(Ed. Note: On Tuesday the Common Council unanimously approved a resolution by Council President Darius Pridgen to name a street in Buffalo”Black Lives Matter.” Now a street has to be chosen.)
by Betty Jean Grant
East Ferry Street had a lot of Black history long before this current movement to designate a street Black Lives Blvd. in Buffalo.
East Ferry St is home to Bethel AME Church, a churc.h that was connected to the Underground Railroad due to its close proximity to Scajaquada Creek, a creek that ran from Cheektowaga to Broderick Park and emptied into the Buffalo River. Enslaved Africans hid in the church’s basement until nightfall and then, under the cover of darkness and sympathetic supporters, climbed aboard ferry boats and rode them to Broderick Park where they were ferried across the river to Canada and freedom.
Another reason to consider East Ferry Street as Black Lives Matter Blvd. is that it is the northernmost location of the African American Heritage Corridor that begins on Michigan Ave near Broadway. We already have the Freedom Wall with the picture of Alicia Garza, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, along with the portraits of other local and national civil rights activists. The East Ferry designation can also include the proposal to erect a second Archway to complement the one designed by famed artist, Valeria Cray, and erected at Michigan and Broadway Aves.
Please call your NYS representatives and your district councilmember and the mayor’s office to tell them that Black Lives Matter and that you support designating East Ferry Street as Black Lives Matter Blvd.
(Betty Jean Grant is founder of We Are Women Warriors)