Digital Access Project celebrates digitizing 70,000 files
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fayette County officials working on the Digital Access Project, known as DAP, celebrated meeting their goal.
They have now digitized 70,000 pages of records of enslaved people, going back to the 1700s.
“We’ll be able to make available, much sooner, documents that include all sorts of important aspects of the earliest part of Kentucky history, from enslaved people’s lives and livelihoods to famous Kentuckians like Henry Clay,” Director of the Dap Project, Dr. Vanessa Holden said.
Before the records were digitized, people would have to go to the county clerk’s office and flip through the record books.
“I want to preserve the history and the books in our office, but I also want to honor and respect the names that have been treated by the cruel brutality of the institution of slavery in Kentucky,” Shea Brown, Fayette County Special Projects Deputy Clerk, said.
Now, the records can be utilized by anyone anywhere.
Dr. Holden said Kentucky has records like this because it didn’t secede from the union. This kept many courthouses from destruction during the Civil War.
“Here, unlike in other states in the south, you can get documents from the late 1700s in incredible condition,” Dr. Holden said.
Brown said digitizing the records was just the beginning of the DAP project.
“Next steps is community engagement, conversations, reconciliation, healing, educational opportunities,” Brown said.
DAP is still inputting records but is starting on the next phase.
You can learn more about the project and search records here.
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