Black History Month Events in WNY

Buffalo Black History Bee

Erie County Legislator & Majority Leader April N.M. Baskin and historian Eva M. Doyle will be co-sponsoring a Buffalo Black History Bee Saturday Feb 9 in conjunction with East Community High School, 820 Northampton St.  Students from 13 Buffalo Public Schools and community organizations will have their knowledge tested based on Black and African Diaspora history. The preliminary round will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by lunch   from noon – 1 p.m.   From 2 -4 p.m. the championship round will be held.The winners will receive a $250 grand prize along with the Eva M. Doyle Black History Trophy. The event is open to the public, and community members are encouraged to attend and support our students as they compete. Anyone with questions should email Brendan in Legislator Baskin’s office at


Black History Month Oratorical Competition

 On Feb. 13  from  5:30-7:30 p.m. 10 students from across the city will compete the second annual Black History Month Oratorical competition. This event has been organized by Duncan Kirkwood, the NY Council of Humanities, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Senator Kennedy’s office, the McClellan-Carr Family, the Buffalo NAACP, the Buffalo Urban League and the Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. The event will be held at 683 Northland, at the Northland Workforce Training Center.

The topic this year will be “Are we still feeling the effects of slavery, or do we live in a time when Black men and women have equal opportunity to succeed?” 

 There will be $1000 in cash prizes split amongst the winners. This promises to be a fun and exciting event for youth. 


VA Western New York Healthcare System Celebrates Black History Month

 VA Western New York Healthcare System proudly joins the Nation in celebrating Black History Month in February with two special events scheduled at Buffalo VA Medical Center’s, Freedom Hall, Room 301. Vendor’s Day will take place Friday, February 8, 2019, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. On Wednesday, February 27, at noon, Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams, will speak. Both events are open to the public


Documentary on Dr. Carter G. Woodson

Sankofa Circle Documentary Series presents “The Legacy of Carter G. Woodson” by John H. Franklin, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, February 14  Merriweather Public Library, 1324 Jefferson Avenue, Free Admission, 716-883-4418.


Along This Way:  Storytelling in The African Tradition

The 29th year celebration of “Along This Way: Storytelling in The African Tradition” will be held Saturday February 16 at the Merriweather Library at 2 p.m. The event will feature We All Storytellers Karima Amin & Sharon Holley, vocalist Joyce Carolyn, percussionist and poet Seku Harwell and dancer Jayla Keaton.  The theme is “Our Stories…Our Strength” Admission is free. Co-sponsors include the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Inc., Zawadi Books and Prisoners Are People Too.


Columnist to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Eye On History

Columnist Eva M. Doyle would like to invite the community to join her in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Eye On History Column. It will be held at the Merriweather Library located at 1324 Jefferson Avenue on Sunday, February 17  from 2 – 5 p.m. The program will include music, speakers, poetry, an exhibit of many of the Eye On History articles, a Black History book giveaway, and video clips of African American History programs that grew out of the column. Mrs. Doyle will be joined by retired Legislator Betty Jean Grant, and some of Buffalo’s best poets including Vonetta Rhodes and Taharqa Odinga. Storytelling will be by Sandra Bush, former Manager of the Merriweather Library. Light refreshments will be served from the Golden Cup Restaurant. This event is free and open to the public. The Eye On History Column began in the Challenger newspaper in 1979 and it continues today in the Criterion newspaper. For more information you can call 847-6010.  

New Date for Annual MLK “Following The Dream Celebration

Due to blizzard-like weather conditions in January, the Concerned Citizens Following The Dream Committee rescheduled the Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration program, It will be held on Monday, February 18 (Presidents Day) at 5:30 p.m. in  Kleinhans Music Hall.  Pastor Jason Drayton of First Calvary Baptist Church is the keynote speaker. The 2019 MLK awardees are: Judge James A.W. McLeod the Judicial Award; Agnes M. Bain the Community Service Award; Letizia Conrad the Education Award; Kelly Diane Galloway the Foreign Mission Award; James F. Dentinger the Business Award; Lillion Batchelor the Woman of Distinction Award; Eugenio Russi the Community Service Award ; and Dr. James A. Lewis lll the Humanitarian Award. Admission is free.


