Honoring and Preserving Rural Black History: City of Lexington Celebrates Jimtown Hamlet

Lexington, Ky. – The City of Lexington is set to commemorate the rich history of Fayette County’s Rural Black Hamlets with an upcoming community discussion titled “A Sense of Place.” The event, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at Jimtown Baptist Church, 2236 Jimtown Lane, aims to remember and celebrate these historic communities that played a significant role in the county’s past.

Fayette County boasts over 20 identified historic hamlets, and the “A Sense of Place” Steering Committee is committed to ensuring that these communities are acknowledged, respected, and preserved. The program scheduled for Tuesday evening provides an opportunity for the public to actively participate by sharing stories, providing input, and assisting in connecting the work being done across Lexington’s various hamlets.

In a symbolic move, the Steering Committee has planned to officially launch the campaign to celebrate Lexington’s Rural Black Hamlets on Juneteenth, a nationally recognized holiday that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. The significance of this date adds a layer of historical context to the efforts of honoring these communities.

Mayor Linda Gorton highlighted the importance of recognizing the contribution of the hamlet communities to the history of Lexington. She emphasized the need to appreciate, preserve, and demonstrate respect for these significant parts of the city’s heritage. “Our hamlet communities are vital to the history of Lexington. It’s important to take time to appreciate them, preserve them, and show them respect,” she said.

Hamlet communities were hubs of religious, educational, and civic life, hosting churches, schools, grocery stores, and lodge halls that provided essential resources for residents. The “A Sense of Place” Steering Committee was established with the aim of educating the City Council and the public about the rich history of these hamlets in Lexington’s rural areas. The ultimate goal is to preserve and celebrate their historical significance and cultural heritage.

Councilmember Kathy Plomin, representing rural Fayette County, expressed the committee’s appreciation for the feedback received from the community gatherings. These events foster community engagement and allow for the sharing of stories and memories from the days when many Lexington families resided in these rural settlements. Moving forward, the committee plans to reach out to numerous hamlets as part of their initiative.

Tiffany Brown, Lexington’s Equity Officer and chair of the Hamlets committee, stressed the importance of collaborative efforts and community involvement in this project. The committee aims to work hand in hand with the community, valuing their input as the guiding force behind their work.

For those seeking more information about the initiative, the Steering Committee can be contacted at lexingtonhamletsproject@gmail.com.

As Lexington prepares to celebrate Jimtown Hamlet and other Rural Black Hamlets, the City underscored its commitment to preserving these historically significant communities and honoring their vital contributions to the region’s heritage. Through these efforts, Lexington aims to create a more inclusive and equitable future that respects and embraces its diverse past.

Lexington Hamlets Project: Exploring Rural Black Communities
Google Earth tour of Fayette County’s Rural Black Hamlets (The Lexington Times)