February 4, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Black History Month Exhibit at New York State Capitol

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of Black History Month Exhibit at New York State Capitol

New Exhibit Pays Tribute to Ten African-American Activists Who Fought for Social Justice

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of a new Black History Month exhibit honoring African-American leaders who brought forth social change and helped shape a better world for New Yorkers and all Americans. The exhibit is located in the War Room on the second floor of the New York State Capitol, and will run through the end of February.

“This month we proudly honor visionary African-American leaders who fought for social justice and helped build a better future for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “The legacy of these inspiring leaders will never be forgotten, and it is my hope and expectation that those visiting the State Capitol will come away with a greater appreciation of our state’s history and the incredible contributions of these outstanding men and women."

The new exhibit depicts the history of the civil rights movement, including the desegregation of the armed forces, mass transit, and public schools. The exhibit also illustrates the fight for better access to higher education and jobs for minorities, in addition to other forms of social progress that still resonate today.

In total, ten African-American leaders are being recognized for their accomplishments, including:

  1. Elizabeth Jennings Graham: Schoolteacher who stood up for her right to ride a streetcar, leading to the desegregation of the New York City transit system.
  2. James Weldon Johnson: Leading figure in the creation and development of the Harlem Renaissance and the first African American professor at New York University.
  3. Florynce Rae “Flo” Kennedy: Civil rights advocate who founded the Feminist Party and the National Black Feminist Organization.
  4. Bill Lynch: Political advisor and strategist who played a key role in former New York City Mayor David Dinkins’ election and major achievements.
  5. Norman McConney Jr.: Political advisor dedicated to advancing higher education opportunities for minority students.
  6. Constance Baker Motley: The first African American woman to serve in the New York State Senate and the first to serve as a federal judge.
  7. Philip Randolph: Social activist whose March on Washington movement helped to end segregation in the armed services.
  8. Charlotte E. Ray: The first female African American lawyer in the United States and the first woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  9. Cleveland Robinson: Labor leader who chaired and helped to organize the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
  10. Maria Stewart: The first African American woman to lecture publicly and the first to lecture about women’s rights.

The Black History Month exhibit is free and open to the public. For more information about visiting the New York State Capitol, please go to: http://www.ogs.ny.gov/esp/ct/tours/Capitol.asp

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640