Black History Month spotlight on untold stories at Old Fort Niagara

Feb 26, 2020

Most Western New Yorkers know a little about the history of Old Fort Niagara. What hasn’t always been clear is the role of African Americans at the fort.

A mural inside the Officer’s Club at Old Fort Niagara, painted by African-American artist Hubert Crawford
Credit Brigid Jaipaul-Valenza/WBFO photo

WBFO’s Brigid Valenza took a tour with the fort’s executive director, Robert Emerson, who explained some of its special hidden history.


The fort has recently begun to recognize and conduct tours that spotlight the slaves who sought refuge there, the black units that were garrisoned there, and a mural painted by African-American artist Hubert Crawford.

The fort dates to 1726 and was an important British outpost before being used to house soldiers into barracks there as late as 1926.