There are more notable African Americans with Kentucky roots and ties than any one person knows about. Very little has been written about many of them and it is a challenge to find what was written in the past. For some, their stories have only been told by word of mouth. The Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (NKAA) has been developed as a finding aid to bring together a brief description of pertinent names, places, and events, and to list the sources where additional information may be found. This is not currently an all inclusive database, but we are working toward that goal and suggestions are welcomed.

Recently Updated/Added

Williams, Orena Vaught

The poet Orena Williams was born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Eliza and Dock Vaught [also spelled Vaughn]. The family is listed in the 1920 U.S.…

Young, Betty

The free black population in Kentucky was, prior to the Civil War, a small percentage of the total number of African Americans living in the state.…

Barker, Samuel Lorenzo

According to the Kentucky Birth Records, Professor S. L. Barker was born in Christian County, KY, the son of Ellin Sumers? and Bob Barker. [Tennessee…

Duncan, Alzona John

Alzona J. Duncan was one of the very few African American pharmacists in Kentucky in the early 1900s. He was born in Bowling Green, KY, in 1871. In…

Atkins, Calvin Rupert, and Dora G. Graham Atkins

Calvin R. Atkins (1870-1923) was born in Hadensville, KY. He was the husband of Dora G. Graham Atkins (1875-1923), who was born in Pembroke, KY. In…

Burks, Kathryn L. Wright

Kathryn L. W. Burks was the first African American student teacher in Franklin, IN (1958) and the first to teach high school in that city (1966). She…

Scott, Anna W. Porter

Anna W. P. Scott was born in Fulton, KY, the daughter of Jevvie R. Patton Porter and Thomas M. Porter. She was the wife of John T. Scott. Anna W.…

African Americans in KentuckyKilled By Lightning

In early newspapers arearticles aboutpeople in Kentuckykilled by lightning, andthearticleswere many times front page stories. There are alsolightning…

Oliver, Joel Peter Jr., and Wilma

In January of 1939, Dr. Joel P. Oliver, Jr. (1903-1958) and a woman named Wilma, who was white, were arrested in Louisville, KY, for violating the…