Kentucky State University

kentucky state university photo


400 E Main St
Frankfort KY 40601

Located in Kentucky's capital city of Frankfort, Kentucky State University was the second state- supported institution of higher learning for African Americans when it was chartered as the State Normal School for Colored Persons in 1886. It was established in a very prominent place, a high bluff overlooking the city. The first permanent building erected on the campus was Recitation (now Jackson, after the school's first president) Hall, which was built in 1887. The school opened that fall with three teachers and 55 students. In 1890, the school became a land-grant college and graduated its first class that Spring. Three years later, a high school was added, which remained a part of the educational institution until the 1930's. In 1902, the name of the school was changed to the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons, and was changed again in 1926 to Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons. In 1938, the name was changed to the Kentucky state College for Negroes, in 1952 to Kentucky State College and finally in 1972, the institution was named Kentucky State University. The school's list of alumni include a number of notable individuals including poet Effie Waller Smith, Anna Mac Clarke, a member of World War II Women's Army Corps and 1st African American officer of an otherwise all-white company, Tom Colbert, first African American Supreme Court Justice in Oklahoma, civil rights attorney Benjamin F. Shobe, Moneta Sleet Jr., Ebony magazine photographer who became world famous for his photograph of the widow of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, attending the funeral of the slain civil rights leader; and Whitney Young, Jr. educator, civil rights leader and former head of the National Urban League.