In Black and White

Funded by a grant from the Kentucky Humanities Council, In Black and White displays over 100 photographic prints depicting African-American life in Lexington and the Bluegrass region from as early as the 1860s up through the 1950s. With the aid of Dr. Gerald Smith, museum volunteers conducted a series of “photo fairs” in which family photographs were scanned and added to the collection.

mlk Included in the collection are previously unseen photographs taken by Calvert McCann during the civil rights era, when Lexington and the rest of the country were addressing segregation as a national issue. First put on display at the Lexington History Museum in 2003, the McCann collection has earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination and was displayed at a U.S. Senate meeting on integration.
In Black and White is a unique exhibit in that it asks for patron input and assistance. There are many unidentified photographs in the collection, so we ask our museum-goers to leave a note next to pictures with any relevant information. So far we’ve been able to identify and describe quite a few of the pictures thanks to public assistance.

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This exhibit is a favorite of schools who visit the museum for field trips. Even if they cannot provide historical information on the photographs, children are able to leave comments on notes regarding how they feel about different pictures, giving other patrons insight into what our youngest generation thinks about the nation’s history of civil unrest and segregation.


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