The community was where former slaves lived after the Civil War.
Mary Quinn Ramer, of Danville, who began research on Sleettown while she still was in college, is elated with the progress made at the site.
"We didn't know a few years ago if this would happen," she said. "I'm so thrilled to see this day. I used to hang out with Raymond Sleet (late husband of Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet) on Thursdays while I was in college."
While Ramer was head of the Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau, she also assisted with a grant application for funds to purchase 97 acres of the 150 originally bought for the town site. The property ties two sections of the 570-acre park where the Battle of Perryville was fought in October 1862.
"This property is the link pen that connects the battlefield properties," said J.T. Miller, commissioner of the state Department of Parks. He was on hand for the celebration and unveiled a new marker on the property.
The state purchased the land earlier this year through a $324,000 Transportation Enhancement grant. Civil War Preservation Trust donated another $107,000 to match the grant.
Derrick Ramsey, deputy secretary of the state Commerce Cabinet, recalled a small segregated town in Florida where he grew up during the 1970s.
He said there is nothing left of that African American town - all the hotels, bars and restaurants are gone. It's as if it never existed, he said.
Ramsey, a former University of Kentucky and professional football player, encouraged people of color to tell their stories and said as a historian, he never misses an opportunity to help.
People make history
He praised the Sleet descendants for remembering their people who made a sacrifice for future generations.
Ron Bryant, historian for the state parks system, said it is people who make history and Sleettown was one of more than 30 African-American communities established in Kentucky after the Civil War. They made a stamp on Kentucky history.
"You have inherited a better world through the work of your grand- and great-grandparents," he said. "They taught values that went beyond racial discord."
Bryant said war scared the community at one time but happiness has taken its place.
He told the crowd to tell their children and grandchildren they were a part of the community.
"Sleettown is a symbol of what was good for Kentucky. I want you to relish it and remember it," Bryant said.