City leaders unanimously approved a request for staff to apply for a grant and awarded a contract to two projects related to local African American history at Monday’s meeting.

The city commission authorized staff to apply for a $50,000 2021 African American Civil Rights grant for an oral history project related to the 1964 March on Frankfort. The historical event brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a crowd of 10,000 to the capital city.


Rev. Dr. L.A. Newby of First Corinthian Baptist Church speaks about marching with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Frankfort in 1964 during the 14th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Memorial Celebration at First Corinthian Baptist Church in this 2020 State Journal file photo.

The project, which is being produced by Frankfort resident Joanna Hay, will document the stories of the people, participants and planners of the March 5, 1964, march.

“We are looking for as many stories as possible,” Hay told The State Journal. “We will be making three films for PBS Learning Media with school curricula and a project website that will also be exhibited at the Capital City Museum.”

In addition to the videos, which will be targeted for elementary, middle and high school audiences, the project also includes the development of a Frankfort Civil Rights website.

As a continuation of the project, staff is applying for the $50,000 grant in order to conduct 10 more oral history interviews, a multimedia exhibit to showcase the videos at the local museum and an historic marker, if funds allow.

The grant does not require specific matching funds from the city, but staff time will be utilized on the project, as will partnerships with local high schools, Kentucky State University and the University of Kentucky as an in-kind match for a stronger grant application.

Earlier this year, Hay received a $7,500 Kentucky Foundation for Women’s Artist Enrichment grant to create “Sound Capitol,” a sound art installation composed of oral history clips, instrumental music, and environmental sounds to tell the story of women organizers in Dr. King’s 1964 March on Frankfort.

At Monday’s city commission meeting, leaders also OK’d a contract with Carolyn Brackett, of Cultural Heritage Works in Nashville, to serve as a consultant to aid staff in the completion of the City of Frankfort’s African American Historic Context Report. Of the three applicants who sent proposals, Brackett was unanimously chosen for the project by the selection committee, which included staff from Planning and Community Development and the Capital City Museum, according to City Manager Laura Hagg.

The report will assist in addressing the capital city’s rich African American history, the contributions made by the Black community and the lesser known and lesser told stories. It will also identify the social, political, economic, educational, artistic and physical environment in Frankfort that influenced the growth of the African American community and how it has changed over time.

It will also identify associated properties, buildings, structures, sites, districts and objects that remain and evaluate their eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.

In February, the city commission authorized the application of a $15,000 Certified Local Government subgrant from the Kentucky Heritage Council with a cash match of $10,000 to complete the report. The grant was approved by the heritage council over the summer.

Recommended for you

Load comments

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.