Logan natives excelling, making history
By Jim Turner

Posted on February 29, 2024 9:13 PM


On this last day of Black History Month, several people with a Logan County background are achieving significant accomplishments.

Bionca Washington

After enjoying being “back home” recently, Logan County High School graduate Bionca ‘Bebe’ Washington has earned another promotion that’s going to send her a little further away from her Adairville roots.

After serving as Associate Director of SKYCTC, she began her new role this month as Director of Trio at Middle Tennessee State University working with their Upward Bound programs.

Working with students at Community High School, Shelbyville Central High School, LaVergne High School, and Smyrna High School in the Murfreesboro area now, she is leaving behind her students at Logan County, Russellville, Todd Central and Franklin-Simpson high schools and at the Logan County CTC. Her office has been at SKYCTC’s Franklin-Simpson Center where she headed a group that includes another LCHS graduate, Travis Hardin.

Upward Bound Math & Science is a TRIO grant funded pre-college program that is granted to serve high school students. UBMS’ goal is to assist students with graduating high school and preparing them for college. UBMS has academic and summer academy components to assist in the exposure of college.  The program provides students the opportunity to have access to tutoring, ACT/SAT test prep, study skills, time management, college tours, cultural opportunities, and much more. UBMS assists eligible students until they graduate high school.

Washington has been associated with the program most of the time since she interned with TRIO at WKU, beginning in 2012. As a student on The Hill, she worked a number of jobs which helped train her to assist and counsel students. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from WKU in 2018 after graduating in 2009 with a degree in management with a business administration emphasis.

Even though she will be stationed in Murfreesboro, she promises to return to Adairville and to Logan County sporting events often.

Margaret Monday

A concert featuring a diverse set of performances is back at Western Kentucky University for a second year. The show raises funds for the Margaret Munday Scholarship overseen by the Mu Iota Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI). In addition to helping music students from diverse communities pursue their dreams, the scholarship also honors the legacy of Margaret Munday, a former Logan County Schools music teacher and still a resident of Auburn.

“She was the first Black graduate from Western Kentucky University with a degree in music, so we as a music fraternity definitely regard her as a trailblazer,” said Abby Krent, president of the Mu Iota Chapter of SAI.

This year’s scholarship recipient will be announced at the end of the program, which gets underway at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. The concert will be held in the Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center Recital Hall on the campus of Western Kentucky University, reports Jake Foster of Western’s public radio station.

In 1956, Munday transferred to WKU from what is now known as Kentucky State University, a historically Black school. This was just two years after the Brown versus Board of Education ruling that desegregated the nation's public schools.

While at WKU, Munday successfully earned her bachelor’s degree and later became the first Black teacher at Auburn High School in 1964. She eventually taught at every school in the Logan County School Public System and retired in 1995 after more than 30 years as a music and chorus teacher.

In October 2022, WKU's former Northeast Hall was dedicated as the Margaret Munday Hall. It was around this time that SAI members got together and launched the scholarship for music students in honor of Margaret.

“We wanted to dedicate this to her because we are a music fraternity and really admire the work she has done,” Krent said, adding that, historically, the fraternity has been largely occupied by people of color.

“We have a lot of sisters that are of African American decent, and we all come from pretty diverse backgrounds, so we wanted to celebrate, especially, a very prominent and influential Black figure that comes from Western Kentucky.”

The benefit concert will reflect the culture of the fraternity in that it will include a wide array of performances. Krent, who will be performing during the show as well, told WKU Public Radio that the chapter is excited about this year’s lineup.

“We were focusing more on celebrating Black culture last year, whereas this year, we wanted to open it up to everybody and make it a celebration of a diverse selection of the arts,” she said, noting that in addition to singing and instrumental music, the show will also include dance performances.

The concert will feature several artists from WKU alongside a Louisville-based Indian dance company, entertainment from the American String Teachers Association, as well as a speaker from the NAACP.

Event details and ticket information can be found online at the SAI Mu Iota Chapter’s Facebook page.

Links to articles on The LoJo about Margaret Munday’s life and honors include http://www.theloganjournal.com/Stories.aspx?Article=news1393&Search=Margaret%20Munday  and http://www.theloganjournal.com/Stories.aspx?Article=news1392&Search=Margaret%20Munday

Herb McKinney

Russellville High School graduate Herb McKinney was featured in a Black History Month article in the Bowling Green Daily News Monday, Feb. 26. The headline read, ‘It’s just destiny,’ Herb McKinney’s career as Bowling Green’s first Black firefighter”.

Reporter Jack Dobbs says Her first thought about being a firefighter while he was a student in Russellville Middle School, but some of his friends made fun of him, reasoning that black people didn’t become firemen. After graduating from RHS, he went to work for the Red Kap sewing factory near his home in the Johnson Street public house development.

He then moved to Bowling Green, studied auto mechanics at the vocational school, and got a job at a car dealership.

Then he got a tip that BG Fire was interested in hiring a Black firefighter. He was one of three who applied but the only one brave enough to interview. He was hired, making history in 1981 as Bowling Green’s first Black firefighter.

McKinney did his job without trying to draw attention to himself and his co-workers began to accept and appreciate him.

Meanwhile, he added to his skills by becoming a certified EMT in 1996 as well as a firefighter. Through the quality of his work, his attitude and being versatile as a firefighter and an EMT, he rose to the impressive rank of captain.

During his firefighting career, he met and married the former Regina Dalton. They decided that it was time for him to retire from the fire department after 20 years of service in 2001. They moved to Louisville and he worked other jobs there, including as an airport screener. He fully retired in 2021.

In concluding the feature, Dobbs quoted Herb McKinney as saying, “If you’re doing what you’re supposed to do, and act how you’re supposed to act, treating people how you’re supposed to treat them, that’s all you can do, Just do what you’re supposed to do and everything else will be fine because that’s just your destiny.”

Clarence Gamble

Another firefighter from Russellville has been honored. Lt. Col. Clarence Gamble has been named Assistant Chief of Louisville Division of Fire. An announcement from the Louisville Fire Department said, “Your hard work and dedication to our department and community have not gone unnoticed. Thank you for your continued service and commitment to excellence. Congratulations on this well-deserved achievement!”

Clarence’s sister, Stacie Gamble, also holds a highly responsible position in Louisville.She isExecutive Administrator for Climate & Culture of Jefferson County Public Schools. Previously she was Director of Violence Prevention, for the district and a former principal.

Stacie and Clarence Jr. are the children of well-known community leaders in Logan County. Their mom, Marie Gamble, ia a social worker and a volunteer in many local organizations. Their dad, Clarence Gamble Sr., is a former principal and central office administrator in the Russellville schools along with being a deputy sheriff.


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