BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — A community that was described as being prosperous and close-knit has cemented its memory in Bowling Green with the opening of the Kentucky Museum’s “What Happened to Jonesville” exhibit.
What You Need To Know
- The Kentucky Museum opened its new “What Happened to Jonesville” exhibit
- In the 1960s, Jonesville was deconstructed so the university could expand
- The exhibit features a buon fresco (French for true fresh) painting from Jonesville descendant, Alice Gatewood Waddell, and 15 panels that share photographs and stories of residents
- In the spring, the exhibit will travel to Frankfort to share the importance of Jonesville with the state legislature
“This is just remembering those residents, those descendants and what they had to go through when that was disrupted when they were displaced,” said Saundra Ardrey, an Associate Professor of Political Science at WKU.
In the 1960s, Jonesville, a flourishing African-American neighborhood, was deconstructed so the university could expand. It sat where WKU’s football stadium now stands.
Ardrey said this is just the beginning of the reconciliation process between WKU and Jonesville residents, who will be highly involved in future events.
“While Western [Kentucky University] was complacent in this, we recognize that and want to be part of the healing process,” Ardrey said.
Along with the Jonesville Reconciliation Workgroup, the Director of the Kentucky Museum, Brent Bjorkman, applied his talents to help recognize the legacy of the vibrant community.
“We teach people to do the things we do, to document culture through oral interviews, to take photographs of folks, and to validate people on a grassroots level,” Bjorkman said.
The exhibit features a buon fresco—French for “true fresh”—painting from Jonesville descendant, Alice Gatewood Waddell, and 15 panels that share photographs and stories of residents.
In the spring, the exhibit will travel to Frankfort to share the importance of Jonesville with the state legislature.
“These voices are not silent, they’ve never been silent, we’ve just not been listening, and so now we are listening,” Saundra said.