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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.

2023 Grant Program Application 

The Kentucky African American Heritage Commission (KAAHC) was established by Governor Paul Patton in 1995 for the purpose of preserving and interpreting important Kentucky African American heritage sites. At the time of its origination, the KAAHC was only the second state supported African American Heritage Commission in the nation. Since its inception and establishment of a brick-and-mortar preservation grant fund, the Commission has funded over 100 African American heritage sites throughout Kentucky. In keeping with our mission to preserve important elements of Kentucky African American history and heritage, all those who apply must agree to meet the following funding criteria:           

  • Be an established 501c3 or non-profit organization;
  • Submit, with the application, a copy of your 501c3 Award Letter;
  • Submit, with the application, a completed W-9;
  • Acknowledge and agree to submit timely project progress reports; 
  • Complete funded projects within the grant time frame (September 1 – June 1);
  • Approved and completed projects must acknowledge the financial support of the
    Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and the Kentucky Heritage Council; and 
  • Download and submit a completed application.

 The 2023 submission period is currently closed. Applicants will be notified of their grant status in September 2023. ​

​Upcoming Meetings

Kentucky African American Heritage Commission Executive Committee

Special Called Meeting

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

3:00PM (EST) Via Zoom


Please click the link to join the webinar:

Passcode: 132664​

KAAHC Exec Com Agenda Sept. 27 2023.doc

​2023 Meetings

November 17​

Commission Members

Arts Community

Angela Crenshaw, Lebanon, Chair

Institutions of Higher Education

Samuel R. Coleman, Jr., Middlesboro
Tyler D. Fleming, Louisville
Ronald Moore, Frankfort

Preservation Community

Betty Dobson, Paducah

Public at Large

Betty Baker-Clayton, Cadiz
Richard Fowler, Wilder
Natalie Gibson, Lexington
Charisse Gillett, Versailles
Kilen K. Gray, Shelbyville
Walter Malone, Prospect
Karen E. Morehead, Smithfield
Lacy L. Rice, Jr., Radcliff
Wayne B. Tuckson, Louisville, Vice Chair
Alicestyne Turley, Clay City
Diana W. Woods, Lexington
Mary C. Woolridge, Louisville

Ex Officio by Position

Koffi C. Akakpo​​, President, Kentucky State University
Lindy Casebier​, Secretary, Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Craig Potts, Executive Director, Kentucky Heritage Council and State Historic Preservation Officer​