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Civil rights leader Frank Mesiah dies at 89

Buffalo NAACP

A leading civil rights leader in Buffalo has died. Frank Mesiah, the longtime president of the Buffalo chapter of the NAACP, died Friday night at Buffalo General Medical Center. He was 89.

A retired Regional Administrator with the New York State Department of Labor, Mesiah led the NAACP local chapter for more than 20 years. He was also a Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, a patrolman with the Buffalo Police Department, a part-time instructor at Canisius College and Cornell Labor Relations School, the host of "The NAACP Speaks" on WUFO and even once ran for the New York State Senate.

Most of all, Mesiah was a forceful voice against racism. He was among those who called for last year's ouster of Carl Paladino from the Buffalo Board of Education after Paladino engaged in some tasteless humor involving former President Barack Obama.

Mayor Byron Brown said the "positive impact" Mesiah made on the city of Buffalo will never be forgotten.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Mesiah was "a voice of compassion and equality for all."

Current NAACP Buffalo Chapter President Rev. Mark Blue called Mesiah "a giant of a man who stood up for a lot of people who couldn't stand up for themselves, who couldn't speak for themselves."

POST NOTE: The Erie County Legislature honored Mesiah on May 10 with a proclamation that details his life. You can find it here