One of the last projects the iconic Herb Bellamy Sr. created before his passing in 2006 was a Black History Museum on the 2nd floor of 1490 Enterprises, recalled his son Herb Jr.
Last Wednesday, Nov. 4, a beautifully expanded version of that vision was dedicated to the memory of the late Mr. Bellamy, “the Greatest Achiever” during a ribbon cutting to mark the grand opening of the Buffalo Black Achievers Museum at 1490 Jefferson Avenue. “I enhanced my father’s vision with today’s technology and more of a focus on the Founder’s Room, Black Achievers & Black History education along with scholarships for children,” said Herb . “This year in a pandemic, we were truly blessed and fortunate to complete our museum.” Among the dignitaries who participated in the ceremony was Lt. Gov. Kathy,Hochul, State Senator Tim Kennedy, Mayor Byron Brown and Pastor Arthur Boyd of 2nd Chance Ministries.
Mayor Brown called the opening of the Black Achievers Museum an example of the “great progress for East Side of Buffalo, of the City of Buffalo and for all of Western New York.” He thanked Herbert Bellamy Jr., Governor Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senator Kennedy and Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes for providing state resources for the facility. He also praised Herb Bellamy Sr., founder of the Black Achievers Awards, “who 48 years ago thought it was important to recognized the accomplishments of Black members of this community in Buffalo and Erie County …and that legacy has lasted.” The mayor, who was a Black Achiever awardee in 1989, additionally praised Herb. Jr. for not only carrying on his father’s legacy but taking it “ to a new level for a new time for a new people.”
The Buffalo Black Achievers Museum features touch screen monitors and interactive exhibitions to highlight and educate visitors about achievements and contributions of African-American community members. It spotlights these achievers through photography, text panels, streaming video and three-dimensional artifacts. The museum also features a founder’s room, media room/theatre and a Wall of Achievers with informational exhibits and panels representing every decade dating back to the 1970s.
It stands at the spot where Bellamy Sr. founded 1490 enterprises, a nonprofit community center described by Mayor Brown as “one of the most vibrant, visited human services agencies in all of Western New York.” The Buffalo Black Achievers Museum is open Saturdays from 11 am. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and free for youths 5 and under. The museum follows public health and safety standards and will have limited hours due to COVID-19. For more information, call 716-884-1490.
“We could not have done any of this without our many faithful sponsors! ” Herb Jr. said thanking everyone who have supported Black Achievers since its inception. “It would have been great if we could have invited our sponsors, achievers and the general public to the ribbon cutting ceremony, but we were unable to do so due the NYS Museum Guidelines and our concern for public safety in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
He continued: “Equally as important to our continued success are the contributions and support we receive from our faith community and elected officials. “Our founder’s vision and teachings continues to surpass our expectations and imagination! In addition his legacy continues to impact many Black American lives in Buffalo and around the world every day. To God be the glory for the best is still yet to come for us!”
The museum was made possible in large part to a $200,000 grant as part of Governor Cuomo’s $50 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, a Buffalo Billion initiative.