The Afro-American Historical Association was founded in 1974 and is chartered by the New York State Department of Education. The primary mission of the Association is to preserve historical sources that pertain to Afro-Americans in Western New York and to promote research and scholarship that has to do with the life and history of Afro-Americans in New York State.
The Association sponsors numerous programs in the pursuit of its mission:
(1) Afro-American Local History Microfilming Project: The Association partners with Buffalo State College to preserve, on microfilm, the historical records and related sources of organizations, and personal papers of individuals from the Western New York area. Those microfilmed records and related sources are the major part of “The Buffalo Afro-American Collection.” The records are housed in the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library and Center for Local Afro-American History and Research, and the Butler Library Archives at Buffalo State College. The Association will work with community organizations and individuals in developing records management procedures that enhance preservation. There is no charge for that service;
(2) Afro-Americans in New York Life and History: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Since 1977, the Association has published a scholarly journal, Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, in January and July. The journal features articles that pertain to the life and history of Afro-Americans in New York State. It also features book reviews;
(3) Historically Speaking: The Association publishes a newsletter which features national and local news on Afro-American history and related topics; and
(4) Community Education Programs: The Association sponsors numerous community programs to promote interest in, and knowledge of, local Afro-American history. Programs include (a) the annual Carter Woodson Essay Contest for school aged children on a designated local history topic, (b) the annual Family History Dinner where members of the community have an opportunity to present papers on their family's history, (c) an annual workshop for churches and other community organizations on records management and records preservation, and numerous other public programs.
The Monroe Fordham Center at Buffalo State College currently holds the corporate records for the Afro-American Historical Association from the year 1972 until 1992.