- Gloria Watkins, known as bell hooks: Gloria Jean Watkins, known nationally by her pen name bell hooks, is an author, academic, social activist and feminist. hooks was born in Hopkinsville in 1952 and continues to provoke conversation on issues such as race, gender, class and sexual oppression. She holds degrees from Stanford University, University of Wisconsin and a doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz. hooks has authored more than 30 books, including “Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism,” “Feminist Theory From Margin to Center,” and“Breaking Bread,” a 1991 collaboration with Cornel West.
- Professor Patterson Tilford Frazer, Sr.: Professor Patterson Tilford Frazer, Sr. was the noted Hopkinsville Male & Female College professor who followed the tenure of the school’s first president, the Rev. A.C. Schoffner. Professor Frazer served as the president of M&F College from1900 until 1920. M&F College was renamed the Hopkinsville College of the Bible in 1965.
His nephew, Dr. Patterson Tilford Frazer, was a local physician who opened an African-American swimming pool at his house in the 1930s.
- Dr. Patterson Tilford Frazer: Dr. Patterson Tilford Frazer, Jr., was a local physician who finished medical school in 1913. Aside from being one of a few local, black physicians, Dr. Frazer was well-known in the community for building and opening the Natatorium pool for local African Americans in the 1930s. The facility was equipped with bleachers large enough to accommodate 100 people and the pool measured 1,200 square feet. Dr. P.T. Frazer is often confused with Dr. James W. Frazier who lived on Hayes Street and ran a medical office on Clay Street.
- Theodore “Ted” Poston: Born in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt Augustus Major Poston, known as Ted Poston, was the youngest of seven children.
His father, Ephraim Poston, known as Eph, was a published poetry author who produced a political satire series in the Kentucky New Era from 1908 to 1912. He served as a professor and a dean for two years at Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute, which is now called Kentucky State University.
Ted’s mother, Mollie Cox Poston, taught in city and county schools from 1886 to 1912 and later became the first supervisor of a Negro industrial school in Kentucky. Mollie died in 1917 from a kidney disease.
All of the Poston children received a formal education. Ted, along with two of his older brothers — Robert Lincoln Poston and Ulysses Simpson Poston — followed their father’s footsteps into political journalism. Robert and Ulysses served in the military, before starting their own newspaper called The Contender. When an article sparked controversy, the brothers moved to Detroit in1920 to continue its publication.
Ted graduated from Attucks High School in 1924 and worked for the New York Post for 35 years, covering some of the country’s biggest civil rights stories of the 1950s and ’60s. Ted passed away in 1974.
- Fannie M. Postell: Fannie Mae Bronston Postell is credited as the organizer of Attucks High School. Postell, an 1890 graduate of Berea College, started her teaching career at Jackson Street School, and became the school’s principal. Attucks High School, the only black high school in Hopkinsville, was built in 1916 and operated until 1967. Postell was the principal of Attucks from 1927-1934. Postell was married to George D. Postell and had three children, John, Flora Mae and Mattie.
- Francis Eugene Whitney: Francis Eugene Whitney was born in 1916 in Hopkinsville. In 1948, he opened the F. E. Whitney Real Estate Agency in Hopkinsville. He co-organized and served as secretary/treasurer of the Durrett Avenue Realty Co., Inc., which developed the city’s first African American subdivision – Gladys-Gail Village.
In 1953, Governor Wetherby appointed Whitney to the Interim Council of the City of Hopkinsville, where he served for 21 years. In 1972, F.E. Whitney became mayor of Hopkinsville for one week upon the resignation of Mr. Alfred Naff. Beginning in 1977, he served 20 years as a magistrate and later as deputy judge-executive on Christian County Fiscal Court.
A graduate of Attucks High School, Kentucky State University and Indiana University, Whitney was the first black realtor to be accepted into the Kentucky Association of Realtors and the association’s Board of Directors. He was among the first to be accepted in the National Association of Realtors. Today, Whitney is the only black man in the state to be recognized with a welcome center – the F.E. Whitney Welcome Center on Interstate 24. F.E. passed away in 2006 at the age of 86 and is buried at Cave Spring Cemetery.
- Louis P. McHenry: Louis Porter McHenry was a local Civil Rights attorney. His mission was securing equality and human relations in Christian County for all people. McHenry was once the director for the Pioneers Inc.
- James T. Whitney, Sr.: James T. Whitney, Sr., the son of a free slave, moved from Glasgow to Hopkinsville in 1898. He began his career in 1899 as one of the first black postal workers in the city. He carried mail nearly a quarter of a century.
Although he did not attend law school, he was an avid reader and passed the bar exam to become an attorney. He was still practicing when he died in 1922.
J.T. Whitney, Sr. had two sons, J.T. Whitney Jr., and Francis Eugene Whitney. JT., Jr. launched the Little Courant newspaper in February 1919 from his father’s law office. At the time, J.T. Jr., was about 15 years old and still in high school. He published the Courant through August 1922, after which he went on to Fisk University in Nashville. His equipment was later sold to the Kentucky New Era. J.T., Sr.’s younger son, F.E. Whitney went on to become the first black mayor of Hopkinsville.