Kathryn E. Redmond, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. George A. Nelson, was born in Fulton, Missouri on April 21, 1899. She graduated from Fulton High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Western University in Kansas City and a master’s degree from Lincoln University in Jefferson City. After beginning her teaching career in Fulton and Greenfield, Kathryn moved to Carthage in 1927 to teach at Lincoln School.
Mrs. Redmond served as a teacher and school administrator in Carthage for more than 38 years. Kathryn was a most significant leader in the peaceful desegregation of Carthage Schools in the 1950s. She was the final Principal at the all-black Lincoln School, serving there from 1945 – 1955, when it closed after desegregation. She concluded her professional career as a member of the faculty of Eugene Field School, retiring in 1965, but still serving as a substitute for several years. Mrs. Redmond won numerous local, district, and state awards, including being named Carthage Area Retired Teacher of the Year in 1972.
Outside the classroom, Mrs. Redmond was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Jasper County Mental Health Association. As a prominent leader of Wesley Methodist Church and an active member of First United Methodist Church, she was the first woman and first black person to speak at the annual Carthage Laymen’s Pre-Christmas Services. In 1988, Kathryn was honored with a community ceremony arranged by Carthage Council of Social Agencies, and credited with being principally responsible for the fact integration in Carthage schools in the mid-1950s was accomplished in a harmonious manner. In 1990, a Carthage Press editorial about her stated: “A most remarkable personality, she goes into the annals of the community as one of the most important figures in Carthage history.”
Mrs. Redmond is remembered as an outstanding educator, a leader of high moral and ethical standards, and a wise and calm counselor during a raucous time in our nation’s history. Married in 1931 and widowed in 1973, Mrs. Redmond was the wife of Jesse R. Redmond, the first black grand juror in a Jasper County court and first black Carthage City Councilman. Kathryn passed away in July 25, 1990 and is buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Carthage.