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Hidden History Comes Out at Hopkinsville Event

Hopkinsville history is “so hidden,” said Kenneth Bates, a Christian County magistrate who was one of several people to come out Saturday to share their stories and help shed some light on the city’s African American and Jewish histories.

The event, “Integrating Segregated Histories,” is a joint project of the Kentucky Historical Society and Museums of Historic Hopkinsville and Christian County funded through a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant.

Kbates Hopkinsville

The organizations hope to determine whether the Jewish community in Hopkinsville acted as a bridge between the African American and white communities.

So far, some information they have received lends credence to that theory, said Sara Elliott, project director and historical resources director at KHS.

Participants also shared other unexpected stories through newspaper clippings, audiotapes, military documents, photos and scrapbooks. KHS and MHHCC staff scanned or photographed the information and will make those images available for researchers through their websites.

The day uncovered “stories that opened up new areas of research and opportunities…. This has given us an opportunity to learn stories of Kentucky we would never have known,” Elliott said.

Over the next few months, Elliott and her team will review and analyze the materials people brought Saturday, “looking for themes and evidence that supports our theory about the Jewish community,” she said.

In October, KHS staff will return to Hopkinsville and join MHHCC for the all-day event, “Integrating Segregated Histories, Part 2.” Among other things, they will share the information that came out of Saturday’s session then.


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