A racially divided community since the 19th century, Hopkinsville and Christian County, Kentucky, has seen its share of strife and violence. From lynchings after the Civil War to the terrors of the “Night Riders” during the Tobacco Wars of the early 20th century, Hopkinsville continues to wrestle with a contentious history. Although much progress has been made in the last 50 years, increasing the understanding of the broader history will help the region repair deep divisions in their communities.
To better understand this past and to improve the future, the Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) and the Museums of Hopkinsville-Christian County (MOHCC) used a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Grant to capture information from two important communities whose history has been hidden from a broader audience. Hopkinsville once had a thriving Jewish community which acted as a bridge between black and white residents until the mid-20th century. By using the Common Heritage grant as a means of establishing a relationship with private collectors, it is hoped that a long-term connection can be made between KHS and MOHCC and members of both communities.
The NEH Common Heritage grant, titled “Integrating Segregated Histories,” allowed KHS and MOHCC to digitize local history collections related to Jewish and African-American residents. Conversations within the two communities were continued through a follow-up event with workshops and panel discussions.
This online collection, part of the follow-up efforts, reflects the materials collected in 2017 through the NEH Common Heritage grant.
Laminated copy of a map made by the donor's father, J. T. Lynch, showing African-American business establishments in Hopkinsville in 1925.
Ms. Gwenda Motley’s collection includes objects, photographs, and publications from the Watkins family. A photograph and death certificate of Gilbert…
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Oral history interview with Roy Mumford by Alissa Keller. Recorded May 20, 2017 at the Virginia Street Baptist Church.
Oral history interview of Mark Steele by Alissa Keller. Recorded May 26, 2017 at the Christian County Senior Center.
Silver staves (atzei chaim) ornamented with eagles and bells atop a Torah cover decorated with red fabric, gold embroidery and stones.