Kentucky State University students learned about Frankfort’s Crawfish Bottom

Kentucky State University students learned about Frankfort’s Crawfish Bottom

Posted on March 10, 2020

Kentucky State University recently students visited the Kentucky Historical Society to view the North Frankfort Redevelopment Appraisals Collection.

The students are enrolled in Dr. Mary Barr’s urban sociology class, where they have spent multiple weeks learning about Frankfort’s historical African American neighborhood known as Crawfish Bottom.

The students attended a panel discussion at the Paul Sawyier Public Library to hear oral history testimonies from former residents of “the Craw,” Barr said. The panelists spoke about their experiences at the all-black Mayo-Underwood school.

Their comments and subsequent research prompted Kentucky State student Darius Marshall, to call “Mayo-Underwood a pillar in the black community, uplifting and pushing residents to succeed,” Barr said.

In 1958, Crawfish Bottom was targeted for urban renewal by city planners through the Slum Clearance and Redevelopment Agency of the City of Frankfort. The city began purchasing and clearing the land for redevelopment, eventually destroying 345 buildings and displacing 369 families. The city hired real estate appraiser Jack C. Hulette to conduct the property assessments. Hulette’s son photographed the properties. The appraisals and corresponding photographs are preserved at the Kentucky Historical Society.

After examining primary source documents, students came away with a better understanding of the neighborhood and government policies that led to its demise.

Kentucky State University senior Rianna Shaffer concluded, “Crawfish Bottom was an area with hope, pride, and resilience.”