A history of Kentucky would be incomplete without mentioning the significant role that slavery played in creating the Commonwealth and crafting the culture of the state.
Long before Kentucky became the 15th state in the Union, slavery was introduced into the region by its earliest settlers. From the beginning, enslaved people sought freedom. From those early years until slavery was ultimately outlawed by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Kentuckians have helped, hindered, encouraged and fought for and against the "peculiar institution."
This tour highlights some of the important people, places, and events that have been recognized as significant and placed on Kentucky's highway markers. Here you find information about emancipationists, abolitionists, politicians, soldiers and enslaved people, whose lives were impacted by slavery and then freedom. Also included are numerous primary source images and documents that help illustrate Kentucky's slavery and emancipation story. We hope that you will use this tour to learn about, and thus better understand, one of our state's most troubling, contentious and important periods of history.