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The small city of Hazard, Kentucky. Photo: AP Photo/David Stephenson.

Hey y’all,

Skylar here. It’s hard to believe we are already one month into 2022! I want to thank Karen Glosser for the gorgeous photographs and essays she provided as our January Creators and Innovators newsletter host. It really helped me – and hopefully all of you – appreciate the beauty of winter, warming up those cold days like a warm cup of tea.

While I’m sad to say goodbye to Karen and her “Winter Dreams,” I am thrilled to introduce y’all to our C&I host for February! Emily Jones Hudson is the Executive Director of the Southeast Kentucky African American Museum and Cultural Center in Hazard, Kentucky. “History is made by the people, belongs to the people, and is told by the people,” the museum’s website reads. “However, the history of the African-American in Southeast Kentucky has been left untold.” Emily looks to change that.

I’m so excited to welcome Emily to the Creators & Innovators newsletter series, and I look forward to her sharing her memories of growing up in Southeast Kentucky as well as her expertise in the rich and vibrant Black history of our region. With that, I will turn it over to Emily!

Emily Jones Hudson. Photo: Provided.


My name is Emily Jones Hudson. I was born and raised in Hazard, Kentucky, in Perry County. I am a writer, an author, a poet, a pastor and a lover of history. I graduated from Berea College in 1978, and my experience there was a pivotal turning point in my life. It helped shape my identity, who I am today.

I am a brief city-dweller, living in Indianapolis and Cleveland. After returning to my hometown of Hazard in 1990, I founded CommonBond Christian Fellowship Ministries in 2003 and the Southeast Kentucky African-American Museum and Cultural Center in 2020.

I am a “story-catcher.” I love oral history, listening to the life stories others share and passing their stories on. During the month of February, it is an honor to have this opportunity to share a chapter or two of my stories and histories growing up in the Southeastern Kentucky hills of Appalachia.

“We all are on a journey,” I write in my book “Soul Miner,” “and everyone has a story to tell… My personal journey started as a quest, beginning when I was but a teen. I would faithfully go to church on Sundays and find myself asking questions like, ‘What is my purpose in life?’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Who am I?’ The answer was evading me. So, I do believe God sent me on a journey that led me from the hills of my hometown to the smokestacks and skyscrapers of the city and then back again to the waiting arms of my beloved mountains. It was a journey that spanned a quarter of a century. And when it was over, I had come full circle.”

I look forward to sharing some of my journey with you this month. 


Emily Jones Hudson

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