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Frank Elliott Merriweather, Jr.

Born on 9-15-1917. He was born in Houston, TX. He was accomplished in the area of Media. He later died on 5-22-1995.
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Frank Elliott Merriweather Jr. was publisher of the Buffalo Criterion, the oldest African American weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Merriweather and the Criterion, founded by his father Frank E. Merriweather, Sr., led the fight for African Americans in numerous civil rights initiatives.

Born in Houston, Texas, Merriweather moved with his family to Buffalo, New York on September 6, 1922. He joined the Criterion press as an errand boy and newspaper deliverer in 1923. He also delivered the old Buffalo Times for two years, when he was about 7, before his father began the Criterion in 1925. Shortly thereafter, he added a 65 customer daily newspaper route to his duties for two years.

Merriweather attended School 32, Hutchinson Central High School and the old Buffalo Collegiate Center. He studied violin at the memorial Center and the Urban League and played with his school orchestra throughout high school. Merriweather also was a member of the Buffalo Symphony training orchestra and the Buffalo All High Orchestra. He led a jazz orchestra that performed for six years. He attended Alfred State University.

Merriweather developed his skills in every aspect of printing and press operations under his father and was helping to operate the printing business and the newspaper by 1935. He continued to operate the business after his father died in 1959. The newspaper became an official publication of the NAACP and during the late 1940s and 50; he pushed for on the Buffalo School Board and other appointed public boards in the 1950s. He served on a variety of community and civic boards. The Criterion was instrumental in establishing the Willert Park housing project, the first federal housing complex in the African American Community.

Merriweather was active in local politics. He was a 5th Ward and 5th district Republican committeeman from 1952 to 1960. From 1960 to 1978 he was a Masten district committeeman. He also served on the Erie County Republican Executive committee. In 1951 he ran unsuccessfully for the 5th Ward seat on the old Erie County Board of Supervisors. He served for a short time as information clerk for the Buffalo Common council before returning to the newspaper business fulltime.

Merriweather was active in the Masons and helped found Frontier Lodge 1024, Benevolent and Protective order of Elks. He was also a member of Ionic Lodge 88, Prince Hall Affiliation. He was a longtime member of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and served as organist.

Merriweather was a member of the Rapid Transit Board, the Board of Crisis Services and the Hickory Street Center Board. He continued to play a role in the day-to-day operations of the Criterion, which continues to be operated by the family.

Among honors he received include the Refuge Temple of Christ's 1993 appreciation Award for Outstanding Community Service and the 1993 Black Achievers Award. He also was the first recipient of the 1981 Langston Hughes Institute Distinguished Arts Award and was recognized for outstanding service to the community by the University at Buffalo Alumni Association in 1986. He was honored for community service by the Afro American Police Association in 1973.

Completed in 2006, the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library is an impressive, 20,000 square foot facility that is located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Utica Street. The Library is Wheelchair accessible and has 35 parking spaces. The building features a 150-seat auditorium, community meeting rooms and a computer lab as well as public access computers.

Merriweather was married to the former Evelyn Patterson with whom he had five children, Carole-Ann, Evelyn, Frances-Jill, Frank E. III and Bruce C. He was the brother of the Barbara Merriweather Sims, Esq., Hulit Merriweather Curry and Thyra Merriweather Charles. His mother was Carmelita Mitchell Merriweather.

"His loss is a great one. He was a griot in the truest sense of the word", said Barbara Banks, editor and publisher of the Buffalo Challenger, the city's other major weekly black newspaper. Griots were the historians and storytellers in traditional African societies. According to Banks, "He was a walking history book and could recite names and dates, right out of his head. I have a great respect for Mr. Merriweather".

Burial was at Forest Lawn Cemetery.