The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia Features Berea

Berea College has demonstrated its commitment to social and educational equality among the races since 1855, when it was founded and became the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Now, three Berea College alumni, Jackie Burnside, Andrew Baskin, and Karen McDaniel, have been centrally involved in The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, which is scheduled for publication later this month. Both Burnside and Baskin, who are members of the Berea College teaching faculty, wrote portions of the book and served on the advisory committee. McDaniel, who is Professor Emeritus at Kentucky State University and currently is a Visiting Scholar in African/African American Studies at Eastern Kentucky University, was an editor of the book, which prominently features Berea College. An article (see below) about The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia was published in the most recent issue of the Berea Citizen newspaper.

Berea Professors Contribute to KY African American Encyclopedia

The book, The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia has been completed after 11 years of work, with a publication date of August 28, 2015

The 600 page tome involves the work of more than 150 writers, including two professors from Berea College, Jackie Burnside and Andrew Baskin. Both Burnside and Baskin wrote different entries on African-Americans throughout Kentucky’s history, and served on the Advisory Committee for the project. Berea College gave some of the initial funding for the book.

The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia is one of the first of its kind in the country. The publication materials stated that the obvious goal of the book was to highlight the presence, effects, and importance of African Americans across Kentucky, but the less obvious goal was to highlight African American agency.

Karen McDaniel, a graduate of Berea College, was one of the three editors of the Encyclopedia. John A. Hardin was also an editor, as well as Gerald L. Smith, a former pastor at Farristown. McDaniel, who spent some time teaching at Berea College while working on the book, initially contacted Burnside and Baskin about the project.

“Karen talked to me about the project, and asked if I wanted to be involved,” Burnside said. “They tried to get a large number of people involved from across the state.”

Baskin and Burnside received a grant in 2008 from Berea College to research and write for the Encyclopedia. Two of their students, Debra Bulluck and Kim Nguyen, worked with them that summer, and ended up writing some of the entries. They are listed with the 150 authors, along with Baskin and Burnside.

In the introduction to The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, it was stated that the book was, “an extension of the early research and writings of an African American schoolteacher in Logan County, Kentucky, named Alice Dunnigan.”

In the 1930s, Dunnigan discovered when teaching a course on Kentucky history that none of the textbooks referenced the contributions African Americans made to the state’s history and culture. She started to prepare a daily “fact sheet” on the role of African Americans in Kentucky, and that eventually became a weekly column. She ultimately published the book, The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians: Their Heritage and Traditions, in 1982.

The entries in the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia include people, places, institutions and organizations. Berea College and the Day Law are entries, of course, along with Bobtown, Farristown, and the Lincoln Institute. Baskin wrote a few entries on the Bond family, who were also involved with Berea.

The book will be available for purchase after Aug. 28 for $49.95, with an ebook also available. Publicity Manager Mack McCormick can be contacted at 859-257-5200 or

Categories: News, People, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: African American Encyclopedia, African and African American Studies Department, alumni, faculty

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.