The West Kentucky African American Heritage Museum and Research Center in Russellville, Kentucky consists of six buildings that are used to interpret and research the history of African Americans in Logan and surrounding counties. The buildings date from about 1810 until the 1940s. Each building deals with how African Americans lived in the area.
The Kimbrough House is the oldest brick house standing in Russellville, KY. It was built between 1810 and 1815. It was the home of the Morton and Caldwell families of Logan Country, Kentucky.
In later years, it was the home of the Rev. Roy Hughes, an African American preacher. He would bring the first African American Boy Scout Troop to Logan County. Rev. Hughes would marry over 50 people in this house between 1945 and 1968. The last owner of this house was Alex Kimbrough. In 1968, he was the first African American to serve on a trial jury. After his death, the home was purchased by Historic Russellville.
The Cooksey House was the home of Solomon Cooksey and his family for many years. Caroline Cooksey and her six children Miranda Elizabeth, James, Eliza, Harriett, Mary Jane and Solomon were set free in the will of Dorcas Cooksey on May 27, 1850. Solomon who was born in 1835 in Logan County Kentucky would buy this land in the 1880's. And after his death it was the home of his son Charles Cooksey who was a teacher in the Colored Schools of Logan County for over 40 years.
The Cooksey family would own this land for 70 years.
The Knights of Pythias Hall was built on the corner of 5th and Morgan. It's cornerstone was laid on December 26, 1920. For the last 80 years, it has served the African American community in a number of capacities.
It was first used as Dance House and community meeting house. In the 1930's, a number of famous people would play at the hall. Cab Calloway, Earl Hines, and Jelly Roll Morton would all play there. The K of P would also serve the community as a school, pool room, restaurant, gym, church and barber shop.
The building is now the home of Concerned Citizens of Russellville-Logan County. The building has recently been remodeled and is the home of the Make the Grade Tutoring Program, an after school program that helps kids with their homework and improve their basic skills.
The dance hall has been refurbished to look as it did when the building was built in 1920. It is also used as a community meeting room.
The Payne Dunnigan House was the home of the late Ruby Brown Payne. Her sister-in-law was the late Alice Allison Dunnigan, noted newspaper reporter, author and civil rights leader.
These unique house are located in the area of Russellville called the Black Bottom. The Black Bottom has been a neighborhood over 150 years. In it's heyday, it had 5 churches, 4 restaurants, 3 grocery stores, a funeral home, doctor and dentist.
The West Kentucky African American Museum and Research Center welcomes you to come take a walk in the history of African Americans from Western Kentucky.
Historic Russellville, Inc, is restoring the Bibb House, built in the 1820s as the townhouse of Revolutionary War Major Richard Bibb who freed twenty-nine of his slaves in 1829 and paid for their passage to Liberia and who then provided for the liberation of his remaining slaves by his will at his death in 1839.
The Palladian style home is an excellent example of the fine, early architecture of Kentucky. It demonstrates the lifestyle and customs of the landed gentry who migrated to Kentucky and will also tell the stories of the enslaved African Americans, many of whom obtained their freedom at this site.
The Kentucky historical marker posted in front of the Bibb House.
Was the home of the Townsend family who sold food there for many years. The first owner was Wesley Orndorff a member of the 6th United States Colored Calvary who was wounded at the Battle of Saltville Virginia during the Civil War. It was the home of the Townsend family who sold food there for many years.