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Celebrating Black History Month

CAO is celebrating Black leaders with Buffalo roots in honor of Black History Month.

Florence Baugh was the President of the Buffalo Board of Education from 1975-80 and 1983-89, where she led the City of Buffalo through the desegregation of Buffalo Public Schools. Which led to the development of the Magnet Schools which became a national model for desegregating schools. She retired from the Community Action Organization of WNY as the Director of Neighborhood Services. She is the prime example of how community service impacts everyone around you, dedicating her life to help Buffalo’s underserved communities. Let us celebrate Florence and many other Black leaders this February. 

Learn more about Florence:

We honor CAO’s founder and first Executive Director, the late Rev. Ambrose I. Lane Sr. Mr. Lane was an anti-poverty activist, integral in creating the Community Action Organization of WNY. Also notable, he was the first African-American candidate for mayor of Buffalo in 1969. A journalist, author, teacher and longtime WPFW-FM Pacifica Radio broadcaster, Mr. Lane paved the way for mandating citizen participation in Buffalo. 

Read more about Lane’s life and legacy:

Vonetta Rhodes-Osi, aka Queen Halima is a CAO Board Member, poet, educator, and community activist.  She has been involved in early childhood education for almost 30 years. She feels unapologetic about her belief that high-quality early childhood education is a civil right and “care is education and education is care.” #bhm #blackhistorymonth

Learn more about Vonetta:

Sheila Brown is the first Black Woman Radio station owner in Buffalo, owning WUFO 1080AM and Power 96.5 FM. In 2015, Sheila authored “29 Years of Preparation” – a guide book to making your epic dream come true. Help us celebrate this visionary leader today! #bhm #blackhistorymonth


Learn more about Sheila:



#CelebrateBlackHistory: Let’s hear it for Buffalo Native, Karima Amin! Karima is a scholar, retired educator, community organizer, and full-time professional storyteller. She attended Buffalo Public Schools growing up and graduated from the SUNY Buffalo. Karima has received nearly forty citations for community service and has delivered thousands of storytelling performances and speaking engagements. #bhm #blackhistorymonth

Learn more about Karima:

The late Alphonso ‘Rafi’ Greene served Buffalo with thirty years of community service across various organizations. He mentored young men and was known for his selflessness, work ethic, and countless acts of kindness. Rafi joined CAO as its Media Director in 2003, serving as the resident photographer, videographer and radio and cable television producer for five public affairs shows. CAO named it’s site at 1423 Jefferson Ave, the Alfonso “Rafi” Greene CAO Masten Resource Center in his honor. #bhm #blackhistorymonth

Learn more about Rafi at



#CelebrateBlackHistory: Malcolm Erni was the Founder of the African American Cultural Center (AACC) in 1958. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, Malcolm dreamed of a cultural and spiritual sanctuary where young people would learn that God is a God of all races and ethnic groups. The AACC has offered sanctuary, validation and celebration for the duality of being African and American. #bhm #blackhistorymonth

Visit to learn more about the AACC.

The Honorary Craig D. Hannah was appointed by Mayor Byron Brown as a Buffalo City Court Judge in January 2006, and in November 2006, he was elected to this seat. He served this seat through November 2019, when he was elected as Chief Judge of the Buffalo City Court. Judge Hannah is the Chairman of the nominating committee of the City of Buffalo Ethics Commission and a board member of Buffalo Prep, the Buffalo Police Athletic League, and the Bar Association of Erie County’s Aid to Indigent Prisoners. In addition to his role as President of the Board of Directors of the Community Action Organization of Western New York, Judge Hannah serves on the National Judicial Opioid Task Force. He is also active in several civic and fraternal organizations and a subscribing Gold Life Member of the NAACP. 

Learn more about Judge Hannah at

Today, we recognize Dr. Eva Doyle, a local historian and retired Buffalo Public School teacher with 30 years of teaching experience! Dr. Doyle’s mission is to teach Western New York about African American history. She recently received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from SUNY Buffalo State and is pursuing her Ph.D. She is a columnist for The Criterion, the oldest Black newspaper in Western New York, and she recently retired from WUFO, the area’s only Black-owned radio station. Her dedication, passion and vision for Buffalo as an economic engine through history and cultural tourism should bring inspiration to us all. 

Read this recent article on Dr. Doyle and her mission.

Today we celebrate William E. Peoples Jr., who we lost on February 18, 2021. Bill was an entrepreneur, U.S. Army Veteran, and founded Umoja group, a non-profit named after the Kwanzaa principle of unity. William supported and worked with the Stop the Violence Coalition, United Black Men’s Think Tank of Buffalo and the Community Action Organization of Western New York through Umoja. He will be sorely missed by our community. 

Read Williams Obituary in the Buffalo News: