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

Donan, Russell

(born: 1922  -  died: June 1992) 

Russell Donan was one of the very few African American men from Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during World War II. He was an Officer's Cook 1st Class who served first on the “R-3” and made several war patrols on the “Cobia.” He would be assigned to several other submarines before ending his military career in 1946 on the “Sperry” and the “Carp.” 

Donan was born in Edmonton, KY, the son of Mary and James Donan. The family lived on State Street in Bowling Green, KY in 1930, according to the U. S. Federal Census. Donan was the husband of Mary R. Mayfield, whom he married in 1946.

Russell Donan was a graduate of Tennessee A&I State University [now Tennessee State University]. He later earned a master's degree. He was an instructor and an assistant football coach at Virginia Union University.

This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston. For more see the "Russell Donan" entry in Black Submariners, by G. A. Knoblock; and "VUU announces 2015 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees," 6/12/2015, in the Richmond Free Press.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Metcalfe County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Edmonton, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Donan, Russell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 14, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-25 15:25:32