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Erie County bicentennial celebration continues with African American heritage in WNY


Mon, Aug 16th 2021 12:55 pm

3rd installment of Erie County Bicentennial Heritage Commemoration Series highlights Michigan Street corridor; free program features music, speakers

The EC200 committee announced the third event in the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series will take place Wednesday, Aug. 25, at the historic Roycroft Campus in East Aurora with an evening celebrating African American heritage in WNY. The free event will feature a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band along with speakers discussing African-American heritage, with a focus on the Michigan Street corridor. The event will take place from 6-8 p.m. on the Roycroft Campus’ Great Lawn at 31 South Grove St., East Aurora. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

“The third installment of the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series will provide a great evening of music and education centered on African American heritage in WNY and the Michigan Street corridor’s prominent role in it. This is a wonderful program and one that will be enjoyed by all in attendance,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “I commend the EC200 planning committee for the work they put in to present these summer commemoration series events and I thank the Roycroft Campus for being such gracious and accommodating hosts for the series as well.”

Roycroft Campus Executive Director Curt Maranto said, “We are thrilled with the continued success of Erie County’s bicentennial programs on the campus this summer. The Roycroft was founded on the ideals of individuality, inclusivity and community; it is an honor to celebrate our rich and diverse culture in Western New York, while also providing opportunities for new audiences to experience the Roycroft’s history and legacy.”

Executive Director Terry Alford said, “On behalf of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, I would like to thank our county executive and the organizers of the Erie County 200 for including our founding cultural anchors, the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Nash House, the Colored Musicians Club and Museum, and the WUFO Black Radio History Collective, in celebrating our great county. The commission serves as the connector of the past, present and future of those historic neighborhoods within and beyond our corridor. The commission, along with the anchors to be featured at the Roycroft Campus on Aug. 25, endeavors to integrate the cultural significance and historic impact made by African Americans in not just the City of Buffalo, but throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Region. This outstanding event will allow us to share a bit of the history interwoven into the fabric of the corridor as well as the vision for its future.”

In addition to a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band, the evening will include a brief introduction by Alford; remarks from Lillie Wiley-Upshaw & Rachel Henderson, chair and board member of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, who will speak on the history of the Michigan Street Baptist Church; Sharon Holley, president of the Michigan Street Preservation Corp., who will speak on the Nash House Museum; and Sheila Brown, owner of WUFO Radio and founder of the WUFO Black Radio History Collective.

Flying Bison Brewing Co. will be onsite offering beer tastings, and the Roycroft Inn will be open for additional food/beverage.

Attendees should bring their own blankets/chairs, may also bring their own refreshments, and should observe a carry-in/carry-out policy for food/trash.

For more information on EC200, visit https://www3.erie.gov/ec200/; on the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, visit www.michiganstreetbuffalo.org; or on the Roycroft Campus, visit https://www.roycroftcampuscorporation.com/.

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