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Brewster Wheeler Center

Brewster Wheeler, known as the Central Community Center in its beginning stages, was a community center for residents of Black Bottom. Due to the rise of black migrants in Detroit, the need for more community centers prompted its opening in 1929.  Initially led by Leon Wheeler, the Center’s director, Wheeler ensured an array of programs were provided such as a recreational school (initiated by A.T. Atwell) to train individuals in the field of recreation, visual and performing arts classes, and sports activities such as track, tennis, baseball, swimming, boxing, etc. (Chicago Defender).  Facilities also included a library, auditorium, dining room, kitchen, gymnasium and a space for pool and billiards.  Within a year, the Center was noted to attract thousands of residents, who frequented the space and engaged in one or more of the programs, including famous boxer Joe Louis, who practiced in the gym as a teenager.  Moreover, the Center oversaw 81 clubs and operated as a space for national conventions and meetings to be held.  



“Atwell Opens Recreation School in Detroit June 29.” The Chicago Defender. Jun 20, 1931, p. 2.

Brewster Wheeler Recreation.” Detroit Turbex

“Detroit Community House Celebrates Its First Year.” The Chicago Defender. Nov 1, 1930, p. 13.

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