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NKYCAC hosting Black History Walk through Newport Saturday, starts at Southgate Street School

Northern Kentucky’s African American heritage will be celebrated Saturday, Oct. 9, with a Black History Walk through the streets of Newport.
The walk begins at 10 a.m. at the historic Southgate Street School, a historically African American school that is now a museum at 215 E. Southgate St. in Newport and includes five other historic sites.
“The Northern Kentucky area has a rich African American History that many residents are not aware of,” said Northern Kentucky CAC Executive Director Catrena Bowman-Thomas. “Our goal with the Black History Walk is to expose the community to the rich culture found right here in our area. The history of Newport includes many black historic churches and a rich musical history that many people do not know about.”

Tour starts here — Southgate Street School

The Southgate Street School plays a prominent role in local African American history. From the years after the Civil War until the U.S. Supreme Court-ordered desegregation of public schools in 1954, the school served generations of African American students.
“The City of Newport is honored to host the Black History work, which begins at the historic Southgate Street School,” said Newport Historic Preservation Officer Scott Clark. “Our city knows and understands the historical importance of having such an iconic tribute to African American heritage in our community and we are pleased that the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission is holding the Black History Walk in Newport.” 

In addition to the Southgate Street School, the following stops are also on Saturday’s tour: 

• Sixth and Saratoga streets served as the gateway to one of the first African American communities in Newport. Historically, Saratoga Street south of Sixth Street was one of the few areas in Newport where African Americans were able to rent and purchase homes. 

• Corinthian Baptist Church at Seventh and Saratoga is one of the oldest African American churches in Newport, founded Oct. 24, 1882, under the spiritual guidance of Dennis Lightfoot. This congregation has been steadfast as a pillar of Newport’s African American community, serving both as advocate and moral center of the community it serves.
• The former Fourth Street School – now home to the Academy on Fourth apartments – was built in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project. The building is located at Fourth and Monmouth streets.
• The Thompson House at 24 E. Third St. gives a nod to the Prohibition era that had lasting effects on societal norms regarding America’s bar culture, while the popularity of jazz and blues music moved with its creators from the south to northern cities. But when Prohibition ended, the new bar culture remained, setting the stage for Blues-infused juke joints and casino bars of Newport’s post-Prohibition era. 

• On the site of Newport on the Levee once stood a bustling corridor of shops and business establishments and operations, both legal and illegal, where African Americans were able to operate many types of business ventures.  

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