Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Black history center will focus on Kentucky

By Anabelle Garay
The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Worn rail lines that once traced the path of the city's streetcars still remain at the old trolley barn at 18th Street West on Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

The site was the backdrop of two landmark court cases that afforded blacks the right to ride the city's trolleys - more than a quarter of a century before the Montgomery bus boycott of the 1950s.

It's little known, but historically significant stories like this one that motivated Louisville to begin building the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, a museum and cultural complex.

"They know nothing of African-Americans in this community other than Muhammad Ali," said Clest Lanier, executive director of the center's foundation. "So many other African-Americans who have done so much remain unrecognized."

When Louisville's $23 million center is completed inside the old Trolley Barn complex in February 2005, visitors will be viewing works by Kentucky's black artists and researching genealogy by connecting directly to the state's vital statistics office.

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