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Home > Leadership > Mayor > News Room > Black History Month Celebration

Black History Month Celebration

In celebration of Black History Month, Mayor Byron Brown recognized the achievements of local individuals and organizations during the annual City of Buffalo Black History Month program, held in the lobby of City Hall. This year, awards were presented in the categories of arts and culture, education, healthcare, community service and more.

“Every year we come together to celebrate and recognize the contributions of those who help to further strengthen the quality of life for our city residents,” said Mayor Brown. “This year we are honoring individuals and groups who have worked tirelessly over the years to promote a stronger, smarter and healthier Buffalo.”

The city’s first Grammy nominated gospel choir was among today’s award recipients. Var-Son Community Choir was nominated for a Grammy award in the early 80’s. In November of 2016, the choir will celebrate their 50th anniversary.

This year’s categories and honorees are:

1. Arts and Culture Award - Paulette Harris African American Cultural Center
2. Community Service Award- Tawann Slaughter - CEO of  Buffalo 716’ers
3. Education Award-Dr. Katherine Conway-Turner (President Buffalo State College) and
4. Education Award-Dr. Catherine Collins (NYS Educational Regent)
5. Family Award- Pridgen Family
6. Healthcare Award- Dr. Charles Anderson (posthumously)
7. Youth Award-Karen Saxon- Director of Performing Arts Choir
8. Youth Award- Founder of F.A.T.H.E.R.S.
9. Faith-based award- Var-Son Community Choir (50th Anniversary)


Black History Month Background
Harvard-educated Historian Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  This was an effort to recognize the contributions of Black people in America. In 1976, under President Gerald R. Ford, Negro History Week would evolve into Black History Month.