the 1860 Detroit census.

      In the 1850s, Richard Daly, his brother Joe Daly, and Tom Owen were slaves owned by Samuel Fearn Sr. in Hunter’s Bottom. The...

    • E
      (pp. 157-172)

      EASTERN COLORED BRANCH LIBRARY (LOUISVILLE), early African American library. In 1908, the first Carnegieendowed library building for African Americans was opened in Louisville. Named the Western Colored Branch Library, it opened its doors to the city’s black community, which had been denied entrance into the city’s other public libraries. Because of the success of the West End library, many African Americans in Louisville’s East End almost immediately began demanding a library of their own.

      After raising $1,000 from black residents of the East End, Albert Meyzeek, who had been instrumental in bringing the Western Colored Branch Library to Louisville, and...

    • F
      (pp. 173-196)

      FARMINGTON HISTORIC HOME, plantation home owned by John and Lucy Speed. The Farmington Historic Home, located at Bardstown Rd. and the Watterson Expressway, was built for John and Lucy Gilmer (Fry) Speed and was the center of a sprawling, 500-acre hemp plantation. Th e house may have been designed from a plan by Thomas Jefferson.

      John Speed was a 36-year-old widower with two young daughters when he met and married 29-year-old Lucy Gilmer Fry. Both had come across the Wilderness Road from Virginia at the age of 10, along with their respective families and slaves. Sometime after his 1808 marriage...

    • G
      (pp. 197-221)

      GADDIE, DANIEL ABRAHAM, SR. (b. 1833, Hart Co., KY; d. 1911, Louisville, KY), influential minister of numerous churches throughout Kentucky. Described by a contemporary as “one of the great towers of the Baptist cause in Kentucky,” Daniel Abraham Gaddie was born the son of a slave owner in Hart Co., KY, on May 21, 1833. After he was freed, Daniel changed his last name from Jamison, the surname of his biological father, to Gaddie.

      Gaddie spent his formative years as a blacksmith but was converted to Christianity in the 1860s by a white man named Robert Gardner. In 1865, he...

    • H
      (pp. 222-263)

      HAGGARD, CHARLES (b. 1896, Lexington, KY; d. 1986, Lexington, KY), owner and operator of an African American funeral home for over 40 years. Born on a farm in the Lexington area on September 4, 1896, Charles Haggard grew up as one of 14 children with his parents, James and Kate Haggard. After brief service in World War I, he began work as a chauffeur, a job he held for several years. Shortly thereafter, he completed work at the Lincoln Institute and graduated from the Cincinnati College of Embalming in 1939. During this time, he served apprenticeships with Crittenden and Cunningham...

    • I
      (pp. 264-266)

      IMPROVED BENEVOLENT AND PROTECTIVE ORDER OF ELKS OF THE WORLD, organization founded by Kentuckians that became one of the largest and most prestigious African American fraternal orders in the United States. As a response to being denied entry into white fraternal organizations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, African Americans throughout Kentucky and the nation formed their own, autonomous societies. One of the largest of these organizations was the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW), modeled aft er the lily-white Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World (BPOEW). Founded in 1899,...

    • J
      (pp. 267-294)

      JACKSON, ABBIE CLEMENT (b. 1899, Salisbury, NC; d. 1986, Louisville, KY), missionary supervisor and A.M.E.Z. church and civic leader. Abbie Clement, daughter of Bishop George C. Clement and Emma C. (Williams) Clement, was born in Salisbury, NC, on March 13, 1899. She graduated from Livingstone College in Salisbury in 1916 and received additional education from Frankfort’s Kentucky State College ( later known as Kentucky State University) and New York City’s Columbia University. She taught in the public school system in Louisville, KY, from 1920 to 1925. In 1925, Clement married Clarence P. Jackson and began to devote her full attention...

    • K
      (pp. 295-314)

      KAPPA ALPHA PSI FRATERNITY, INCORPORATED, national fraternity founded by African American men during the period of segregation. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity was organized by 10 African American men on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington on January 5, 1911. One of the founders was Elder Watson Diggs, who was born in Christian Co., KY.

      The fraternity was first known as Kappa Alpha Nu when it was incorporated on May 15, 1911. The name was effectively changed to Kappa Alpha Psi on April 15, 1915. The fraternity’s objectives include uniting “college men of culture, patriotism and honor in a bond...

