Kentucky historian Walter Hutchins dies at 91

The civil rights activist was best known for publishing yearly calendars and annual booklets on Black cultural events in Louisville.

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Louisville, Kentucky historian Walter Hutchins has passed away at age 91, the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage confirmed in a statement shared on social media. 

“With a heavy heart, we announce the passing of a beloved community leader, Baba Walter Hutchins. Walter was a valuable KCAAH board member who contributed his time and wisdom,” the organization wrote in the Facebook post on Friday. Hutchins’ cause of death has not yet been revealed. 

Born in 1931 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hutchins resided in Louisville where he was best known for publishing yearly calendars and annual booklets on Black cultural events in the state for nearly three decades, the Courier-Journal reports. The calendar featured Black speakers, Black performers and highlighted Black cultural events happening during Black History Month.

Louisville historian Walter Hutchins, best known for publishing yearly calendars and annual booklets on Black cultural events in Kentucky, has died. He was 91.( Screenshot from The Courier-Journal)

Before the booklet spread to every branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, Hutchins initially made it available at Republic Banks and the Actors Theatre of Louisville, according to the Courier-Journal.

In 2005, he was the recipient of the Louisville Historical League’s Heritage Award, which is given to individuals and groups “who have contributed to local history in a significant manner since 1977,” according to the LHL’s official website

The Penn State University graduate once spoke about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in an interview with the Kentucky Oral Society, saying: “I was with CORE, for those who don’t remember it is the Congress of Racial Equality. And we were primarily working on fair housing and adequate housing; and any kind of housing. That was our chief focus at that time, in the early sixties.”

In 2016, he teamed with local historians to create the 22-stop Self-Guided Tour of Louisville’s Civil Rights History, the Courier-Journal reported. 

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage said in its Facebook post that someone who “lived a life” similar to Hutchins “never truly died but crosses into eternal life as an ancestor.” 

“May it ease our sadness a bit to know that the memories of Baba Walter will be yet another bridge between our world and the world of our ancestors,” the KCAAH post said.

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