Black History in Buffalo

Blacks in Buffalo cover

In celebration of Black History month, we’re highlighting some of the historic resources in the Grosvenor Room’s local history collection.

The first Buffalo directory, published in 1828, printed a list of “Names of Coloured People,” documenting early Black settlers in the village. This list is available reprinted in the 1876 City Directory.  The next published directory, 1832, also has a page listing Coloured People.  This practice was discontinued in subsequent directories.

1828 city directory colored people

1828 list, reprinted in 1876 Buffalo City Directory.


The Buffalo Collection includes books on the local African-American community; a few are pictured below.  These popular books, and additional titles, are listed in our Black History in Buffalo research guide.


Black History books


The Buffalo scrapbook collection includes one volume titled Negroes in Buffalo: Clippings, 1930, 1936 & 1940.  Newspaper clippings are from an African-American paper, the Buffalo Star, along with others from the daily papers–Buffalo Times, Courier-Express, and Buffalo Evening News.  The following pages document “Negro History Week” in 1930 and 1931.

Negro Scrapbook 2

Langston Hughes poem

Negroes in Buffalo Scrapbook, pages 2-3.

Further African-American newspapers published in Buffalo and preserved in our collection include:

Challenger: Sept 12, 1963 – present.

Criterion: 1964 – present. Various issues 1954-1987 also online through NY Historic Newspapers.

Empire Star: January 1946 to December 1961.

For additional resources, please see our other African-American research guides focusing on family history, the Underground Railroad, and the Niagara Movement.



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