To remember and celebrate the history of Fayette County’s rural Black hamlets.
What is a hamlet?
A hamlet is a small human settlement. Within the context of this project, a hamlet is a rural town/community organized and developed by Black people between the 1800s and the 1920s.
Between 1826 and 1924, at least 20 rural communities developed throughout Fayette County – each with churches, schools, grocery stores, and lodge halls for community meetings. A few of these communities also had cemeteries.
Four of the communities pre-dated Emancipation, while the others were developed thereafter.
There were five Rosenwald Schools erected during the 1920s. The Rosenwald School at Cadentown is the only remaining in Fayette County.
For years, hamlets have been a topic of discussion in the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. In April 2022, 12th District Councilmember Kathy Plomin put the topic of hamlets in the Planning and Public Safety Committee for further research and dialogue.
As a next step, a Steering Committee was formed to educate and inform Council and the public about the history of hamlets in our rural communities in order to remember and celebrate their heritage.
Conservation efforts began with the Cadentown Neighborhood Association in the 1990s. The neighborhood worked with state Historical offices to obtain grants to buy and preserve the property. It was acquired by LFUCG in 2005.
To raise awareness of the rich cultural heritage of our rural Black hamlets that continues to this day.
To raise funds for improvements on the Cadentown School grounds, including:
- Restoration of cemetery
- Upgrades to make the building safe and accessible for public groups
- Create a permanent home for the history of hamlets
- Addition of public restrooms at the church
- Home for nonprofit office space at the church