Public art displays African-American achievers

Jun 30, 2017

New public art designed to uplift is now on display in the MLK business district on Buffalo's East Side. A series of 31 banners highlight the contributions of African-American leaders.

The displays, which can be found on Fillmore Avenue between East Ferry and East Parade, look to bring light to an area that is often portrayed negatively. 

One of the banners along Filmore Avenue in Buffalo.
Credit Photo from video by Sam Radford

"Crime takes place all over. Not just on the East Side,'  said  Better Buffalo Fund Coordinator Pamela James.

"However, since there is a sensationalism of crime here, what we are working to do is overpower the negative with positive."

Among those highlighted are Toni Morrison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Olympic hero Jesse Owens and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

James sees a common theme among those being honored on the banners.

"They had very negative situations but yet they create positive opportunities, not just for themselves, but for the people in their community."

The Community Action Organization, which works to fight poverty in the area, received a $300,000 state grant to cover the cost of the banners. James says the grant will also go towards renovating properties and other streetscape improvements.