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.

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Powers, Oliver "Ollie"

Oliver Powers, known as "Ollie Powers," was a singer, drummer, vaudeville and minstrel actor, and band director. He was born on October 11, 1887, in…

Gibbons, Harriet Evelyn Newhouse

Harriet E. Newhouse Gibbons was born in Louisville, KY. A graduate of Kentucky State University and the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, she…

Berry, Isaac, Sr.

Isaac Berry, Sr. was a violin player who was born into enslavement in Garrard County, KY. He had been willed to one of his owner's daughters. The…

Johnson, James Bartlett

James Bartlett Johnson, born in Taylor County, KY, was enslaved, but his wife Mary A. Buchanan had been free since she was three-years old. The family…

Spurgeon, Samuel J. W.

Samuel J. W. Spurgeon, who came to Kentucky from Tennessee, was the minister at Mt. Sterling, KY, Christian Church, then later relocated to the…

Ice Cream, Sugar and Slavery Up to the 1900s

Malvern Hill (Eothan), ice house.jpg

Written by Reinette F. Jones, March 19, 2020AROUND THE WORLDThis entry highlights the placement of enslaved Africans and the contributions of African…

Jones, Nancy "Nannie" and The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

Nancy "Nannie" Jones was born January 8, 1860, in Hopkinsville, KY, and raised in Memphis, TN, where she attended school at Lemoyne Institute (now…

Kentucky Carnegie Colored Libraries International Influence

The first Carnegie Colored Library buildings were built in Louisville, KY: Western Branch in 1908 and Eastern Branch in 1914. The addition of the…