Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) recognized a piece of Western New York’s African American history from the Floor of the House of Representatives as the country observes Black History Month. 

(To access video click above or go to: https://youtu.be/n-SBgBXRvRU)

Higgins said:

“As the nation recognizes Black History Month, I rise to pay tribute to a special history in my Western New York community. 

“This Friday marks the 100th Anniversary of Buffalo’s Historic Colored Musicians Club.

“The Club’s origin stretches back to 1917 when a group of African American musicians sought to create their own safe haven in a then-segregated community. They banded together, organized, and started Local 533 of the American Federation of Musicians.

“Some of the world’s most prolific jazz musicians have performed at the Club. The likes of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and Ella Fitzgerald all impressed crowds in the building near the corner of Broadway and Michigan.

“Through the years, the Colored Musicians Club has become an important community and cultural center, featuring a museum to educate new generations of the Club’s key role in Buffalo and our Country’s history.

“As this landmark celebrates a century of work we support its continued success and celebrate the example it sets in advancing the coming together of community and culture.”

In September the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened as a part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.  The Museum, established by an Act of Congress, has in its collection over 36,000 artifacts that help to tell the story of African American life, history, and culture. 

Additional resources provided through a collaboration between the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum are available at: www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov.

Dr. Carter Woodson is credited with what would come to be Black History Month when he pushed to recognize the plight and contributions of African Americans during the week that includes February 12, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and February 14, Frederick Douglass’ birthday.  In 1976 President Ford officially extended the observance to the entire month of February declaring “In celebrating Black History Month… we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”