Phillis Wheatley Association

Social worker Jane Edna Hunter established the Phillis Wheatley Association - originally named the Working Girls Home Association - in 1911 to provide support and a safe place to stay for young, unmarried African-American girls who had recently arrived in Cleveland from the South. The Association started as only a small boarding house, but thanks to charitable contributions it soon expanded. In 1927, it built the 9-story Emeritus House at 4450 Cedar Avenue where it is still located. The Association's activities expanded, too, with the opening of a daycare center, the Sutphen School of Music, and Camp Mueller during the 1930s.

Gradually, the Phillis Wheatley Association shifted its role, aiming its uplift efforts at not just young women, but rather the entire African-American community. The Emeritus House became a widely used community center and a prime spot for social gatherings. The Association also began programs and services especially designed to appeal to youngsters and the elderly. Today, the Phillis Wheatley Association continues to play a key role in the community, providing social services and support to a large number of Clevelanders.

Video

The Camp Mueller Song
Along with the provision of neighborhood services in Cleveland's urban core, the Phillis Wheatley Association established Camp Mueller in the 1930s to provide children a respite from city life. Camp Mueller is situated in the Cuyahoga Valley...
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Images

Audio

A "Small Town" In A Big City
Jacqueline Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Phillis Wheatley Association discusses the surrounding neighborhood
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A Refuge In A Segregated City
Jacqueline Bradshaw discusses the important civic role the Phillis Wheatley Association plays in the local community
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Renovating Emeritus House
Jacqueline Bradshaw explains the renovation of Emeritus House
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The PWA's Early History
founded in 1911 for educated African American women
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The Sutphen School of Music
Jacqueline Bradshaw explains the foundation and purpose of the Sutphen School of Music at the Phillis Wheatley Association
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Adapting To Changing Needs
Jacqueline Bradshaw recalls how the Phillis Wheatley Association has expanded its role in the community
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Map

4450 Cedar Avenue # 1, Cleveland, OH 44103