HIDDEN HISTORY: Richard Breland, a historian of Syracuse's Black History

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Richard Breland is known by many as the historian of Syracuse's Black community.

For more than 60 years, he's chronicled the Black history of Syracuse through his photographs.

"I just wanted something personal of everybody, because they won't be around long," said Breland.

His work has been featured across Central New York, including an exhibit at Syracuse University.  Much of it centered around his home in the old 15th Ward in Syracuse.

"I got interested in some of the buildings around where we were living.  I was figuring I would like to see what these buildings would look like years later," Breland said.

It was a good thing he had the foresight to capture those buildings, because years later, part of his small neighborhood would be torn down -- now home to part of Interstate 81.

Life was slowly changing, but memories stood still in his photography.  

There are many awards covering his wall in his home. Those, coupled with his photographs, have become a true testament of his love for his community.

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