From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Negro Village Site (Marshall County, KY)

The Negro Village Site was part of the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Kentucky Dam Project. The following information comes from the Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute (website removed), by Bill Mulligan at Murray State University (KY). Kentucky Dam Village is located in Gilbertsville, KY, and the Kentucky Dam Village District is part of the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. During the late 1930s, the workers' villages were constructed for the TVA's Kentucky Dam Project.

The Negro Village was established in 1938 and removed after the dam was completed in 1945. The temporary homes had been built by Negro builders at Pickwick Landing Dam and barged downstream to the Kentucky Dam. The local people did not want the community to become a long term addition to the county. There were 19 homes, a recreation building, two dormitories and a school, which was a converted farm house. The dormitories were under-utilized, and there were not enough homes because the workers brought their families with them. Some of the families found housing in nearby towns.

The village was placed away from the white village, which was in accordance with TVA policy to help keep peace between the races. Nonetheless, there were racial and social tensions between the Black and white workers, so much so that complaints were filed by the local Black Chapter of the Hod Carriers Union. Louisville had one of the largest chapters of the union, which was dominated by African Americans. The Black chapters of the Hod Carrier Unions supported the employment rights of the African American workers on TVA dam projects.

In 1940 there were two fights that led to the Thanksgiving Strike that shut down the project for three days. Three workers were fired, but after reconciliations, the men were rehired.

For more information, visit the Forrest C. Pogue Public History Institute site or contact the Murray State University Libraries or the Tennessee Valley Authority. See E. L. Rousey, "The Worker's life at Kentucky Dam, 1938-1945," Filson Club History Quarterly, vol. 71, issue 3 (1997), pp. 347-366.

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NKAA Source: Filson Club history quarterly (periodical)

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NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Marshall County, KY

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“Negro Village Site (Marshall County, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2024-06-04 19:22:19