The General Assembly approved "an act to establish a State Normal School for colored persons" on May 18, 1886. The governor was authorized to create a board of trustees. The board, in turn, was to elect a president from among its number. The superintendent of public instruction would be an ex officio member. Students should be at least sixteen years old, give "satisfactory evidence of good moral character," and sign a pledge to "teach in the colored common schools of Kentucky a period equal to twice the time spent as a pupil in said normal school." Tuition was to be free for "all colored residents of Kentucky who fulfill the conditions set forth." No religious tenets would be taught "but a high standard of Christian morality shall be observed in its management, and, so far as practicable, shall be inculcated in the minds of the pupils."
The State Normal School for colored persons, now known as Kentucky State University, has operated under a variety of names. At the time this shot of the student body, teachers, and staff was taken, ca. 1916, it was known as the Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute, or K.N.I.I. Photograph by Gretter from the Wolff, Gretter, Cusick, Hill Studio Negative Collection, Kentucky Historical Society Collections.