Kentucky Colony in Washington D.C.The term "Kentucky Colony" can be found in many sources in reference to a group of Kentuckians living in a particluar area outside the state of Kentucky. The term was also used to refer to the "Kentucky Colony" neighborhood in Washington, D.C. on 10th Street between R and S Streets. The residents were members of the "Kentucky Colony" organization, a networking, society and support group of African Americans from Kentucky who had migrated to Washington, D.C. [There was also a group of whites in Washington, D.C. who were from Kentucky and were referred to as a "Kentucky Colony."]
It is not known exactly when the African American Kentucky Colony organized, but they existed in the late 1890s and beyond 1912. The members were fairly well off, and in 1909 were led by Louisville, KY, native H. P. Slaughter [source: see H.P. Slaughter in column "The Week in Society," Washington Bee, 08/07/1909, p.5]. Slaughter was employed by the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. Other male members of the Kentucky Colony included James H. Black, William L. Houston, William H. Davis, Shelby J. Davidson, W. H. Wright, Charles E. Payne, Oscar W. Miller, J. C. Vaughn Todd, Louis P. Todd, Leslie Garrison Davis, Alex Payne, and Eugene Jennings [source: "Our Kentucky Colony," Colored American, 08/23/1902, p.9]. The members socialized with one another, and assisted other African Americans of similar means who were coming from Kentucky to live in Washington, D.C.
It was the Colored newspapers in Washington, D.C. that first used the term "Kentucky Colony" in print, referring to African Americans in Washington, D.C. "Bluegrass visitors," an article in the Colored American, 07/23/1898, p.7, reported that the group had entertained a delegation of educators from Kentucky who were in D.C. for a National Education Association Meeting. A reception was held for the visitors at the home of Mrs. Anna Weeden, at 1731 10th Street NW. Mrs. Weeden was a widow born 1864 in KY, she owned a boarding house and shared her home with her son Henry and her sister Francis Starks, both of whom were also born in Kentucky. Another article, "Addition to our Kentucky Colony," Colored American, 01/27/1900, p.3, announced the arrival of William H. Davis from Louisville, KY, and his successful passing of the civil service exam, his new job with the government, and his past employment experience. In the Washington Bee column, "The Week in Society," 08/17/1901, p.5, there was mention of the group having entertained a contingency of young women referred to as "charming school maidens of the old Bluegrass State."
The Kentucky Colony also kept ties to family and friends in Kentucky. In 1908, the group presented a 24-piece silver set to the newlyweds Jeanette L. Steward and James H. Black who were married on April 15, 1908 at the home of the bride's parents, Mrs. and Mr. W. H. Steward [source: "Our Kentucky Colony give star present at the Black-Steward wedding in Falls City," Washington Bee, 05/02/1908, p.5]. Both Jeanette and James Black were born in Kentucky. James had lived in Washington, D.C. for a few years beginning in 1902 when he was employed at the Government Printing Office [source: "The territory on 10th Street..." in the column "City Paragraphs," Colored American, 05/10/1902, p.15]. After they married, the couple remained in Louisville where James was a post office clerk, his wife Jeanette owned a cafeteria, and they shared their home with school teachers Mary and Myrtle Black [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. In 1912, several members of the Kentucky Colony were in Kentucky as reported in the Freeman, an Indiana newspaper, "Quite a number of the Kentucky Colony, of Washington, D.C., are in the city to cast their votes" [source: Lee L. Brown, "Everybody talking election," Freeman, 11/02/1912, p.8].