Short History of the African American Museum | Bowling Green Area

Long-term interest in the history and lives of the people of the African American communities in and around Bowling Green, both within and outside of those communities, was exemplified by such persons as the late Charles Henry Taylor, the late Rev. George Esters, the late Joseph C. Hampton, and many others who recorded the life and times of the communities in photographs. Joseph Hampton, a lifelong resident of the community of Shake Rag, photographed the people and places of his community from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. Many of his photos were posthumously published in 2006 by his nephew, the late Donnie Thompson. By the year 2000, Shake Rag was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its importance to African American history through the efforts of Dr. Michael Ann Williams and her students in the Folk Studies program of WKU. Ms. Wathetta Buford and Mrs. Maxine Ray, members of the New Era Planning Association, incorporated in 2001, were the first to give voice to the idea of a museum before the City Commission of Bowling Green. All of these things bore fruit.

In 2010, Mr. Abraham Williams, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green, called together several citizens of the community and formed a Steering Committee to plan for a museum. Support of City Commissioners resulted in a grant from the City of Bowling Green providing seed money. With election of a Board of Directors, the idea began to be realized.


AAMBGA (Mission) Objective: 

Our mission is to recover, document, preserve, and present the history of African Americans in the Bowling Green area.

From: Long, John. AAMBGA Business Plan 2014. Bowling Green :
African American Museum|Bowling Green Area, Inc., 2014.