From the Michigan Street Baptist Church, a stop along the Underground Railroad, to legendary jazz history at the Colored Musicians Club and Museum, a National Historic Site, Buffalo’s African-American heritage runs deep. The listings below will help you find businesses, restaurants, sites and other attractions that tell the rich stories of black culture in Buffalo.
Of particular note is the story of Mary Talbert, whose gravesite can be found at Forest Lawn Cemetery. She opened her Michigan Avenue home to W.E.B. DuBois, John Hope and 27 others for secret planning meeting for the Niagara Movement, which would lead to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Talbert went on to serve as president, vice president and director of the NAACP. A year before her death in 1922, Mary Burnett Talbert became the first African American woman to receive the prestigious NAACP Spingarn Award. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in October, 2005.
The Nash House Museum at 36 Nash St. is the preserved home of a prominent minister in Buffalo, the Rev. J. Edward Nash. The belongings and life he left behind provide a window into the city’s proud African-American heritage; learn more here!
With the surge of public art across the city, The Freedom Wall is one such piece of art with deep ties to the Civil Rights movement. Featuring massive portraits of 28 prominent Civil Rights leaders from Buffalo and beyond, this Albright-Knox commissioned mural is the work of four local artists; John Baker, Julia Bottoms-Douglas, Chuck Tingley, and Edreys Wajed. You can see it at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and East Ferry Street.
2018 saw the opening of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center. This experiential museum is appropriately positioned in the Falls as that was the final stop on the Underground Railroad before seeking freedom in Canada. The museum shares the authentic stories of Underground Railroad freedom seekers and abolitionists in Niagara Falls.
If you’re looking to support black-owned businesses, That Brown Bag is a comprehensive, constantly updated page of shops, restaurants, bars, boutiques, salons, and more for you to discover. Visit That Brown Bag on Facebook for more information.
Learn more in our African American Heritage Guide!