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Legacy Tea Honoring the Ladies of Humboldt Parkway Community

Please join historians, community leaders and grassroots activists as they pay tribute to special honorees
Mrs. Alice A. Hill, Dr. Lydia Wright, Mrs. Mamie Kirkland, Mrs. Willie Mae Johnson, and Mrs. Edna Gayles Kee, for their commitment and steadfastness pertaining to Humboldt Parkway and Hamlin Park. These trailblazers have led the way for others to steward preservation efforts in the respective communities.

What: Saturday, April 18, 2015, the Restore Our Community Coalition (ROCC) will honor the ladies of the early movement to protect and restore the Humboldt Parkway neighborhoods. The decision to destroy one of America’s tree lined Olmsted parkways and replace it with an expressway was introduced over 60 years ago. This planning decision has resulted in decades of decay, an economically disconnected community and decline of a once vibrant, clean, green, and beautiful neighborhood.

Why ROCC Legacy Tea? Women History Month was the inspiration. The Committee reflected on the long journey to seek answers and social justice for the community destruction. The ROCC Commitee wanted to begin a tradition of honoring the legacy of the female advocates of the movement during Women History Month.

“These ladies provide the connection of the past to the future”, stated Karen Stanley-Fleming, the Executive Director of ROCC.

The 2015 Honorees include: 

Alice A. Hill – Ms. Hill worked as a residential tax assessor and real estate broker, becoming the first Black female in Buffalo of either trade. Mrs. Hill’s passion for community activism became a model for the present-day Hamlin Park Taxpayers’ Association

Mrs. Willie Mae Johnson – Ms. Johnson was born in a Louisiana family of eight children. A registered nurse and alumnus of the University at Buffalo, having earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, she worked at Women and Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Mrs.  Johnson  has demonstrated  true  faith  in  her  community  by  speaking  out  on  such  issues  as  the devastation caused by the construction of the Kensington Expressway.

Mrs. Edna Gayles Kee – Ms. Kee is a Buffalo-born native and long term resident of the Hamlin Park Community. She has had major success as a distinguished professor at ECC, songwriter, composer and producer. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University at Buffalo

Mrs. Mamie Kirkland, at age 106 is one of the longest-living residents of the Buffalo community. She was born in Mississippi, and has experienced many cultural changes throughout the 20th Century. When Mrs. Kirkland was only 6 years old her family escaped from their home in Mississippi fearing that her father would be lynched. Today, Mrs. Kirkland continues to exercise her rights by casting a vote every single year, cherishing the hard-won results of the civil rights movement

Dr. Lydia T. Wright (deceased) became the first black member of Buffalo’s Board of Education, serving as a major advocate for the public school integration of the time. She was also the first Black female pediatrician, having studied medical science. Among her main accolades was the 2000 renaming of PS #89 as the Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence.

Who: Stephanie Barber Geter, Chair of ROCC and Pres. of Hamlin Park Tax Payer Association

  Clarke Eaton, founder of the Restore Our Community movement

Karen Stanley Fleming, Executive Director, ROCC

   Legacy Tea Honorees and Family 

   Hamlin Park Residents, ROCC Committee and community residents

Saturday, April 18, 2015  | 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Canisius College Student Center | Grupp Fireside Lounge | 128 Hughes Ave. (off Jefferson near Main) | Buffalo, NY 14208

This tribute and dedication is sponsored by Restore Our Community Coalition (ROCC)

ROCC has assigned a team of young folks who will be tying green ribbons on trees along Humboldt Parkway to mark the commemoration.

 

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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  • Sudden Debt

    BRO – such late notice about an interesting event ? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – what were people thinking when then bulldozed Humboldt Parkway?  Someone(s) must have gained $$ doing so.  I can think of no other reason.  As Cicero said “cui bono ?”.

  • Rand503

    Oh, I do hope they are serving cucumber sandwiches!

  • Rand503

    Sudden Debt They were all thinking that we need a good modern highway to go from the center of Buffalo to the airport easily and conveniently, and provide access to the growing suburban population.
    At the time, it made sense, and I am willing to give people the benefit of the doubt to a certain degree.  Of course, it was lamentable that they had to go right through one of our best parks to do it, and destroy whole neighborhoods, but back then people though it was progress.

  • foreverbflo

    As talked about in the past – they need to change the name from Humboldt “Parkway” to Humboldt “Trench”. 

    Please. Thank you. 
    I guess I will have to call Demoine Smith on this one – and Pridgeon – maybe Franczyk to.

  • Rand503 Sudden Debt There probably was very little opposition to the destruction of HP (yes, hard to believe). Just like when they were about to tear down Penn Station in NYC in the early 1960’s. There was a protest and maybe 100 people showed up (mostly architects, I believe).
    The destruction of Penn Station, and the proposed demolition of Grand Central Station were the galvanizing forces. The 1960 mindset of demolish everything for progress had, by 1970, changed to preserve everything for progress, whether it  be buildings, or neighborhoods to be destroyed by highways.
    The main concourse of Grand Central Station:
    https://ispynyc.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/grand-central-stations-20-million-clock/