Russellville, KY 42276
About West Kentucky African American Heritage Center
More About West Kentucky African American Heritage Center
The West Kentucky African American Heritage Center is a conglomerate of exhibits, historic buildings and a research center in Russellville's Black Bottom Historic District. The district is home to several building which have been restored with the assistance of Historic Russellville including: the 1940's Payne-Dunnigan House, The 1880's Cooksey House, The 1800's Morton-Kimbrough House and 1923's Knights of Pythias Hall (KP Hall).
The Kimbrough house is the oldest brick building in Russellville which was later owned by a Reverend who brought the first African American Boy Scout Troop to Logan County and finally by Alex Kimbrough, the first African American in the county to sit on a jury.
The Cooksey house was home to former slaves who had been freed. Their son, Charles Cooksey who lived there after his parent's death, was a teacher in the Colored Schools of Logan County for over 40 years.
The Knights of Pythias Hall was a dance all and meeting house which served as a venue for entertainers such as Cab Calloway and Jelly Roll Johnson. It would later serve as a school, pool hall, restaurant, gym, church and barber shop. Today it is used as a community meeting hall and for after school programs. The grounds are the site of the Mary Ann Fisher Summer Concert Series hosted by Russellville Blues in honor of Ray Charles first female vocalist (and rumored love interest) who was raised across the street. It is also the start of tours of the area and houses the research center.
The Payne Dunnigan House is today a media center in honor of Alice Dunnigan whose sister in law lived there. Alice was a noted journalist, author and civil rights leader who was the first African American female to receive White House credentials, and the first black female member of the Senate and House of Representatives press galleries
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