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'Crisis in Black education' highlights Black History Month in Buffalo

The national theme of Black History Month across the United States is "the crisis in Black education."

To take up the issue in Buffalo, a community forum on "Who is responsible for educating African-American children?" will be held at 10 a.m. March 4 in East High School, 820 Northampton St.

"We are asking questions to all the stakeholders, but really centering on the voices of the students," said Karen Stanley Fleming, chairwoman of the Michigan Street African-American Heritage Corridor Commission, which is sponsoring a series of events starting this month as well as the March 4 forum.

The forum will conclude with a theatrical performance by students.

Among the other Black History Month events planned in Buffalo:

  • The month's events kick off with "Jazz in the Sanctuary," a concert marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the union that wound up creating the Colored Musicians Club on Broadway. The performance is a tribute to bebop featuring Carol McLaughlin and Friends to be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave. Organizers are asking for a $10 donation to attend.  The Colored Musicians Club has hosted a number of jazz greats in its rich history, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday.
  • Also on Feb. 11, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., there will be historical storytelling followed by a free tour in the  Nash House Museum, 36 Nash Street.  Storyteller Denise Acosta will appear at noon and 1 p.m.,  followed by Yvonne Harris at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • "100 Years and More - Black History in Buffalo," an exhibit at the Central Library downtown, runs from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28. The exhibit will focus on Mary Talbert, an activist who lived in Buffalo who was a leader in the civil rights and women's suffrage movements. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New York State. The exhibit will include video and information panels and will be located in the library's Ring of Knowledge on the first floor. Other sites and groups will be represented, including the Colored Musicians Club, the Nash House, the Michigan Street Baptist Church and the Buffalo African-American Museum Committee. A grand opening of the exhibit is planned for 1 p.m. Feb. 15.
  • A lecture entitled "The Great Migration: The courageous tale of African Americans leaving the South" will be given at noon Feb. 18 at the Colored Musicians Club, 145 Broadway. The featured speaker is genealogy researcher Sharon Amos of the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier. There will be a fee for admission to the Colored Musicians Club Museum and for lunch.
  • University at Buffalo associate professor Lillian Williams will address "African American Female Activism: Mary Talbert to Black Lives Matter" at 3 p.m. Feb. 26. A location for the event has not been finalized.

For more information, visit the commission on Twitter at @MSAAHC or at its web site,

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