( pictured above: Congressman Higgins in front of Michigan Street Baptist Church )
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) has announced $204,845 in federal funding for the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition for protection and rehabilitation of the Michigan Street Baptist Church. The funding is provided through the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant Program.
“This award recognizes the Michigan Street Baptist Church as a site of national significance and provides federal resources to preserve the building and expand opportunities for people to learn more about the critical role the Church played in America’s history,” said Congressman Higgins.
Lillie V. Wiley-Upshaw, Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom StationCoalition said, “Our board is so pleased to receive this grant. The Michigan Street Baptist Church is a national treasure and her story is integral to the African-American story that is told in cities across this country. First, as a home for freedom seekers before, during and after the Civil War and then as an incubator for progressive movements in the City of Buffalo, New York. The Michigan Street Baptist Church has stood as a beacon in the storm for 175 years. The African-American Civil Rights Grant will help us restore elements of the Church’s original construction and design to continue to tell the story of the Church and her members to future generations.”
Built in 1845, Buffalo’s Michigan Street Baptist Church, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. The site served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and a central meeting place for civil rights leaders. In 2018, the Michigan Street Baptist Church was added to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a coordinated effort to preserve America’s historic treasures and educate the public.
The longtime pastor of the Church was Rev. Dr. J. Edward Nash. Congressman Higgins recently visited the Nash House residence and spoke about the work of Rev. Nash and the Michigan Street Baptist Church on the floor of the House of Representatives.
The Michigan Street Baptist Church was one of just 51 recipients sharing just over $14 million nationwide, and the only grant recipient in New York State.
For generations, the Michigan Street Baptist Churchhas been a beacon of hope in the African American community. When its cornerstone was laid in 1845, the congregation-owned church immediately became a tremendous source of pride for the community. As racial inequality divided the nation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Buffalo became a hub for abolitionists, civil rights leaders, and social activists — with the Michigan Street Baptist Church playing a prominent role in those revolutionary movements.
Learn More about this historical landmark of African American Heritage History at https://www.michiganstreetbaptistchurch.org