Erie County Pennsylvania is situated in the NW portion of the state adjacent to Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. Historical research tells us that African Americans were with the early settlers of this region (Journey From Jerusalem - published by Sarah Thompson, 1994 - Erie Historical Society). Many early African Americans and their families were identified. Many African Americans contibuted to the history of Erie city and county, i.e. Boe Bladen, Bristo and Charles Logan, Hamilton Waters, Henry Burleigh, Albert and Robert Vosburgh, Harry T. Burleigh and others. Many of them were active in Abolitionist and Underground Railroad activities. Much of what is known and researched about Erie African Americans has been derived from the Lawrence Family Archives and the oral recollections of Ms. Ada Lawrence. It is through her family collection and her own recollections that many aspects of Erie African American history has been researched and documented. It is with sincere appreciation and gratitude that we dedicate this website in honor of the Lawrence Family and specifically Ms. Ada Lawrence, "the keeper of the record" Erie's own 'Grio".

The Erie African American website is dedicated to documenting and celebrating the African-American history and cultural heritage of Erie County, Pennsylvania. We welcome the participation of all who are interested in the rich and diverse history of our local communities.

The purpose of this website is:

1. To educate the Erie Community about the contributions made by Erie's African American citizens.

2. To serve as an impetus to stimulate the community to broaden the scope of research geared to Erie's African American community.

3. To serve as a learning tool for Erie's African American Youth to enhance their knowledge of Erie's African American history.

4. To be a bridge builder among Erie's ethnic communitities.

5. To encourage people of all ages and background to participate in researching and sharing information about local African-American history and heritage.

6. To encourage research into all aspects of African-American history and cultural heritage in Erie City and Erie County, Pennsylvania.

7. To Sponsor workshops and community conversations about African American history, heritage and genealogy in our area.

Researchers and Contributors:

Mrs. Sarah Thompson - Educator, Researcher, Historian, Author

Mrs. Debbi Lyon - Researcher, Historian, Author

Ms. Karen James - PHMC, Researcher, Historian, Author

Mr. Johnny Johnson, Retired Educator, Researcher, Historian, Author

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