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American culture has long celebrated the heroism framed by Kentucky's frontier wars. Spanning the period from the 1720s when Ohio River valley Indians returned to their homeland to the American defeat of the British and their Indian allies in the War of 1812, Kentucke's Frontiers examines the political, military, religious, and public memory narratives of early Kentucky. Craig Thompson Friend explains how frontier terror framed that heroism, undermining the egalitarian promise of Kentucke and transforming a trans-Appalachian region into an Old South state. From county courts and the state legislature to church tribunals and village stores, patriarchy triumphed over racial and gendered equality, creating political and economic opportunity for white men by denying it for all others. Even in remembering their frontier past, Kentuckians abandoned the egalitarianism of frontier life and elevated white males to privileged places in Kentucky history and memory.
Two Hundred Years of Writing in the Bluegrass State
Long before the official establishment of the Commonwealth, intrepid pioneers ventured west of the Allegheny Mountains into an expansive, alluring wilderness that they began to call Kentucky. After blazing trails, clearing plots, and surviving innumerable challenges, a few adventurers found time to pen celebratory tributes to their new homeland. In the two centuries that followed, many of the world’s finest writers, both native Kentuckians and visitors, have paid homage to the Bluegrass State with the written word. In The Kentucky Anthology, acclaimed author and literary historian Wade Hall has assembled an unprecedented and comprehensive compilation of writings pertaining to Kentucky and its land, people, and culture. Hall’s introductions to each author frame both popular and lesser-known selections in a historical context. He examines the major cultural and political developments in the history of the Commonwealth, finding both parallels and marked distinctions between Kentucky and the rest of the United States. While honoring the heritage of Kentucky in all its glory, Hall does not blithely turn away from the state’s most troubling episodes and institutions such as racism, slavery, and war. Hall also builds the argument, bolstered by the strength and significance of the collected writings, that Kentucky’s best writers compare favorably with the finest in the world. Many of the authors presented here remain universally renowned and beloved, while others have faded into the tides of time, waiting for rediscovery. Together, they guide the reader on a literary tour of Kentucky, from the mines to the rivers and from the deepest hollows to the highest peaks. The Kentucky Anthology traces the interests and aspirations, the achievements and failures and the comedies and tragedies that have filled the lives of generations of Kentuckians. These diaries, letters, speeches, essays, poems, and stories bring history brilliantly to life. Jesse Stuart once wrote, “If these United States can be called a body, Kentucky can be called its heart.” The Kentucky Anthology captures the rhythm and spirit of that heart in the words of its most remarkable chroniclers.
How the Run for the Roses Became America’s Premier Sporting Event
Each year on the first Saturday in May, the world turns its attention to the twin spires of Churchill Downs for the high-stakes excitement of the "greatest two minutes in sports," the Kentucky Derby. No American sporting event can claim the history, tradition, or pageantry that the Kentucky Derby holds. For more than 130 years, spectators have been fascinated by the magnificent horses that run the Louisville track. Thoroughbreds such as Secretariat and Barbaro have earned instant international fame, along with jockeys such as Isaac Murphy, Ron Turcotte, and Calvin Borel. The Kentucky Derby: How the Run for the Roses Became America's Premier Sporting Event calls this great tradition to post and illuminates its history and culture.
Rising from its humble beginnings as an American variation of England's Epsom Derby, the Kentucky Derby became a centerpiece of American sports and the racing industry, confirming Kentucky's status as the Horse Capital of the World. James C. Nicholson argues that the Derby, at its essence, is a celebration of a place, existing as a connection between Kentucky's mythic past and modern society. The Derby is more than just a horse race -- it is an experience enhanced by familiar traditions, icons, and images that help Derby fans to understand Kentucky and define themselves as Americans. Today the Kentucky Derby continues to attract international attention from royalty, celebrities, racing fans, and those who simply enjoy an icy mint julep, a fabulous hat, and a wager on who will make it to the winner's circle.
Nicholson provides an intriguing and thorough history of the Kentucky Derby, examining the tradition, spectacle, culture, and evolution of the Kentucky Derby -- the brightest jewel of the Triple Crown.
Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies
The storytelling tradition has long been an important piece of Kentucky history and culture. Folktales, legends, tall tales, and ghost stories hold a special place in the imaginations of inventive storytellers and captive listeners. In Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies Kentucky storyteller Mary Hamilton narrates a range of stories with the voice and creativity only a master storyteller can evoke.
Hamilton has perfected the art of entrancing an audience no matter the subject of her tales. Kentucky Folktales includes stories about Daniel Boone's ability to single-handedly kill a bear, a daughter who saves her father's land by outsmarting the king, and a girl who uses gingerbread to exact revenge on her evil stepmother, among many others. Hamilton ends each story with personal notes on important details of her storytelling craft, such as where she first heard the story, how it evolved through frequent re-tellings and reactions from audiences, and where the stories take place. Featuring tales and legends from all over the Bluegrass State, Kentucky Folktales captures the expression of Kentucky's storytelling tradition.
