• Population- 4,206,100
  • Capital- Frankfort
  • Largest cities– Louisville, Lexington
  • Time zone- Eastern and Central
  • Date of Admission to the Union- June 1, 1792
  • Slogan- “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
  • State website URL-

The Kentucky Derby is one of horse racing’s top annual events. Ladies in titillating “derby” hats sipping mint juleps are commonplace sights in Louisville each spring. This horse show is one of a few others considered part of the Triple Crown competition. It remains one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events and lasts only a couple minutes. But why is the area a hotbed for horse breeders? Beyond the gently rolling hills, part of the reason is the naturally fortified soil—it has a high level of natural calcium—from which grows the grass that horses eat.

When the territory now known as Kentucky was still wild and untamed, a young and rugged scout, Daniel Boone “blazed a trail” and founded the first town in the territory—Boonesborough. But before any town could be built there had to be a route into the thick and steep wild. Between Virginia and Kentucky lies a high ridge of mountains. The area is often just called Cumberland Gap. Boone literally hacked his way along a challenging pathway over and through the mountain passes. The resulting course was called the Wildnerness Trail. Settlers and passers-through used Boone’s passage for decades, until a more formal roadway could be constructed. Modern day highways over Cumberland Gap reportedly follow fairly closely the profile of the original Wilderness Trail.

Educational segregation issues have pushed Kentucky to the forefront politically and socially. Like its neighbors, Kentucky was structured around a segregated school system. Most of that changed with the advent of Brown v. Board of Education. However, what stands out in Kentucky’s history of race relations is the slice of history made by tiny Berea College. Founded in 1855, this college did what most others had not done yet, allowed white and black students to learn at the same school in a completely integrated environment. This of course prompted an early 20 th century court case, Berea College v. Kentucky that effectively forced the college to go according to state law—segregation.