In 1926, the Knight family purchased a home on Price Hill, at 716 Mt. Hope Avenue. They were the first African American family to move into this neighborhood. For the next seventy years, this house was occupied by prominent African American teachers and scholars.
The house at 716 Mt. Hope Avenue is one of the oldest on Price Hill, built on land originally belonging to the Price family. From 1860 to 1880, it was the home of Robert M. Moore, at one time Mayor of Cincinnati. The home’s greatest distinction, however, is its relation to the Knight family.
Central to this family was Laura Troy Knight, born in 1873 as Laura Troy. Her father was an Underground Railroad conductor named Theodore Troy, and her mother was a teacher named Alphia Austin Troy.
Laura Troy married James T. Knight in 1905. She became principal of Jackson Colony School – an all-Black school – and she was influential in training other teachers. Her bio in Ruth Neely’s book Women of Ohio says that, “She has nearly eight-hundred children in Jackson School. Even though it is an antiquated building, children flock there because they like the home-like atmosphere and the kindly treatment they receive.”
Laura Troy Knight was the mother of Laura Clarice Knight, who graduated from high school at age 15 and from the University of Cincinnati at age 18 – the youngest student to graduate that year. Laura Clarice Knight went on to receive a Master’s Degree from UC, as did her mother. They received these degrees simultaneously in 1928 and may have been the first mother-and-daughter duo to receive simultaneous Masters’ Degrees from UC.
Laura Clarice Knight also became well-known educator. She married pharmacist Darwin Romanes Turner, and they had a son, Darwin T. Turner, who spent much of his youth in the Knight family home on Mt. Hope Avenue. Darwin T. Turner enrolled in the University of Cincinnati at age 13. He made Phi Beta Kappa at age 15, and he graduated at age 16, beating his mother’s record. He is still the youngest person ever to have graduated from the University of Cincinnati.
Darwin T. Tuner became a distinguished literary critic, poet, and professor of English. His master’s thesis on Black writers was written in 1949, long before the surge of interest in this topic. He became chair of the Afro-American Studies Department at the University of Iowa and stayed there for nearly two decades. He died in Iowa in 1991. His body was returned to Cincinnati, to Price Hill, where he is buried with other family members in Union Baptist Cemetery.