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Kentucky African American Heritage Commission


The mission of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission (KAAHC) is to identify and promote awareness of significant African American influences on 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 educational forums and a Rosenwald School survey and inventory project.

KAAHC was formally established 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).

African American history in Kentucky has roots in the Commonwealth’s earliest history, as African Americans accompanied and assisted Daniel Boone on 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 Kentuckians take pride in preserving.

The Kentucky Heritage Council and Kentucky African American Heritage Commission are dedicated to preserving buildings and places important to the history of African Americans. Kentucky has 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. KHC 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

View the hour-long documentary "Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives" online

View lesson sets: Teaching Through Documentary Art: Lessons for Elementary and Middle School Social Studies Teachers or visit http://arch.as.uky.edu/ 

Commission Members

Institutions of Higher Learning

Gerald L. Smith, Ph.D., Lexington, Chair

Samuel R. Coleman, Jr., Middlesboro

Arts Community

Angela Crenshaw, Lebanon

Citizens at Large

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

Howard E. Bailey, Bowling Green

Betty Baker-Wharton, Cadiz

David S. Benders, Ph.D., Shelbyville

Rodney Bennett, Frankfort

W. Maurice Brown, Frankfort

Jerry E. Cowherd, Greensburg

Rev. Richard B. Fowler, Wilder

Natalie Gibson, Lexington

Rev. Kilen K. Gray. Shelbyville

Carolyn Sundy, Lynch

Timothy W. Thomas, Madisonville

Alicestyne Turley, Richmond

Ex Officio by Position

Aaron Thompson, President, Kentucky State University President

Don Parkinson, Secretary, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

Regina Stivers, Deputy Secretary, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

Will Adams, General Counsel, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

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


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 

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

Related Links

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

UGRR Research Institute

UGRR Council

Kentucky Center for African American Studies

Gallery of Great Kentucky African-Americans 

University of Louisville

University of Louisville Theatre

Crime and Justice

Pan African Studies

Ann Braden Institute

University of Kentucky

African American Studies and Research Program

Notable Kentucky African Americans

Martin Luther King, Jr. Cultural Center

Eastern Kentucky University

African American Studies Program

African Ensemble

Western Kentucky University 

African American Studies Program

Northern Kentucky University

Afro-American Studies Program

For Teachers

The African American experience at Harrods Creek from the late 19th century through today.

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).​



Upcoming 2018 Meetings

1 p.m. EST Thursday, November 8
Kentucky State University
Administrative Services Building
5th floor Room 509
Agenda