The Buffalo community has been talking about creating the first monument that honors all African American Veterans, and soon, this will become a reality. African American Veterans Monument WNY (AAVM) will be located at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park.
The design of AAVM will be a matrix that will serve as a timeline and a map of longitudinal coordinates. Twelve black concrete pillars standing at ten feet tall and three feet wide will be placed in a chronological sequence to represent the dates that each of our country’s 12 military conflicts occurred.
According to Warren Galloway, chair of the African American Veterans Committee and Veterans of the U.S. Air Force, folks have been talking about this project for years.
“The Erie County Chapter of the Links started with an exhibit that has recorded the names of deceased African American Veterans that lived in Western New York. From that project, the idea for a Monument was birthed and our committee was formed under the leadership of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes,” he said.
This statue will be the first monument in the United States that honors all African American veterans, filling a void where African American veterans are honored and recognized for their contributions.
“The contributions of African Americans to the country’s military is an understated piece of history that my office has committed itself to shedding light on. In partnership with the Buffalo & Erie County Naval Park, the city, the county and my colleagues in the Assembly and Senate, we are excited to announce this project to the community and look forward to its completion,” said Peoples-Stokes.
According to Galloway, the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. was an inspiration for the monument. Jonathan Casey of Solid 716 presented AAVM with a “breathtaking design, 12 statuesque pillars that represent each of the armed conflicts our Nation’s military has been involved in since the first, The Revolutionary War in 1775.”
Galloway also said the design should provide a teachable moment for those who see it. The goal is for passerby to stop and ask what the pillars represent and to take moment to learn what they are.