After the American Civil War, many African Americans found a new life in “River Town.” Louisville became a historic marker for freed men and women of color who bought acres of land or leased shotgun cottages and lots from whites to begin their new emancipated life.
Smoketown is the only neighborhood in the city of Louisville with such continuous presence. By 1866, Smoketown was settled by these freemen and by 1871 the first public building, the Eastern Colored School, was erected. By the 1950 census, 10,653 people lived in Smoketown and other historic black neighborhoods such as Petersburg/Newburg, Parkland, California, Russell, Berrytown, Griffytown, and Black Hill in Old Louisville were thriving.
As these new neighborhoods sprang up, another historic event was taking place. In 1875, the first Kentucky Derby convened and 13 of the 15 jockeys were black. Such astounding history embraces this city and Images of America: Louisville’s Historic Black Neighborhoods relives its magnificent and rich narrative.
Highlights of Louisville’s Historic Black Neighborhoods include:
• Black Hill–Old Louisville, California, Parkland
• Central Business District
• South Louisville and Black Horsemen in the Kentucky Derby
• The Lincoln Institute
Available at area bookstores, independent retailers, and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at (888)-313-2665 or online.
Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Our mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through the publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Have we done a book on your town? Visit arcadiapublishing.com.