June 27, 1926 – Aug. 31, 2014
Bettye Amanda Blackman, a longtime educator and community leader, died Aug. 31 at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital after a short illness. She was 88.
Born Bettye Amanda McDaniel in Rock Hill, S.C., she was the third of five children. She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she met Dr. George E. Blackman.
They married Dec. 27, 1947, in Rock Hill following her graduation from college. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Howard in 1947 and a master’s degree from the University at Buffalo in 1960. Mrs. Blackman in 1968 furthered her studies at Canisius College, where she studied counseling at the post-graduate level.
She taught business courses at the William Penn Business Institute in Philadelphia, and relocated to Buffalo in 1954. Affectionately known as “Mrs. B”, she began teaching business courses at East High School in 1956, becoming one of the first African-American women to teach secondary school in the Buffalo Public School District. She then became a school counselor in 1967, retiring from the district in 1985.
Following her retirement, Mrs. Blackman continued to educate and assist youth. She served as the Ferry District member of the Buffalo Board of Education from 1986 to 1992, and she was a former vice-president of the board. In 1989, Mrs. Blackman became a HeadStart evaluation consultant with Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, and in 1994 she joined the staff of the UB Research Foundation at Buffalo’s Academic Talent Search as a counselor.
She was a founder and secretary of the Buffalo Negro Scholarship Foundation. Under the leadership of her late husband, the foundation presented its first scholarships in 1961, and it continued over the years to assist with the financial and educational needs of more than 500 students.
Mrs. Blackman was community-oriented and served on numerous boards and committees, including treasurer of the New York State Council of Large City School Boards; New York State School Boards Association, Advisory on Minority Issues; New York State Task Force on the Teaching Profession; Board Association’s Ad Hoc Committee on Public School Choice, and the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Board of Ethics. Additionally, she served on lay committees at Daemen College; Buffalo General Hospital, School of Nursing; and the Admissions Committee for the UB School of Dentistry.
Her dedication to children and her community did not go unnoticed. She received many awards and acknowledgements, including the Education Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1989; the Citizen of the Year award from The Buffalo News in 1989; the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Bridge Builders Historical Award in 1990; an award from the National Committee for School Desegregation in 1990; the Outstanding Intercultural Relations Education Award from Quality Integrated Education in 1988, and recognition as an Uncrowned Queen in 2000.
Mrs. Blackman’s spiritual beliefs began at an early age, as the daughter of a Baptist minister. She continued in her faithfulness and joined St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in the 1960s, where she was a devoted member until her death.
Her hobbies included music, reading, dancing, skiing, boating, bridge and poker, and stamp and coin collecting. She was a member of the Buffalo Chapter of Girl Friends; the Harriet Tubman 300s; Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority; and Archousa of the Sigma Pi Phi Boulé of Buffalo.
Her husband of 39 years died in 1986.
Survivors include her son, George E. Jr.; two brothers, Dr. A.T. McDaniel and the Rev. Paul McDaniel; a sister, Rosa Hill; a foster brother, George Smalls Sr.; two grandsons; and a special friend John Gomes.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 15 Fernhill Ave., Buffalo.