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A piece of Lexington's Juneteenth celebration remembers a stop on the Underground Railroad

Bill Harris-Diane Martin attended the Mayor's news conference outlining Juneteenth events 2024
Stu Johnson
Bill Harris-Diane Martin attended the Mayor's news conference outlining Juneteenth events 2024

Juneteenth activities in Lexington this weekend will include a preview of a monument recognizing a couple that played a key role in the underground railroad.

After being held in slavery for more than 30 years in and around Lexington, Lewis and Harriet Hayden successfully navigated the underground railroad north. More than 100 escaped slaves found shelter in their home in Boston. Bill Harris serves on the committee working to recognize Lexington’s spot on this route to freedom.

“People came from Tennessee and Georgia and Alabama and these places. They didn’t just pole vault over Kentucky. They had to go through Kentucky. So, the history is there,” said Harris.

Work continues to see a monument recognizing the Haydens installed along North Limestone next June.

Artist Basil Watson was selected to produce the piece of art planned for a site near the one-time Hayden residence. Diana Martin also serves on the committee working on this project. She said an educational piece will include re-enactments by children.

“And we envision maybe following a lecture then walking up to the monument where someone will lead these children in acting out or singing or imbedding these stories in their psyche,” said Martin.

Installation of the monument is planned at next summer’s Juneteenth celebration. A small replica can be viewed this Saturday at the Juneteenth Jubilee 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at African Cemetery 2 on Seventh Street.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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