Louisville Tourism announced that the city will offer new programs to celebrate the Black American contribution to Louisville’s history and culture.
“Although these leisure tourism experiences began two years ago as an effort to curate the rich cultural assets involving Louisville’s Black history and heritage, they are coming to fruition at a very timely moment, on the heels of a national social justice push, further increasing our urgency and sense of purpose,” said Cleo Battle, Louisville Tourism’s Chief Operating Officer.
The new programming highlights immersive learning experiences and includes ongoing partnerships with the National Civil Rights Trail, the Black Bourbon Society, Kentucky Department of Tourism and the African American Travel Conference, which will hold their conference in Louisville on March 30-April 1 of this year.
This new collection of tours and exhibits is called the Unfiltered Truth Collection, with all of its experiences set to run in the spring. Seven local attractions will give immersive tours highlighting the stories of Black Americans that have made a lasting impact on Louisville’s claims to fame, like the Kentucky Derby, bourbon and baseball.
Step into the Prohibition era and visit a secret speakeasy with the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Meet the first Black American to write and publish a cocktail book and taste high-quality whiskeys.
Visit the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage and watch the Songbird of the South performance, which tells the story of rhythm and blues singer Mary Ann Fisher, who traveled and sang with the Ray Charles Band and performed with Marvin Gaye, B.B. King and more.
Learn about how Black Americans have influenced bourbon at the Frazier History Museum’s From Enslaved to Empowered: Kentucky’s African American Experience through Bourbon tour. This experience will shed a new light on the historical background of bourbon and the influence of Blacks on the industry.
Follow a historical figure as she goes about her daily life as the slave and laundress of the Croghan family at Locust Grove. History comes to life as you step into 1816, learning about the lives and reality of enslaved individuals in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Derby Museum has two incredible experiences that highlight the importance of Blacks in the nation’s greatest horse race. Proud of My Calling, An African American Experience in the Kentucky Derby, showcases some of the greatest horsemen of the Kentucky Derby, many of which did not get the recognition they deserved because of the color of their skin. Second is the African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing Tour, where you can wander the Churchill Downs Racetrack while learning about the most important Black figures in horse racing.
Visit the Roots 101 African American Museum and learn about Black history, from its roots in various African cultures to the history of slavery, Black American achievements and more. Lastly, visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory to experience an interactive exhibit that highlights a mysterious Black baseball team that had faded from history, and discover the influence this team had on Louisville’s baseball industry.