Lexington's longest-standing Black-owned business celebrates 100 years

Posted at 10:02 PM, Oct 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-03 12:29:44-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Lexington's oldest Black-owned business celebrated 100 years of service Sunday. The community hopes Hawkins-Taylor will be around to continue caring for the community as they have for the last century.

The Hawkins-Taylor Funeral Home originally opened in 1921.

"We have just always existed. My parents taught me the business and I am teaching my children the business," said third-generation owner John Hawkins-Taylor.

Holding a torch his grandfather lit, the Hawkins-Taylor Funeral Home is the longest-standing Black-owned business in Lexington.

"I don't know of any black establishment that has been in Kentucky or in Lexington, for that matter, for over 100 years," said one presenter during a House of God Church celebration.

"We work with people on the worst day of their life and our job is to take that burden and put it on our shoulders," explained Hawkins-Taylor.

That's just what the family has been doing for 100 years.

The business waded through several challenges, advocating for justice during the civil rights movement and staying open for business through the pandemic.

"Now after 100 years, it is one of the finest, if not, the finest establishment in Lexington," said Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt.

The service also recognized the Black women who helped advance the funeral industry.