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University of Kentucky. The African American Presence from 1949 to the present. A student holds a pamphlet by Alvin C. Hanley, Director of Minority and Disadvantaged Recruitment. (1978). Pioneers. Recognized the need for change.

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university of kentucky

University of Kentucky

The African American Presence from

1949 to the present

A student holds a pamphlet by Alvin C. Hanley, Director of Minority and Disadvantaged Recruitment. (1978)


Recognized the need for change


In 1949 Lyman T. Johnson, paved the way for African American Students to enroll at the University of Kentucky

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. --Martin Luther King, Jr.


Lyman T. Johnson right, and Kentucky State University President R. B. Atwood, leave federal district court in Lexington, after the court ruled in favor of Johnson's admission to the University of Kentucky. (1949)

The first African Americans who were admitted to UK registered for graduate and professional classes. (1949)

Lyman T. Johnson (1906 - 1997) Lyman Tefft Johnson is best known as the plaintiff whose successful legal challenge opened the University of Kentucky to African–American Students in 1949.



Encouraged African-American and other minorities by extending a helping hand.


Alvin C. Hanley, Director of Minority and Disadvantaged Recruitment. Hanley shakes hands with a student at Valley High School Louisville(1978)


Dr. John T. Smithone of the first African Americans to graduate from the University of Kentucky.Also one of the first African Americans to earn a Doctorate at the University of Kentucky. He served as director at Jefferson Community College and was named the first Vice President of Minority Affairs(1975)


Alvin C. HanleyDirector of Minority and Disadvantaged Recruitment speaks with a student in the halls of Valley High School, Louisville(1978)


Zirl Palmer (1920-1982) First African-American Member of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees (1973-1979)Also the first African American to own a Rexall franchise in the United States and the first African American pharmacist in Lexington


Victor Gaines Director of Affirmative Action and Vice President for Minority Affairs (1978)Executive Director, Office of Minority Affairs (1986)

Edgar Mack University of Kentucky Assistant Professor of Social Professions, and aide to Martin Luther King Jr. (1979)
don w byars jr assistant director of undergraduate admissions former ncaa basketball referee 1987
Don W. Byars, Jr.Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions Former NCAA Basketball Referee(1987)
chester grundy director of minority affairs speaks to teachers at tates creek high school 1988
Chester Grundy, Director of Minority Affairs, speaks to teachers at Tates Creek High School (1988)
Juanita FlemingDean of the College of Nursing (1991)Former Special Assistant to the President (Wethington)

Lauretta Byars Formerly Vice Chancellor of Minority Affairs at UK , also served as Director of the Undergraduate Program and Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. She is currently Vice President for Institutional Relations & Public Services at Prairie View A&M University.


Frank X WalkerFormerly Program Coordinator of the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural CenterAffrilachian Poet, Scholar and Educator (Photo by Tracy A. Hawkins)

Bernadette Locke-MattoxFormer Assistant Men’s Basketball coach with Rick Pitino 1990-1995Head Women’s Basketball Coach 1995-2003

William H. TurnerVice President for University Initiatives/Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs (2004-2007)Associate Professor Department of Family StudiesHas also held administrative posts at Kentucky State University, Winston-Salem State University, Fisk University and Howard UniversityCurrently Commissioner, Kentucky Commission on Human Rights



We benefit from their dedication and creativity in the classroom


Dr. Wanda C. GonsalvesIn private practice for 10 years before serving on the faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.Founded the Bluegrass Medical SocietyCollege of Medicine Hall of Fame InducteeCurrently an Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina

Reinette JonesOutreach and Diversity Librarian; Communications and Journalism SelectorResearch and Education Division Young Library
Shawn LivingstonReference Librarian, selector for History, Political Science and Public AdministrationYoung Library
john m parker associate professor college of engineering mechanical engineering
Johné M. ParkerAssociate Professor, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
for your consideration

For your consideration

"It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal, but it is a disaster to have no ideal to capture. It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim is a sin"

--Benjamin E. Mays