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Once Day Law was passed in 1904, Berea College created an African American boarding school in Shelby County, KY. The school taught African American teacher education and vocation training. The school closed once desegregation started to occur in all United States schools.

  • Overview of Lincoln Institute campus
  • Whitney M. Young Jr.


In 1904, the Day Law was passed which allowed both private and public schools to be legally segregated.  The law resulted in blacks and whites not being allowed to attend the same school.  The law was later opposed but it was upheld in the Supreme Court in 1908.  The passing of the Day Law came about in response to Berea College's integration of black and white students in 1863 up to the passing of the Day Law.  A few years later in 1910, Berea College wanted to make a school to help educate African American students and developed the Lincoln Foundation.  The foundation was put in place to help fund the school and Andrew Carnegie gave a grant of 200,000 to help buy land so the Lincoln Foundation could set up an institution.  Lincoln Foundation was able to raise enough money and brought over 400 acres of farmland in Shelby County, Ky.  Berea College and the Foundation created the Lincoln Institute in October 1912.  The Lincoln Institute got its name from President Abraham Lincoln after the foundation realized that no school in the state held the name of the 16th President.

Lincoln Institute

Founded in 1912, the Lincoln Institute started off as a specialized black school that trained educators, as well as offering vocational education programs.  The purpose of the institution was to teach the core values of school and church.  The Lincoln Institute eventually became a boarding school for African American.  The first president of the school was Dr. A. Eugene Thomas and the first black president was Whitney M. Young Sr.  Young Sr. served for 40 years as president and was one of the key people of Lincoln Institute.  The son of Young Sr., Whitney M. Young Jr. was also an important alumnus of the school and was a leader in the Civil Right Movement.  In 1934, hard times fell upon the school due to the Great Depression and the "Faith  Plan" was created to help the institute recruit African American students and help finance the school.  William Henry Hughes, a wealthy African American from Lexington, KY, also helped fund the school, although it only helped to keep the doors open for a few more years.  The Lincoln Institute eventually had to turn the school over to the state in 1947, resulting in the Lincoln Institute turning into a high school for African American.  This did not last long because of the Supreme Court ruling of the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, where the Court ruled in favor of desegregation in all U.S. schools.  Over the next couple of years Lincoln Institute slowly lost students and in 1966 saw its last class graduate.  However, in the same year the Lincoln School was developed for gifted and underprivileged students.  The school was integrated but the Lincoln School was short lived due to multiple reason and closed in 1970 after only having one graduating class.

Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps

Today, the Lincoln Foundation continues the legacy of the Lincoln Institute and has been turned into Whitney M. Young Jr. Job Corps.  The job corps occupies 54 acres of land that once was home to the Lincoln Institute.  Like the Lincoln Institute, the Job Corp strives to help disadvantaged youth and teaching skills to help the students survive in the real world.