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.