Judge Mac Swinford was one of the longest-serving federal judges in United States history. During his lengthy tenure in the Kentucky courts, he came to know and appreciate the deep complexity of the law, understanding that it could be solid and fluid, broad and narrow, kind and harsh, changeless yet always evolving. In this service to the state and to the law, he felt that it was often his fellow lawyers who touched and educated him most. Kentucky Lawyer presents the most humorous, enlightening, and poignant moments of a remarkable fifty-year career. Judge Swinford offers a unique Kentucky history, recounting instances of the drama and romance of the Kentucky bar. In “A Kentucky Ghost Story,” he takes readers to the banks of Crooked Creek in Harrison County, where the spirit of a wrongfully accused man still affects judicial decisions. “Cost of Love” recalls a trial in Carlisle County in which a scorned lover files suit against her ex-fiancé for breach of promise, claiming ten thousand dollars for a broken heart. Remembering some of Kentucky’s most revered and respected jurists, Judge Swinford relates American culture in its most intimate and significant sense, through the acts and expressions of local leaders in the everyday affairs of life. His stories of humble commitment highlight the lives of men such as Henry Clay, Lieutenant Governor Rodes K. Myers, and Senator Joe C.S. Blackburn, who championed unpopular cases and stood on the forefront of government and community affairs. Kentucky Lawyer pays tribute to some of Kentucky’s “truly great men,” with the hope that legend will preserve them for us in memory. Now back in print, this classic book illuminates the varied work and world of the twentieth-century lawyer with elegance and humor.
Democracy, Slavery, and Culture from the Early Republic to the Civil War
Kentucky’s first settlers brought with them a dedication to democracy and a sense of limitless hope about the future. Determined to participate in world progress in science, education, and manufacturing, Kentuckians wanted to make the United States a great nation. They strongly supported the War of 1812, and Kentucky emerged as a model of patriotism and military spirit. Kentucky Rising: Democracy, Slavery, and Culture from the Early Republic to the Civil War offers a new synthesis of the sixty years before the Civil War. James A. Ramage and Andrea S. Watkins explore this crucial but often overlooked period, finding that the early years of statehood were an era of great optimism and progress. Drawing on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, Ramage and Watkins demonstrate that the eyes of the nation often focused on Kentucky, which was perceived as a leader among the states before the Civil War. Globally oriented Kentuckians were determined to transform the frontier into a network of communities exporting to the world market and dedicated to the new republic. Kentucky Rising offers a valuable new perspective on the eras of slavery and the Civil War. This book is a copublication with the Kentucky Historical Society.
Kent Hollingsworth captures the flavor and atmosphere of the Sport of Kings in the dramatic account of the development of the Thoroughbred in Kentucky. Ranging from frontier days, when racing was conducted in open fields as horse-to-horse challenges between proud owners, to the present, when a potential Triple Crown champion may sell for millions of dollars, The Kentucky Thoroughbred considers ten outstanding stallions that dominated the shape of racing in their time as representing the many eras of Kentucky Thoroughbred breeding. No less colorful are his accounts of the owners, breeders, trainers, and jockeys associated with these Thoroughbreds, a group devoted to a sport filled with high adventure and great hazards. First published in 1976, this popular Kentucky classic has been expanded and brought up to date in this new edition.
A Novel of the American Revolution
A gripping portrait of life in the hard-bitten wilderness of Revolutionary Kentucky, Harriette Simpson Arnow’s The Kentucky Trace follows surveyor William David Leslie Collins as he struggles to survive. Collins finds his fellow settlers to be almost as inscrutable as the weather—at times, they are allies, and at others, they are adversaries. Collins battles nature, bad luck, and the quickly shifting political tides to make his way in a changing world. Showcasing Arnow’s ear for dialogue and offering a wealth of historical detail, The Kentucky Trace is a masterful work of fiction by a preeminent Appalachian writer.
Historical Landscapes along the Maysville Road
Eighteenth-century Kentucky beckoned to hunters, surveyors, and settlers from the mid-Atlantic coast colonies as a source of game, land, and new trade opportunities. Unfortunately, the Appalachian Mountains formed a daunting barrier that left only two primary roads to this fertile Eden. The steep grades and dense forests of the Cumberland Gap rendered the Wilderness Road impassable to wagons, and the northern route extending from southeastern Pennsylvania became the first main thoroughfare to the rugged West, winding along the Ohio River and linking Maysville to Lexington in the heart of the Bluegrass.
Kentucky's Frontier Highway reveals the astounding history of the Maysville Road, a route that served as a theater of local settlement, an engine of economic development, a symbol of the national political process, and an essential part of the Underground Railroad. Authors Karl Raitz and Nancy O'Malley chart its transformation from an ancient footpath used by Native Americans and early settlers to a central highway, examining the effect that its development had on the evolution of transportation technology as well as the usage and abandonment of other thoroughfares, and illustrating how this historic road shaped the wider American landscape.
On my cell-phone the time is 3.00am. I am not holding a religion in my hand to check the hour, just a cell phone to orient me. This is a June morning and it is cold here. I turn in my bed and close my eyes. The map of Kenya appears first vaguely on my mind. It has no in-land features but this shape I see is definitely hers. Burning borders. Red inside. It is not the red of wine or even Christmas. We are not in celebration. Inside burning borders she is a deep reddish brown color; angry red. Coffee red. It is a red which disturbs my mind. [....] The taste of injustice is bitter. It kills the minds and souls of the living. How do we close chapters of the pain of a nation without closure? You are new. I know you. I love you, Kenya. From your earth, your soil, I was created because it is your earth my parents ate. Yet still, I have to ask you if I can step on your soil today. If you can please accept me to walk on you here and there, for this I will always plead. My feet you see, are my heart! They love you. I feel your pain directly from the soil into my heart when I walk on you. And you have been hurt so many times.