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2 Ky. African American historical sites to receive federal grant

Two Heartland historic preservation projects in Kentucky will each receive $50,000 in federal...
Two Heartland historic preservation projects in Kentucky will each receive $50,000 in federal funding to help preserve African American history.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:23 AM CDT
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KENTUKCY (KFVS) - Two Heartland historic preservation projects in Kentucky will each receive $50,000 in federal funding to help preserve African American history.

Cherokee State Park in Hardin, located within Kenlake State Resort Park, will use the funding for interpretative signage and programming to tell its story. Kenlake State Resort Park was the first segregated state park and recreational site for Black Americans in the South.

Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah will use the new funding to restore the Purple Room, which was used as an after-hours gathering space for musicians traveling on the ”Chitlin’ Circuit.” The Hotel Metropolitan was opened in 1909 and served Black travelers when lodging was segregated. The hotel was listed in the Green Book and hosted notable musicians Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall also stayed at the hotel.

According to the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the grants will enhance each project’s ability to serve as a tourism attraction in its community.

“These grants further support the preservation of these irreplaceable historic resources that help identify and tell the stories of African Americans in Kentucky,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kentucky is so heavily represented in this year’s grant pool, and that speaks to the hard work of volunteers, non-profits, community advocates and state agencies that are dedicated to ensuring these important places are represented in our history.”

A third project was rewarded $50,000 in Lexington. Funding will help support a feasibility study and business plan for the reuse of the Palmer Pharmacy Building. Dr. Palmer was the third African American to own and operate a pharmacy in Lexington.

“Promoting Kentucky as a diverse, inclusive travel destination is top priority as we continue our efforts to attract new travel markets to the commonwealth,” said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Mike Berry. “This investment into these historic sites shows that Kentucky is not only committed to preserving our state’s history, but also to ensuring that our history reflects the experiences of all Kentuckians.”

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