Niagara Gazette


February 5, 2014

BRADBERRY: Secure the future, preserve our cultural heritage


Niagara Gazette — But, some things are clearer now.

Time and distance both have the ironic tendency to render that which is obvious, more obvious. So now that I am back where my journey began (in America), I can see things much more clearly, in perspective; I can better understand my own strange black history.

Slowly, like the careful, deliberate peeling of a small tender onion, I have begun the sometimes tearful, often painful, but more often joyful process of unfolding of events that began 400 years before I was born in the immaculately clean maternity ward of Mount St. Mary’s Hospital at the corner of Ferry Avenue and Sixth Street.

The Third Order of Saint Francis arrived in Niagara Falls just two years after W.E.B. DuBois convened the first meeting of the Niagara Movement. The meeting of “militant Black intellectuals” would result in the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and would later serve as the most powerful force for the world-wide liberation of black folk.

Thankfully, the good Sisters of St. Francis had worked extremely hard to see through the construction of their hospital, which on November 1914 opened its doors to serve “regardless of creed or color,” said the Right Reverend Charles H. Colton, bishop of Buffalo, and sure enough, 33 years later, in 1947, I and a few million other Baby Boomers were born in hospitals and homes across the nation; isn’t it time to learn their stories, ALL of them?

The rest, as they say, is history, full of stories, none to be forgotten without peril.

Contact Bill Bradberry at

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