A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lexington’s Mary Todd Lincoln House to offer ‘House Divided’ cemetery walking tours in October

Explore Lexington’s most famous cemetery on a guided walking tour led by staff of the Mary Todd Lincoln House. The tour features graves of both soldiers and civilians, including the Todd family, with an emphasis on Lexington’s divided home front during the Civil War. The tour will be offered at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 11 and Sunday, October 25. The tour is approximately one mile...

Stuart Sanders: Bemoaning statues? Then support places where history actually happened

Confederate monuments are in the crosshairs. Officials in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and beyond are calling for the removal of memorials to rebels and their cause. In Kentucky, authorities evicted the Jefferson Davis statue from the capitol rotunda. Members of Congress have also considered striking rebel names from military bases and might remove 11 statues from the U.S. Capitol. This news...

Ron Daley: Jefferson Davis forces Kentuckians to decide when we wish to be on right side of history

Kentuckians who wish to be on the “right side of history” and be proud of their heritage advocated for the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue in the Kentucky Capitol rotunda. This has encouraged both emotional divisive dialogue and reflection on our Commonwealth’s heritage. Those who called the statue removal did not want to see the slave holder and president of the Confederacy honored in...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: James Henshall moves to Cincinnati where Black Bass odyssey began

Editor’s note: This is the second of three articles on the life and work of the father of bass fishing in America. In 1852, after James A. Henshall finished high school, his family moved to Cincinnati, where his medical career and black bass odyssey began. Henshall entered medical school in 1855, and received a degree of Medicinae Doctor in May 1859. He practiced medicine for decades, into the...

Kentucky by Heart: Bracken County native John Fee played integral role in founding of Berea College

By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist That small Kentucky college located in a quaint town off I-75, just south of Richmond, has been anything but small and quaint in its influence since the early 1850s. The Draper Building on the Berea College Campus (Photo from Berea College) Berea College was the first non-segregated, coeducational college in the South. Such current periodicals as Washington Monthly,...

Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund receives national award for battlefield preservation efforts

The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF) has received a State Preservation Leadership Award from the American Battlefield Trust for its role in preserving and protecting battlefields and historic sites throughout the Commonwealth. During the annual gathering of its members in Lexington, American Battlefield Trust president James Lighthizer recognized KHLCF for its “monumental contribution”...

National Register of Historic Places announces addition of 10 Kentucky sites, historic districts

The National Register of Historic Places has listed 10 Kentucky sites and historic districts in 2018, according to the National Park Service. These include the most recent, Battery Bates and Battery Coombs Historic District in Covington, named for two Civil War cannon battery defensive fortifications built by the Union Army and located in what is known today as Devou Park. Battery Bates and Battery...

New book analyzes impact of Kentucky’s ‘Rebel Press’ on public opinion during the Civil War

Throughout the Civil War, the influence of the popular press and its skillful use of propaganda was extremely significant in Kentucky. Union and Confederate sympathizers were scattered throughout the border slave state, and in 1860, at least twenty-eight of the Commonwealth’s approximately sixty newspapers were pro-Confederate, making the secessionist cause seem stronger in Kentucky than it was in...

Black leaders call on Bevin to remove statue of Jefferson Davis from Capitol Rotunda

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Black leaders and lawmakers called on Gov. Matt Bevin to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Capitol Rotunda in the State Capitol during a protest Wednesday. “There is an elephant in the building,” said Raoul Cunningham, Kentucky president of the NAACP, “and we ask the Governor to remove the elephant.” Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville,...

Bill Straub: In the debate about Confederate statues, the real issue is who deserves to be honored

WASHINGTON – Remove if you must the hoary statues found in our public squares dedicated to those who perpetuated treason under the banner of the Lost Cause, but by all that is holy spare the John Hunt Morgan figure that rests proudly covered in pigeon droppings on the front lawn of what was once the Fayette County Courthouse. The survival of this noble sculpture is necessary for several reasons,...

