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Dr. Monroe Fordham

American, 1939-2012

Chuck Tingley’s portrait of Dr. Monroe Fordham for The Freedom Wall, 2017. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

Beginning in the 1960s, Dr. Monroe Fordham worked tirelessly to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans—especially members of Buffalo’s African American community—to this country’s history and culture. In 1974, Fordham (who had recently completed his doctorate at the University at Buffalo) was a driving force in founding The Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier: an organization dedicated to collecting and preserving records documenting the legacies of African Americans in Western New York. The Association shared its work in part through an interdisciplinary journal, Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, which Fordham edited between 1977 and 2008. Today, the Association’s collections are shared by the William A. Miles Center for African and African-American Studies at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library and the Monroe Fordham Regional History Center at Buffalo State College.

Also in 1974, Fordham began what would be a twenty-four year tenure as a professor at Buffalo State College. As a member and longtime chair of the History Department, Fordham not only made significant contributions to the study of African American history but also helped to inspire generations of students and researchers.