Of all the cities on our list, Frankfort, KY has experienced the greatest increase in number of African Americans. Twenty-one percent of the African-American population in Frankfort has relocated to the city recently. Perhaps one reason is the city's family-friendly environment, as Forbes named it the top Southern small city for families in 2010. Following in their footsteps, we're now making Frankfort one of our Best Cities for African Americans 2016.
For one thing, Frankfort's cost of living index is more than 10 points less than the national average. The average cost of a home is $112,000, compared to upwards of $400,000 for some neighborhoods in Louisville. Frankfort is also the state capital of Kentucky, which means a large number of state government jobs, traditionally filled by significant numbers of African Americans.
Frankfort is home to Kentucky State University, a historically black university, which employs a large number of African-American professionals, as well. Lexington, home to the University of Kentucky and the Toyota motor manufacturing plant, is a mere 30 miles away, which makes for an easy commute if you choose to seek employment there.
Like in many small cities, religious institutions play a major role within the black community in Frankfort. First Baptist Church is one of its oldest churches, and is the largest African American congregation in Frankfort. The church hosted Martin Luther King Jr. during the city's school desegregation efforts. Kentucky State University also offers a full calendar of cultural and sporting events, from theatrical and musical events to Thorobreds basketball and football games and track and field meets.
Kentucky State also hosts the Promising Youth Center for Excellence after-school mentoring program and the Rosenwald Center for Families and Children, which provides child care and multicultural pre-K education. The university's Regional Stewardship & Community Engagement program works with leaders in Frankfort government and nonprofit organizations to improve the quality of life of African-American residents.
Frankfort's central location between Louisville and Lexington means African Americans can take advantage of the cultural and entertainment options these two cities offer. For example, Louisville is home to the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage which documents through exhibits and programs the history of blacks in Louisville and across the state. The Muhammad Ali Center not only celebrates the legacy of the Louisville native, but also promotes diversity and multicultural understanding through interactive and educational exhibits. The city's nightlife offers a mix of live music at places like Howl and the Moon, comedy clubs, restaurants and bars.