Monday, August 01, 2011

Kentucky Board of Ed Moves to Correct Historic Injustice

At a special ceremony on August 3, the Kentucky Board of Education will present diplomas to African Americans who were enrolled at the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in the mid-20th century, but did not receive recognition for graduation.
            “Through the research of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and KSD staff, we discovered that these students were segregated into the KSD ‘colored division,’” said David Karem, chair of the board. “This division did not have the same standards, expectations and opportunities for these students as compared to their white counterparts. This resulted in these students leaving KSD at extremely young ages or staying through adulthood and then being discharged without a diploma.”
            Approximately 75 individuals have been identified to receive diplomas. These individuals were enrolled at KSD between 1930 and 1955, but left the school without receiving official recognition of graduation or completion of courses.
“Although we can’t change history, we hope that this action will bring long-deserved closure for former KSD students,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.
            The ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, August 3, at Grow Hall on KSD’s campus in Danville. Kentucky Board of Education members, Commissioner Holliday, KSD staff, former students and their family members, state agency officials, state legislators, and local officials will attend the ceremony.


Aaron Adams, Jr.
Betty Banks
Richard Bartlett
James Minos Brandon
Dorothy Brown
John Henry Brown
Fred Adolphus Burdette
Henrietta Duncan Burnette
Henry Reid Caldwell
Margaret Belle Caldwell
Martha Caldwell
Robert Caldwell
Arthur Caudill
Ruby Mae Norman Cherry
Emerson Lee Clay
Susie Morton Clay
Waldo Emerson Clay
Anna Lou Coleman
Wonderline Connor
Ruby Marie Cooper
George William Cornelious
Clarence Marvin Courtney
Robert Lee Croom
William Edward Dickinson
James W. Dunson
Virginia Evans
Elizabeth Caldwell Gardner
Oscar Hamilton
Emma Bell Hill Heard
Thomas W. Houser
Emilene Hunt
Margie Johnson Hunt
Walter Johnson, Jr.
Marilyn B. Allen Jones
Morris Arnett Lewis
Peggy A. Dorsey Lucas
Cecil McElroy
Augustine Miller
Nannie May Miller
Pearlene Briscoe Mollett
William Earnest Moorman
Arthur William Morton
James Newman
LeRoy Newton
Myrtle Annie O’Neal
Bobby Lee Oliver
Erma Bradley Payton
Irene Elizabeth Perdue
Jasper Potter
George Edward Rawlings
Richard David Riley
Ernest Robinson
Richard Allen Scales
Dorothy Mae Shaw
Holstin Skilman
Louis Joe Stewart
Mary Magadeline Caldwell Stewart
Elizabeth Lee Tarrance
Evelina Thomas
Mary Alice Thomas
Ruth Tooley
Roy Trice
Margaret Nell Martin Webster
Georgia Ann Whitt
Louise Wigfall
Robert Lee Wilkerson, Jr.
James Wallace Wilkinson
Sarah Allen Caldwell Wilkinson
Norma Jean Williams
Richard Williams
Fannie Mae Wilson
Ada May Florence Woods
Beatrice Mollet Woodson
Myrtle Young

 The Kentucky Board of Education also seeks information about any other former African-American students who were enrolled at KSD, but left the school without receiving recognition of graduation or completion of courses. Individuals should contact KSD Principal Rodney Buis at (859) 239-7017 or
In 1823, the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) became the first state-supported school of its kind in the nation and the western hemisphere. KSD has a rich history of ensuring that deaf and hard-of-hearing children and youth in Kentucky have educational opportunities to develop their potential to become educated, life-long learners and productive citizens.
The school currently enrolls approximately 140 students, and the Kentucky Board of Education serves as the board of education for both KSD and the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville.
While research conducted by staff at the Kentucky Department of Education and KSB does not indicate that KSB had a similar practice in place, former KSB students who believe they were denied diplomas on the basis of race should contact KSB  Principal John Roberts at (502) 897-1583 or

SOURCE: KDE Press release

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