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Katherine Alexander Kirkland

Born on 3-2-1919. She was born in Camden, SC. She later died on 6-24-2002.
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Biography appears in Uncrowned Queens: African American Women Community Builders of WNY, Volume III

Katherine Alexander Kirkland was born on March 2, 1919. She was the oldest of seven children (Alfred, George, Frank, Cora Lee Whitaker, Hattie Burroughs, and Elizabeth Alexander) born to the late Walter and Marie (nee Belton) Alexander of Camden, South Carolina. She accepted Christ at an early age and joined Zion Hill A.M.E. Church in Camden where she also attended school.

In 1942, she relocated to Buffalo, New York, and became a member of Pilgrim Baptist Church. She served on the church's usher board for 50 years and was honored as Usher of the Year by the Great Lakes Usher's Association. Her other awards include the Outstanding Service Award from the Health Unit of the Usher's Association, and the Moot Senior Citizens Center award for dedicated service. She was an avid member of Paramount Chapter #57 Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliate; The Floral Club; and the General Mission.

Known for her culinary skills, especially baking, she and her husband, Thomas, owned and operated a popular soul food restaurant, Kirkland's Turquoise Diner, located at 1216 Jefferson Avenue, from the 1960s until the early 1980s. In 1974, she was cited in The Buffalo News by columnist Ceaser Williams. Kirkland's Diner was the last restaurant she owned before retiring from the business. Later, the joy of cooking led her to accept part-time employment for several years at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, from which she retired permanently. She also catered many affairs in the Buffalo area, and will always be remembered by family and friends for her annual Christmas Eve dinners.

Mrs. Kirkland and her husband had three children: son Alonzo of Brooklyn, New York, and son Theodore and daughter Jewell LaVern both of Buffalo. She was the proud grandmother to thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She died on June 24, 2002, at the age of 83 and is interred in Forest Lawn Cemetery.