See the Southgate Street School’s History on Display at the Newport Branch

Take a walk through Newport and you may stumble upon a piece of storied Newport history: the Southgate Street School, which first took in students in 1873 after the Civil War. 

The school served as a source of education for local African American children for decades until 1955, when the Supreme Court ordered public school desegregation. Through the advocacy of Robert Ingguls and Patricia Headen—former Southgate Street students—the building was preserved and now serves as a museum. 

This work was also the basis of a project by Northern Kentucky University students in a spring 2023 honor’s class, which used artificial intelligence to create original images capturing scenes from the school’s historical records and descriptions from Southgate Street School alum. The images, and the school’s story, were compiled into a book titled The Legacy of Southgate Street School: Preserving a Landmark of the Black History of Newport, KY.

Starting Nov. 1, an exhibit at the Newport Branch will also tell that storied history. Placed throughout the library’s main floor, patrons can see the images and read the story for themselves. 


A 21st-Century Lens on the Past: A.I. & the Southgate Street School

Exhibit Details

Opening Reception: 5:30-7 pm Wednesday, Nov. 1

Where: Newport Branch (901 E Sixth St.)

Enjoy a short presentation about the exhibit at the opening reception. Refreshments will be provided. To RSVP, click here. Questions can be directed to

The exhibit will be spread throughout the Newport Branch’s main floor. Read about the school’s legacy; see the AI-generated images; take in memories of the school from Robert and Patty; and learn about the project.

Patrons can experience the exhibit themselves through the duration of November.


More About the Project

The project came out of an NKU Honors Course titled “Learning from Dall-e,” which explored human-computer interaction and the intersection between A.I. and art. Nicholas Caporusso led the course. Along with Caporusso, the resulting book credits NKU students Liz Farwick, Olivia Blake, Ella Cooper, Maddy Del Rio, Eli Dunn, Hannah Steffen and Zac Trice as authors.


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