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Exhibit Chronicles Roots of KY African Americans

By Whitney Hale

In recognition of Black History Month, a photography exhibit of several generations of Kentucky African Americans is currently on display in the Margaret I. King Building on the University of Kentucky campus. "Kentucky: Roots, Times and Generations," which is up through Feb. 28, is free and open to the public.

The photographs on display have been curated by UK Librarian Reinette Jones from various archival collections available in UK Special Collections, such as the Sallie Price Family Papers and the Collection on African Americans in Kentucky. 

Featured photographs range in date from the 1890s to the 1970s and include several generations of Kentuckians. The exhibit gives a glimpse of life and activities in Burdine, Lexington, Louisville, Paris, Wheelwright, Winchester and Kentucky in general. Every photograph has a story.

One photo of note on display is of Lexington Main Street Baptist Church. It was originally known as the Independent Baptist Church, founded in 1862 by a former slave, the Reverend Frederick Braxton. The church property was purchased from Mary Todd Lincoln. Her husband, President Abraham Lincoln, signed off on the property transfer in 1863. The church is next door to the Mary Todd Lincoln House.

"Kentucky: Roots, Times and Generations" at UK Libraries Special Collections can be found on the first floor of the King Building. The library is open for viewing 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckian, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.