The Making of a Monument Speaker Series is presented with the Buffalo African American Museum, Nash House, Colored Musicians Club and the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. All events take place at Downtown Central Library, 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo. Free & open to the public. For more information, visit

 *The Making of a Monument Speaker Series: Speakers discuss Buffalo’s Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor and Michigan Street Baptist Church.  Fri, Feb. 15, 12 noon-1 p.m

*Documentary premiere and panel discussion: Risking Everything: A Story of Niagara’s Freedom Seekers with filmmakers Isadore Bleckman, Mary Roseberry, Rich Newberg and guests.  Sun, Feb. 17, 2 p.m.

*Literally Speaking Book Discussion: Group discussion on Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America.  Tue, Feb. 19, 12:10 – 1 p.m

*The Making of a Monument Speaker Series: Speakers discuss the history of the Colored Musicians Club and WUFO 96.5 Radio. Live music.  Fri, Feb. 22, 12 noon-1 p.m.

*Homegrown Authors: Rosalie Abbey discusses her book Nelson Mandela’s Legacy.   Sat, Feb. 23, 2-3 p.m.

 *IMAGINE Buffalo Series: Video followed by speaker Felicia Beard discussing the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo’s ongoing Racial Equity work. Tue, Feb. 26, 12 noon-1 p.m.

*The Making of a Monument Speaker Series: African American Cultural Center. Speakers discuss the history of Buffalo’s African American Cultural Center. Live drumming/dance performance.  Fri, Mar. 1, 12 noon-1 p.m.


 The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center puts Black history at the center of their programming all year round. During Black History Month and throughout the year, they celebrate everyday heroes of the Underground Railroad and today.

*Freedom Conversation Tours are held every Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. & 2 p.m. 

*Second Saturday Story Time,Saturday February 9, 10:30 a.m.Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium

*Seeker Speaker Series featuring Anthony Cohen, Saturday February 16, 3 p.m. Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium.Patrick Sneed was a waiter at the Cataract Hotel who escaped slavery himself. After an encounter with bounty hunters, he was fraudulently charged with murder. His descendent Anthony Cohen will tell Sneed’s story, followed by a book signing of The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada.

 *Freedom Readers Book Club: Steal Away Home, Tuesday February 19, 6:30-8 p.m. Doris Jones Community Center

Presented in partnership with the Doris Jones Resource Center, this club reads books about the legacy of slavery and fights for freedom. February’s book is Steal Away Home by award winning author and historian Karolyn Smardz Frost. 

 •Black History Celebration, Friday, February 22, 5–9 p.m., $5

Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium.Join in celebration of Black History Month with a new art installation by Iris Kirkwood, music, bites, and beverages.

 *Seeker Speaker Series featuring Karolyn Smardz Frost, Saturday February 23, 3 p.m. Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium. Cecelia Reynolds came to the Cataract Hotel with her enslavers. One night, she slipped across the Canadian border to freedom. The author tells Cecelia’s story in the book Steal Away Home. A book signing follows her  talk.

 *Black Expo 2019: An Entrepreneurial Extravaganza, Sunday February 24, 1–5 p.m., Free*Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center Atrium,annual expo for Black-owned businesses of all kinds. *Black Expo admission is free, standard admission applies at the museum.

Black History Month at the Underground Railroad Heritage Center is generously supported by M&T Bank.


Celebrate Black History With the Johnnetta R. Cole AMVETS Post #24

The Broadway Market will be celebrating Black History during the entire month of February, and the Johnnetta R. Cole AMVETS Post #24 will have an information table there on February 23 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Come out and meet the post members and get information about veterans benefits  claims, discharge upgrades, and membership applications.Also on February 23, Larry Salter and his Soul Orchestra will perform. Events at the Broadway Market are free  and open to the public! – Jewelean Magee