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<Settlement House Movement in Kentucky>

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John Little Mission (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1897
The John Little Mission was one of the first community centers in the United States for African Americans. It was founded in 1897 when students at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary [now Louisville Seminary] started offering services to African Americans in the Smoketown neighborhood in Louisville, KY: Sunday School, worship services, domestic arts classes for women, and trades classes for men. John Little, who was white and from Alabama, was one of the founders of the seminary. In 1904 he began supervising the mission and added another site and more services, including vocational training. For more see the history page at the Louisville Seminary website; and R. E. Luker, "Missions, institutional churches, and settlement houses: the Black experience, 1885-1910," Journal of Negro History, vol.69, issue 3/4 (Summer-Autumn, 1984), pp. 101-113. The notes at the end of the Luker article contain a list of additional sources.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Religion & Church Work, Social Workers, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Plymouth Congregational Church (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1877
The Plymouth Congregational Church was established in 1877; members initially met in a home in Louisville until an older Jewish synagogue was purchased on Jefferson Street. In 1891, Rev. Everett G. Harris became pastor, and the American Missionary Association purchased land at the corner of Seventeenth and West Chestnut Streets, where a church was constructed in 1902. In addition, the Plymouth Settlement House was completed in 1917; it was a social welfare agency that served children, had a dormitory for young women new to the city in search of work, and provided services to the community. The Plymouth Congregational Church was a meeting place for African Americans of the middle and upper classes. A new church was constructed in 1930, referred to as the "New Plymouth." It has been said that the church was the most exclusive Negro church in Louisville. For more see B. D. Berry, Jr., "The Plymouth Congregational Church of Louisville, Kentucky," Phylon, vol. 42, issue 3, pp. 224-232.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Kentucky African American Churches, Religion & Church Work
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Plymouth Settlement House (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1917
The 1890s mark the beginning of the Settlement House Movement in the United States, but for African Americans the movement began at the turn of the century with the Frederick Douglass Center in Chicago, 1904. More than a decade later the Plymouth Settlement House in Louisville became a part of the movement. The building was located at 1624-26 W. Chestnut Street, next door to the Plymouth Congregational Church. It had taken the church pastor, Reverend Everett G. Harris, six years to raise funding for the Settlement House. The three-story structure included an auditorium, an assembly room, classrooms, a kitchen, and a 14-room dormitory and parlor for the young women who lived on the third floor. The women were considered "decent" and were selected renters who had come to the city seeking employment. Their weekly room charge was $1.75, and the dormitory was accessible from a separate entrance on the side of the building. There was an employment service in the Settlement House that placed the women in homes as domestic helpers. In 1919, the Settlement House became part of the Louisville Welfare League. The center offered classes that prepared young women for domestic service, marriage and motherhood. Plymouth Settlement House also included a day care for children, a Boy Scout program, and a community Sunday School. As a part of the Welfare League, the Settlement House no longer came under the direction of the church, so a new governing board was established. Rev. Harris, a Howard University graduate from Virginia, remained superintendent of the Plymouth Settlement House and pastor of the Plymouth Congregational Church. For more see Everett G. Harris in the Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; G. D. Berry, Jr.; "The Settlement House Movement and the Black Community in the Progressive Era: the example of Plymouth Settlement, Louisville, Kentucky," Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, vol. 21 (1990), pp. 24-32; and Plymouth Settlement House and the Development of Black Louisville,1900-1930 [dissertation], by B. D. Berry.
Subjects: Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Scouts (Boys and Girls), Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School
Geographic Region: Virginia / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Presbyterian Community Center Records
Start Year : 1898
Founded in 1898 by seminarians as Hope Mission Station, a summer Sunday school for African American children, the center evolved into a settlement house for the Smoketown neighborhood of Louisville, KY, and was joined by Grace Mission. The collection pertaining to the mission includes a biographical sketch of the Rev. John Little (1874-1948), founder and director of the center for 50 years, and documentation of the center's activities and its role as an outpost in the federal government's war on poverty. The records are available at the University of Louisville Libraries' Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Settlement House Movement in Kentucky, Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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