Faculty Research at Morehead State University


From Slavery to Freedom: African-Americans in Eastern Kentucky, 1860-1884


Stuart Sprague

Document Type


Publication Date



Studying the black population of fifty Appalachian Kentucky counties (the forty-nine identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission plus Mason county) in the nineteenth century has both advantages and disadvantages. Undertaking such a large study, one trades depth for breadth. The quantity of annual county by county post-emancipation statistics does invite some tentative conclusions. By explaining what sources are available at local, federal, and state levels, I may be able to encourage others to do the necessary county studies. It is in counties that we will learn the dynamics of black communities. I shall speak about the database approach, a tedious process to be sure, but the one which will allow others to build upon my work.