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Olmsted Parks Conservancy hosts community volunteer event inspired by the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in Chickasaw Park

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Volunteers are encouraged to honor the Martin Luther King Jr. through a day of community service in historic Chickasaw Park

Martin Luther King, Jr. once taught, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” Olmsted Parks Conservancy invites volunteers to honor Dr. King’s legacy by channeling his teachings into a day of giving back to the community surrounding Chickasaw Park on Martin Luther King Jr Day, January 20 from 1 – 3 PM.

Designed exclusively for African Americans during a dark time of racial segregation, Chickasaw Park provided some of the only improved outdoor facilities accessible to the black community from 1930 – 1954. Consisting of 63-acres, this park made up nearly half of all park land accessible to African Americans for nearly two decades.

Thanks to neighbors and local councils who advocated for amenities at the time of the parks’ creation, Chickasaw Park was filled with features like gathering spaces for family get togethers, walking paths for exercise, as well as clay courts and even grandstands to accommodate the park visitors’ growing love of tennis. In addition, the Olmsted Firm designed breathtaking landscapes for this historic greenspace—like the park’s iconic pond—which rivaled the whites-only parks at the time.

In the words of Dr. King, “the time is always right to do the right thing,” and the parks were finally re-integrated in 1954. Today, Chickasaw Park today remains a vital asset to the Chickasaw neighborhood and West Louisville community.

“Great parks strengthen our entire community by helping to improve health and economic outcomes for those who live around them,” said Matt Spalding, Olmsted Parks Conservancy Volunteer and Education Program Manager. “Spending a few hours removing invasive plants, picking up trash, and helping maintain this historically significant Olmsted Park can have a big impact on those who need it most.” 

You can help answer Dr. King’s question, “What are you doing for others”? by donating your time and talent to maintaining this treasured and historic park through a guided volunteer session on January 20 from 1 – 3PM.

Volunteer projects will include landscaping, clearing out invasive plants, planting new trees and riverbank cleanup. Please dress for the weather with appropriate footwear. Tools, gloves and refreshments will be provided.

“Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he said, ‘Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.’  Whether you’re a park neighbor, a first-time volunteer, or an established Park Steward, we’d love for you to join us.” Spalding continued.

“MLK day is a day of peace, unity, and service,” said Councilwoman Donna Purvis, who is the Metro Council Representative for District 5, which includes Chickasaw Park. “By coming together as a community on this great day to work and beautify Louisville’s Chickasaw Park is an example of the legacy he left behind.”

Advanced registration is required. Learn more and sign up at or visit to see all upcoming volunteer events.

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