Niagara Gazette — Black and white Niagarans remained steadfast throughout the struggle; by 1963, they began to confront some of the issues that still haunt the city today.
As my friend and colleague, Norma Higgs pointed out a few years ago, “During this period members of 10 of Niagara Falls’ black churches, led by their ministers worked together, to come up with a plan to see more blacks hired in local retail establishments.
They conducted surveys led by Otis Cowart, a spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and demanded the hiring of blacks or face picketing.
Rallies were conducted and church members were asked not to shop at these retailers and picketing began to coincide with the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963.”
The W. T. Grant store on Main Street was chosen as the first crusade and picketing continued until Sept. 21, when management reached a settlement ensuring that blacks would be given equal employment opportunities at their store.
It was for Niagara Falls, a reaffirmation of principles that we will continue to struggle to fully realize from Washington, D.C. to Main Street, right here at home!Contact Bill Bradberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.