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About the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission

Civil War reenactors in an African American regiment at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County. The mission of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission it to identify and promote awareness of significant African American influences upon the history and culture of Kentucky and to support and encourage the preservation of Kentucky African American heritage and historic sites.  The commission has 19 members appointed by the Governor and includes representatives from the state’s major universities, state agencies, community preservation organizations and interested citizens.  The commission is administratively attached to the Kentucky Heritage  Council, with the council providing staff assistance and program oversight. 

Some of the commission’s ongoing programs include:

  • - Rosenwald School survey and inventory project
  • - Educational forums

The Kentucky African American Heritage Commission (KAAHC) was established formally on February 10, 1994 by Executive Order 94-145a to “promote awareness of significant African-American influences within the historical and cultural experiences of Kentucky.” [Enabling legislation KRS. 171.800]

Kentucky African American Heritage

African American history in Kentucky has roots in the Commonwealth’s earliest history, as African Americans accompanied and assisted Daniel Boone upon his arrival to the new frontier in 1769.  Later, as a border state during the Civil War, Kentucky’s unique condition did not lessen the cruelty and pain of slavery.  However through hard work, strength and perseverance, African Americans prevailed, and today these experiences have left a lasting legacy of places that Kentucky takes pride in preserving.

The Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office and the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission are dedicated to preserving buildings and places important to the history of Kentucky African Americans.  Kentucky offers an array of sites that tell the story of slavery, the Underground Railroad, Civil War, education and civil rights, and a historically black college is leading research efforts.  Many architecturally significant buildings and museums preserve and promote local African American heritage.  The Heritage Council has also worked in partnership with organizations across the state to identify remaining Rosenwald Schools in an effort to preserve and rehabilitate them.

Information for educators:

Davis Bottom History Preservation Project website External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

View the hour-long documentary "Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives" online External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

View lesson sets: Teaching Through Documentary Art: Lessons for Elementary and Middle School Social Studies Teachers or visit http://arch.as.uky.edu/ External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

African American Heritage Sites around the state include:

Bardstown
St. John AME Church

Covington
Lincoln Grant School

Danville
Willis Russell House
Doram-Sledd House

Frankfort
Greenhill Cemetery
Kentucky State University

Franklin
George Mahin House

Georgetown
Georgetown College Underground Railroad Institute, Georgetown

Jessamine County
Camp Nelson

Lexington
African American Cemetery #2
Cadentown Rosenwald School
Charles Young Park
South Hill Historic District
Uttingertown Union Benevolent Lodge

Louisville
Chickasaw and Cherokee Parks

Lynch
Lynch Colored School

Marshall County
Cherokee State Resort Park

Maysville
National Underground Railroad Museum, Bierbower House External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Newport
Southgate Street School

Paducah
Hotel Metropolitan

Princeton
Halleck’s Chapel, School and Cemetery

Russellville
Knights of Pythias Hall

Shelby County
Whitney Young Birthplace and Boyhood Home
Lincoln Hall

Stanford
Barrow Cemetery

West Point
Rosenwald School

Winchester
Oliver Street School


 

 
The next meeting of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission will take place at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown
 
 
Rosenwald Schools in Kentucky: 1917-1932 by Alicestyne Turley-Adams
[PDF - 14MB]
 
Rosenwald Schools follow up: Condition Assessment Report
[PDF - 4.8MB]
 

Useful Links
 

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Kentucky African American Encyclopedia External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

UGRR Research Institute External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

UGRR Council

Kentucky Center for African American Studies External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Gallery of Great Kentucky African-Americans  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

University of Louisville
University of Louisville Theatre  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Crime and Justice  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Pan African Studies  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Ann Braden Institute External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

University of Kentucky
African American Studies and Research Program External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Notable Kentucky African Americans  External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Eastern Kentucky University
African American Studies Program External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

African Ensemble External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Western Kentucky University
African American Studies Program External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

Northern Kentucky University
Afro-American Studies Program External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.

For Teachers
The African American experience at Harrods Creek from the late 19th century through today. External Link - You are now leaving the .gov domain.
Lesson plans are for 4th, 5th, and 8th graders.  The themes are history, geography, government and /or economics.  Each lesson includes a grade-appropriate essay, and primary source material (interview excerpt, photo of artifact or building, copy of census record, newspaper article).

 

Commission Members

Chair
Gerald Smith, Ph.D.
Lexington

Vice -Chair
John A. Hardin, Ph.D.
Bowling Green

J.H. Atkins
Danville

Howard E. Bailey
Bowling Green

Betty Baker-Wharton
Cadiz

David S. Benders, Ph.D.
Shelbyville

Rodney Bennett,
Frankfort

W. Maurice Brown
Frankfort

Samuel R. Coleman Jr.
Middlesboro

Jerry E. Cowherd
Greensburg

Rev. Richard B. Fowler
Wilder

Natalie Gibson
Lexington

Rev. Kilen K. Gray
Shelbyville

Angela R. Nance
Lebanon

Carolyn Sundy
Lynch

Timothy W. Thomas
Madisonville

Alicestyne Turley
Richmond

Ex Officio by Position

Raymond M. Burse, Kentucky State University President

Don Parkinson, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary

Craig Potts, Kentucky Heritage Council Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer


Last Updated 10/27/2016