Born on March 23, 1933, Arthur O. Eve was born in New York City and raised in Florida. He received an Associate’s degree from Erie Community College and a Bachelor of Science from West Virginia State College. With less than $10 in his pocket he arrived to Buffalo, NY in 1953 as a product of the segregated South. He served in the United States Army from 1953-1955 and achieved the rank of corporal. After his service in the army he returned to Buffalo in 1955. During his first job back he became aware of the drug problems with local youths in the city’s parks and observed a lack of guidance for youth in the community. In pursuing a position in parks and recreation, he learned that these jobs were doled out by political patronage to party loyalists. He joined the Democratic Party and got one of the patronage park jobs. By 1958, he was blossoming as an independent activist within the party, pursuing minority rights. This role led to his 1966 New York State Assembly election victory.
Eve was elected a New York State Assemblyman in 1966 and served in the New York State Assembly longer than any other incumbent member (1967-1982, 1983-2002). Eve rose to prominence in the mid-1960s during Buffalo’s civil disturbances. He expanded his notability during the Attica Prison Riots. In Buffalo’s Civil Rights Movement riots, Eve attempted to organize formal meetings in order to avert physical confrontations. During his first term he led the effort to obtain an initial $500,000 of funding to establish the State University of New York system’s SEEK/Educational Opportunity Program.
Eve is recognized as a leader on just about every issue that’s important to families. Many believe that during his career of public service Eve has done more to initiate opportunities for minorities and the economically disadvantaged in the field of educational opportunity, undergraduate and graduate education, medical degrees, pre-natal, day care and infant care than any other state legislator in the nation. He is a life member of the NAACP, founder and former Chairman of the Board of the Northern Region Black Political Caucus and former Chairman of the New York State Chapter of the National Rainbow Coalition. He is the recipient of numerous awards and citations from an array of local, state and national organizations. Eve was the first African American to win the Democratic Party’s Buffalo Mayoral primary election. During his time in office he was considered the highest ranking African American in the New York State Legislature.