Congressman Brian Higgins announced the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor commission was awarded $100,000 in federal funding through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
“This funding will support the ongoing effort to share the stories of the people, places and happenings that make Michigan Street an important part of the history of Buffalo and the nation,” Higgins said. “Collaboration between the individual partners is building new opportunities for an active corridor that engages the community and drives tourism.”
Terry Alford, executive director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor commission, said, “On behalf of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor board of directors, those residents living in those historic neighborhoods that connect to the corridor, and our four founding cultural anchors, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Institute of Museums and Library Services for granting us with its African American History and Cultural grant – one of only 34 grant awards it has awarded across the country. The funds we will receive from this award is a gamechanger in our continued effort to share those unique stories and people emblematic of 185 years of the cultural significance and impact made by African Americans in the City of Buffalo and beyond. This award will further enhance our corridor as a true heritage destination that celebrates our heritage, which ranges from the abolitionist and Niagara movements to the civil rights and early jazz periods. We are quite excited to be recognized in this way by such a prestigious organization.”
Higgins’ team said, “The $100,000 federal grant will support the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor commission’s interpretive plan, intended to build the capacity of five anchor Buffalo institutions, in order to develop and expand public programs and exhibitions by creating a visitor experience plan.
“Representatives from the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Nash House Museum, the Historic Colored Musicians Club and Museum, and WUFO 1080-AM Black Radio History Collective will collaborate with visitor experience consultants to produce the plan. These anchor institutions preserve stories, collection, and structures on themes ranging from the Buffalo anti-slavery movement, the Niagara movement, the civil rights movement, and the jazz age. The visitor experience plan will shape future interpretation, exhibitions and public wayfinding in the corridor through a cohesive narrative that tells the story of the entire Michigan Street Corridor.”
The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. In 2003, Congress passed the National Museum of African American History and Culture Act. In addition to providing authority to create the Smithsonian Museum for African American History and Culture (AAHC), the act provides authority to support efforts across the country that preserve and promote Black history and culture.
This grant is one of just 34 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture awarded nationwide. Higgins previously announced $204,845 in federal funding for the Michigan Street Baptist Church.
In recent weeks, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor celebrated the grand-opening of its new headquarters and visitors center. For more information, visit www.michiganstreetbuffalo.org.