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May 14th Community Collecting Initiative seeks to collect, document, preserve authentic record


Tue, Oct 17th 2023 05:00 pm

In a joint effort from a coalition of professionals, survivors and the community impacted by the May 14, 2022, massacre, a group is collecting, documenting and preserving “an intentional and authentic record of the horrific event that occurred.”

Organizers said, “We come together to create an inclusive model for shared stewardship to benefit current and future generations. This work is a process of discovery to encourage awareness of systemic racism and inspire actions to dismantle it.”

A press release asked, “One hundred years from now, how will the Buffalo 5/14 Massacre be remembered? How do we ensure a record of the event and the generational impacts of racism before this tragedy? How do we create a collection with integrity, accuracy, and trusted historical documentation?

“The May 14th Community Collecting Initiative is setting out to create a historical record so that future generations have a deeper understanding of this tragedy.”

As of this release, the coalition includes Buffalo African American Museum, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, The Buffalo History Museum, Burchfield Penney Arts Center, Canisius University, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House, Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, The Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State University, Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research & Education on Women Inc., victims’ family members, survivors, and broader community members.

The press release stated, “We welcome the Buffalo Together Community Response Fund’s support of the May 14th Community Collecting Initiative as a resource in their mission to develop a long-term, community-informed plan to accelerate the revitalization of east Buffalo by addressing economic and racial inequities.”

Committee member Garnell Whitfield, son of May 14 victim Ruth Whitfield, said, “In the aftermath of 5/14, we have an opportunity to tell the full story of that horrific event, but to also give it context and to use it as the impetus to mitigate and or eliminate the disparities that made our community vulnerable and a target long before 5/14. Through this process of discovery and the honest discussion of these issues, we honor our loved ones and are creating the change that their sacrifice demands.”

The May 14th Community Collecting Initiative will continue providing updates. Those interested in learning more can visit https://www.buffalolib.org/may-14th-community-collecting-initiative.

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