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Celebrating Black History: Co-authors of Kentucky African American Encyclopedia honored at Capitol


Dr. Gerald Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and Dr. John A. Hardin, co-editors of the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, were recipients of the 2016 Legacy Award at the 13th annual Black History Month Celebration at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort.

This year’s event, hosted by the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus, focused on the theme “The Unfinished Business of Kentucky: ‘Symbolism and Reality.’”

“African Americans have made significant contributions to our state and to our nation,” Senator Gerald A. Neal, D-Louisville, said. “As we celebrate those accomplishments, it is only fitting that we honor those who have made significant contributions by acknowledging those achievements. Black History Month allows us to reflect on the resilience and spirit of the African-American community and the unmatched influence its leaders have had on the American fiber.”

Dr. Gerald Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and Dr. John A. Hardin, co-editors of the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, were recipients of the 2016 Legacy Award today at the 13th annual Black History Month Celebration at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort (Photo Provided)

Dr. Gerald Smith, Karen Cotton McDaniel and Dr. John A. Hardin, co-editors of the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia, were recipients of the 2016 Legacy Award today at the 13th annual Black History Month Celebration at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort (Photo Provided)

Dr. Smith, associate professor at the University of Kentucky, delivered the keynote address on “The Unfinished Business of Kentucky: ‘Symbolism and Reality’” to a standing room only crowd in the Capitol Rotunda. He spoke just a few feet from the Jefferson Davis statute that was the symbolic focus of his presentation.

Dr. Carolyn Dupont, associate history professor at Eastern Kentucky University, set the stage for Dr. Smith by opening with some of Kentucky’s history and arguments for the removal of the statute from the Rotunda.

“The work by Dr. Smith, Ms. McDaniel and Dr. Hardin is a major step in preserving the accomplishments of African American leaders,” said Senator Neal. We were honored to have acknowledged them by bestowing our highest recognition, the Living Legacy Award. Today, we also see the scholarly insight into the experience and efforts of Dr. Dupont and the other 71 professors who requested that the Jefferson Davis statute be removed from the Capitol Rotunda, a place of honor, to a more suitable historical place. We honored them with House and Senate Resolutions.”

“Just last week, we gathered in the Capitol Rotunda and celebrated the life of one of Kentucky’s great African-American leaders, Sen. Georgia Powers,” said Governor Matt Bevin. “In an interview on the occasion of her 90th birthday, Sen. Powers told a reporter ‘I did what I was supposed to do in life.’ As we celebrate Black History Month and remember  those who, like Sen. Powers, were strong and colorful threads in the tapestry of Kentucky history, let us also remember that every single one of us can make a lasting contribution to the fabric of our communities by doing what we are each ‘supposed to do in life.’”

Along with Senator Neal, the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus includes Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington and Representatives George Brown Jr., D-Lexington; Jim Glenn, D-Owensboro; Derrick Graham, D-Frankfort; Reginald Meeks and Darryl Owens, both D-Louisville, and Arnold Simpson, D-Covington. Several other members of the caucus joined Neal in speaking on the significance of the Black History Month celebration. Graham led the Legislative Roll Call.

“This is not just a celebration of African American history,” Neal explained, “This is a celebration of American history. Black History Month presents us an opportunity to remember the important legacy of African Americans in Kentucky and the nation – much of which would have been lost over the years if not for this special time of remembrance. It is important that we know and honor many of the notable citizens who have contributed to our history as well as pay respect to the many, many others whom history has forgotten. I encourage all Kentuckians to join me as we observe Black History Month.”

Award Recipients
Dr. Gerald Smith is a professor of history and the holder of the Theodore A. Hallam Professorship (2015-17) in the department of history at the University of Kentucky. He is author, editor and coeditor of three books and other publications on history.

Karen Cotton McDaniel is professor emeritus at Kentucky State University, where she was a tenured full professor and director of libraries. She has more than 20 publications on black Kentuckians, including book chapters, articles and encyclopedic essays. She has also taught at Eastern Kentucky University and Berea College.

Dr. John A. Hardin, a professor of history at Western Kentucky University, is the author of two books, several major articles and numerous book reviews on Kentucky African American history. He has taught at KSU and Eastern Washington University and has served as adjunct faculty at the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky.