    • L
      (pp. 315-342)

      LACEY, EUGENE (b. 1888, Covington, KY; d. 1965, Covington, KY), businessman. Eugene F. Lacey, the son of Samuel and Emma Lacey, was a lifelong resident of Covington. His early education was at Lincoln-Grant School in Covington, and he graduated from Woodward High School on Sycamore St. in downtown Cincinnati. In 1918, he opened his first grocery store at 508 Scott St. in Covington (currently the site of the Kenton Co. Public Library) while residing at nearby 839 Craig St. In 1919, Lacey married Bessie Merritt of Falmouth, and together they opened a second store in Covington at 205 E. Robbins...

    • M
      (pp. 343-377)

      MACK, EDGAR L. (b. 1930, Pleasureville, KY; d. 1991, Brentwood, TN), civil rights activist and pastor. Civil rights activist and religious leader Edgar Leroy Mack was the son of Edgar W. and Sarah L. Johnson Mack. He attended the Lincoln Institute and in 1953 graduated from Wilberforce College in Ohio. In 1955, he received an MA in divinity from Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, OH. Later he received an MA in social work from Ohio State University in Columbus. For most of his adult life, Mack was a leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and...

    • N
      (pp. 378-388)

      NAPPY ROOTS, Grammy-nominated, platinum hip-hop group. Considered the most influential hip-hop group to come out of Kentucky, Nappy Roots was formed by Ronald Wilson (“Clutch”) of Louisville, Brian Scott (“B. Stille”) of Louisville, Vito Tisdale (“Big V”) of Bowling Green, William Hughes (“Skinny DeVille”) of Louisville, Melvin Adams (“Fish Scales”) of Georgia, and Kenneth Anthony (“R. Prophet”) of California. In 1995, DeVille and Clutch attended Western Kentucky University and oft en wrote lyrics in their house near campus. They were joined by Big V, who lived around the corner when he was not attending school at Eastern Kentucky University. The...

    • O
      (pp. 389-392)

      OLDHAM, SAMUEL (b. ca. 1796; d. unknown, Virginia), businessman. Little is known about Samuel Oldham’s early life. Born a slave around 1796 in Virginia, Oldham was moved to Kentucky, where he bought his freedom from his owner, James Harper of Lexington, in 1826. He also bought the freedom of his wife, Daphney, as well as that of his children. In 1835, he purchased a 45-foot lot on South Mulberry St. for $200, thus becoming the first free African American to own property in Lexington. In the following two years, he constructed a two-story dwelling at 245 Main St. that would...

    • P
      (pp. 393-419)

      PAGE, GREGORY DEWAYNE (b. 1948, Middlesboro, KY; d. 1967, Lexington, KY), football player. The second African American scholarship athlete to sign with the University of Kentucky (UK), Greg Page was the son of Robert, a former coal miner who later worked at a tannery, and Wilma Page, a registered nurse. Greg was an all-state defensive end at Middlesboro High School. In 1966, he received a scholarship to play for the UK football team. At 6-feet-1 and 190 pounds, Page made an immediate impression playing on the freshman team. Known for his quickness and mobility, Page was expected to serve an...

    • Q
      (pp. 420-420)

      QUILLINGS, CHARLES HARDIN (b. August 30, 1920, Muskogee, OK; d. March 22, 2011, Atlanta, GA), band director and educator. Born in Muskogee, OK, Charles Hardin Quillings graduated from Manual Training High School in Louisville, KY, in 1938. He had been a member of the high school marching band, and he received a music scholarship to Kentucky State College ( later known as Kentucky State University), where he played in the Kentucky State Collegiate Jazz Band. After graduating in 1942, Quillings served in the U.S. Army for four years as an assistant warrant officer while also directing the Jazz Orchestra. In...

    • R
      (pp. 421-435)

      RABB, MAURICE F., JR. (b. 1932, Shelbyville, KY; d. 2005, Chicago, IL), prominent ophthalmologist. The son of an anesthesiologist and a math teacher, Maurice F. Rabb Jr. spent much of his childhood experimenting with photography in Shelbyville, KY. After completing his secondary education at Central High School and attending the University of Indiana before switching to the recently desegregated University of Louisville, Rabb parlayed his interest in visual media into a career in ophthalmology. Having earned a degree from the University of Louisville’s Medical School in 1958 and studying the subject at New York University, he became the first black...

