Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community
|Not Yet Published||paperback||$24.95||s||978-0-8131-4433-7|
A small neighborhood in northern Frankfort, Kentucky, Crawfish Bottom was located on fifty acres of swampy land along the Kentucky River. “Craw’s” reputation for vice, violence, moral corruption, and unsanitary conditions made it a target for urban renewal projects that replaced the neighborhood with the city’s Capital Plaza in the mid-1960s.
Douglas A. Boyd’s Crawfish Bottom: Recovering a Lost Kentucky Community traces the evolution of the controversial community that ultimately saw four-hundred families displaced. Using oral histories and firsthand memories, Boyd not only provides a record of a vanished neighborhood and its culture but also demonstrates how this type of study enhances the historical record. A former Frankfort police officer describes Craw’s residents as a “rough class of people, who didn’t mind killing or being killed.” In Crawfish Bottom, the former residents of Craw acknowledge the popular misconceptions about their community but offer a richer and more balanced view of the past.
Douglas A. Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky, is a coeditor of Community Memories: A Glimpse of African American Life in Frankfort, Kentucky.
"Eloquently traces the ways that the residents of a community define their place and their relationship to it. Crawfish Bottom seamlessly weaves together history, follkore, and geography into an engaging, trenchant, and substantive whole."--Fitzhugh Brundage, author of The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory
“Urban planners seldom listened to the communities they bulldozed, but oral history can recapture the historical memory of what has been lost. Crawfish Bottom provides a vivid and layered history of the colorful community that once existed on the banks of the Kentucky River, in the words of its inhabitants and in a critical analysis of their interviews.”--Donald A. Ritchie, author of Doing Oral History
"This captivating book conveys a portrait of a community physically lost to urban renewal. As important, Crawfish Bottom contributes to our understanding of the nature of popular memory. Boyd goes beyond generalizations and uses the skills of the historian and folklorist to document the process by which community identity and self-understanding are created, challenged and reshaped in both past and present, and most interestingly by the very intervention of the oral historian. This book will be of great interest to all those interested in the nature and study of community."--Tracy K'Meyer, author of Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Louisville, Kentucky, 1945-1980
"A fascinating story well told, bringing back to the life of memory and narrative a community that was wiped out in the name of progress, and combining narrative skills with sound theory and original methodology in the use of oral and archival sources."--Alessandro Portelli, author of They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History
[A] fascinating story about a notorious Frankfort neighborhood . . . that gives insight into history in general and the way it is locked into place. -- KY Forward
This book weaves together history, folklore and geography to engage the reader on a journey through this erased community. -- Kentucky Alumni
Much of the strength of Crawfish Bottom lies in its effectiveness in capturing the underside of history and the remnants of a physically defunct community, particularly through its use of oral history as the key source. -- H-Net Reviews
A book about the past in Frankfort, and about the people who were a very real part of Kentucky history. -- Kentucky Libraries
Boyd's chronicle intertwines history with individual interviews and poses thought-provoking questions regarding the contradictions between the prevailing historical record and personal memory. -- Kentucky Living
A well-delivered account of a fascinating subject. -- Bowling Green Daily News
Boyd’s book is notable not so much because if brings to light the memories people had of life in the 'bottoms,' however, but because it explores how those recollections were constructed. -- Journal of Folklore Research
[Boyd's] recreation of the place is balanced and well constructed, allowing future historians a clearer picture of this lost community and restoring it to its proper place in Kentucky History. . . . Douglas Boyd is a historian of considerable talent; we should eagerly await his next work. -- West Virginia History
An interesting oral history of a small neighborhood that gives researchers a deep understanding of reasons why a sense of place matters. -- Arkansas Review
Boyd demonstrates the importance that the interviewer plays in shaping public memory, and how researchers resolve competing narratives through the use of additional primary narratives. -- Ohio Valley History
An intriguing and compelling story but also an extremely useful text for examining the possibilities and pitfalls in recreating public memory. -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
A useful guide for historians who are interested in using oral history in their own research. -- H-Net Reviews
Boyd . . . has written an intriguing examination of Frankfort’s notorious and seemingly forgotten community of Crawfish Bottom. -- H-Kentucky