Reflecting on Dr. King’s march on Frankfort

Posted at 12:56 PM, Jan 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-16 15:43:42-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Eleanor Hasken-Wagner relishes her job as director of the Capital City Museum in Frankfort.

Not just because of her background in history and folklore, but also because she enjoys watching visitors learn something new in real time.

“It’s really exciting to have visitors at the museum who aren’t familiar with Frankfort or even Kentucky history. I get to experience people discovering things for the first time,” Hasken-Wagner said.

The museum is a 501c3 nonprofit focused on telling and preserving the stories of Frankfort, Franklin County, and the entire state of Kentucky.

Everything from more expected history, such as bourbon, to more obscure facts.

Deep roots in the fishing reel industry, the oldest clock ever made in the state and background of the only state governor to ever be assassinated.

All of it can be found at Capital City Museum.

Along with a dedicated corner at the end of the first floor hallway to a man who dedicated his life to pushing for progress and equality.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

This quaint exhibit includes pictures blown up onto canvases capturing the day Dr. King led thousands in a march on Frankfort.

Also included are flyers and pamphlets from March 4, 1964 when demonstrators came in droves.

Hasken-Wagner is happy to have a community connection to Dr. King that can be shared with visitors in and outside the Commonwealth.

“It’s exciting to get to share the history that brought Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to Kentucky,” Hasken-Wagner said.

“At the time in the 1960’s, Kentucky was not as progressive as some of our neighboring states and civil rights legislation introduced on the Kentucky house floor was less firm than a lot of the other states.”

Dr. King’s work not only led to the passing of the U.S. Civil Rights of Act of 1964, but also helped pass the Kentucky Civil Rights Act of 1966.

While taking in this bit of Kentucky history, Hasken-Wagner can’t help but notice how it’s repeated itself in a way from recent tensions over racial equality.

“The Black Lives Matter march followed near the same route. It’s really powerful to see that history and the relevance of it continue but also to acknowledge we feel like we’ve come so far but we still have so far to go,” Hasken-Wagner said.

The City of Frankfort is currently working to commission a documentary series on an oral history of the march on Frankfort, which will be used as educational material for kids across the country and be housed in the Capital City Museum as a part of the MLK exhibit.

Capital City Museum is located at 325 Ann Street in Frankfort.