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Photo of Governor Carroll presenting check to W.C. Young
Kentucky Governor Julian Carroll presenting a check for the Community Center building to W.C. Young, 1975

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W.C. Young Community Center
A Local Legacy

You probably have heard of Cesar Chavez (an "Amazing American"), a famous labor leader who fought for rights for his fellow farm workers. But have you ever heard of W.C. Young?

Like Chavez, Young worked on issues of poverty and injustice with honesty, understanding and nonviolent actions. He started a community center in 1976, the Paducah Community Center, to help the people of Paducah, Kentucky, overcome poverty and obtain decent housing. Twenty years later, in 1996, it was renamed the W.C. Young Community Center to honor its founder.

The W.C. Young Community Center is the home of the annual Eighth of August Emancipation Celebration, an event that honors the slaves who were emancipated (set free) in southwestern Kentucky after the Civil War. Activities include a memorial service, a parade, and a picnic. Different states celebrate Emancipation Day on different days, often depending on when the Union Army arrived to enforce Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, in which he stated that all slaves should be free.

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