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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Archives & Special Collections: Urban League of Buffalo Corporate Minutes & Reports [1927-1984]

The Monroe Fordham Regional History Center

Urban League of Buffalo Corporate Minutes & Reports [1927-1984]

The papers in this collection were procured for microfilming through the office of Mr. Leroy Coles, Director of the Buffalo Urban League.  There are two series of papers: 1927-1977 and 1927-1984. Please see inventories for individual series details. The Buffalo Urban League helps to empower minorities and disadvantaged individuals to secure economic self-reliance, power and civil rights.

  • Established in 1927 by an interracial group of prominent citizens, with initial funding from Mrs. Alfred H. Schoelkopf, the Buffalo Urban League was formed to address the employment, housing and social needs of African-Americans and immigrants migrating from the South to the North.
  • By 1930, some sixty groups met regularly at what became known as “The Chapel”. One of the groups which were started at the Chapel as a Work Progress Administration (WPA) orchestra was the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • In 1945, the agency officially became the Buffalo Urban League, Inc. (although many continued to call it “The Chapel”).
  • In 1926, the Buffalo Urban League was invited by Urban Properties, Ltd., to serve as sponsor for 400 housing units to be built with funding by the Federal Housing Authority.
  • In 1976, the Buffalo Urban League headed a team of organizations seeking quality education in the City of Buffalo in light of the Federal Court decision by Judge John T. Curtin regarding desegregation of the Buffalo Public Schools.
  • In 1984, the Urban League and the New York State Department of Social Services began an innovative program designed to facilitate the matching of potential adoptive parents with children available for adoption in Erie County.
  • Beginning in 1990, a Minority and Women Community Revolving Loan Trust Fund was established to provide low interest working capital loans to minority and women owned businesses.
  • In June 1990, more than 300 people celebrated with the Urban League as they marked the formal grand opening of the new headquarters in the heart of downtown Buffalo.
  • In 1997, the Buffalo Urban League’s Adoption Program was certified, a first in the history of the minority community in Western New York.
  • From 2003-2018, the League’s annual budget has grown from $600,000 to more than $4 million, with a full complement of services for our community’s most disadvantaged individuals.

-information taken from on 04/02/2018

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