From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (African American Women Veterans in and from Kentucky)

Harding, Dorothy G. Cunningham

(born: May 9, 1924  -  died: November 30, 2014) 

Military Branch

Women's Army Corps

Active Duty Entered

February 22, 1943

Exit Rank

Tech 4


Dorothy G. Cunningham was born in Bondville, KY, the daughter of Earl and Ora Brown Cunningham. Her birth year was 1924, according to the Kentucky Birth Index and the U.S. Census. The Cunningham family members are enumerated in the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Censuses. Earl Cunningham was a construction worker for Southern Railroad.

In 1943, Dorothy G. Cunningham enlisted in the Army in Louisville, KY, according to her record in the National Archives, Access to Archival Databases. When she enlisted, Dorothy was living in Salvisa, KY. She was a graduate of West Side High School and had completed a nurses training course in St. Louis, MO.

After her military service, Dorothy G. Cunningham returned to Kentucky. She married Robert Edward Harding in Indiana May 26, 1948. In 1953, she  was employed as a psychiatric aid at the U.S. Public Health Service [Narcotic] Hospital (USPHS) located on Leestown Road in Lexington, KY. The Addiction Research Center (ARC) was a division of the hospital. The USPHS grounds were shared with the federal prison.

In the 1970 Lexington city directory, Dorothy Harding's job location was given as NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health). She was working at the ARC section of the USPHS; the ARC was an NIMH facility. By 1979, her job was listed in the Lexington city directory as a corrections officer at the FCI (Federal Corrections Institute). Today, the name is FMC Lexington or The Federal Medical Center in Lexington, a federal prison for inmates who require medical and mental health care.

Dorothy G. Cunningham Harding died in Lexington  in 2014. She is buried in the Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Nicholasville, KY.

Sources: "What You Can Do: Army's first in the hearts of Waacs," The Courier-Journal, 2/25/1943, p. 15; Indiana Marriages in Ancestry; "Louisville-area deaths: Earl C. Cunningham," The Courier-Journal, 11/26/1974, p. 29; Kentucky Birth Index in Ancestry; Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory 1953, p. 286; Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory 1970, p. 284; and 1979 Polk's Lexington (Fayette County, KY) City Directory, p. 356.

For more see Dorothy Cunningham Harding at Find A Grave; C. J. Aker, "The Early years of the PHS Narcotic Hospital at Lexington, Kentucky," Public Health Reports, 1997 May-June, pp. 112-113 (online); and photographs and additional information about the Lexington Narcotic Farm at ExploreUK.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Mercer County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Jefferson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Bondville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Salvisa, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Louisville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Harding, Dorothy G. Cunningham,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-05-17 17:11:30