African Heritage Streetscape: Visionary Project

Brings Wealth Of Black Pride To The Community!

Fillmore Avenue from E. Ferry to MLK Park has been transformed into a historical, visual treasure and source of pride thanks to the progressive efforts of the Community Action Organization Of WNY (CAO) Fillmore Forward And The MLK Business District.

The Community Action Organization of Erie County (CAO) was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Housing Trust Fund for the New York Main Street Better Buffalo Fund Program (which comes from the Buffalo Billions).  These funds were awarded to give the MLK Business District a facelift.  In anticipation of Juneteenth, the Community Action Organization of WNY (CAO), Fillmore Forward, and the MLK Business District spearheaded the African American Heritage Streetscape project – a major and highly visible part of that facelift. Thanks to their efforts, the pictures/banners of 31 African American leaders now grace the front of establishments along Fillmore Avenue from E. Ferry to the entrance to MLK Park at E. Parade streets.

“We want people in the neighborhood/community to feel good about themselves,” said Pamela James of the CAO Alphonso Rafi Green Jr. Masten Resource Center. 

The major media, she continued, constantly portrays people of color in a negative light. But the truth is, she noted, “we have tons of leaders and we want the positive to over power the negative so that people can have a sense of pride.” This first installment of the positive imagery she said, is just the beginning as the plan is to extend the Heritage Streetscapeeven further.

A walking tour along Fillmore, which will give a brief history the banners and their significance to the community,  is being planned. 

The banner hanging ceremony took place last Thursday June 15 commemorating Alphonso Rafi Greene, Jr. the African American community leader and photographer that CAO named the Masten Resource Center.  Among those in attendance was L. Nathan Hare, President/CEOCommunity Action Organization, Dwayne Madyun, MLK Business District President and ownerof Ansar Communications and Rita Gay, Fillmore Forward, City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning.