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George K. Arthur

He was born in Buffalo, New York.
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George K. Arthur is a native of Buffalo. His father, William E. was also a native of the City, while his mother, Janie, moved to Buffalo from Memphis, Tennessee. George was one of three siblings, including a brother, William E. Jr. and a sister, Janice M., who are both deceased. Georgeâ??s primary education was completed in the Buffalo Public Schools, at School 32 and Seneca Vocational High School. At Seneca, George majored in photography. He was the first African American, in the school, to graduate with this major.

Following graduation from high school, George was drafted in to the US Army in 1953. he served in the Signal Corps for two years and received an honorable discharge in 1955. During his tour of duty in the service, George was able to prefect his photographic skills. After his discharge from the service, he returned to Buffalo but intended to go back to California to attend school. He did not return to California, however, he attended Milliard Fillmore, the University at Buffaloâ??s night school. He completed his B.A. Degree, in Political Science, at Empire State College.

Georgeâ??s first jobs included a nine month stint at Bethlehem Steel, followed by work at PhotoTech Studios, where he worked as a photo technician and was further able to perfect his photographic ability. Next, he worked at R.E.A. Express before going to work at the old Masten Park as a Narcotics counselor for the New York State Office of Drug Abuse. He remained in this position until he entered politics full time.

Georgeâ??s entry into politics came as the result of his doing a favor for a friend, Plummer Godsby. Godsby wanted to run for Democratic committeeman and asked George to run with him. Both won their campaigns and became Democratic committeemen for their districts. Next, Godsby decided to run for city councilman and asked Arthur to run for a seat on the old Erie County Board of Supervisors. This time, Godsby lost his bid for office, but George won a seat on the Board of Supervisors, which he held for three years, from 1964-1967. A change in the law led to a major change in County government with the establishment of the County Legislature to replace the old Board of Supervisors. This ended Georgeâ??s career as a County legislator.

In 1970, George decided to run for Ellicott District Councilman in the Buffalo Common Council. He won the seat and remained in the position for seven years.
In 1978, George ran and was re-elected to the Buffalo Common Council as a Councilman-at-Large, a citywide position. In 1984, he was elected as President of the Common Council, a position he held until his retirement in 1996.

George did not confine himself to the Buffalo Common Council, however. In 1985, he ran, as the endorsed Democratic candidate, for Buffalo City Mayor. He was the third African American, in the history of the City, to run for mayor. His candidacy was preceded by that of Ambrose Lane and Arthur O. Eve, Sr. Faced with a three-way race, Arthur narrowly lost to the incumbent, James D. Griffin.
George served as the Chair of the Erie County Charter Revision Commission in 2005 and was appointed in 2007 to the Buffalo City Control Board by Governor Spitzer.

George has a wealth of community involvement including former and current memberships. He was formerly associated with the following: Kleinhans Music Hall, Ellicott Homes; Shiloh Housing, former President, Trustee First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Sheaâ??s Buffalo, Goodwill Industries, AFSCME-Council #82, CEPA Gallery, former President.

George is an admitted â??jazz enthusiastâ?. In 1989, he collaborated with Maxine S. Harvard to reunite the artists of the Pine Grill Nightclub. In the 1950s and 60s, the Pine Grill was the mecca of jazz and entertainment in Buffalo. Many famous Jazz musicians/legends played at the Pine Grill during that period. The Pine Grill Reunion celebrates these Jazz greats and their music and brings back former Buffalonians annually for a two-week-end reunion in Humboldt Park. Currently, George serves as the President of the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation. Under his leadership, the Corporation has preserved and re-opened the Rev. J. Edward Nash, Sr. home as a museum, research center and heritage tourism center. He is also a member of the St. Johnâ??s Lodge #16 F &AM(PHA) and a Golden Heritage â?" Life member of the NAACP. He and his family are members of First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

George has received numerous awards and recognitions. He will receive the Red Jacket Award from the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society in October, 2007. he has also received the NAACP â?" Medgar Evers Award; YMCA â?" Jackie Robinson; Urban League â?" Evans & Young; Afro Police Association â?" Frank Hughes; Empire State College â?" Distinguished Alumni; University at Buffalo â?" 125th Anniversary Award; Buffalo Special Police â?" Man of the Year; Community Action Organization â?" Community Award; National Columbus Day Community â?"Citation of Merit; and numerous other awards.

George and the former Frances Bivens, have been married for 47 years. They have three children, Hugh, Janice and George, Jr.