    • S
      (pp. 436-492)

      SAFFELL, DAISY MORGAN (b. 1875, Louisville, KY; d. 1918, Shelbyville, KY), and SAFFELL, GEORGE WILLIAM (b. 1873, Frankfort, KY; d. 1953, Shelbyville, KY), educators, undertakers, and club organizers. Daisy Morgan Grubbs was born in Louisville, KY, and matriculated at Fisk University and Roger Williams University in Nashville, TN. Known for her musical ability, she was also regarded as a skillful writer and an eloquent speaker. She taught school in Frankfort and Lawrenceburg, where she served as principal for three years. In 1897, she married “Professor” George William Saffell, also an educator. In 1901, the couple worked at Harrodsburg’s Wayman Institute,...

    • T
      (pp. 493-502)

      TANDY, HENRY A. (b. ca. 1855, Estill, KY; d. 1918, Lexington, KY), prominent Lexington brick mason. Little is known about Henry A. Tandy’s early life. Born in Estill Co., KY, to unknown parents, Tandy moved to Lexington in the 1860s. After a brief stint as a photographer, he began a career as a bricklayer for G. D. Wilgus in 1867. He had considerable success in this occupation, rising to the position of foreman before his employer’s death in 1892. Tandy then joined another African American laborer to form a partnership that operated under the name Tandy and Byrd. Tandy rapidly...

    • U
      (pp. 503-507)

      UNCLE TOM’S CABIN,antislavery novel. Harriet (Beecher) Stowe’s fiery antislavery novelUncle Tom’s Cabin,published in 1852, is believed to have been influenced by what she had seen and heard of slavery in Kentucky. The Connecticut-born author had visited Kentucky while living in Cincinnati, where her father was president of Lane Theological Seminary; she married Calvin Stowe, then a professor at Lane, during her residence there.

      Harriet Stowe explained inA Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin(1853) that many of her characters—slaves and others—were composites of people she had heard about or met. She noted that the slave...

    • V
      (pp. 508-509)

      VAN LOWE, THEDA HOSKINS (b. 1890, Kentucky; d. 1968, Lexington, KY), high school principal, club member, and community leader. Born on December 7, 1890, according to the 1900 U.S. federal census, Th eodosia E. Hoskins, who went by the name of Theda, was the daughter of Charles Hoskins, a blacksmith, and Martha Hoskins, a teacher, and the family lived in Campbellsville, KY. In 1910, Theda and her mo ther taught school in Harrodsburg, KY. She first attended college at Simmons University ( later known as Simmons College of Kentucky) and then graduated from Kentucky State Industrial College (now Kentucky State...

    • W
      (pp. 510-545)

      WADE, HELEN CARY CAISE (b. 1939, Lexington, KY), first student to integrate schools in Lexington. Born on March 18, 1939, Helen Cary Caise Wade described her childhood as a pleasant one despite the constant presence of segregation in Lexington, KY. She attended all-black schools, including Chandler Normal School, (Paul Laurence) Dunbar High School, and (Frederick ) Douglass School, and recalled not being allowed to enter several stores in the shopping district. Her stepfather, John Jacob Caise, made ends meet by working various construction jobs while her mother, Lucy Edna Cary, took care of the children.

      In the summer of 1955,...

    • Y
      (pp. 546-550)

      YARBROUGH, MARILYN V. (b. 1945, Bowling Green, KY; d. Burnsville, NC, 2004), law school professor and dean. Marilyn V. Yarbrough Ainsworth was born in 1945 as Marilyn Yarbrough in Bowling Green, KY, to Merca Toole and William Yarbrough. Her family moved to North Carolina when Yarbrough was a child. She left the state to attend Virginia State University, a historically black school in Petersburg, VA, where she received her bachelor’s degree in 1966. She subsequently moved to California to attend law school at the University of California, Los Angeles.

      Yarbrough’s winnings from theHollywood Squares Showfinanced her law school...

    • Z
      (pp. 551-552)

      ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY, INC., first Greek-letter or ga niza tion to establish a chapter in Africa. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, was founded on January 16, 1920, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, DC. The five founders, Arizona Cleaver (Stemons), Pearl Anna Neal, Myrtle Tyler (Faithful), Viola Tyler (Goings), and Fannie Pettie (Watts), sought to “establish an organization that focused on the societal mores, ills, prejudices, and poverty affecting humanity in general and the black community in particular.” Through their work with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity members Charles Robert Samuel Taylor and A. Langston Taylor, Zeta Phi...

  7. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 553-570)
  8. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 571-572)
  9. Index
    (pp. 573-596)