4 monuments to Black History in Louisville

These four monuments honor enslaved Kentuckians, Civil Rights activists, and an explorer.

A bronze statue of a man holding a musket and a bird stands with tall skyscrapers in the background.

The Statue of York was created by artist Ed Hamilton, and installed on the Belvedere in 2003.

Image via National Park Service

History is more than what you can read in a book, and this Black History Month you can see important locations from the past yourself.

These four monuments honor Louisville’s Black History.

On the Banks of Freedom | 10th and Main Streets

The first public art installment from the (Un)Known Project, these two limestone benches are engraved with the names of enslaved persons from Kentucky along with portraits representing an enslaved man and woman. They are located on the banks of the Ohio River, the dividing line between free and slave states in the antebellum US. It is the starting point for the (Un)Known Project’s Trail, which includes art installments at both the Frazier History Museum and the Roots 101: African-American History Museum.

Statue of York | The Belvedere

This bronze statue, created by artist Ed Hamilton, overlooks the Ohio River from the Belvedere in downtown Louisville. It depicts York, an enslaved man who traveled with Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery during its trek to the West in the 19th Century. The statue was erected in 2003, 200 years after Lewis and Clark met in Louisville.

Charles H. Parrish Jr. Freedom Park | University of Louisville

This park is a walk through history, featuring glass plaques honoring nine people with connections to the UofL that had impacts on Civil Rights. They include nationally known activist Anne M. Braden, Lyman Tefft Johnson — who worked to desegregate the University of Kentucky and Louisville — and J. Blaine Hudson, who was arrested in the 1960s while demonstrating for a Black studies program at UofL. It was created in 2012 and stands between 2nd and 3rd Streets along Cardinal Boulevard.

Civil Rights Trail | Downtown Louisville

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, sit-in demonstrations were held across the south, including in Louisville. Many of those demonstrations were held at businesses along the 4th Street corridor, which at the time was a hub for local business. The Civil Rights Trail marks the locations of those Derby City demonstrations.

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