[graphic] Link to National Park Service Homepage [graphic header] National Register of Historic Places African American History Month
[graphic] Nash, Rev. J. Edward, Sr., House

[photo]
Rev. J. Edward Nash, Sr. House: north and south elevation
Photo courtesy of New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Photographer: C. Ross.

The Reverend J. Edward Nash, Sr. House, Erie County , New York

The Reverend J. Edward Nash, Sr. House is historically significant for its association with the life and career of Buffalo’s most prominent African American leader during the first half of the 20th century. J. Edward Nash, Sr., the son of freed slaves, came to Buffalo from Virginia in 1892 to serve as the pastor of the Michigan Street Baptist Church, an appointment he held until retirement 61 years later in 1953. Nash was well acquainted with African American leaders on the national stage in his day, particularly Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Reverend Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.

[photo]
Rev. J. Edward Nash, Sr. House, 2nd floor study
Photo courtesy of New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Photographer: C. Ross.

J. Edward Nash, Sr., was born in Occoquan, Virginia in 1868. As a young man he worked as farmhand, a blacksmith, a teamster, a mason, and a boatman. He attended the Virginia Union College for Negroes, the predecessor of Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia and became a minister at age 18. In 1892, at age 24, Buffalo’s Michigan Street Baptist Church appointed Nash as pastor. The Michigan Street Church built in 1845 and long associated with resistance to slavery and discrimination represented one of Buffalo’s most prominent African American institutions. Nash successfully gained access to Buffalo’s political and business leadership circles and forged relationship that were essential in supporting the needs of his community. He was instrumental in establishing branches of the National Urban League and the NAACP in Buffalo. Buffalo’s African American community grew exponentially in the first half of the 20th century in response to a robust industrial economy. In 1952, Nash recalled that when he arrived in Buffalo in 1892, “there were only three established Negro churches and almost 1,200 Negroes. Today there are more than 30 churches and a Negro population of 40,000.” Nash supported African American initiatives in the 1940s to start black-owned businesses and runs for political offices, and in the 1950s he stood up to urban renewal, which was impacting African American neighborhoods disproportionately.

In 1954 Nash received one of the first Brotherhood Awards from the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He also received an honorary membership in Local 533 of the American Federation of Musicians a life membership in the N.A.A.C.P. He passed away in 1957 and was survived by his wife Francis and his son Jesse Edward Nash, Jr. The house occupied by Reverend Nash and his family was built circa 1900 as a fairly typical two-unit dwelling with self-contained flats on the first and second floors. The Reverend J. Edward Nash, Sr. House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on January 4, 2007.

Abyssinian Meeting House | Fort Lyon| Reverend J. Edward Nash, Sr. House| Dorchester Academy Boys’ Dormitory
Featured Park | African American Feature Page Home | NR Home

National Park Service | U.S. Department of the Interior | USA.gov | Privacy & Disclaimer | FOIA
Comments or Questions

[graphic] Link to the National Park Service website