African American Schools in Madisonville and Hopkins County, KY
According to the 1866 Annual Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, there was one colored school in Hopkins County, KY. See the Freedmen Schools in Kentucky at FamilySearch.org for information about other schools in Hopkins County around 1866.
In 1880 there were several more schools; the teachers in the Hopkins County city of Nebo were G. B. Barnett and Albert Morrow, Elsie Cooper was in Madisonville, and Mary O'Bryan was in Kitchen [source: U.S. Federal Census]. By 1888, there were 18 colored school districts [source: Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction].
On March 26, 1888, the Kentucky General Assembly approved an act for the city of Madisonville to establish a system of public schools for Colored children [source: Chapter 689, pp. 472-475, Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Passed, Regular Session, v. 2, 1888]. The school system was to cover all points one mile from the center of the city, and the school district covered two miles out. The act outlined the structure of a Colored school board that would be responsible for the hiring of the teachers, establishing the curriculum, and operating the school. Colored children only, between the ages of 6-20, would be allowed to attend the schools. The first school trustees were John R. Ross, George H. Speed, Alex Mitcheson, Ephraim Porter, and Edward Nisbet. A poll tax was to be collected from Colored property owners for the building of a school. A second poll tax was to be levied against the Colored male amd head of households to pay the teachers' salaries and other expenses.
The Earlington Colored School opened in 1891. The Atkinson Literary and Industrial College opened in 1892 in Madisonville. The Zion High School was located in Madisonville in 1893 [source: "Mrs. Celia Dunlap visited the Zion High School at Madisonville...," Bee, 2/23/1893, p. 2]. In 1895, there were 24 colored schools in Hopkins County with 27 teachers [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp. 444-448]. The average attendance was 940 students during the 1895-96 school term and 850 students during the 1896-97 school term.
Clarence Timberlake was superintendent of Colored schools in 1918, according to the Proceedings and Reports for the Year Ending 1918 by the John F. Slater Fund. Teachers and principals of the Madisonville Colored Schools are listed in the Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association and the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal (KNEA Journal), 1916-1950. In 1925, there were nine elementary schools in the Hopkins County school system. Personnel included six elementary teachers and three high school teachers in Earlington and eight elementary teachers and two high school teachers in Madisonville [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, pp. 67 and p.69].
On the cover of the KNEA Journal, January-February 1933, vol. 3, issue 2, is a picture of the newly built Rosenwald High School in Madisonville. William E. Lee was the principal of the 10-room school, which had an industrial department with brick-laying, mechanical drawing, and home economics courses. Other principals of the Madisonville Colored School from 1922 to 1941 were Nora B. Ross and Pearl M. Patton [source: The History of Education in Hopkins County, Kentucky by H. Ardis Simons].
The Negro teachers in Hopkins County in 1940 were Nettie M. Bass at Nortonville; Agnes Brasher at Dawson Springs; Laura Frazier, Grace G. Howard, Ida M. King, Lester Mimms, and Georgie B. Orton, all in Earlington; Mayme Parker, Vesta Pollard, Vader Pritchett, Nora Ross, Grace Noel Smith, Anna Lou Smith, Frances Talbert, Juanita Talley, Thomas J. Wheeler, Helen Noel, Mabel Lester, Mary Lovan, John Grace, Ruth Harvey, Alma Chambers, Rose J. Blythe, Ora B. Clements, and Ola Crowley, all in Madisonville [source: U.S. Federal Census].
See also the NKAA entry African American Schools in Earlington, KY. The first school to be listed as integrated was the Dawson Springs elementary and high school that had been for white students, on p. 629 of the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1957-58.
- Colored Schools (24)
- Atkinson Literary and Industrial College
- Branch Street School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 861]
- Dawson Springs School
- Earlington School
- Kitchen School
- Madisonville School
- J. W. Million School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 861]
- Nebo Schools (2)
- Nortonville School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 861]
- Rosenwald High School
- Zion High School