Lexington Community Land Trust is excited to present a free screening of the documentary “Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives” at the Kentucky Theatre. The screening is free and open to the public. This documentary screening is presented in association with the National Community Land Trust Network Conference (October 19-22, 2015) and sponsored by Stites & Harbison, PLLC. The one-hour film will be followed by a short Q&A with those who worked on the film and the Davis Bottom History Preservation Project.
“Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives” reveals the fascinating history of a diverse, working-class neighborhood established in Lexington after the Civil War. Davis Bottom is one of about a dozen ethnic enclaves settled primarily by African American families who migrated to Lexington from the 1860s to the 1890s in search of jobs, security and opportunity.
Davis Bottom, located in a narrow, swampy valley about a mile southwest of downtown Lexington, was named after Willard Davis, a land speculator and civil rights advocate. Since its establishment in 1865, Davis Bottom has not only served as a portal community for African American families, but also for many European immigrants and Appalachian families who migrated to Lexington during the Great Depression. Over the past 150 years, residents have made this small, tight-knit neighborhood a hidden model for racial diversity and community cohesion.
Since the 2000s, the Davis Bottom community has been facing its greatest challenge with the construction of the Newtown Pike Extension, a roadway that has displaced many residents. The Lexington Community Land Trust was established in 2008 to address the need to create and preserve permanently affordable housing for the residents and other low-income Lexington families.
The film was made possible with support from The Federal Highway Administration, The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, The Kentucky Heritage Council, and Voyageur Media Group, Inc.