Buffalo, NY – Mayor Byron W. Brown today announced a special tribute to honor the late George K. Arthur, one of Buffalo's most prominent leaders and a major figure in the City's African American community. Mayor Brown has directed the dome atop Buffalo City Hall to be lit white overnight in Arthur's honor and has called on the Buffalo Landmark Illumination Team (LIT) to also light their structures in the local icon’s memory.
Additionally, for the first time in City of Buffalo history, Mayor Brown has directed every light to be illuminated in each window of Buffalo City Hall, in honor of Mr. Arthur's lasting, positive impact on our community. The date was selected to honor the former Common Council President because today marks the first Common Council meeting of 2021.
Mayor Brown stated, "George K. Arthur was a beacon of hope to the City of Buffalo, which is why this first-of-its-kind tribute is a fitting memorial. He fought for equity, opportunity and fairness every day of his life, and the City of Buffalo is a better place because of his efforts. We must ensure that future generations never forget George K. Arthur's legacy. He is yet another example of how the actions of one person can be a spark to ignite positive change in our community."
George K. Arthur passed away on December 25, 2020 following a lengthy illness at age 87. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Mr. Arthur was actively involved in public service for 55 years, serving on the Buffalo Common Council for 26 years, including a dozen as president before his retirement. He continued to work for Buffalo until his passing as a member of the Buffalo Fiscal Stability Authority.
One of Mr. Arthur's most impactful efforts was his fight against the inequalities he saw in the City's education system, with support from the Buffalo branch of the NAACP and the Citizens' Council for Human Relations. He was the lead plaintiff in a school desegregation lawsuit, Arthur v. Nyquist, which was filed in 1972. The federal lawsuit was decided in 1976, with the court ruling in Mr. Arthur's favor.
Mr. Arthur also worked with various outside community and cultural organizations, including the NAACP, the Black Leadership Forum, the historic First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, the Michigan Street Preservation Corp., and especially the Nash House Museum, which he championed. He also helped spearhead an annual Pine Grill Reunion.