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 in Louisville 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; an amended complaint was filed with the Federal District Court in Lexington, KY with a request for $5,000 in damages.

As the case dragged on, Eubanks suffered from  depression; he was criticized for creating tension between Kentucky African Americans and whites, was rejected when he tried to enlist in the Army, and divorced by his wife. 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.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Eubanks, Charles Lamont [Eubanks v University of Kentucky],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 13, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-28 17:43:09