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Zoo entrance, architect honored with historic designation

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Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor
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Local African-American leaders are celebrating the addition of the original Buffalo Zoo entrance to the National Register of Historic Places. Karen Stanley Fleming of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission says the entrance at Parkside Avenue and Amherst Street was designed by Buffalo's first African-American architect, John Edmonston Brent, who was an employee of the city's parks department.

Brent worked for city from 1935 to 1957. He also served as the first president of the NAACP's Buffalo branch.

"Mr. Brent's architectural contributions include the design of the Michigan Street YMCA, which was only the second 'colored' YMCA designed by an African-American in the United States," Fleming says.

The gates are an example of President Franklin Roosevelt's public works program that employed millions of Americans during the Great Depression.

Fleming says Brent's contributions are important to pass on to future generations.