Lincoln Institute (Kentucky)

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Lincoln Institute Complex
Berea Hall Lincoln Institute.jpg
Berea Hall, the main administrative and classroom building at the Lincoln Institute
Nearest city Simpsonville, Kentucky
Area 21.8 acres (8.8 ha)
Built 1910
Architectural style Tudor Revival
MPS Shelby County MRA
NRHP Reference # 88002926[1]
Added to NRHP December 27, 1988

The Lincoln Institute was an all-black boarding high school in Shelby County, Kentucky, that operated from 1912 to 1966.

The school was created by the trustees of Berea College after the Day Law passed the Kentucky Legislature in 1904. It put an end to the racially integrated education at Berea that had lasted since the end of the Civil War. The founders of the school chose the name Lincoln when they realized that there was no educational institution in the state of Kentucky named after the president.[2]

The founders originally intended Lincoln to be a college as well as a high school, but by the 1930s it gave up its junior college function. Lincoln offered both vocational education and standard high school classes. The students produced the school's food on the campus' 444 acres (180 ha).

One notable alumnus of the Lincoln Institute was Whitney Young, Jr., a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement and director of the National Urban League from 1961 to 1971. Young was born on the campus in 1921. His father, Whitney Young, Sr., led the school as its longtime principal.

The rise of integrated education as a result of the Civil Rights Movement reduced the need for general high schools like Lincoln, and in 1966, the Lincoln Institute closed. The campus was used for the Lincoln School for the Gifted, a school for gifted but disadvantaged children, from 1966 to 1970. Since 1972, the old Lincoln campus has been used as the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Job Corps Center, a U.S. Department of Labor Job Corps Center. The Center opened in 1972 and is named for Whitney M. Young, Jr., a civil rights leader and Lincoln Institute alumni.[3] The center provides academic and career training to students on a residential and non-residential basis. The center is administered as part of the Job Corps programs Philadelphia region.[3]

Whitney Young, Jr. was born on the campus of the Center when his father was president of the Lincoln Institute. Just adjacent to the entrance to the campus a historical marker and memorial commemorates the massacre of 22 members of the United States Colored Cavalry by Confederate guerrillas during the American Civil War.

The campus also houses the Whitney Young Birthplace and Museum, a National Historic Landmark that presents the story of the Lincoln Institute and Whitney Young, Jr.

Today, the Lincoln Foundation, which was established along with the school, carries on the work of the Lincoln Institute by providing educational programs for disadvantaged youths in the Louisville area and preserving the Lincoln Institute's historic legacy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ George C. Wright, "The Founding of Lincoln Institute," The Filson Club History Quarterly, January 1975, p. 60.
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-11-12. 

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