CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

A visual tour of some lesser-known sights

It is a trope of the Christmas season for local media to feature homes with outrageous displays — the guy who puts up 30,000 lights, for example. However, my respect goes to the people at the opposite end of that decorative spectrum. I reserve my admiration for places with the most straightforward Christmas displays. It is humbling to encounter such authenticity, lack of self-consciousness, and the absence of any social posturing. These modest setups serve as a counterpoint to the fake grandiosity and pretense that has become so widely accepted in our culture.

So, in the spirit of the year…


CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

The Forgotten Confederate History of Louisville

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(Left) Since 1895, the Confederate Monument of Louisville stood at the intersections of 2nd and 3rd Streets on the University of Louisville Campus. (Center) In 2016, the City of Louisville relocated the monument to Riverfront Park in Brandenburg, Kentucky. (Right) Louisville’s memorial was a copy of one located in front of the courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, which still stands today. (Left and Right: Library of Congress. Center: Wikipedia.)

On the bright summer day of July 30th, 1849, a crowd of thousands gathered on Louisville’s 3rd Street, near an area known as Millionaire’s Row. They were there to celebrate the official dedication of a 70-foot-tall Confederate monument with a soldier on top. The City of Louisville had declared an official half-day holiday to encourage everyone to attend this event. Louisville’s influential Courier-Journal newspaper had been preeminent in raising funds for the monument and urging citizens to participate in this event.

Located close to the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus, the monument resulted from…


CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Louisville’s slave traders were the prime movers of American slavery

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Historical Marker Number 1990 at 2nd and Market Streets recalls the slave trade of Louisville, Kentucky, which flourished in the city’s central business district. The last line states, “Slave traders were often social outcasts avoided by all but fellow traders.” Historians dismiss this view as propaganda. By 1860, within a city of 68,000, over 300 slave-trading firms openly plied their business with numerous advertisements in local newspapers. (Photos: Zed Saeed)

In 1838, Henry Bibb, an African American enslaved man, was being led through Louisville’s streets when he managed to escape his captors. As was typical for the time for any fugitive from bondage, Bibb was immediately pursued by mobs of angry, armed white men who banded together to pursue runaways, often for a reward of no more than a free drink of whiskey from the slaveowners.

Bibb was born in 1815 to Mildred Jackson, an enslaved woman on a Shelby County, Kentucky, plantation. His father was James Bibb, a state senator for Kentucky. In 1850 Bibb detailed his Louisville escape…


CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Three women describe what it is like to work in gentlemen’s clubs of a southern city

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(Photo: Zed Saeed)

Seventh Street runs north-south through the heart of downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The largest city in the state and the 39th most populous in the U.S, Louisville, is situated along the Ohio River banks, across the border from Indiana.

Starting at the river, Seventh Street makes its way south through high-rises and glass towers of the Central Business District of Louisville, a city best known for its annual hosting of the Kentucky Derby. At the edge of the town, just after crossing Algonquin Parkway, Seventh Street enters Shively, a suburb of Louisville. …


CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

A closer look at three lives lost to homicides in Louisville, Kentucky

As of September 8th, 2020, the city of Louisville, Kentucky, has logged 108 homicides. With 118 killings, 2016 currently holds the record for the most violent year. Authorities in Louisville expect 2020 to break that record. Sixty-five cases from 2020 remain “open” or unsolved. The local-news cycle over these senseless deaths seems only to numb the city to this horrific and ongoing spiral of violence.

This article looks behind the headlines to bear witness to the human cost of three homicides.

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A six-month map of homicides in Louisville, Kentucky, for 2020 shows a larger percentage of murders in the west end, a series of predominantly African American neighborhoods. This pattern is consistent across the years. A cluster of five murders occurred in Newburg (shown on lower right), another mostly African American community. (Source: Louisville Metro Police Department)

Aaron Williams

December 6th, 1989 — January 20th, 2016


CITY STREETS / LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

Going west in Louisville, Kentucky, some street names change at South Thirty-first Street. What is the explanation behind this?

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West Madison Street becomes Vermont Ave at Thirty-first Street in Louisville, Kentucky. A few other streets likewise change their names at this long-forgotten racial boundary. (Photos by Zed Saeed)

Driving west on Madison Street in Louisville, Kentucky, it is easy to miss the street name change at Thirty-first Street; it becomes Vermont Ave. Something similar happens to Chestnut Street, which changes to River Park, and Magazine Street becomes Del Park Terrace. Historically, Walnut Street (later renamed Mohammed Ali Blvd) became Michigan, and Jefferson Street became Lockwood, but shifts in Louisville’s street layout has erased these last two alterations. Why this name change at Thirty-first street? Is it something as innocuous as the whim of a city planner? Or does it represent something more?

Louisville takes pride in being seen…

Zed Saeed

Louisville, Kentucky-based photographer and writer

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