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

Jernagin, Cordelia J. Woolfolk

(born: 1895  -  died: 1977) In 1924, Cordelia J. Woolfolk, born in Frankfort, KY, was a claims adjuster at the National Benefit Insurance Company in Washington, D.C. She was considered a woman who had landed a high position job. The insurance company she worked for was founded by Samuel W. Rutherford in 1898, it was an African American-owned business. Cordelia J. Woolfolk had previously worked for an insurance company in Frankfort, KY. According to a 1924 article by Charles E. Stump in the Broad Axe newspaper in Chicago, Cordelia Woolfolk had advanced in the insurance business from her job in Frankfort to her job in Washington, D.C. [source: "Charles E. Stump, the slick old time traveling correspondent...," Broad Axe, 04/19/1924, p.3, paragraph 6 of article]. Prior to working in insurance, Cordelia J. Woolfolk was a school teacher in Bagdad, KY.

Cordelia J. Woolfolk was in Washington, D.C. as early as 1920, according to the U.S. Federal Census. In 1922, her name was on p.1666 in Boyd's Directory of the District of Columbia. She is listed in the 1933 directory and the 1934 directory; Woolfolk was employed as a stenographer and a bookkeeper. In the 1939 directory, she is listed on p.1402, and was employed at the Southeast Settlement House. The establishment was found in 1929 by Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee and provided daycare and recreation for African American children. In 1945, Cordelia J. Woolfolk was a social worker in Washington, D.C. when she married civil rights activist, Rev. William Henry Jernagin (1870-1958), pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and an internationally known church leader and activist. For more see "Jernagin takes bride," Afro-American, 08/11/1945, p.10; and "Dr. Jernagin still active pastor at 88," Afro-American, 10/19/1957, p.3.

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Afro-American (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Boyd's directory of the District of Columbia (serial)
NKAA Source: The Broad axe (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Jernagin, Cordelia J. Woolfolk,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-10-27 16:33:47