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Brittiny Moore Long Reads

Redevelopment threatens historic black community in Bowling Green

By Brittiny Moore

The sun sets on vacant buildings and dilapidated homes that now rest along the north end of State Street in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The area known as the Shake Rag Historic District – once a bustling section of town and a thriving African American community – is desolate and laden with the tarnish of edifices that have long sat unused. To the farthest north extent of the district, the Southern Queen Hotel, although closed, still stands with white tables and chairs sitting idly on the wrap-around porch. Across the street, the old State Street High School gymnasium, once serving an all-black school, stands as a blemished brick structure that is now empty on the inside. On the same street sits 136 State St., the home of sisters Vivian and Harriet “Baby Love” Hampton.