The Negro Exhibit at the Pan Am

Negro Exhibit
Click to view larger image.

Thomas J. Calloway (standing) and
James A. Ross at the Negro Exhibit
during the Pan American Exposition.

Although numbering fewer than two thousand residents in 1901, members of Buffalo's Black community had a long history of civic and community activism.For example, one group, though newly formed, had in a little more than a year distinguished itself as a vocal force within the black community and the community at large.The Phyllis Wheatley Club of Colored Women was founded in 1899.It was an affiliate of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs.That group was organized in 1896 as the result of the merger of two organizations:the National Federation of Afro-American Women and the National League of Colored Women.

The Buffalo club women quickly initiated numerous activities designed to carry out the mission of the national organization and there-by provide tangible credence to its motto; "Lifting as We Climb."A newspaper article of the time lauded the women and the club for the "...splendid work along educational and philanthropic lines..." of the organization.The article continued, ".Slowly but surely they are climbing and lifting.By helping one another they are building up their race, removing the blemishes and deformities left by the oppressor's rod."1

Michigan Avenue Baptist Church
Michigan Avenue Baptist Church Marker
Michigan Avenue Baptist Church: 
site of the 1900 Phyllis Wheately
Club protest of the Negro Exhibit
at the Pan Am Exposition of 1901.

Photos by Rev. W.B. Seals


"Only Colored women are members of the Phyllis Wheatley Club."The Sunday Courier.Week ending March 31, 1901.


"Negro Exhibit:Buffalo Negroes think their race should be recognized at the Pan American Exposition."Commercial.November 13, 1900.



"Pan-American Exposition Color Line."Cleveland Gazette, vol. 18, no. 17, December 1, 1900.

"Contracts for more buildings:Rhode Island Commissioners Report on the outlook for Pan American and recommend a building."Courier, November 13, 1900.

"Rhode Island.Manufacturers of the state want every inch of space possible at the Pan American.Paris Negro Exhibit."Commercial, December 24, 1900.

"Negro Exhibit at Exposition.Special Agent Calloway's mission.Wants the Pan American to take the Paris Exhibit, and enlarge it."Express, December 24, 1900.


"Liberal Arts Exhibit (Interview with Dr. S.H. Peabody)."Express, January 6, 1901.