Every day Frankfort city historian Beth Shields at Capital City Museum receives questions about different aspects of Frankfort’s history. Some questions touch on matters that have an abundance of information. Other questions concern themselves with matters for which the museum has only a little information.

A playbill of the Williams Colored Singers who performed in Frankfort circa 1920. (Image provided)

“During the period of Jim Crow, where did African Americans visiting Frankfort find lodging for the night?” This is a fair question. In 1950, if an African American came to Frankfort to conduct business with state government, where could he spend the night?

A search through two publications listing places where traveling African Americans could obtain lodging and meals provided no answers. These two publications, “Hackley & Harrison Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers” and “Green’s The Negro Motorist Book,” do not provide any listings for Frankfort.

Anecdotal evidence states that an African American visiting Frankfort could find lodging at least at three places. Overnight rooms were rented by certain citizens living in the Craw. The Capital Hotel had some rooms in its Annex that it rented to African Americans.

Kentucky State College for Negros, under some conditions, made rooms available for select visitors. The three anecdotal references all make sense and are logical answers to the question, “Where in 1950 would visiting African Americans be housed and fed overnight?”

The Capital City Museum has playbills from various African American touring groups that performed in Frankfort and can verify that Frankfort was on the “Chitlin Circuit.” We can verify that various African American individuals and groups came to Frankfort to testify in court, lobby the legislature and meet with the governor.

Capital City Museum is always interested in donations related to the Black experience in Frankfort. If you have material you’d be interested in donating please visit CapitalCityMuseum.com for information on how to do so.