Recognizing Fair Housing Month in Bowling GreenGet on the Bus: The Path Toward Equal Housing Opportunity
Fair housing advocates across Kentucky gathered at the State Street Baptist Church in Bowling Green on April 22 to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the National Fair Housing Act and to learn about the history of segregation in the city. Partnering with HUD to organize Get on the Bus: The Path Toward Equal Housing Opportunity was the Lexington Fair Housing Council, Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), and the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission. Krista Mills, Director of the Programs and Compliance Division of the Office Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity presided over the plenary session. She was joined by Reverend Freddie Brown of State Street Baptist Church, Executive Director Kathy Peters of Kentucky Housing Corporation, Mayor Bruce Wilkerson, and Alice Waddell, Executive Director, Bowling Green Human Rights Commission.
Standing in front of a crowd of 100 participants in the State Street Baptist Church-the spiritual heart of the African American community since 1838-civil rights leader and Bowling Green native Don Offutt provided a historical overview of African American heritage in Bowling Green since the early 1800's. Though segregated and isolated from opportunity afforded white neighborhoods, Mr. Offutt wanted the audience to hear and feel the vibrancy of the African American people who lived and worked in the neighborhoods surrounding State Street Baptist Church.
Once the stage was set, participants took a bus tour of Shake Rag, Jonesville, and other neighborhoods. Shake Rag, said to be named for the wash blowing in the breeze on Monday wash days, is home to the Southern Queen Hotel and the George Washington Carver Center. The Southern Queen Hotel was the place where musicians such as Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Chuck Berry would stay because they were not allowed to stay at any of the hotels in downtown Bowling Green because of their race. The tour concluded by visiting several new homes and apartments developed by the Housing Authority Bowling Green with funds from HUD and KHC.
|Content Archived: August 8, 2016|