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Taylor named to 400 Years of African-American History Commission


Published March 2, 2022

headshot of Henry-Louis Taylor Jr.

Henry-Louis Taylor Jr.

UB faculty member Henry-Louis Taylor Jr. has been appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul to the 400 Years of African-American History Commission, which aims to highlight contributions by Africans and African-Americans to the U.S. and to New York State.

The commission, composed of historians and academics, will partner with community-based organizations to bring people together to celebrate African American history and culture via events, activities and educational research.

Taylor, professor of urban and regional planning, and director of the Center for Urban Studies, is one of seven Hochul appointees to the commission; other appointments will be made by the secretary of state, state education commissioner, president of the Senate, speaker of the Assembly, and Senate and Assembly minority leaders. 

Hochul announced the appointments at a news conference last week in Newburgh, where she also announced commemorative plaques would be dedicated in honor of Robert Mulliner and Robert Lewis, two victims of racially motivated lynchings in Orange County. Mulliner was killed in Newburgh in 1863; Lewis was killed in Port Jervis in 1892. 

“For every reminder of the pivotal role New York has played in the fight for civil rights, there is another, more painful reminder of why that fight was necessary in the first place,” Hochul said. “We must recognize and acknowledge shameful chapters in our state’s past, ensure New Yorkers have a better understanding of our history, and fight racism and bigotry in all forms. 

“This Black History Month, I am honored to dedicate these plaques and appoint these seven leaders to the 400 Years of African-American History Commission,” she said. “These actions will help us understand our history better, while pushing us to continue making progress.” 

Taylor is recognized internationally for his work on distressed urban neighborhood and social isolation among people of color. His research focuses on a historical and contemporary analysis of distressed urban neighborhoods, social isolation, and race and class issues among people of color, especially African Americans and Latinos. Within that framework, his research also focuses on these issues in Cuba, the Caribbean Islands and Latin America. Taylor’s work is concerned with the redevelopment of shrinking cities and metropolitan cities, with a focus on social, economic and racial justice.