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

Colored Circles, Colored News Notes, Colored News, General Colored News, and Colored Notes (Lexington Newspapers)

(start date: 1898  -  end date: 1969) 

"Colored Notes," a column found in mainstream newspapers throughout the United States, contained information about African Americans. The information was gathered from the city or town where the newspaper was located, and from surrounding locations. The Colored Notes column was often located on the back pages next to the want ads. The articles ranged in length from a few sentences to an entire column or more.

The term "Colored Circles" was used in the late 1890s in the Daily Leader, predating the early use of the term "Colored Notes" in the Lexington Leader beginning around 1904. Other headings were "Colored Affairs" and "Colored News Notes" that were printed in the November 5, 1903 issue of the Lexington Leader. There was also a period where a comibination of terms were used. "Colored News Notes,"  "Colored News," and "General Colored News" continued until "Colored Notes" were printed in the October 11, 1911 issue of the Lexington Leader. "Colored Notes" had been a part of the Lexington Herald since 1921 and the merged publication the Sunday Herald-Leader.

The Colored Notes were handled by the Colored Department of the Lexington Herald newspaper and the department was housed in a separate location in the African American community from 1925-1937. In the newspaper, Lucy J. Cochran was named as the manager, reporter, and editor of the Lexington Herald Colored Department at 184 Deweese Street from 1925-1929. The operation was moved to 405 Breckinridge Street from October 1929-1932. For a few months during this period, Sadie Yancy was the reporter from December 12, 1927 - January 13, 1928, in Rm 11 at 180 Deweese Street. Lucy J. Cochran returned in January of 1928 and continued until April of 1932. The following month, in May of 1932, Myrtle Prather was the editor, and the Colored Department was located at 666 Shropshire Avenue. When Prather went on vacation in August of 1933, Miss Ann Clay Burns at 539 Chestnut Street took charge of the Colored Department. Prather returned in September of 1933 and the Colored Department remained on Chestnut Street. The following year, April of 1934, Myrtle Miller became the editor, and in July, the operation was relocated to 500 E. Third Street until November 3, 1934. Three days later, November 6, 1934, D. I. Reid at 705 N. Mill Street became the editor. In 1936, D. I. Reid was located at 705 Dakota Street. August 27, 1937, D. I. Reid was noted as the "Lexington Colored Notes" reporter for the Lexington Herald. He remained a reporter until his death in 1950. 

In the late 1950s, there was opposition to the use of the term "Colored" and the segregating of news in Lexington newspapers. In the early 1960s, CORE and other civil rights organizations demanded that the notation "Colored Notes" be removed and that news about African Americans be incorporated with all other news. 

On the opposing side, there was a push by some to keep the news separate, including African Americans who felt that if "Colored Notes" disappeared, then journalism would return to the days when there was no news at all about African Americans in the mainstream newspapers.

The Lexington newspapers were not inclined to remove "Colored Notes," so the heated debate continued. Finally, a readership vote was solicited in 1964, and it was reported that the final tally showed that readers wanted "Colored Notes" to continue. It would take another five years of disagreement before the newspapers begrudgingly relented, and the term and the segregation of the African American news within "Colored Notes" were discontinued in the Lexington newspapers.

This also meant the discontinuation of the Colored Notes in the Lexington newspapers for surrounding cities, such as Richmond, Georgetown, Nicholasville, Cynthiana, Versailles, Winchester, and Paris. 

For more see "Colored Circles," Daily Leader, 2/07/1898, p. 2; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 3/04/1904, p. 7; "The Lexington, Ky., Herald has added a column of "Colored News Notes" to its edition," The Crisis, July 1921, vol. 22, issue 3, p. 130; "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 10/27, 1925, p.10; "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 12/12/1927, p.5; "Colored Notes," Lexington Herald, 08/14/1932, p.17; "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 08/27/1933, p.9; "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 04/21/1934, p.7; "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 11/06/1934, p.7: "Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 01/03/1936, p.; "Lexington Colored Notes," The Lexington Herald, 08/24/1937, p.12; "Colored Notes," Lexington Leader, 4/22/1940, p. 10; "Colored Notes and Obituaries," Lexington Herald-Leader, 1/12/1964, p. 9; "Colored Notes to be eliminated," Lexington Herald-Leader, 2/01/1969, p. 22; and "Colored Notes (for several cities)," The Lexington Herald, 04/01/1928, p.4.

See also "Black Community News," a Lexington Public Library webpage with a link to the searchable collection of scanned articles about African Americans in Lexington newspapers.

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Yancey, Sadie Mae
NKAA Entry: Reid, Daniel Isaiah
NKAA Source: Crisis (periodical)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Sunday herald-leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Lexington herald (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Daily leader (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Morbley, Gertrude Mae Nero

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Colored Circles, Colored News Notes, Colored News, General Colored News, and Colored Notes (Lexington Newspapers),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 16, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-02-15 15:07:34