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Frank Merriweather

American, 1888-1959

Edreys Wajed’s portrait of Frank Merriweather for The Freedom Wall, 2017. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

As a publisher, political organizer, and dedicated family man, Frank Merriweather helped shape the political, economic, and civic growth of Buffalo’s African American community for more than three decades. After moving to the area in 1922, Merriweather founded the Buffalo Criterion. He envisioned the publication as a space to interweave local and national issues impacting the lives of African Americans, featuring stories on housing, employment, education, and civil rights, as well as the push for greater representation on the Buffalo Board of Education. Today, the Buffalo Criterion is still published by the Merriweather family and is the longest-running continuously published African American newspaper in Western New York.

Alongside his publishing work, Merriweather was active in the local political scene. In 1928, he helped form the first African American political clubs in Buffalo and subsequently organized voter registration drives. During the Great Depression, Merriweather opened the doors of his home to friends and neighbors who were hungry, helped secured bail for men who were arrested, and hired recently released prisoners as temporary employees, transforming his household into a center of the community.

Last updated 2019