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commUNITY spotlight: Buffalo's Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor

Cultural anchors within the corridor will hopefully become a tourist attraction.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Canalside is a destination and not far away are cultural gems on the Black community in Buffalo. A major plan is underway to make the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor a tourist destination. 

"We're trying to utilize this to tell the rich stories that focuses on the cultural significance and impact made by African Americans in the city of Buffalo and in the Buffalo Niagara region," said Terry Alford.

Terry Alford is the executive director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission. "We released our strategic action plan, an economic development strategy which will serve as a roadmap in terms of transforming our corridor into the economic juggernaut that we believe it can be based on complementing our core cultural anchors, Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Colored Musicians Club and museum, the Nash House and of course, the local radio black radio collective."

There is secured funding and people working on the project to make sure it becomes a reality. 

"We're obligated to keep these stories alive and relevant and rich, especially for our children and for generations to come.  African American history is Buffalo history," Alford said.

He expects the public to begin seeing something big soon as they are working with local developers.

"There have been plans in the past and you know rightfully the community is cynical because of the plans of the past that  never really gained  any momentum or resulted in any realized vision. The difference this time around is, there is dedicated staff," he said.

Alford was quick to point out that this is the last area in the city around the downtown corridor that needs to be developed.

Credit: Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission