Brought to America to work as slaves, the Bransford Family was brought to Kentucky and tasked to explore, chart, and guide visitors through the enormity of Mammoth Cave. Despite this dangerous and difficult work, generations of Bransfords were subjected to the same dehumanizing treatment that defined the life of a slave in the American South. Children torn from mothers, crippling overwork, and more injustices than one could count; the Bransford’s suffered them all.
But even in the face of this adversity, the family didn’t just survive, they excelled. With only a lantern in hand, they dove into the depths of the cave, charting out paths to lead those who would oppress them. They knew the caves better than anyone. However, over time, the Bransford Family was removed from their life at Mammoth Cave. Post-Civil War, the family members living and working above the cave were forced to leave, simply because of the color of their skin.
The final resting place of the Bransfords is a sorry tribute to their accomplishments. These heroes lay in a graveyard off a backroad, some of the time-worn headstones, totally illegible. There’s no indication that the people buried here were integral to the discoveries of the cave. We want to create something worthy of their legacy.
The Bransford Family Memorial will stand in the graveyard; built to last, it will mark the spot where many Bransfords found their final resting place after a life of hardship and achievement. But we won’t be able to create this monument without the help of the community. All of the proceeds from this campaign will go towards the design, creation, and labor to create and deliver the monument.