Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate, is in the process of creating an African American History tour to shed light on the stories of slaves that lived there. WUKY’s Arlo Barnette attended a public listening session on the topic over the weekend, and filed this report.
Cameron Walpole is Manager of Tours and Education for Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate. She says, as far they know, Henry Clay purchased 60 slaves over the course of his life, although he is sure to have owned many more. But the point of the estate’s new tour is to turn the spotlight from Senator Clay and dig into the lives of those he enslaved. That’s according to Jim Clark, Executive Director of the Henry Clay Memorial Foundation.
The listening session took oral histories from attendees, who showed up to share their family stories along with relevant pictures and historical texts. Lexington resident Keith Winstead has been tracing his family tree for over 33 years.
Aside from sharing personal connections, the public offered suggestions for ways to present and utilize the new information. Walpole says many attendees focused on educational opportunities beyond the tour, such as creating resources for Fayette County public school students to learn about the slavery that took place in Lexington and around the state.
Walpole says the African American History at Ashland tour will be offered to select groups of people as they workshop the project, with the goal of opening it to the public next year.