Constance Alexander: Memorial honors unity, glory of one of the first African American regiments

At first, Robert Gould Shaw was reluctant to accept an appointment to lead the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, one of the first African American regiments in the Civil War. Often described as the pampered son of a wealthy abolitionist Boston family, Gould attended Harvard from 1856 to 1859. Instead of completing his studies, he traveled around Europe and, as young people are sometimes wont to wonder,...

Louisville legislator files measure to eliminate Confederate related state holidays

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today A Kentucky lawmaker is filing legislation for the 2018 session aimed at removing Confederate-related holidays from the list in the state’s statute. Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, said it includes Robert E. Lee Day on Jan. 19, along with Confederate Memorial Day and Jefferson Davis Day, both of which are observed June 3. However, it does not include removing statues across...

Gray says two Confederate statues near courthouse should be relocated after violence in Virginia

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Lexington’s mayor responded to the racially-charged violence in Virginia by announcing steps to take down two Confederate statues located at the former courthouse. “The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week,” said Mayor Jim Gray. Gray said he will present a petition to the Lexington-Fayette County...

Association of Lincoln Presenters annual convention brings dozens of Abes, Marys to Lexington

Excitement is coming to the Bluegrass April 20-23, 2017 as the Association of Lincoln Presenters (ALP) will hold their annual conference in Lexington. The Association anticipates about 50 Abraham Lincolns and 20 Mary Lincolns to attend from all over the United States. Each day they will be dressed as President and Mrs. Lincoln — an awesome sight. The group will be visiting various places...

Old Time Kentucky: Lincoln, a hero to legions, was largely unloved in his native Bluegrass State

By Berry Craig KyForward columnist No son of Kentucky is more famous or more revered than Abraham Lincoln, and rightly so. His 1809 birthplace near Hodgenville, the LaRue County seat, is a national shrine. Lincoln’s statue stands tall in the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort. Yet no president was more unpopular in Kentucky than the Great Emancipator, who got less than one percent of the Bluegrass State’s...

Old Time Kentucky: Hickman Courier’s support of secession reflected South’s influence in the Purchase

By Berry Craig KyForward columnist One of Kentucky’s oldest newspapers has rebel roots. “The South,” the Hickman Courier editorialized in January, 1861, “is bound, in order to have her rights, in order to maintain her honor, and the honor of her citizens, to secede.” The Courier was one of the first, if not the first, Kentucky papers to advocate secession. Few Bluegrass State newspapers were...

Old Time Kentucky: Gunboat to gunboat duel in the river would have been one-sided — if it happened

By Berry Craig KyForward columnist Most old-time Kentucky duels were fought with pistols. But early in the Civil War, it looked like honor would be settled gunboat-to-gunboat in the Mississippi River near Columbus. “Some people still saw war in terms of the old code duello,” surmised historian John Kelly Ross of Clinton, near Columbus. Ross cited a Jan. 27, 1862, New York Times story that claimed...

Old Time Kentucky: Fayette native Jackson was only Congressman to fall in Civil War combat

By Berry Craig KyForward columnist Congressman James Streshly Jackson of Hopkinsville wanted to do more in the Civil War than pass laws and make patriotic speeches out of harm’s way in Washington. He joined the Union army and lost his life in the bloodiest battle ever fought on Kentucky soil. “ON THIS SPOT GENERAL JAMES S. JACKSON FELL” on Oct. 8, 1862, says a blue state historical marker atop...

Thousands of re-enactors expected for national event commemorating Battle of Perryville Oct. 8-9

The commemoration of the Battle of Perryville, designated this year as the national Civil War re-enactment, is the weekend of Oct. 8-9, 2016. The Battle of Perryville was the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky and left more than 7,500 casualties. Serving as a national re-enactment, Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is expecting up to 4,000 re-enactors. Unlike other re-enactments, the Perryville...

Columbus-Belmont State Park to celebrate 26th annual Civil War Days Oct. 7-9

Columbus-Belmont State Park will host the 26th Annual Civil War Days Oct. 7-9. The weekend will include battle re-enactments, history and museum tours, soldier camps, entertainment, food and more. Admission is free. This three-day event will begin on Friday, Oct. 7 with Education Day. There will be cannon and rifle demonstrations, life of a soldier and dance instruction. Students, scouts and groups...