The Kentucky Freedom Struggle: a place-based exploration of civil rights in a border state

This incredible project, taken on by the Kentucky Center For African American Heritage, had two concrete goals. Firstly: a permanent exhibit at the center following the history of the Kentucky Black Freedom Struggle from emancipation to the Civil Rights Movement. Secondly, and in conjunction, was this digital map. I worked with a team of researchers, digging through archives, oral histories, and conducting in-person interviews to build this collection of important historical sites. Our goal was to fit every individual site into the greater narrative of the intersectional struggle for racial justice.

Although there are countless possible sites of significance across the commonwealth, the stories featured here provide an introduction to some of the locations of activism across the late 19th and 20th centuries. By engaging with sites related to businesses, churches, community institutions, culture, gender, health care, higher education, housing, direct action protest, K-12 schools, racial violence, and working life, a story emerges. It is a multi-layered, multi-generational story, one of struggle, change, and resilience.

Experience the history here.