Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Thursday May 26, 2016
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

Community Center Comeback

 

continued

The Ann Arbor Community Center descends from the Colored Welfare League, a self-help organization created by the Rev. Ralph Gilbert and a group of Ann Arbor black leaders in 1918. In the mid-1920s, the CWL's youth clubs spun off into a new organization--the Dunbar Center--focused specifically on providing services for young people.

Initially headquartered in a board member's house on Catherine Street, it was headed from 1926 to 1936 by Savonia Carson. When she resigned, Douglas E. H. Williams, a pharmacist turned social worker from Atlanta, succeeded her.

The choice of a licensed social worker was calculated to attract funding from the city's Community Fund, a forerunner of the United Way. Soon after he arrived, Williams led the center's purchase of a new headquarters at 420 North Fourth Avenue. The brick house at the corner of Kingsley (now Legal Services of South Central Michigan) became a clubhouse and youth services center for the entire black community.

Williams tripled the Dunbar Center's membership while working quietly to improve race relations in the city. Older residents recall him as a skillful diplomat who successfully maneuvered through the maze of local politics to work on behalf of the city's black residents without increasing racial tensions.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3 l 4 ... 9 l 10 l 11  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News
Ann Arbor Regent
Link to view the Ann Arbor Observer 2016 Media Guide
Follow the Ann Arbor Observer on Twitter
Holiday Inn Ann Arbor. Comfortable Hotel, a home away from home.
Become of Fan of the Ann Arbor Observer on Facebook
A link to the Summer Camps and Activities guide
Volvik L P G A championship