African American

Della Moore (at right) works on church pews at the historic church at 201 E. State St. this past fall as part of the building’s restoration project which will serve as headquarters for the African American Center for Cultural Development. Looking on are the building’s owner, Kevin Dougherty, and his children Quinn and Lochlan. Moore has announced upcoming projects that will continue to fund the Center.

OLEAN — While there is still plenty of work and fundraising to do for the future home of the African American Center for Cultural Development at the historic East State Street church, director Della Moore hasn’t let that deter her from scheduling a full year of activities for the community.

On Monday, Moore said she not only completed a schedule for the Center for 2020, but also has begun setting up activities for the organization in 2021.

For more than a year, Moore and others with the Center have worked to raise $103,250 to match their share of a $225,000 Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant awarded to the nonprofit organization. The money will be used to renovate the church at 201 E. State St., which will eventually house the Center. The building’s owner, Kevin Dougherty, has made repairs on the roof with the help of volunteers. Moore said Dougherty has made additional repairs to winterize the building to prevent further damage and allow work on the interior to continue.

In the meantime, Moore has been busy setting up Center activities and fundraisers, as well as coordinating online sites that will keep the organization alive and well in the community. In addition to GoFundMe and AmazonSmile sites, the Center also has a Facebook fund.

“Every little bit helps,” Moore remarked. “They’re little bits and pieces, but that’s OK.”

She said donations to the Center can be mailed to: African American Center for Cultural Development, PO Box 240, Olean, NY 14760. More information can also be obtained by texting Moore at (215) 704-6608.

Moore said the majority of this year’s activities in Olean are firmly set, while venues and dates for others will be announced. They are listed in the following itinerary:


•“Martin Luther King Jr., the man and his works.” Date to be announced, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.

• “February for Black History Month.” A tea and conversation will be held with Mrs. Sarah Johnson, a runaway slave who used the Underground Railroad and found her way to Olean: Feb. 23, 3 p.m., Fanny Bartlett Center 302 Laurens St.

MARCH, for International Women’s Month• “Women of Song: Contributions of Black Women in Music and Song.” March 22, 3 p.m., Trinity United Methodist Church, 131 N. 9th St.


, for National Poetry Month

• “Contributions of Black Americans in the Areas of Poetry and Literature.” April 19, 3 p.m., venue to be announced,:


• Euchre Tournament to benefit the African American Center: May 1, 5 to 8 p.m., Raymour & Flanigan store, 802 W. State St.

• Olean Cookout with the Center at Tops Friendly Market, 2401 West State St. Food will include hot dogs and Philly Cheese Steaks: May 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


• “The Rhythm of Jazz — Contributions of Black Americans to Jazz.” The event is a kickoff program to explain why the annual Juneteenth festival is celebrated: June 19, 7 p.m., St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.

• Juneteenth, the oldest celebration of the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States: June 27, noon to 5 p.m., Bethany Lutheran Church, 6 Leo Moss Dr.


Date and Time TBA

• “A Food Night of Cultural Cuisine.” An invitation for local community members to share their cultural cuisine and present the history of their dish: St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.


• “True Justice: A look at the life and works of Brian Stevenson.” Swanson is the author of “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.” Sept. 20, 3 to 5 p.m. at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.

NOVEMBER, to Celebrate Veterans Day• A conversation with black Americans who will discuss their experiences in service to our country: Nov. 15, 3 to 5 p.m., Allegany American Legion, 4350 Route 417, Allegany.


•“Kwanzaa First Fruits.” A week of celebration: Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, 2021, St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 109 S. Barry St.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at Follow her on Twitter, @OTHKate)