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

Eubanks, Charles Lamont [Eubanks v University of Kentucky]

(born: 1924) 

In the fall of 1941, Charles Lamont Eubanks, a 17-year old from Louisville, KY, was the plaintiff in the first Kentucky case the NAACP brought against a university. Eubanks had volunteered to be the subject in an attempt to integrate the University of Kentucky (UK); Eubanks was an honor student who had graduated from Central High School and applied for admission to the UK College of Engineering. His application was denied because Eubanks was an African American and the Kentucky Day Law did not permit African Americans and whites to attend the same schools. While the Eubanks' case was pending, the Kentucky Board of Education voted to establish a two year engineering course at the HCBU Kentucky State College [now Kentucky State University] for African American students seeking an engineering degree. Eubanks' counsel, Charles H. Houston and Thurgood Marshall, objected to the two-year makeshift engineering program and an amended complaint was filed with the Federal District Court in Lexington, with a request for $5,000 in damages. As the case dragged on, Eubanks suffered with depression, he was criticized for creating tension between Kentucky African Americans and whites, he was rejected from joining the Army, and his wife divorced him. Eubanks signed an affidavit asking that the case not be continued and the case was dismissed in 1945. Thurgood Marshall was disappointed at the outcome of the case. Charles W. Anderson blamed Kentucky State College President Atwood for weakening the case when he allowed the two-year engineering course to be created at the school. But in spite of all that happened, the Charles Eubanks v University of Kentucky case is still considered a landmark in the struggle for equal rights in higher education. For more see Making Civil Rights Law by M. V. Tushnet; Fifty Years of Segregation by J. Hardin; and A History of Blacks in Kentucky by M. B. Lucas and G. C. Wright. See also Lyman T. Johnson, the case that desegregated the University of Kentucky.

Kentucky County & Region

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Louisville Central High School/Central High School Magnet Career Academy
NKAA Entry: Anderson, Charles W., Jr.
NKAA Entry: Atwood, Rufus Ballard
NKAA Entry: Johnson, Lyman T. [Johnson v. Board of Trustees]
NKAA Source: Making civil rights law: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court, 1936-1961
NKAA Source: Fifty years of segregation : Black higher education in Kentucky, 1904-1954
NKAA Source: A history of Blacks in Kentucky

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Eubanks, Charles Lamont [Eubanks v University of Kentucky],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 29, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-02-12 17:13:47