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Phillis Wheatley Center/ YMCA Cherry St.

Constructed in 1953, the building is an example of the work of significant Black Architect Benjamin F. McAdoo Jr.   

African Americans in Seattle were restricted in access to YWCA programs and facilities. YWCA Culture Clubs were established to accommodate members of color. The Seattle YWCA African American Culture Club began in 1919, which was first housed at 1807 24th Avenue. The house was later occupied by William and Willa Varlack. When the club moved to 102 21st Ave in 1924, the club was named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to publish a book of poetry (1773, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral). In Seattle in 1952, YWCA services for the African American community significantly expanded, and the subject building was erected in the Central Area at 28th Avenue and East Cherry Street. The Phillis Wheatley Center doubled as a social hall for community meetings, weddings, and dances. The Phillis Wheatley Branch was first renamed East Side Branch and then East Cherry YWCA Branch. In 2019, At the 100-year anniversary of the club the East Cherry Branch was restored to its original name, the Phillis Wheatley Branch.  

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