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

Kendall, Joseph N.

(born: 1909  -  died: 1965) 

Joseph N. Kendall was born in Owensboro, KY. In July 2007, he became the first Kentucky State University inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, located in South Bend, IN.

Kendall was considered one of the greatest passers in college football and a good all-around player. In addition to  quarterback, he was a running back and punter (who punted with both feet) as well as a defensive player.

In 1934, he led Kentucky State University to a national black college football championship and an undefeated season. In 1935, he led the team to an Orange Blossom Classic victory. During Kendall's college football career, Kentucky State had a 29-7-3 record.

The Pittsburgh Courier named Kendall a First Team All-American three times between 1934-36. He was inducted into the Kentucky State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1975. He was selected for the African American All-Star team that played against the Chicago Bears in 1935, the first time that an African American team played against an NFL team. Kendall was also a good baseball and basketball player.

He served in the Army for two years, then graduated from Kentucky State in 1938. His original higher education plan had been to go to Paducah to study culinary arts, but once people saw him  play football, they encouraged him to  enroll and play for Kentucky State.

After college, he was hired to teach and coach at the African American Rosenwald High School in Harlan, KY,  in 1946 becoming principal of the school.

In 1948, he returned to Owensboro to become the football coach at the school from which he graduated, Western High School. The Kendall-Perkins Park in Owensboro is named in honor of Joseph N. Kendall and Joseph Perkins.

For more see "Joe Kendall Hall of Fame profile," at; S. Hagerman, "One of the finest: Late Western High standout to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame," Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 7/16/2007, section C, p. 1; and contact CESKAA.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Daviess County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Harlan County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Owensboro, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Harlan, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Center of Excellence for the Study of Kentucky African Americans (CESKAA)
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Harlan County, KY
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Daviess County, KY
NKAA Source: The Pittsburgh courier (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Kendall, Joseph N.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 1, 2022,

Last modified: 2021-03-08 19:21:37