Grant expected help Hazard African American museum find a new home

Originally published by WEKU.

Work continues in Hazard to establish a brick and mortar home for the Southeast Kentucky African American Museum and Cultural Center. The organization began in 2020 and currently has an online presence through a website and social media. Center Executive Director Emily Hudson says a critical moment came when a black man from Philadelphia, helping with flood recovery, asked where African American communities are in southeast Kentucky.

“He said I won’t believe that black people live here until I see the evidence. And so, that is what we’re trying to do…bring that evidence to the forefront that says we were here we are here,” said Hudson.

Unlike urban areas like Philadelphia, Hudson says Appalachian blacks are spread out. The organization just received a $30,000 grant from the Atlanta-based South Arts organization. Hudson says the funding will go toward training for archiving and interviewing plus travel to seek suggestions at other museums.

She said a quilting program offers one-way to expand knowledge of African American culture in Appalachia.

“When we were working on the quilts and the stories just rolled out. We asked one participant, she brought in a family quilt..and old quilt. When she unfolded it, it was like she was unfolding history,” said Hudson.

Hudson said many young people in the southeast Kentucky may be aware of black history generally, but not local history. The museum and cultural center director hopes a permanent home can be established by the end of the year.

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Originally published by WEKU.

Republished with permission.