Modified: January 23, 2015 3:58pm
Erie County Executive Poloncarz, Senior Services Commissioner Hoak Present Proclamation
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Commissioner of Senior Services Randy Hoak to present Mrs. Lillion Batchelor with Erie County’s 2014 Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Award. Mrs. Batchelor is a lifelong activist and founder of the Buffalo Quarters Historical Society, an organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the significant role Buffalo and Western New York played in the Underground Railroad. Each year, the Society presents historical recreations of the Niagara River Crossing from Broderick Park in Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario.
“I am honored to present Mrs. Lillion Batchelor with the 2014 Outstanding Contribution by a Senior Award, and I thank her for her tireless efforts in keeping an important piece of history alive while emphasizing that history’s relevance to Buffalo and Erie County,” said Poloncarz. “For many escaped slaves, our region was the last stop on their way to freedom north of the border, and they encountered both friends and enemies on their perilous journey. Thanks to Mrs. Batchelor’s outstanding work, their stories are told to new generations and the world is being educated about what happened here.”
Mrs. Batchelor founded the Society in 1995, sharing the rich history of the Underground Railroad through drama, music, and literature. Society activities center on Broderick Park, which was the last stop on the Underground Railroad before escaped slaves crossed the Niagara River into Canada. Mrs. Batchelor’s leadership has drawn praise and recognition from both sides of the border, with awards including the Civic Empowerment Award, Outstanding Planning Project - Underground Railroad Freedom Memorial Award, the Municipal Council of the Town of Fort Erie Award of Appreciation, and the William Wells Brown Award. Her continuing efforts to develop the Broderick Park Project, an effort to create an International Freedom Memorial Park at the site, have been joined by other volunteer groups and have brought funding from the City of Buffalo.
Senior Services Commissioner Randy Hoak added, “Mrs. Batchelor’s work has brought new understandings of the ordeal faced by freedom-seeking slaves and has focused attention on the critical area of Broderick Park as an essential link on the Underground Railroad. Thanks to Mrs. Batchelor, the lives that were shaped and the history that was made here come to vivid life and will continue to teach future visitors about the local Railroad.”