Niagara Gazette


December 13, 2012

HAMILTON: Honoring three irreplaceable men


Niagara Gazette — Mr. Carter served with me on the board of directors of the Area One Community Preservation Corp. and he was one of the first votes that I got when I needed the board to move forward on getting the city to build nine new homes in the area. Johnny Flynn grew up in one of those nine homes. I don’t know if that would have happened without Mr. Carter.

I didn’t know Corigan Sanoian as well as I knew the others. I met Cory, an engineer, when I was working to help develop the Michigan Central Bridge into a regional asset that would have provided jobs and tax base to the city of Niagara Falls. It was hard going and the project failed. But what wasn’t a failure was Cory’s belief in both the city and in me. There were times, while doing that project, when it didn’t seem that I had a friend; and then came Cory, with his words of encouragement. Like Mr. Carter, I will miss him.

And then there was Arthur Ray. I called him Uncle Art and people who didn’t know either of us well thought that I was his son. With him being short, brown, round and very, very talkative, sometimes people even thought that I was him – except he rarely had a bad word to say about anyone. I am a bit freer in that area.

I knew Uncle Art for almost as long as I knew Mr. Carter. He was a celebrity, of sorts, in our community, being the first black person to have a seat on the board of education. We looked up to him. We always looked up to him. Even when I grew taller than him, I still looked up to him.

And now, with the passing of those three great men, when I will look across the face of Niagara, I will see those cataracts awash in the rays of 8.3 billion candlepower of illumination, and I will feel no better. When I will look up into the deep, cold night and will see the outlines of a new dark and faceless moon. I will see those three men in it. And when I will look behind me and off into the city that was once ablaze with bright people, such as these three, it will seem no brighter than that new moon. And I will wonder, “Who, among the new one-thousands more, will take their places?”


Contact Ken Hamilton at

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