A.D. Porter and Sons Funeral Home was established in 1907 and is one of the oldest Kentucky businesses that is owned and operated by African Americans. The founder, Mr. Arthur D. Porter, Sr., was a leader of the community and a supporter of measures that supported education, job opportunities, and civil rights. Arthur Porter ran for mayor in 1921 with support from the black community but is best remembered for his role as a funeral home director. Businesses that provided personal services were important in the era of segregation, and black-owned life insurance companies, funeral homes, and cemeteries offered fairness, sensitivity, understanding, and dignity in an era when grieving black families could not always count on such treatment from white-owned businesses. Porter passed his business to his son, Woodford Porter, Sr., and the business is still in the family.
In 1907, Mr. Arthur D. Porter opened his business and catered to fellow members of the African American community of Louisville. Mr. Porter not
only wanted to fight for equal rights for his community, but wanted to make
sure they had a place to where they would feel comfortable saying their final
farewells to their loved ones. People could grieve in peace while being able to
shut out what was going on with civil unrest outside of the doors.
This compassion, this need to care and the urge and yearning
to move forward was handed down to Mr. Porter’s son, Woodford Porter, Sr. To be
a trailblazer ran through the Porter family blood. Mr. Woodford Porter, Sr.
accomplished many great things in his life. He broke barriers, fought for what
he believed in and went down in Kentucky history as a pioneer whom helped to
spearhead a movement. Some of Mr. Porter’s accomplishments include but not are
limited to, being the first African American elected to the Louisville Board of
Education. He also was the first African America board member for the YMCA
Metropolitan Board as well as the first African American President for the
University of Louisville Board of Trustees. All of this was done while being a
mortician in his family business.
Mr. A.D. Porter and Mr. Woodford Porter, Sr., were not only
business leaders, but they were civic leaders as well. A father looking to save his community and
wanting to help out anyway possible. A father whom wanted what was best for his
children and his fellow man. A father wanting to be a voice for so many that
didn’t have a voice at the time. Then, a son whom took these teachings and
lessons and never looked back. Becoming the first African American in
Louisville, KY to accomplish and be recognized for so many things. All of this
once again, while running a business that is there for people in their time of