Take a walk through Mammoth Cave’s rich Black History

1857 Richardt sketch of boats on Echo River
In 1857, Dutch artist Joachim Ferdinand Richardt visited Mammoth Cave and sketched enslaved guide Nick Bransford with his tour on Echo River.

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News Release Date: February 1, 2016

Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky., February 1, 2016 – During the 1800s, enslaved African Americans guided tourist excursions through the dark, silent passages of Mammoth Cave. Their role in society was that of slaves, but in their daily lives they were leaders.

In recognition of Black History Month, on each Saturday in February park staff will convey the legacy of enslaved guides at Mammoth Cave through walks, talks, video clips, and student art exhibited in the visitor center. The Black History Month activities are free and open to the public;reservations are not needed. 

Saturday ranger walks will depart from the visitor center at 10:30 and 1:30. The 1¼-hour accessible walks will follow the Heritage Trail, overlooking Mammoth Cave's Historic Entrance, and will terminate at the Old Guide's Cemetery, the final resting place of famed Stephen Bishop. 
  • February 6, 2016, Park Guide Cory Fish will present In the Footsteps of Slavery. The scar of slavery can still be felt along the ridgelines overlooking Mammoth Cave. Ranger-led walk along our ¾ mile Heritage Trail, exploring the large role enslaved African Americans played in Mammoth Cave's rich history.  
  • Saturday, Feb. 13, 20 &27, 2016, join Park Guide Jerry Bransford for The Enslaved Leaders of Mammoth Cave, as he dons period costume to lead a walk along the Heritage Trail. Bransford will explain the rich heritage, contributions and legacy of these guides at Mammoth Cave during the 1800. 
Two video clips that feature stories of the enslaved Mammoth Cave guides will play in the visitor center exhibit area the entire month of February, courtesy of WKU-PBS and KET. 

The Dream Works student art exhibit program provides approximately 100 students from schools across the country an opportunity to temporarily display art on a park-related theme in the park visitor center. In 2015-2016, the theme is "200 years of Cave Tours". Each piece of art is a collaborative creation. Students researched Mammoth Cave history as it relates to Native Americans, European settlers, and African Americans. 


Last updated: February 2, 2016

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 7
Mammoth Cave, KY 42259-0007


(270) 758-2180

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