African-American Historical Society creating driving tour brochure, seeking submissions

Published 8:32 am Monday, December 4, 2017

The Danville-Boyle County Historical Society wants to take visitors on a drive through history by creating a brochure featuring important African-American sites in Boyle County, such as Meauxtown, Clifton and more.

“A lot of the places, you don’t even know they were there,” said Michael Hughes, president of the society.

Meauxtown and Clifton were two of the thriving African-American communities in Boyle County, called free towns or out towns. Others included Shelby City, just inside what is now Lincoln County, and Davistown, which was home to a lodge. Some of the communities, he said, had schools, stores and restaurants.

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The communities popped up, Hughes said, after the end of slavery and remained until “things started to change” in the 1960s. There were about nine different communities in or near Boyle County.

“A lot of functions went on in those communities,” he said. “That was a way of life.”

The history of the towns, he said, has been “pushed down the road,” but they want to change that. 

To get the brochures put together, Hughes said, they need photographs of the areas from before the 1960s. He especially wants any aerial photographs, to help build a map for readers.

“I get more of the inside of places. They didn’t really take a lot of photos outside, they took them inside of certain functions going on,” Hughes said.

They also need information about the towns. He said he may not even be aware of all of the communities that existed. They ask for all of the information and photographs to be in by Dec. 20. 

The idea behind the project is two-fold, Hughes said. First, it gives the older generations something to remember how things looked when they were younger.

“It gives people still around a chance to go back and see where their homes were,” he said. “We’ll take (them) out there and let them see how it is now.”

It also gives the “generations moving forward” a way to remember how people lived.

“They will always have a history,” Hughes said.

Another outcome, he hopes, is that it will inspire other communities to map out their own “free towns.”

“If we can do it, it might set up some of the communities to do it,” he said.

He even hopes to eventually set up small bus tours to help people get around. Hughes organizes the Soul of 2nd Street Festival and said that will be one opportunity to host a set of tours.

“It’s a long-range goal, two to three years down the road,” he said.

The brochure is going to be put together by students at Centre College. It is anticipated to be out by the beginning of February, in time for Black History Month.

Hughes said the goal will be that anyone interested in the history can request their own brochure to be sent to them. He also hopes to be able to set up the tours for school and other groups.


To offer information or photographs for the brochure, contact a member of the Danville-Boyle County African-American Historical Society, such as President Michael Hughes at or (859)326-6065, or Vice-president Cindy Peck at

All of the information and photographs need to be in by Dec. 20.