Photos by Shane W. Day Photography. MORE PHOTOS HERE

ASHLAND, Ky. — Dozens filled The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center Saturday for a time to dance and celebrate accomplishments in the Black community.

More than 100 people turned out for the C.B. Nuckolls Community Center and Black History Museum Fundraising Dinner. Marie Troxler was among the crowd. She expressed the importance of celebrating Black history to shine light on accomplishments overshadowed by “white-washed” history.

“If we don’t celebrate it, or speak about it then how is the younger Black generation ever going to know their own history? We learn about white history every day through the year. When you open up your social studies book or history book, it’s all going to be white-washed.”

Stella Whitlow attended Booker T. Washington, a Black school, in a time of segregation. Her dad taught science and coached basketball. She said there is a lot of Black history in Ashland that has either been forgotten about, overlooked or ignored. She said February, also known as Black History Month, serves as a time to remember.

“It’s so that we won’t forget it,” she said. “It’s because of a lot of things we don’t know and some things we just now finding out. We have always known white history because it was always there.”

Darrell Smith, co-founder of the C.B Nuckolls Community Center and Black History Museum, said after months of planning the celebration, he’s “flabbergasted” to see the response from the community.

“It’s a celebration. I can’t believe I have done it. It’s a dream,” he said, talking about the opening of the first Black history museum in northeastern Kentucky. “Now we are having our first big fundraiser being open and it’s incredible. The community coming together the way they have, white and Black, it’s beautiful.”

Events like these are important to Valerie James.

“We don’t get coverage in the news; we don’t get coverage about the positive items that are going on. All we hear about in the news is the drugs,” she said.

She said her goal is to highlight “Black positivity” and let everyone know that no matter what’s happened in America’s history, people of color will continue moving forward.

“We are dressed in our finest to celebrate our finest,” she said. “Black history is American history. You can’t talk about American history without talking about slavery and the impact it has had and continues to have.”

Music was provided by DJ SoundsGood (Demetrius Le’mont).

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