From LRC Public Information Office


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One Comment

  1. MARGARET B WISE says:

    JUST AN OLD JEFFERSON COUNTY TEACHER WHO IS STILL LOOKING FOR A COME TOGETHER OF THE BLACK AND WHITE OF AMERICA!
    SINCE THE SCHOOLS WERE MADE WITH OUT COLOR V=BASIS (THE SO CALLED WHITE SCHOOLS ARE NOT AND THE SO CALLED BLACK SCHOOLS ARE STILL THERE) AT THE COMING OF THE TOGETHERNESS THE UK STUDENT CENTER WAS FOR BOTH! THE BLACKS HAD THEIR OWN WHAT IS THAT ? I VISITED THE BLACK STUDENT UNION(?) AND WAS TREATED AS IF I WAS FORM ANOTHER PLANET! IT WAS AN ART SHOWING OF A BLACK FRIEND!
    NOW THE IDIOTS WANT TO ERASE ALL THE STATUES OF GEN. OF THE CIVIL WAR THAT ARE WHITE!
    AS A GREAT-GREAT GRAND DAUGHTER OF A UNION SHOULDER AND A GREAT GRAND DAUGHTER OF ANOTHER I KNOW AS A FACT THEY WOULD THINK THIS IS STUPID AND THEY WERE NOT GENERALS! THE REB FLAG IS JUST THAT A FLAG! IT WAS AN IS A DIXIE FLAG AND NOTHING WAR LIKE AT ALL!
    NOW TO THE PROPOSED NEW BLACK MUSEUM IN DC, OH WAS A THING IT WILL BE! EXTERIOR TO HAVE RUNNING FILMS AND ENOUGH COLOR TO KNOCK A PERSON DOWN ARE WE GOING TO LOOK LIKE LAS VEGAS? DC A TOWN WHERE ALL IS WHITE LIKE THE ANCIENT GREEKS! MY-MY I SAID WHITE TOWN! PARDON ME?
    IN THE SO CALLED BLACK MUSEUM I VIEWED A WOODEN DESK, BACK OF SEAT IN ONE MAKE THE DESK PART TO THE ONE IN FRONT. THE BEST DESK SEATING I EVER HAD AND THE SKIN WE ALL BLEED RED! AND YES MY GRADES 2 THROUGH 6 I HAD ONE OF THOSE GREAT DESKS AND WISH I HAD ONE NOW! MY SCHOOL WAS IN PARKLAND AT THE END OF CATALPA!
    NOW THE IDIOTS HAVE MADE THE BUILDING LOOK AS IF THE GANGS HAD THEIR WAY WITH IT! YES I KNOW THERE WAS ANOTHER IF I AM CORRECT BUILT NEXT TO THE OLD YO REPLACE BUT THERE THE OLD STANDING FOR ALL THE BUMS TO ENTER, DRUG AND DESTROY!
    SAME OF OLD PARKLAND STILL LOOKS NICE AND THEN THERE IS THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT ANYTHING EXCEPT WHERE TOMORROWS MONEY WILL COME FROM!
    I HAD A STUDENT WHO AFTER HE LEFT SCHOOL I SAW HIM STANDING ON THE CORNER SO I ASKED HIM HOW HE WAS DOING , HE SAID FINE! I THEN ASKED WHAT KIND OF JOB DID HE HAVE!
    (THIS YOUNG MAN COULD HAVE DONE ANYTHING HE SET HIS HEAD TO DO!
    BUT HIS ANSWER WAS ” NO JOB! THEY PAY ME NOT TO WORK!”

    WHO ARE THESE BLEEDING HEARTS THAT ARE KILLING OUR KIDS AND OUR NATION TO GIVE SOME A “FAMILY BUSINESS! ALL EDUCATORS SHOULD BELIEVE! THE KIDS CAN IF THEY ARE BELIEVED IN!

    MARGARET B WISE, OCALA FL! HERE BECAUSE OF HEALTH MISS OLE KY AS
    THERE ARE STUDENTS I WISH I COULD FIND! ONE WHO WANTED TO BE A MARINE AND I HAD LOOKED FOR THE LAST30 PLUS YEARS!

    (TIM F., I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP!) I KEEP LOOKING FOR A WAY!

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