Stephen Landrum, an African-American Glasgow native who died in 1923, was honored last week as part of a ceremony hosted by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights in Lexington.
Landrum was the first Glasgow native to be nominated to the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame, and although he was not inducted, several members of the community were pleased Landrum’s contributions to the Glasgow community were honored.
Landrum’s greatest legacy was the building and land he donated to become the Glasgow Trading School, which evolved into Ralph Bunche High School and is now the Liberty District-Ralph Bunche Community Center.
Sandi Gorin, president of the local historical society, said she knew of Landrum’s life and helped her daughter write about it in a history of the black community of Barren County.
“He did so much for Barren County,” Gorin said.
Landrum was born Oct. 9, 1846, in Barren County, according to historical information gathered as part of his nomination. At age 18, Landrum enlisted in the United States Colored Troops, and later he was documented as working in a wool carding factory in Glasgow. Landrum married Jane Crenshaw in 1871, farmed for a while and then pursued a career in buying and selling real estate. The Landrums did not have any children and Landrum is buried in the Barlow-Mansfield Cemetery in Glasgow.
Landrum’s attorney, E.H. Smith of Glasgow, documented much of Landrum’s history. Landrum became a wealthy and successful businessman through his real estate dealings. Smith’s records stated that Landrum was worth $100,000, the modern equivalent of which would be nearly $3 million. Landrum was the first African-American to own a building on the square in Glasgow. He was also one of the first trustees of the First Baptist Church of Glasgow, and was said to donate land to the church. Smith said Landrum frequently bought homes for his relatives, as well.
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