My wife is originally from Harlan, Kentucky. Some of her family still live there. We’ve driven to Harlan dozens of times. Our route always takes us through Corbin, Kentucky, the birthplace of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Only recently I learned that Corbin, like many American towns and cities, has an ugly racist past.

There are varying accounts of what happened in Corbin in October 1919. (In those days, most newspapers supported white vigilantism, even when it resulted in lynching.) The Notable Kentucky African American database states: “On October 29, 1919, a white man was attacked and robbed by two white men with painted black faces in the railroad town of Corbin, Kentucky. The next day a vigilante mob took revenge on the African American community, searching homes and businesses and eventually forcing the African American railroad workers into boxcars and shipping them south to Knoxville, Tennessee.”

Mark Heinz lives at Nolin Lake. Visit his website at amazon.com/author/markheinzbooks.

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