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clinton_street_high_school_class_of_1909_with_their_teachers_and_professor_mayo

In honor of February being Black History Month (and for purely personal reasons), Capital Living will do its best to uncover African American History throughout Frankfort and Franklin County over the next several weeks.


Today we focus on education of the African American population in Frankfort. According to author Marion B. Lucas, there was a day school for Black children in Frankfort as early as 1820, a grammar school was established in 1859, and there were five schools in Franklin County prior to 1900. That total may include the Freedmen School in Frankfort that was constructed between 1866 and 1870, and supervised by the Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

In 1871, Mattie E. Anderson opened the Frankfort Female High School, using her own money. The school trained students to become teachers. In 1880 the teachers at the colored schools were Martha Dillon, Lizzie Hocker, Mittie Johnson, Sarah Smith, and Reuben Washington.

In 1862, a nineteen year old Cincinnatian named William Mayo became the first principal for the Frankfort Clinton Street School for African-Americans. In 1907, the Board of Education had an addition built onto the school for the teaching of domestic science: cooking, sewing, and general housekeeping. With William Mayo as the principal, the teachers were Winnie A. Scott, Margaret E. Gray, Bianca Parker, Sadie M. Kirby, Katie Smith, Virginia M. Madison, Julia M. Spencer, Lettye A. Williams, Martha E. Williams, Charity A. Boyd, and Annie L. Fairs. He worked hard to create educational opportunities for blacks. The Mayo-Underwood High School was later named in part in his honor. One of his greatest successes was the establishment of the State Normal School for Colored Persons in 1886, now Kentucky State University. In 1887, State Normal School for Colored Persons (now KSU) opened to train teachers.

In 1892, George Halleck was over the colored night school in Frankfort. In 1895, there were 8 colored schools in Franklin County with one teacher at each school. The average attendance was 262 students for the 1895-96 session, and 224 students for the 1896-97 session. In 1925, there were 2 colored elementary schools in the county, and the colored schools in Frankfort had 9 teachers in the elementary grades and 5 high school teachers.

By 1940, Franklin County had one of the highest number of Negro educators in the state of Kentucky: Ludye Anderson, Walter Anderson, David Bradford, Stenson Broadus, Louella Bush, Henry A. Keene, Mack Carmichael, Nancy Carter, H. E. Cheaney, Hubert B. Crouch, Virginia Falls, Aneta Fields, Ben D. Fruch, Howard Jason, Anne J. Heartwell, Yvonne Jackson, William Jones, Ralph Lee, J. J. Mark, Arletter McGoodwin, Manson Melton, Malcolm Perkins, Alexis Richards, Harold Smith, Robert Whiter, Bettie H. White, Violet Wilson, and Charlotte Wilson, all at Kentucky State College for Negroes (now Kentucky State University); Lawrence Hitcher at Kentucky State Model School; Samara Hurd, Sue Tyler, and John Tyler, all at the Feeble-Minded Institute; and A. Elinton Bishop, Etta Blanton, W. S. Blanton, Katie H. Brown, Ota Case, Laura F. Chase, Mary Collins, Murray Conda, Dorothy Gay, Grace Grevious, Abaline Hays, James W. Henry, Mary C. Holmes, Clarence S. Johnson, Dorothy Jones, Asberry Jones, Lucy Jones, Annie Scott King, Emma E. Lindsay, Grace Morton, LaBlanche Nelly, Mary Peay, Florence Roberts, Marie Robertson, Ethel Robertson, Eugene Raines, Patty L. Simpson, Bessie R. Stone, Leota Thomas, Lula Ward, Cornelin Warren, Mary O. Warren, Roberta H. Wilson, and Arnold Wright, all educators in Frankfort and Franklin County.

In 1948, the Kentucky Training Home was first listed as having “white & colored” students. The first schools to be listed as integrated in the Kentucky Public School Directory, 1956-57, p.428, were Bridgeport, Elkhorn, Frankfort High, Kentucky Training Home, and Good Shepherd.

William Mayo and Winnie A. Scott are both currently part of the “Frankfort Faces” project, sponsored by the Capital City Museum. The program features non-seasonal street banners featuring the faces of some of Frankfort’s more notable residents.

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