Frankfort Heritage Lecture Series presents:
HEART OF THE TURF: RACING’S BLACK PIONEERS
Roda Ferraro, Incoming Director , Keeneland Library
Keeneland Library’s traveling exhibit, The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers, highlights the lives and careers of 80 African American horsemen and women from the mid-1800s to today. Lexington’s East End, home to the Kentucky Association track from the late 1820s through 1933, also was home to many Black horsemen and their families. By the late 1800s, four future Racing Hall of Famers lived in Lexington’s East End: jockeys Isaac Burns Murphy and Jimmy Winkfield, trainer Ansel Williamson, and trainer/owner Edward Dudley Brown. Hundreds of others bought their homes, built their businesses, and raised their families in neighborhoods around the Kentucky Association track and in surrounding counties. The economy of the Bluegrass and viability of the Thoroughbred industry as a whole are rooted in their skill, hard work, knowledge, and tenacity. From race track superstars to behind-the-scenes caretakers, The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers showcases select stories of the countless African Americans who forged their way in Kentucky and beyond from the era of slavery to the present, making the racing industry what it is today.
Roda Ferraro has more than twenty years of experience leading, assessing, and promoting library, museum, research, and educational services, including her work with the Keeneland Library and National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame since 2014. She holds degrees from Emory University, Indiana University, and the University of Kentucky and has taught and had research oversight at Vanderbilt University and University of Kentucky.