On March 16, 1922, James E. Hudson, an elevator operator in the capitol, became the first African American to address the Kentucky General Assembly. A volunteer missionary at the state reformatory, Hudson was known as a man who kept a Bible with him at all times and read it when he was not operating the elevator. While an evolution bill was being debated, some legislators sought a Bible they could use in their arguments, and Hudson offered his own. Seeing that Hudson”s Bible was worn, Representative George C. Waggoner from Scott County took up a collection and bought Hudson a new one, along with a Bible dictionary. Hudson made his remarks in the House chamber in response to the presentation of this gift.
James E. Hudson, taken in 1922. KHS Collections.