Somewhere beneath the murky sludge of a swamp, just shy of the capital, sits a parcel of Kentucky history swept under the proverbial rug. Stricken with a dark melee of violence, poverty and a rough reputation, the fifty acres of brackish bog formerly known as “the Craw” or “the Bottom” was a once an experimental community that quickly became an overlooked mire and was demolished some decades ago. While “good riddance” may seem at a surface glance to befit such a neighborhood, historian Douglas A. Boyd sees more than the quagmire.
In his new book, Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community, Douglas A. Boyd breathes some new insight into the people once often described as those “who didn’t mind killing or being killed”. Using a potent written potion of history, folklore and geography, Boyd faces the trials of this lost community with a meditative eye and captures the sense of belonging, friendship and unique cultural vigor that defined the neighborhood and defied racial segregation. Possessing a keen pulse of nostalgia as retold by the residents who remember, Boyd’s Crawfish Bottom shines a light on a people and a community that Kentucky almost completely destroyed.
Boyd, a director of Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky, will present the unique history, Crawfish Bottom, during a special presentation in conjunction with The Filson Historical Society. Join him this Wednesday, January 18th, at noon as he offers a rare and compelling look into a time and place seldom explored with an earnest eye. This event is free and open to the public, but reservations are encouraged.
The Filson Historical Society is located at 1310 S. Third St.
Image: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org