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Douglass Community Center portraits and records

Call Number: RH MS 497


The Douglass Community Center records cover the period 1966 to 1987 for a community center operated in Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas. The material has been arranged alphabetically by folder title. The major groups of material are the Advisory Board Minutes, 1966-1986, Correspondence, 1966-1985, some Financial Records, 1968-1985, and Reports of various types, 1967-1983. For Black Awareness Month in February 1983 Douglass Community Center displayed "photographs and articles of Black people and life as it was in the years gone by." A photocopy of ten of the photographs used in this display have been arranged on tag board and are located at RH MS R64.


  • Creation: 1966 - 1987


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Douglass Community Center

Douglass Community Center was built in 1939 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and opened in 1940 as a U.S.O. canteen for African American servicemen. In 1945 it was turned over to the City of Manhattan. The Recreation Commission used it occasionally for special activities from 1948 to 1966.

In 1966 the African American community petitioned the city to open the Center for ongoing community and recreational activities. The Douglass Center Advisory Board was created in 1966 under the Human Relations Board. In 1970 the Advisory Board was separated from the Human Relations Board and was given more powers.

The old Douglass Elementary School building was acquired as an annex in 1975. A fire in 1980 did approximately $70,000 worth of damage, necessitating renovation of the Center.

The Center was established as an integrated facility in 1966, but because of its location in the African American community it was rarely used by whites. However, by 1977-78 the Center was becoming truly integrated. By 1980 thirty-five percent of those using the facility were white and in 1984 the figure rose to forty-five percent.


1 Linear Feet (1 box + 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 497

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Douglass Community Center, Manhattan, Kan, 1988.

Guide to the Douglass Community Center Collection
Douglass Community Center portraits and records
Finding aid prepared by kdo, 1988; revised by cl, 2010.
Description rules
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Language of description
Finding aid written in<language encodinganalog="language">English.</language>
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Preferred citation
Douglass Community Center Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS 497, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States