State Tourism Highlights Places To Learn About Kentucky's Black History

Feb 4, 2014

The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is highlighting a number of attractions Central Kentuckians can visit as part of Black History Month.

Civil War Re-enactment at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County
Civil War Re-enactment at Camp Nelson in Jessamine County
Credit photo provided

Spokesperson Scottie Ellis, says Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park in Jessamine County is a good place to start.

“The area played a critical role in the Union war effort as a supply depot and a recruitment center and hospital facility,” Ellis told WUKY.  “It was established 150 years ago on a directive from President Abraham Lincoln and it was the third largest recruitment cent for black troops in the nation at that time,” Ellis said.

At its peak more than 10,000 African American Troops trained at Camp Nelson.  The Depot also sheltered more than 3,000 African American women and children, several hundred of whom were infamously expelled by the U-S Army in November 1864.  Camp Nelson was officially designated a National Historic Landmark just last month.

Two other attractions relatively close by are the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, and the National Underground Railroad Museum in Maysville.

Ellis says, while it’s one thing to read about history in a book…it’s quite another to visit places where history actually happened, or where the larger story can be told. 

“We have found that a lot of education sites not only help us remember what happened in our history, but also children who are learning about these things day to day in school, it really helps these messages resonate with those children (so they can) understand what really took place when they visit the site and see it for themselves.”

A complete list of Black History Month locations is available at