Women in Kentucky - Military

“It was raining that April morning as the train rolled into the station at Lawrenceburg. It was one of those day-long rains that slows the world down and gives you time to reflect. They had been waiting to meet the train that was bringing her back home. Home to her final resting place, this young woman who had, in the short span of 24 years, accomplished so much, not only for herself but for her race and her gender.”

--From “A Pioneer in Military Leadership” by John Trowbridge, used with permission.

Lt. Anna Mac Clarke: Anna Mac Clarke was born June 20, 1919 in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. While attending Kentucky State University Anna Mac was involved in sports, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,and the school's newspaper, The Kentucky Thorobred. In 1941, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in sociology and economics, but she was unable to find a job back home in Lawrenceburg. Educated African American women in the early 1940s had few options, particularly in small towns where the only jobs available to them were low-paying.

In 1942, Anna Mac Clarke joined the All-Volunteer Women's Army Auxiliary Corps and left for Basic Training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. After she completed Basic Training, Clarke went on to Officer Candidate School. As a black officer at Fort Des Moines, Clarke faced segregation such as not being allowed to swim in the pool on the base, except during a one-hour period on Fridays, after which the pool was purified. Yet it was during this time that Clarke became the first black WAAC to commander an all white-regiment.

Clarke continued to be promoted, and became a First Lieutenant in 1943, around the same time that the WAAC became a part of the regular military, becoming the Women’s Army Corps. Clarke and other African American officers stopped the Army from establishing an all-black regiment at Fort Des Moines. She then led the first group of WAC officers onto the Douglas Army Air Field in 1944, where she initiated an end to segregation on the base. Soon after, Lt. Clarke died when her appendix ruptured and gangrene entered her body. She was buried back home in Lawrenceburg, where a historic marker now tells her story.
(summarized from “A Pioneer in Military Leadership” by John Trowbridge)

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Site Overview


A. What

Performing Arts
Public Service

B. When

View a selected history of women
View a selected history of women
Sounds and images
Civil War Diaries

C. Where

Central / Northern Kentucky
Western Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky
Southern Kentucky


Selected Readings
Educational Tools
Web tools
Archival Collections
Children's Books

E. About this Project

Women in Sports:

Minnie Adkins
Elizabeth Barret, Anne Lewis, Mimi Pickering, & Justine Richardson
Jane Burch Cochran
Joan Dance
Enid Yandell

Women in Business:

Nelda Barton-Collings
Julia Dinsmore
Laura Freeman
Mattie Mack
Lena Madesin Phillips
Caroline Burnam Taylor

Women in Education:

Helen Lew Lang
Katherine Pettit
Jane Stephenson
Cora Wilson Stewart

Women in Health/Medicine:

Mary Britton
Linda Neville
Ora Framer Porter
Louise Southgate, M.D.

Women in Journalism:

Linda Boileau
Alice Allison Dunnigan

Women in Law:

Pearl Carter Pace
Lt. Colonel Linda Smith

Women in Literature:

Effie Waller Smith

Women in Military:

Lt. Anna Mac Clarke
Capt. Helen Horlacher Evans
Julia Ann Marcum

Women in Music:

Sarah Ogan Gunning
Helen Humes
Lily May Ledford
Reel World String Band
Jean Ritchie
Mary Wheeler

Women as Pioneers:

Esther Whitley

Women in Public Service:

Governor Martha Layne Collins
Emma Guy Cromwell
Rep. Mary Elliott Flanery
Sen. Georgia Davis Powers
Lt. Gov. Thelma Stovall

Women in Reform:

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge
Laura Clay
Eula Hall
Josephine Henry
Belinda Mason
Lois Morris
Eliza Caroline Calvert Obenchain
Charlotte Richardson
Joan Robinett
Mary Sue Whayne
Corinne Whitehead
Evelyn Williams

Women in Religion:

Eldress Nancy Moore
Rabbi Gaylia Rooks

Women in Science:

Sarah Frances Price
Ellen Churchill Semple

Women in Sports:

Terri Cecil-Ramsey
Geri Grigsby
Audrey Whitlock Peterson
Mary T. Meagher Plant