WKU memorial inscribed with The Spirit Makes The Master. Erected by College Heights Foundation in commemoration of Western's 50th Anniversary 1956.


Western Kentucky University was originally founded as Western Kentucky State Normal School in 1906. Although founded after the formal demise of slavery in the United States, it’s history and that of its founders nonetheless are intimately connected to enslavement and the Lost Cause. Similarly, while WKU complied with the nationally mandated desegregation of public schools after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, it continued to uphold the rhetoric of white supremacy most notably in its use of urban renewal policies to expand the University and acquire adjacent properties in Jonesville, an adjacent black hamlet occupied by majority black home and business owners. This project seeks to “trouble the past” of WKU, hasten a reckoning with an inconvenient part of its history and serve as a permanent digital testament for future generations.

The Items for Locating Slavery's Legacies at Western Kentucky University were done by a class taught by Dr. Selena Sanderfer.