Fredonia alumnus to examine Buffalo’s history of residential segregation in campus talk

Roger Coda
James Coughlin at lectern

James Coughlin

Dynamics behind the proliferation and ongoing racial housing segregation in Buffalo, NY, in the mid-20th century, will be examined in a talk by SUNY Fredonia alumnus James Coughlin.

The event will be held in Williams Center Room S204DE on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m.

“City of Distant Neighbors: Segregation in Buffalo, NY, 1934-1961,” Mr. Coughlin’s lecture, is adapted from his award-winning thesis completed for an M.A. in history at the State University at Buffalo in 2023. In his talk, Coughlin will explore the roles that segregationist government policies, white fears about declining property values and private real estate speculation played in Buffalo during these decades.

Coughlin’s thesis was awarded the State University at Buffalo’s history department’s “Best Master’s Thesis” award. The thesis has also been self-published as a zine and is being sold in five bookstores throughout Buffalo.

Additionally, Coughlin has organized local public history discussions of his research throughout Buffalo called “City of Distant Neighbors: Histories of Segregation in Buffalo.” So far, approximately 100 people have attended three discussions held throughout the city, and another is being planned for October.

Coughlin was recently appointed as a fair housing specialist with Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME), where he will work alongside folks to document their allegations and experiences with housing discrimination and as an advocate for these individuals to navigate and utilize local and state fair housing laws.

Coughlin graduated summa cum laude in 2016 with a B.A. degree in History and Adolescence Education: Social Studies.

The Williams Center presentation is sponsored by the History Club and is free and open to the campus and surrounding community.

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