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Hidden History: Celebrating Black History Month in Rochester

Black History Month

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Hidden history is News 8’s way of celebrating Black History Month locally.

Across the southern U.S. states there are at least 60 historic sites devoted to civil rights, but there are hardly any such sites in the north.

That’s about the to change, and Rochester is leading the way. In this special, you’ll see and hear some of the ways the Flower City is carrying the torch of yesteryear forward. Included in this special presentation are:

Frederick Douglass

Few figures loom larger in Rochester than Frederick Douglass. From his founding of the The North Star publication, to securing a path to freedom for slaves on the Underground Railroad, Douglass was a powerful presence in the Flower City — a presence that endures to this day.

Fight on

It was one of the biggest milestones of the Civil Rights Movement, and it happened in Rochester, New York. In this story, we take you back to the grand opening of a company rotted in the upheaval and promise of the 60s.

News 8 anchor Maureen McGuire cracks open the News 8 Archives to show you January 28, 1969 on Sullivan Street in Rochester where hundreds were on hand for the grand opening of a company called Fight On, the nation’s first black-run community development corporation. The goal of which was to create jobs for unemployed black workers.

Pittman Fountain

Maybe you’ve passed by this drinking fountain in downtown Rochester — right near the Liberty Pole.

It’s the Miss Jane Pittman Drinking Fountain, and it has a unique and special place in Rochester’s history. News 8 reporter Atyia Collins sat down with the women who got the statue on the street.

Dr. Walter Cooper

If you’ve been living in Rochester long enough, and you’ve watched the news regularly, you would not only know who Walter Cooper is, but you’d also know his history.

A scientist with Kodak, and a Civil Rights leader oft he 60s and on, but what you may not know is how he thinks we can address many of the concerning issues faced by the African-American community, right now, right here in Rochester.

He was kind enough to invite News 8 anchor Adam Chodak into his home to talk about those very issues.

Housing challenges in Rochester

Owning a home is said to be a part of the American Dream, and while many share that dream, too often barriers can obstruct some from reaching it.

News 8 reporter Atyia Collins looks at how this can be true, particularly for people of color here in Rochester, and what solutions are available to help them find affordable, safe housing.

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