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

African American Schools in Owsley County, KY

The Sag School was the only colored school in Owsley County, KY [source: The History of Education in Owsley County, by Eugene Field Gabbard, p. 112]. The school was located in District 14, which is where the majority of the Negro population lived in Owsley County. In 1895, the school was included in the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp.632-635. The school was held in a frame building and the average attendance was 11 during the 1896-97 school term. There was one teacher whose average monthly salary was $20.81 during the 1895-96 school term, and $19.71 during the 1896-97 school term. In 1925, there was still the one school with one teacher for the 12 students [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.68]. The 1939 school enrollment at Sag School was 19 students. The school was located on land the county school system purchased from Billie Hall. The African American community built the school and raised the money for the seats and equipment. The teacher was Sanford Scott, who encouraged students to continue their education at Kentucky Normal School [at present day Kentucky State University] in Frankfort, KY. Two of the students who attended the normal school were Jack Jett, who in 1922-23 was a farm agent in Jefferson County, and Lena Guess Lightfoot, who returned to teach at the Sag School during regular terms and attended the normal school in the summer [source: Gabbard, p. 113]. A picture of the Sag School, a one-room school house, is on p. 127 in Gabbard's thesis. In 1940, the Negro teacher in Owsley County was Lena Lightfoot [source: U.S. Federal Census]. The one colored school in Owsley County continued to be listed in the Kentucky Public School Directory, but was not counted in the 1952-53 directory on p.435. It was again counted in the 1953-54 directory, p.805, but was not counted in the 1954-55 directory or any subsequent directories. The first school in the county to be listed as integrated was the Owsley High School and Grade School on p.444 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57.  

  • Sag School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Owsley County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Sag, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Owsley County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-10-25 18:21:02