Louisville Coalition on the History of Enslavement
The Louisville Coalition on the History of the Enslaved is a partnership between four Louisville historic houses and former sites of enslavement: Farmington Historic Plantation, Historic Locust Grove, Oxmoor Farm Foundation, and Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing. Together with The Slave Dwelling Project and other organizations, it is our mission to interpret and share the stories of the men, women, and children enslaved on our sites, and to find relevance between these stories of the past and the events of the present.
Donate to the Louisville Coalition on the History of the Enslaved Fund through Oxmoor Farm Foundation
Download the 2022 Coalition Brochure
Farmington Historic Plantation: Louisville’s first historic house museum, interprets a nineteenth-century Kentucky hemp operation. Originally 550 acres, Farmington was home to the John and Lucy Speed family and approximately 70 enslaved people at its height of operation. Abraham Lincoln visited his close friend, Speed son Joshua, for three weeks here in 1841, the only time the future president fully participated in the lifestyle of the southern planter. Letters from nearby Oxmoor Farm, the home of Lucy Fry Speed’s sister, Mildred Bullitt, document parental and sibling relationships between the enslaved on the two plantations. Descendants of David and Martha Spencer, enslaved at Farmington by Speed son-in-law, Austin Peay, have shared information critical to Farmington’s interpretation and are engaged in many of our ongoing activities. Spencer descendant, Benjamin Sea, honored his ancestors by planting our 2019 hemp crop. Recently, individuals descended from Abram and Roseanna Hayes, another couple owned by Peay, scheduled a 2020 family reunion at Farmington, unfortunately the event was Covid canceled but we hope to welcome the family to Farmington in June 2021.
Historic Locust Grove: Historic Locust Grove was built circa 1792 and tells the story of its owners, William and Lucy Clark Croghan, their eight children, Lucy’s brother George Rogers Clark, and a commnunity of enslaved men, women, and children. The house was built by enslaved workers, and the farm was cultivated by some 30 to 45 enslaved workers through the Croghan family’s tenure. Locust Grove was the home and workplace of dozens of enslaved African Americans during the Croghans’ residency from 1792 to 1849. Some were born here, and others were purchased and brought here to do the work of building the house and outbuildings, planting and harvesting the crops, digging the gardens, preserving and cooking the meals, stitching the clothes, washing the laundry, watching the children, and other tasks. At the peak of the farm’s operations in 1820, more than 40 enslaved people labored here. All of them had little control over the conditions of their lives. Research into the lives of the enslaved and any descendants they may have had is ongoing.
Oxmoor Farm Foundation: Oxmoor Farm is one of Jefferson County’s oldest continually operating agricultural enterprises. Alexander Scott Bullitt purchased the 1000 acre property in 1787 and brought his family and enslaved workers to Oxmoor. By 1816, Bullitt’s labor force consisted of 101 enslaved individuals and was one of the largest holdings in Jefferson County. The enslaved labored on the farm until the end of the Civil War in 1865, while the Bullitt family lived at Oxmoor until 2005. Bullitt family letters document births, weddings and deaths of many of the people they enslaved. These letters also document familial connections with nearby Farmington Plantation in both racial groups. Mildred Bullitt’s sister, Lucy Speed, lived at Farmington. Her husband owned Phillis and Morocco, whose sister, Jenny, lived at Oxmoor. Today the historic portion of Oxmoor Farm is protected by a 79-acre preservation easement with the Kentucky Heritage Council and wil begin holding public events and educational programming in 2021. Oxmoor is a rare historic site with original slave dwellings still standing, as well as other farm outbuildings. Restoration of the slave dwellings will also begin in 2021 and include an exhibit giving the public the chance to encounter history where it took place. The exhibit will not only focus on slavery at Oxmoor but also tell the broader history of slavery in our state and nation.
Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing: Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing is a nearly 300-acre historic site located on the Ohio River in southwest Louisville. The property was farmed from the 1820s well into the 20th century. An active riverboat landing connected this remote farm to the wider world for most of the 19th century. The restored house (now a museum) is named for the two property owners with the longest history on site: the Farnsleys and the Moremens. From 1820-1865, as many as 23 enslaved men, women and children lived and worked at Riverside. The leadership and staff at Riverside are dedicated to learning as much as possible about the individuals enslaved on the property in order to tell the complete story of our collective past and create a space for important conversations regarding how our history impacts the present. Since it opened the public in 1993, Riverside has been open year-round for tours, educational programs and events. The long-standing public archaeology program continues to uncover clues that inform our interpretation.
The Slave Dwelling Project: The Slave Dwelling Project envisions a future in which the hearts and minds of Americans acknowledge a more truthful and inclusive narrative of the history of the nation that honors the contributions of all our people, is embedded and preserved in the buildings and artifacts of people of African heritage, and inspires all Americans to acknowledge their Ancestors. Part of the mission of the Slave Dwelling Project is to raise awareness and organize resources to preserve, interpret, maintain and sustain extant slave dwellings and other structures significant to the stories of the enslaved Ancestors; support and encourage individuals and organizations to preserve and mark sites related to the institution of slavery and the legacy of slavery; and to engage people in honest conversations about slavery, race, racism and racial equity in search of improved racial relations.