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Thomas Fountain Blue

History Makers

(1888 - 1935)

Thomas F. Blue

(1888 – 1935)

Thomas Fountain Blue

Thomas Fountain Blue was the second child of Noah Hedgeman Blue and Henry Ann Crawley, formerly enslaved. Blue attended Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute from 1885 to 1888, after which he taught school in Virginia. In

1894 he enrolled at Richmond Theological Seminary, graduating in April 1898 with a Bachelor of Divinity. During the Spanish–American War, Blue served in the Sixth Virginia Volunteers. After the war, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he was in charge of the Colored Branch of the Louisville Young Men’s Christian Association. He served on several civic associations, including a charter member of the Louisville Chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, founded by Carter G. Woodson.

In 1905, Blue became the first formally-trained African American librarian in Kentucky and managed its first library training program for African Americans in the Louisville Colored Western Branch Library. In 1905 the newly constructed Carnegie Library opened at 1125 West Chestnut Street, the first free public library for African-Americans staffed entirely by African-Americans.

In 1925, Blue married Cornelia Phillips Johnson, the sister of Lyman T. Johnson, who was an educator and advocate for racial desegregation in Kentucky. Blue continued to be a preacher and church leader throughout his life.

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