From Preservation Issues, Volume 3, Number 1

"Let's just do what's right,"

by Karen Grace
Gov. John Ashcroft said as he "passed the hat" for donations to repair the flood-damaged Jefferson City Community Center. The more than $3,000 collected by Ashcroft at the annual National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Freedom Dinner this fall will help the center restore electricity to the lower level of the building, the area that suffered the most damage in the July 20 flood.
Photo by Urbana Group (Appel). The Jefferson City Community Center, listed in the National Register May 14, was damaged in a flash flood July 20.
The community center was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 14 for its "exceptional significance" as a resource representing Jefferson City's African American history "from which so few resources survive." The ca 1942 building is only one of a few remaining survivors of what was the heart of the black community in Jefferson City, from the trun of the century to the early 1960s, when the area was decimated by urban renewal. All of the black-owned businesses near the center and most of the oldest and most densely populated African American residential areas surrounding it were destroyed during this massive land clearance effort.

But the community center remains and is being rehabilitated by volunteers to meet the needs of the new community that has grown up in the area since urban renewal. This new community is more racially mixed than before, and the center's new programs are designed to serve all residents. The building continues, however, to serve as a symbol of pride in the city's African American community and their accomplishments.


All text and photos are taken from Preservation Issues
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Historic Preservation Program, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Editor: Karen Grace
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