During the era of segregation, the Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah was a safe haven for traveling African Americans not welcome in lodging elsewhere. The hotel became known for hosting musical legends like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Billie Holliday. Walk through the same doors today to gain a better understanding of the struggles traveling African Americans faced, and learn how this welcoming place not only provided guests a bed, but also “a front door dignity” as Hotel Director Betty Dobson describes it.
International Museum of the Horse
African Americans are at the foundation of Kentucky’s thoroughbred racing industry, and you can hear their stories through a remarkable new “Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf” exhibit inside the International Museum of the Horse in Lexington. Catch this behind-the-scenes look at those who cared for the horses – and those who gained glory on the track as some of America’s first sports heroes.
Hear unique insights into the life of a man known simply as “The Greatest” from the woman who knew him best: Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali. As she peels back the layers to help preserve her late husband’s legacy, listen as a woman of substance, intelligence and compassion in her own right tells her stories of love and perseverance – not just of the boxer, but of the man.
Muhammad Ali Center
Donald E. Lassere
Take an incredible journey inside the life and mind of Muhammad Ali, a man shaped by his early struggles and who transcended them to become one of the greatest champions and humanitarians the world has ever known. Explore the center bearing his name in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, to discover the matchless impression he left on the world and consider the mark you can still make.
This is a story of struggle and perseverance. A story of heartache and, ultimately, triumph. A story of one man’s tumultuous fight for Civil Rights. Hear Charles Neblett – in his own haunting words – share personal reflections of that fight. And how he and those oppressed found comfort and strength in song.
Camp Nelson National Monument
Hear a story about the American Civil War you probably don’t know through this behind-the-scenes look at Camp Nelson National Monument. One of the nation’s largest training centers for African American soldiers at the time, this historic camp in Nicholasville, Kentucky, played a key role in the end of slavery in our country.
Rosenwald’s May’s Lick Negro School
Hear a mother and daughter share memories of attending one of several Rosenwald Schools established in Kentucky – a movement that’s been called the most important initiative to advance African American education in the early 20th century. Today, they work to help restore and preserve the legacy of one of those schools in Mason County.
Kentucky Derby Museum
Everyone knows the Kentucky Derby as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” But that iconic race at Louisville’s Churchill Downs would not be the phenomenon it is today without the vital role African Americans have played in Kentucky’s horse-racing industry.
Renowned sculptor Ed Hamilton has created countless monuments, plaques and artistic tributes that tell the story of America and celebrate the rich diversity of its people. Learn how a young African American boy growing up in Louisville discovered the talents he would later share with the world.
Mammoth Cave National Park
You might say Jerry Bransford has a unique connection to the land he grew up on. Not only does he hold a special place for the woods and waters, towns and people of Kentucky’s cave country, but he’s also spent a lifetime exploring its depths underground at Mammoth Cave National Park – just as his enslaved relatives did generations before him.
Kentucky Historical Society
Follow the triumphant story of two former African American slaves who were freed in the 1840s and became prominent business owners in a predominantly white society. Historic records and photos document their journey, which a curator at the Kentucky Historical Society shares in vivid detail.
West Kentucky African American Heritage Museum
Tour a fascinating place dedicated to preserving the stories of Kentucky’s African American heritage that were once in danger of being forgotten. Michael Morrow passionately leads the charge to share these legacies – and instill a sense of pride in young people today – at the West Kentucky African American Heritage Museum in Russellville, Kentucky.
Oldham County Historical Society
See and hear just a few of the tragic and triumphant stories that await at the Oldham County Historical Society Museum, a National Underground Railroad “Network to Freedom” Site. Dr. Nancy Theiss shares some of the nuggets of history you’ll learn – maybe even some of your own – at this attraction in La Grange, Kentucky.
African Cemetery No. 2
Don’t let its seemingly simple name fool you – Lexington’s “African Cemetery No. 2” has a rich and lasting history. Created as a final resting place for the dead, this landmark today helps illuminate the lives of the state’s African Americans through the tireless efforts of author Yvonne Giles, who locals affectionately call “The Cemetery Lady.”