BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The first day of February marks the official start of Black History Month. Guests from the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor joined News 4 on Wake Up! Wednesday morning to discuss what they have in store to honor Black history — not just during February — but year-round.

“I want everyone to know, we celebrate Black history 365 days of the year,” said Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, Chair of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission. “February just gives us an opportunity to highlight, spotlight, and celebrate the rich contributions that the African American community has made to this country and to this city.”

During the month of February, the corridor has many events to help honor the Black history rooted in Buffalo, including one titled, “There are Stories to Tell: Black History Month Talks” at the Frank E. Merriweather Jr. Library, and showcasing local artists through the “Black History Through Art Series.”

“It’s going to be a month full of activity and celebration,” Wiley-Upshaw said. “There is so much creativity and beauty and so many ways for art to really express the beauty of Black folks, so this program is really about that.”

Throughout the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, visitors can find centuries of stories and history at the Michigan Baptist Church, The Colored Musicians Club and Museum, WUFO, and the Nash House Museum.

“If there’s any kind of history that anybody needs to know about Buffalo and African Americans — it’s in this house,” said Richard Daniels from the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation and the Nash House Museum. “It’s been one house that’s like a time capsule. It has all the artifacts in there. It has all the furniture in there. It’s been untouched.”

The Nash House is where Reverend Nash and his wife lived while he was one of the three pastors of African American churches at the time. Now, the Nash House is a staple of preserving the impact Nash had on the Buffalo community.

“It’s like a gem in our city that people really need to see because it’s remarkable,” said Daniels.

Another staple in the corridor that preserves rich history in its grounds is the Michigan Street Baptist Church, which was built in the 1840s.

“The church is open as a historic site because this was a stop on the Underground Railroad,” said Wiley-Upshaw. “89% of the people who built this church were freedom seekers, formerly enslaved, and came to Buffalo on their own for their freedom, and they constructed the church.”

The church is currently being renovated but continues to be open for tours. For more information on how to visit the church, or help donate towards searching the grounds for artifacts, visit their website here.

For more information on the Nash House Museum, visit their website here. For more information on the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor and the events planned throughout the month of February, visit their website here.

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Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.