School History

  • Samuel Street Elementary emerged in Lexington in 1914. A group of African American parents came together to ensure that the future of their children was much brighter than there's after their experience growing up in the late 1800s.

    Among them was a man named Samuel Thomas. He was the son of former slaves and raised by his mother after his father was murdered. His mother was an avid reader and loved to learn. She always told him that if he was going to succeed in life then he was going to have to have strong reading skills. This led to frequent trips to the public library where he would grow his reading skills.

    Fast forward to 1907, Samuel would have his first child, a boy. Just as his mother taught him, he was determined to pass on his love for learning to his son. Samuel's wife, being the social butterfly that she was, brought around many neighbors to their house for weekly meals and fellowship. And after seeing Samuel's home schooling techniques, the nieghbors became very interested in having Samuel teach their children too. The neighbors agreed to pay Samuel what little they had because he told them that he would have to quit his job. This was is in 1913.

    After a year of home schooling the neighborhood, more parents caught wind of Samuel's endeavors and wanted their children to be taught by him too. He then asked more parents if they would be interested in helping him because there would be no way for him to teach 50 kids by himself. Samuel was able to solicit the help of 5 other nieghbors who had specialties ranging from math to science to art and shop. This will be the start of something grand.

    This small neighborhood school continued to grow and was known for helping young african american kids around the city reach new intellectual heights. Upon his death, the city recognized him for his great work and renamed the street after him.

Old picture of school building
Old picture of black family. Father, mother, a toddler son and an infant daughter.
An old black and white picture of a group of african americans dressed in school uniform.