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Ulysses Bradshaw “U.B.” Kinsey

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Ulysses Bradshaw
"U.B." Kinsey

Ulysses Bradshaw “U.B.” Kinsey (1914-2005) was born the third of ten children in Fort White, in northern Florida. His father sold the family farm and bought a grocery store in West Palm Beach about 1930. Kinsey graduated from all-black Industrial High School, where Principal Clarence Walker inspired him to reach high in life. Although Kinsey hoped to become a lawyer, the University of Florida accepted only whites at that time; Kinsey graduated in 1941 from Florida A&M University.

Kinsey’s first teaching position was at his alma mater, Industrial High School. During his first year, the Palm Beach County School Board raised the pay of the white teachers. Kinsey joined the newly established Palm Beach County Teachers Association for black teachers, which challenged school officials. When they were denied, they organized and won a class-action lawsuit with the help of future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Industrial High School was renamed Palmview Elementary in 1950, with Kinsey appointed principal. In response to the segregation of his youth, Kinsey was a stickler for respect and insisted on being called “Mr. Kinsey.” He arrived at the county warehouse early each year to secure new books and supplies for Palmview, instead of just accepting the leftovers the all-black schools usually received.

When Kinsey retired, the Palm Beach County Commission designated the week of September 16-22, 1989, as “Ulysses B. Kinsey Week.” Soon after, Palmview Elementary was renamed U. B. Kinsey Elementary School.

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