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Ida Dora Fairbush

She was born in Buffalo, NY. She is accomplished in the area of Education.
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Ms. Ida Dora Fairbush was born in 1868 or 69 in Buffalo, New York. Her parents were John and Emanda Fairbush. John was a native of Maryland and Emanda was born in Pennsylvania. In addition to Ida, the Fairbush family including Nelson S., Olive and two daughters that apparently did not survive into adulthood. Nelson was a postal office clerk and Olive worked as a domestic. Olive died in 1934 as the result of being hit by a car. She lived with her sister at the time. Ida was a member of the Vine Street A.M.E. Church.

Ida attended public schools in Buffalo and was apparently an honor student. Ida was extremely active in the community, even as a teenager and numerous references to her can be found in the contemporary newspapers. An article in the Buffalo Enquirer in 1884, which cited scholars admitted to Central High School named Ida Fairbush as having passed all 5 subjects required for a "Regents Certificate". She was also mentioned in the June 30, 1884 edition of the Buffalo Courier, for being awarded the 2nd class silver medal Jesse Ketchum award. It was also stated that she lived at 121 Babcock Street and attended School 26. The June 2, 1889 edition of the Buffalo Express, which listed high school graduates named Ida D. Fairbush as one of the 81 graduates. The Principal of the schools was Henry P. Emerson.

The Cleveland Gazette of October 18, 1890 reported on a testimonial musical that was given in Ida's honor on the occasion of her departure for Wilberforce College. A year later the Gazette cited that Ida had received a prize in the rhetorical contest held at her commencement exercises. The article is dated July 4, 1891.

Ida was the first black teacher appointed to work in the Buffalo Public Schools. She was 26 years old at the time of her appointment. She passed the teacher's exam in 1895. She was a graduate of Xenia, Ohio Normal School and also taught at Wilberforce College in Xenia, Ohio for two years.

According to a history of the African American community, written by Rev. J. Edward Nash, for the August, 1940 edition of the Buffalo Star, a deal was made by the Colored Democratic Club as well as the Colored Republican League to support the party's Superintendent candidate if he appointed a colored teacher. Henry P. Emerson, the Democratic candidate was appointed the Superintendent of Buffalo Schools in 1893 and he kept the promise to appoint a colored teacher. Ms. Fairbush was appointed sometime afterward, initially as a substitute teacher and then a full appointment. According to Rev. Nash, she was still teaching at the time of his writing and was one of the oldest, teachers in the city.

The Buffalo Courier of March 12, 1898 reported that a competition was being held for teachers. They could win a trip to Paris for the Paris Exposition of 1900. The winner was determined by the number of votes received. Ida Fairbush was listed as a teacher from School 6 and that she had 5 votes. The teacher with the highest number of votes at the time had 98.

In 1911, according to the Buffalo Sunday Courier (May 28), Ida, her sister Olive, Adele Hamilton, May Hamilton and Edith Thompkins assisted Clara Payne with a benefit for the Colored Social Center at 76 Pine Street. The event was held in conjunction with the observance of Harriet Beecher Stowe's 100th birthday.

Although she was the first Black teacher hired by the School District, Ms. Fairbush never taught Black children. She spent the entirety of her career, 41 years at School 6, which had a large ethnic population, primarily from Italy. By all accounts she was a beloved teacher.