The Phyllis Wheatley of Minneapolis and The Hallie Q. Brown of St. Paul were community centers opened back in the 1920s when blacks had already formed communities in the two cities. Negro populations were steadily growing and black people like any other class of migrants were clannish to find comfort with their own kind. The centers were the meeting places for people to congregate and socialize. They formed informal schools for children to learn skills that would benefit them in their lives. There were sewing classes, dance classes, music classes, etc. Some of the music classes turned out musicians of renown like Percy Hughes, the Pettifords, Charles Beasley, and many more who just took an interest in learning. They had acting classes and put on their own plays and summer camps for families to take time out from the trials of daily survival. The joy of these centers was that they were not only for black people, but were open to all nationalities who cared to participate. The officers and board members who ran these facilities were dedicated people who overcame unbelievable problems that challenged their sincerity daily. They were and are unsung heroes whose devotion can never be praised enough.
~James R. Brown, Minneapolis, MN