The VIPP Report: Celebrating the Legacy of Black Louisville and the influences that still resonate in the consciousness of the community

It’s a tradition that many automatically put on their calendars from year to year because when you attend the celebration hosted by Legacies Unlimited Inc. you walk away realizing that so many that grew up in this community made history in so many ways especially in the entertainment industry.  On January 25th & 26th, they will be remembered and celebrated for their outstanding accomplishments. It’s all about Celebrating the Legacy of Black LouisvilleIt will be held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, (KCAAH) located at 1701 West Muhammad Ali Blvd.

This event pays tribute to the achievements and contributions that Louisville’s African American citizens have made to Louisville, the nation and the world.

The program will consist of exhibits, workshops and two performance events.  It’s the JAZZ AT THE TOP HAT. A re-imagined night out at the Top Hat Club, Black Louisville’s most famous entertainment spot during the glory days of the 1940’s and 50’s.  This event will present jazz vocalist, Bobby J and will feature International flutist and Jazz historian Galen Abdur Razzo.                                                                                        

 The second event is The Walnut Street Revue, a live stage show reminiscent of the “chitlin circuit” performances that played in venues on Walnut Street, now Muhammad Ali Blvd., in the 1940’s & 50’ when Walnut Street was in vogue.  The revue will be hosted by WLKY’s Ann Bowdan. The evening will be filled with great music presented The Jerry Tolson Jazz Group with vocalists Alisia and Karen Chavez.

A special tribute will be paid to the late Foree Wells, a Louisville musician who played with some of the greatest blues performers in the business, which included —music legend the late B.B. King.  Wells, also founded the Walnut Street Blues Band which included his two sons and a daughter in law. The Walnut Street Rhythm & Blues Band will be in attendance that evening and will perform a special tribute in memory of their beloved father, Foree Wells.

The Opening Ceremony will take place from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm on Friday, January 25th followed by an unveiling of the exhibits.  The exhibits included in this year’s program include the following:   Two Centuries of Black Louisville …the Exhibit – A permanent exhibit of photographs from the book Two Centuries of Black Louisville —A Photographic History; Textile Designs by Louisville’s “Bag Lady” – Zephyr May Miller; and The Works of Louisville Folk Artist, Marvin Finn plus much more. 

There will be two workshops held on Saturday, January 26th.  The first one, The Legacy of Central High School from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. It’s an investigative look at the historical significance and impact that Central had on its students and the community as well. Come learn about the legacy that this educational institution created over the years through the lens of Dr. Larry Wilkins Doyle, a 1968 CHS graduate whose did his doctoral studies on the historic school.  The second workshop will be The Listening Room Workshop. It will present recordings of Louisville’s African American entertainers & musicians of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s. These selections will be provided by the Soulful Sounds of Derbytown and presented by Ron Lewis of Mr. Wonderful Productions.

Celebrating the Legacy of Black Louisville is presented by Legacies Unlimited in partnership with the KCAAH and the University of Louisville Archives & Special Collections. It is made possible through support from the Owsley Brown II Family Foundation, WLKY-TV and George & Mary Lee Fischer.

Tickets for the both JAZZ AT THE TOP HAT and WALNUT STREET REVUE are available at Better Days Records in Lyles Mall or at 1765 Bardstown Road AND JAMBUSTERS BALLOONS & MORE at Popular Level Road. For ticket information call (502) 456-2394.

To set-up an interview, please contact Sherlene Shanklin with VIPP Communications at info at vippcommunications dot com.  If you have an entertainment/community calendar, we are requesting that you post and/or announce. 

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