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

Kentucky Bakers, African Americans

A count of Negro bakers employed in Kentucky can be found in the U.S. Census records. Kentucky has never been a state with a large number of bakers of any race. The first comprehensive counting of bakers in the U.S. was reported in the 1850 record of American manufacturers. Men were the dominant wage earners. According to the census, by 1920 there were 720 Negro bakers in the United States: 530 males and 193 females, and of the total, 72 males were employed in Kentucky. The manufacturing of bread in the U.S. was valued at over a billion dollars, and the distribution of bakeries was about the same as the population distribution in urban areas. Between 1921-1929, bakery operations in the U.S. were expanding as grocery stores, restaurant chains, and retail bakeries began operating as multi-units. In 1930, there were 60 Negro male bakers in Kentucky and eight in Louisville. Over the next few decades the industry was affected by many factors, including rationing during the wars. The sale of pre-packaged mixes for cakes and other bread products increased, and large wholesale companies were able to mass produce baked products that had a longer shelf life in retail stores. The baking industry changed with the times. In 1960, there were 44 Negro bakers employed in Kentucky. Today, black-owned retail bakeries are counted within the category of food manufacturing in the Black-Owned Firms [.pdf] publication by the U.S. Census Bureau. Information for this entry came from the 14th Census of the U.S., 1920, vol. 4, Populations Occupations; 15th Census of the U.S., 1930, Population, vol. IV, Occupation by State; U.S. Census of Population: 1960, Final Report PC(1)-19A, Number of Inhabitants, Kentucky; The Baking Industry Under N.R.A, by R. W. Stone and U. B. Stone; The American Baking Industry, 1849-1923; as shown in the Census reports, by H. Kyrk and J. S. Davis; and Economic Changes in the Baking Industry, by C. C. Slater.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Fourteenth census of the United States taken in the year 1920
NKAA Source: Fifteenth census of the United States: 1930
NKAA Source: Census of population, 1960
NKAA Source: The baking industry under N.R.A.,
NKAA Source: The American baking industry, 1849-1923, as shown in the census reports
NKAA Source: Economic changes in the baking industry

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Brown, James and Bridgett
NKAA Entry:  Matthews, Mildred Marks Carr

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Kentucky Bakers, African Americans,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 29, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-08-16 22:25:12