How the Website Came About
This website contains evidence we discovered and relied on to develop the slideshow presentation Lexington, Kentucky: Segregated by Design.
Barbara Sutherland and Rona Roberts developed the presentation and this website. We are White senior citizens who have been friends since college, and who have both lived in Lexington for about 50 years. Rona is a writer and organization development adviser, and Barbara is a retired city employee and librarian. We share a long-term concern about racial justice. During the summer of 2020, along with millions of others, we despaired and grieved. Then we turned toward the question of what responsibility White people like us bear for the horrors of systemic racism, and how we could contribute to repair. We began reading, talking and learning with each other.
We decided to focus our work on Lexington, because we felt we could understand more about systemic racism by discovering how it has shaped our own community. We wanted to build support for racial repair among White people like us, here in Lexington.
Early in our research we began to recognize residential segregation as a significant lens for seeing racism at work. We saw that race-based differences in Black and White home ownership result in unequal life opportunities that affect wealth, work, income, health, and education. We decided to focus our research—and ultimately the presentation and website—on how residential segregation and the disparity in home ownership came about in Lexington.
Two Suggestions before Reading Further
The website is intended as a companion and supplement to the slideshow presentation but can be read and used separately. For those who have not participated in the presentation, we make two suggestions:
Be aware that the website, like the presentation, includes excerpts from historical records that contain harmful language reflecting attitudes and biases reflecting the time when it was used.
Consider viewing the 18-minute film, Segregated By Design. We show this film at the beginning of the slideshow because it provides useful background information and offers national context for what has happened here in Lexington. You can watch it at https://vimeo.com/328684375. We have learned a lot from repeat viewings.
We Would Like to Thank:
Our research took us to government offices and to Lexington's wonderful libraries, including Lexington Public Library and University of Kentucky libraries. There we found a wealth of documents, reports, maps, meeting minutes, newspaper articles, scholarly articles, dissertations, and oral histories. Online, we found websites from organizations and think tanks. And we talked with people who know a lot about Lexington or systemic racism, and were willing to share their ideas with us.
Everywhere we went, whether in person by phone, or online, we found gracious, helpful people who took genuine interest in our work and wanted to help.
For Use of Materials
Lexington Herald-Leader for permission to use several photographs
Mark Lopez, Director, Silkwood Studio, for making the film Segregated By Design available for all to use.
For banner photo, "New Homes in Lexington" (1940): Library of Congress, photo taken by Marion Post Wolcott. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017804605/
Megan Browndorf, University of Chicago Libraries, for permission to use Chicago redlining map
Art Crosby, Director, Lexington Fair Housing Council
The many students, thinkers, writers, activists, and scholars whose books, dissertations, articles, papers, and websites provided facts and figures, ideas, insights, and inspiration. Most are listed in the References page.
For Help in Gathering Information
At the Lexington Public Library, Sarah Hubbard and the entire Kentucky Room staff
Meredith Watson, Manager, and the staff of the Fayette County Clerk's Office, Land Records Division.
Hal Baillie, Pam Whitaker, and several other staff members of the LFUCG Division of Planning.
Faith Harders and Lalana Powell of the University of Kentucky Design Library (now merged with Fine Arts Library)
Sarah Watson, Map & Geospatial Services Manager of the UK Science and Engineering Library.
Many staff members of the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center, including: Jennifer Bartlett of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History; Jay-Marie Bravent, Graduate Outreach & Teaching Archivist; Sarah Coblentz, Research Services Specialist; Shawn Livingston, Director of Research Services; Megan Mummey, Collection Management Archivist. In addition, we used, in modified form, the Special Collections Research Center's notice of caution about disturbing language in historical materials.
Terri Brown, head of Circulation, William T. Young Library.
Beau Steenken, Instructional Services Librarian & Professor of Legal Research, UK Law Library
Lance Hale and Jennifer Patterson, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Archives and Records Management Division, for providing the case files for Matthews v. Bedford, Fayette Circuit Court.
Jennifer Sutton, Research Analyst, Lexington Fayette Urban County Council Office
For Advice and Information
Charles Thompson and Sallie Abbott for editorial help and advice.
Anita Courtney, Susan Hill, and Mary Ann Sutherland for presentation advice.
Marty Newell for presentation editorial advice and technical help.
Our first interviewees: Lisa Adkins, Linda Blackford, James Brown, Yvonne Giles and Tiffany Masden considered our draft of an earlier project idea, and gave thoughtful advice, some of which we followed in a reconfigured effort.
Justin Kirchner, Director of Homeownership, Lexington Community Land Trust
Richard Young, CivicLex
Richard Schein, University of Kentucky Department of Geography
Carmen Mitchell, Kentucky Center for Economic Policy
Art Crosby, Executive Director, Lexington Fair Housing Council
Bud Ratliff for tech guidance