BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBKW) — It's a project that's been in the works for over 7 years.
The archway to mark the African American Heritage Corridor was installed yesterday on Michigan Avenue.
People flocked to the area to see the area finally marked that has carried the history of the rich culture and accomplishments of Black people in Buffalo for decades.
Darius Pridgen represents the Ellicott District where the archway was installed he said, “This has been my dream since shortly after being elected to have the only full archway in the City of Buffalo.”
Pridgen said the archway was entirely constructed on Buffalo’s East Side. The steel was brought in and everything else was prepared at Lazarus Industries — a certified minority owned enterprise, according to its website.
“It is really something that gets everybody’s attention,” Pridgen said of the design. “So that’s important to the corridor that’s needed that for so long.”
The corridor includes:
- The historic Michigan Street Baptist Church -- a stop on the underground railroad
- WUFO, the state's first and only black female owned radio station
- The Historic Colored Musicians Club, a black musicians union
Many more contributions from the African-American community are marked in the area including the Nash House museum.
The historic home used to be occupied by Bishop William Henderson, who was responsible for saving the Michigan Street Baptist Church that sits adjacent to the property.
Henderson has dedicated his life to preserving and teaching about the rich history in that very corridor, and Michigan Avenue was even dedicated back to him -- bearing his name with an honorary designation as "Bishop William Henderson Way" to honor his contributions to the area.
His daughter, Rachel, tells 7 Eyewitness News that Bishop Henderson saw the archway being driven past his home yesterday morning and ran from his house to watch it be installed.
"It floods my soul with joy. I'm over-rejoicing seeing this. I always wanted to see it in my lifetime," said Bishop Henderson. "And, I thank God that He had let me see what's happening now."
Video/interview courtesy: Rachel Henderson, filmmaker