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Keeneland traveling exhibit honoring African American workers showcased in Frankfort

The exhibit at the Keeneland Library honoring Racing’s Black Pioneers is open thru August 31st
courtesy of the Keeneland Association
The exhibit at the Keeneland Library honoring Racing’s Black Pioneers is open thru August 31st

Keeneland’s traveling history exhibit focusing on African American men and women in Kentucky’s horseracing industry is making a stop in Frankfort.

“The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers” showcases photos, art and video interviews of around 100 Black jockeys, trainers and owners from the early 19th century to modern times. It was previously on display in the Keeneland library throughout 2023.

Roda Ferraro is the Keeneland Library Director. She says the exhibit shows the depth of the industry, and how African Americans played a part in all of its roles.

“There are certainly managers out at farms, there are grooms out of farms, there are farriers who are traveling with their work,” Ferraro said. The industry is broad, is global, there are a lot of different types of opportunities.”

She also says the exhibit engages many Kentuckians with both their past and their community.

“Hearing from folks when we're out and about in the community about, you know, ‘That was my great uncle that I see there, or where is my aunt, or where is my grandfather?’ So that's a good opportunity to engage with people in the community and say, ‘Well, we have a lot in our library,’” Ferraro said. “Even growing our collections has been an outcome of this. It really has been tremendous.”

The exhibit will be available in Frankfort from now until May 31. A schedule showing where the exhibit will appear next is available here.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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