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

African American Schools in Warren County, KY

One of the earliest schools for enslaved students in Kentucky was established by Peter Tardiveau (d. 1817), a Revolutionary War volunteer from Bordeaux, France. Tardiveau was a friend and fellow Revolutionary War veteran of Robert E. Craddock. The school was located in Warren County, KY around 1800, established for those enslaved by Craddock  [see NKAA entry Willis Russell].

One of the first schools for the freemen was established between 1866 and 1870 in Bowling Green with support from the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands [see NKAA entry Freedmen Schools], but the school teacher was run out of town. During this same time period, a school was held at the Stoney Point Missionary Baptist Church, which was established in 1866 [see NKAA entry Stoney Point]. The school was moved in 1908 to a newly built schoolhouse in Stoney Point where it served the community for about 20 more years before it was closed and the children were bused to the Smith Grove School.

In 1880, the colored teachers in Warren County were Andrew Bowles; Frances Buckley in Woodburn, George D. Loving, C. R. McDowell, Tobias Sweeney, Willis Tisdale, J. B. Henderson, Maria J. Mayo, and Alex Williams [source: U.S. Federal Census].

By 1895, the Simmons Memorial College was in operation, headed by Robert Mitchell [see NKAA entry American Baptist Home Missionary Schools; and Rev. Robert Mitchell in the Lexington Herald, 10/08/1926, p. 16]. In total, there were 30 colored schools in Warren County in 1895 [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-97, pp. 712-715]. Warren County had the highest number of colored schools recorded in the 1895-1897 biennial report of the Kentucky Superintendent, more than any other Kentucky county. All but one of the schools were in operation for for five months; the remaining school was active for more than five months. Each of the schools had one teacher, with the male teachers' average monthly pay $39.93 (1895-1896) and $31.56, (1896-1897) while the female teachers' average monthly pay was $37.93 (1895-1896) and $27.41 (1896-1897). The average attendance was 709 students in the 1895-1896 school period and 863 in  1896-1897.

In 1902 a school was opened in the Colored Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, then later renamed Bowling Green Academy and  moved into a building on State Street. Other communities with colored schools were Sunnyside, Freeport, and Oakland [see NKAA entry African American Communities in Warren County, KY].

In the 1930s the report "Public Schools" by Kathryn S. Coleman lists 12 colored schools in Warren County, along with the enrollment numbers and the number of teachers per school. Pages 10-11 covers "Warren County, Colored Public Schools" [source: Kentucky Education Collection, Series 1, Box 25, 0000UA129, File: Warren County, at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center]. Within the Shake Rag District in Bowling Green was the State Street High School [see NKAA entry Shake Rag].

In 1940, the Negro teachers in Warren County were Robert Barlow, Christine Barlow, E. Hortense Bathnic(?), Ethel Buford, Virginia Cabell, Lula Carpenter, Clara Cole, Addie J. Edmonds, Lutisha Frierson, Willie Gossom, Lena Hudson, C. A. Hutcherson, Latter Huston Cox, Eva Kuykendall, Lila Bell Lee, Frances Luvalle, Charity McCutchen, Lena McCutchen Hudson, Emma Milligan, Mabel Moore, Frank Moxley, Claude Nichols, Alroma Nichols, Mattie Patticord, A. L. Poole, Ethel Ray, A. P. Williams, Delorese Williams, Clara Bell Yarbrough, and Henry Yost [source: U.S. Federal Census]. *The name of schoolteacher Julia Vada Edmonds Denning was submitted by Helen Juanita (Young) Tyler via her granddaughter Aneesah Nu'Man. 

St. Joseph School was the first to be listed as having "white & colored" students (see p. 230 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1955-56); the school is also  the first to be listed as integrated on p. 1021 in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1958-59. 

For more on the school integration in Warren County listen to the George Esters' interviews (High Street School) within the Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky Oral History Project at the Kentucky Historical Society website.

  • Colored Schools (30)
  • Peter Tardiveau School on Craddock Plantation
  • Freedmen School
  • Stoney Point Missionary Baptist Church School
  • Smiths Grove Colored School
  • Simmons Memorial College (Baptist)
  • Bowling Green Academy (Presbyterian)
  • Loving Union School (in Sunnyside)
  • Woodland School (in Freeport)
  • Kepley School (in Oakland)
  • Oakland Colored School
  • State Street School
  • High Street School
  • Bristow School
  • Cosby School (in Alvaton)
  • Rockfield School
  • Woodburn Colored School
  • Salem School (in Rockfield)
  • Dellafield School (in Bowling Green)
  • Robert Mitchell School for Ministers
  • H. D. Carpenter School [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1961-62, p. 891]
  • Jonesville Colored Schook (source: "Rural schools closed Dec. 23," The Park City Daily News, 12/08/1921, p.4)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Warren County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-08-15 20:38:19