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

Colored Circles and Colored Notes (Lexington, KY Newspapers)

"Colored Notes," a column found in mainstream newspapers throughout the United States, contained information about African Americans. The 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 use of the term "Colored Notes" in the Lexington Leader beginning around 1904. "Colored Notes" had been a part of the Lexington Herald since 1921 and the merged publication the Sunday Herald-Leader.

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" was discontinued in the Lexington newspapers.

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," Lexington Leader, 4/22/1940, p. 10; "Colored Notes and Obituaries," Lexington Herald-Leader, 1/12/1964, p. 9; and "Colored Notes to be eliminated," Lexington Herald-Leader, 2/01/1969, p. 22.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Daily leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Lexington herald (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Sunday Herald-Leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Crisis (periodical)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Morbley, Gertrude Mae Nero

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Colored Circles and Colored Notes (Lexington, KY Newspapers),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 16, 2021,

Last modified: 2020-10-14 18:15:22