Black History Month

Geoffrey Goose / WAER News

The Community Folk Art Center in Syracuse is celebrating Black History Month with a unique exhibit. WAER News caught up with Executive Director Tanisha Jackson at the gallery, and visual artist Lavett Ballard on a shaky phone line.  Ballard captures Black history by painting historical events in her series “Stories My Grandmother Told Me.” 

Legendary American Actress, Cicely Tyson passed away on January 28, 2021 leaving behind a body of work that represents a significant part of groundbreaking productions important to Black television history.  On this Black History episode of Pop Life, television historian Bob Thompson of Syracuse University, joins host Joe Lee in exploring Ms. Tyson’s career and the two discuss other notable Black television shows that have made important contributions to the growth and development of Black images on the small screen.


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On this episode of Pop Life the celebration of Black History Month continues. The conversation begins with Ja'Net DuBois, but also includes Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son and more.

Joining host Joe Lee to pay tribute to Dubois and to discuss some of the great sitcoms that featured African American ensembles on this Black History Month episode of Pop Life is the original guest expert Bob Thompson, founding Director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture and Trustee professor of Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University.

Scott Willis / WAER News

A couple dancing at a house party.  Children playing in a city street.  A silent protest in New York City.  There are just some of the photographs documenting every day African American life during the Jim Crow era on display at Syracuse University’s Shaffer Art Gallery. 


Leo Tully/WAER News

The Southwest Community Center in Syracuse has been spending time during Black History Month rehearsing an emotionally-heated play that premieres this Friday. It follows African Americans from the Civil War through today. Valerie Hill is the Director of Community Services at Syracuse Community Connections and the woman responsible for writing the play. She spoke about a pattern of unfortunate incidents that inspired her to write it.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

One Central New York man has his name woven through much of the history of the abolitionist movement…though many might not know him, or much about him.  In this installment of our Black History Month series C-N-Y: Unknown Underground we’ll visit Peterboro to learn a little more about Gerrit Smith.  Many of the anti-slavery activities and prominent figures in local history benefited greatly from his support. 

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Many people have walked or driven right past one of the most prolific passageways of the Underground Railroad in Syracuse…and never even knew it.  Why is an unassuming street corner in Syracuse really an important weigh station of history?

You very well might have driven past the intersection of East Genesee Street and Pine…maybe thousands of times.  Writer and local resident Madis Senner had a friend that lived just a few doors down.  

Delaware Elementary Teaches Black History with Living Wax Museum of Prominent Black Figures

Feb 17, 2017
Geani Sanabria/WAER News

Delaware Elementary School in Syracuse observed National African American parent Involvement Day  (NAAPID) Friday by presenting a living, historical wax museum of prominent black figures. The living museum brought figures such as Lebron James, Lauryn Hill, and Harriet Tubman to life with the help of students, teachers, and the community. Syracuse University master student Madeline Moore is a substitute teacher. She portrayed singer Lauryn Hill and says it's important for the students to learn about influential African  Americans.

Leo Tully/WAER News

Students at Ed Smith School kicked off Black History Month with a visit from a Civil Rights activist today.  Alice Moore was an active participant in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama as well as two other 1965 marches when she was 16 years-old.  Education Commissioner Mark Muhammad introduced the young crowd to Alice Moore and showed his appreciation for her contribution to advance the civil rights movement in America.

Jeddy Johnson / WAER News

Syracuse-area minority entrepreneurs often face additional barriers in the business world that can discourage them right at the start.  In our final installation celebrating Black History Month, we hear from one motivated business owner who is actually enjoying some success thanks to a program that breaks down barriers.

A Liverpool man decided it was time to launch his own business when he was laid off from his high-paying job at New Process Gear after 14 years.

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