Niagara Arts & Cultural Center celebrates African American history month with special exhibit

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Western New York played a large role in the Underground Railroad back in the 1800’s. February is African American history month, and you can learn more about the history in our region for free at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center all month.

“The question was once they got to this particular point, if they would actually make it through into Canada,” said Georgia Robinson, President of Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society.

Many years ago slaves escaped to Western New York, on a mission to make it to freedom in Canada.

“They were being chased by owners, bounty hunters, abolitionists, that kind of thing and so it really made a difference in getting to Western New York as far as Lockport,” said Robinson.

Each picture and piece of artwork in the exhibit conveys a message.

“This bridge actually is the suspension bridge built in 1848. This was how people traversed into Canada. Not necessarily across the bridge however because this bridge was being watched,” said Robinson.

Modern history is also represented by local African American artists in a special “Artists of color exhibit.”

“The title of the painting is ‘More tears for Lady Liberty’ and it’s expressing or conveying a message of how devastating it is to see many lives lost here in America,” said Rosetta Smith, local artist.

“There are a lot of ideas about and misconceptions about black art. A lot of it is poster art or protest art and people tend to kind of limit it, have a limited vision of what black artists do,” said Ray Robertson, Exhibit Curator.

The exhibit officially opens to the public this Saturday, February 10th. For more information, go to provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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