Kentucky Archives Month 2015: Voting and Civil Rights

As we move into fall and the Halloween season, I wanted to remind everyone that October is also an important month here in the archives.  October is American Archives Month and we will be celebrating here in Kentucky!

For a little background, Kentucky Archives Week began in 2002, following a national trend of states and localities celebrating a local archives week.  Kentucky has consistently held its Archives Week in October, under the leadership of the Kentucky State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.  In 2008, Kentucky transitioned to a month-long celebration, held each year during October.  Kentucky’s Archives Month coincides with the national celebration of American Archives Month.

Now you may be wondering—what happens during Archives Month?  It is an annual celebration of the importance of archives, historical records, and of the work of institutions preserving these unique resources.  These facilities and their collections are quite varied, but together they hold a rich documentary legacy which shapes our understanding of the state’s past and our assessment of its future.  There are nearly 300 archival and manuscript repositories in Kentucky that hold archival records documenting Kentucky history and life.  These records include personal and organizational papers, photographs, oral histories, diaries, letters, and government records such as deeds and wills.  During Archives Month many of these institutions are hosting open houses, exhibits, special programs and speakers to highlight historical materials available for research in Kentucky archival and manuscript repositories.

The theme for the 2015 Kentucky Archives Month is Voting and Civil Rights in honor of Kentuckians who participated in the struggle to bring about social justice and equality to the citizens of Kentucky, the nation, and the world.

2015poster

Download your own poster and bookmarks from the Kentucky Archives Month website.

 The Filson is actively collecting and seeking documentation of the Louisville Civil Rights Movement.  If you have personal or family materials documenting voting and/or civil rights struggles, please consider donating them today!

The Filson’s George Beury Civil Rights Photograph Collection is a great example of civil rights documentation.  These photographs document in part the racial unrest in Louisville following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in April of 1968.  The Kentucky National Guard was called out regarding possible disturbances in the quake of this tragic event. The photos were taken by St. Matthew’s own Dr. George Beury.  George was pastor of the West Louisville United Church of Christ on 41st St. at the time. These photos were taken while driving a colleague home who lived on Dumesnil St.  George recalls that the situation was very tense and he took the photos surreptitiously to avoid detection.

National Guard in Louisville following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.01]

National Guard in Louisville following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.01]

One of the few cases of damage following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.02]

One of the few cases of damage following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.02]

National Guard called out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.03]

National Guard called out after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. April, 1968 [005PC32.03]

For further reading on Louisville's Civil Rights Movement check out Associate Curator Aaron Rosenblum’s blog: “Behind the Scenes of Segregation in Louisville” 

Kentucky Archives Month is sponsored by the Kentucky State Historical Records Advisory Board, and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. For a complete listing of events throughout the state check out the Kentucky Archives Month website http://archivesmonth.ky.gov or call 502.564.8300 x. 246.

 

Heather Potter

Heather Potter is the Curator of Photographs and Prints at The Filson Historical Society.

Leave Comment