Mortuaries

Funeral Home, Third Street, December 2010 (photograph by Claire Johns, Creative Commons license pending)

Funeral Home, Third Street, December 2010 (photograph by Claire Johns, Creative Commons license pending)

The funeral homes in the MLK Jr. neighborhood were successful through integration and on into today.  As other businesses closed, the funeral homes continued to keep a steady clientele. The two funeral homes served as our starting point for the project. Through discussions with people in the neighborhood about the funeral homes, we learned of the many other businesses which used to be located there.

Like the profession of styling hair, this historically African American community, looked to the local funeral homes to take care of their deceased loved ones. The professionals in this business were highly regarded and the first known African American undertaker in Lexington, Jordan C. Jackson, Jr.,  married to the great abolitionist educator and Progressive Era activist, Belle Mitchell.  (Find more information on African American undertakers in the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database.)

Years after the civil rights movement, African Americans still, generally, look to other African Americans to bury their friends and family members.  This tradition helped to continue the prosperity of the funeral homes long after integration.

Next:
O.L. Hughes & Sons
Smith and Smith

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