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

African American Schools in Letcher County, KY

In 1911, the Whitesburg Colored Graded School held its commencement March 23 and March 24 [source: "Whitesburg Colored School closes with entertainment," Mountain Advocate, 03/31/1911, p.1]. The school teachers were Miss S. P. Lewis of Fairfield, and Ellen B. Adams of Barbourville. The Whitesburg Colored School was one of the few in Kentucky to have a colored superintendent, J. Neil Burnside [see the NKAA entry for Colored Superintendents]. Fleming Colored School was located in Letcher County [source: Mountain Eagle, 02/04/1960 and 09/05/1963, school mentioned in articles titled "County School Financial Statement"]. Burdine Colored School was part of the Jenkins Independent School System of Negro Schools located in Jenkins, Burdine, and Dunham. According to the 1939 thesis by Frances Rolston, the colored schools in the Jenkins School System were developed due to the influx of Negro coal miners working for Consolidated Coal Company.

The first Jenkins Colored School was established in 1916 with one teacher and 58 students. In 1928 there were 528 students in the colored schools in Letcher County. During the 1936-37 school year, there were 374 students in 3 schools. The end of school year report included the Fleming one room school with one teacher and 36 students; Carbon Glow one room school with one teacher and 25 students; and Haymond two room school with two teachers and 70 students. For a number of years, Dunham Colored High School, under the Jenkins School System, was the only high school for African Americans in Letcher County. Tom Biggs Colored School was located in McRoberts, KY.

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Letcher County were Camilla Elliott, Alfred Greenwood, Mattie Greenwood, M. L. Jackson, Blanche McSwain, Clemintine Masby, William Mudd, Marion Nelson, Marie Price, William Stovall, and Clara Whitt [source: U.S. Federal Census]. For more information see the thesis History of Education in Letcher County, Kentucky by F. Rolston. The first school in Letcher County to be listed as integrated was St. George, a Jenkins Independent school listed on p.128 in the Kentucky School Directory, 1963-64.


  • Burdine School
  • Carbon Glow School
  • Dunham School
  • Fleming Neon School
  • Haymond School
  • Jenkins School
  • Tom Briggs School in McRoberts
  • Whitesburg Graded School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Letcher County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Burdine, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Carbon Glow, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Dunham, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fleming-Neon, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Haymond, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jenkins, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about McRoberts, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Whitesburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Mountain advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Mountain eagle (newspaper)
NKAA Source: History of education in Letcher County, Kentucky (thesis)
NKAA Source: The Kentucky school directory (serial)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  African American Schools, High Schools - Eastern Kentucky, 1948
NKAA Entry:  Report: Negro School Districts and Their Needs by L. N. Taylor
NKAA Entry:  African American Schools - Colored Superintendents at Kentucky Public Schools, 1925
NKAA Entry:  Kelly, Elbert Muncie, Sr.

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Letcher County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 24, 2022,

Last modified: 2017-11-23 21:59:05