Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office
Three projects awarded Kentucky African American Heritage Commission Lincoln Preservation Grants

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 05, 2008  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Three Kentucky African American Heritage Commission Lincoln Preservation Grants have been awarded to projects that highlight African American heritage in relation to President Abraham Lincoln.  These include an original play centered on Lincoln's authorship of the Emancipation Proclamation, a museum exhibit focusing on Logan County General Stephen Burbridge, and an investigation seeking to identify and preserve the burial site of an African American regiment ambushed near Simpsonville during the Civil War.


Administered in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, the grant program was open to state and local governments and non-profit organizations operating within the Commonwealth, for African American-related Lincoln sites or projects that would preserve and add to our knowledge of Kentucky African Americans up to 1900. 


"The African American experience in the time of Abraham Lincoln is a complex and fascinating chapter in Kentucky and United States history, and we are pleased that these grants can help tell a small part of the larger story," said Dr. J. Blaine Hudson, chair of the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission and dean of the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences.


The Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission allocated $20,000 in state funds for the grant program.  Approved projects and recipients are:


De-Mystifying Abraham Lincoln and His Emancipation Proclamation – $10,000 to the University of Louisville African American Theatre Program to create and produce an original play.  The theatre program has commissioned Carlyle Brown to write the play for its 2008-2009 season at UofL, under the working title Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House.  A mini-conference with the playwright and national scholars will also be presented when the play debuts in February 2009.


General Burbridge's Slaves and Soldiers: Lincoln's Legacy in Logan County – $5,000 to Historic Russellville, Inc., for an exhibit focusing on Logan County General Stephen Burbridge, who ordered that freed blacks be enlisted in the U.S. Colored Cavalry.  The exhibit will be researched and prepared for public display at the West Kentucky African American Heritage Center in Russellville.  A traveling exhibit will also be produced.


Memorialize and Preserve the Site of the "Simpsonville Slaughter" – $5,000 to the Shelby County Historical Society to utilize ground-penetrating radar to identify, rehabilitate and preserve the mass grave and burial site associated with the ambush of Company "E" of the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry near Simpsonville in 1865.  This would be in preparation for nominating the site to the National Register of Historic Places.


Grant applicants were required to demonstrate a minimum match of 20% of requested grant funds, either cash or in-kind contributions or a combination of both.  Funded projects must be completed on or before February 12, 2010. 


For more information about the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, visit the Kentucky Heritage Council Web site,


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Administered through the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission works to identify and promote awareness of significant African American influences upon the history and culture of Kentucky and to support and encourage the preservation of Kentucky African American heritage and historic sites.


The Kentucky Heritage Council is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.