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‘The Prince of Jockeys’ exhibit at the Lyric Theatre celebrates life, career of Isaac Murphy


To coincide with the Breeders’ Cup Oct. 30-21 in Lexington, as well as its own five-year anniversary celebration, the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center has unveiled a new exhibit, “The Prince of Jockeys: The Life of Isaac Burns Murphy” by historian and professor Pellom McDaniels III.

On display through Dec. 11, the exhibit features the life and career of Isaac Murphy, one of America’s greatest jockeys. Born during slavery and coming to prominence at the end of Reconstruction, Murphy was an iconic example of African-American success and achievement.

Pellom McDaniels II

Using photographs, illustrations and texts, it explores the significance of African-Americans to the development of horse racing as America’s first spectator sport and highlights how Murphy came to be known as the “Prince of Jockeys.” The exhibit is based on the eponymous biography by McDaniels, which is available at bookstores nationwide.

There will be a formal exhibit reception, presented by Keeneland Library and the Lyric, on Tuesday, Oct. 20 in which McDaniels will speak on his exhibit and book. There will also be talking tours of the gallery on Wednesday, Oct. 21, and Thursday, Oct. 22, at 11 a.m.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland Library. For more information on the exhibit and reception times, visit www.LexingtonLyric.com or call 859-280-2201.

The mission of the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, at 300 E. Third St. in Lexington, is to preserve, promote, present and celebrate diverse cultures with special emphasis on African-American cultural heritage through artistic presentations of the highest quality, educational programming and outreach, film and opportunities for community inclusion.

You might also be interested in reading Historian makes strides sharing Isaac Murphy story beyond famed jockey’s Lexington home on KyForward.

From Lyric Theatre

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