The Owensboro area and many of its citizens were featured in the Hollywood epic, The Kentuckian, starring Burt Lancaster. Scenes were filmed on the Ohio River and at the Owensboro Sportscenter. The Kentucky premiere was held at the Malco Theatre, now The Opryhouse, on August 5, 1955.
Moneta Sleet, Jr. was a graduate of Owensboro’s Western High School, Kentucky State University, and held a Master’s degree in journalism from New York State University. In 1969, Sleet became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism – Feature Photography for a photograph in which he captured the anguish of Coretta Scott King, widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and their daughter at the civil rights leader’s funeral. He also won an award from the Overseas Press Club for a photo of Ghana’s President Kwame Nkrumah, taken at the moment of Ghana’s independence.