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Library branch to be renamed for Leroy Coles, former Urban League head

The East Delavan Library will be renamed the Leroy R. Coles Jr. Branch Library to honor the former Buffalo Urban League leader during ceremonies at 2 p.m. April 26 at the library, 1187 East Delavan Ave.

Coles, who marched with Martin Luther King Jr., was Urban League president and CEO for 26 years before retiring in 1998. During his tenure, the organization established the first black adoption agency in upstate New York, helped local governments develop affirmative action policies and got corporations to participate in job training for the disadvantaged. He also encouraged dialogue among ethnic, racial and religious groups.

A Common Council resolution backing the name change said  Coles "dedicated his career to the betterment of impoverished people across Erie County."

Coles died in 2015 at the age of 83.

The public ceremony will feature the unveiling of a plaque with Coles' image and biography, and include relatives from around the country as well as local Urban League officials, elected officials and community leaders.

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