280. The Carver Center

The Carver Community Center has been serving local youth since 1948. However, its genesis goes back to 1928, when African American residents called for a “local center or park in which their children could have recreation.” Rev. Henry Perry, then principal of the Douglass School, championed the idea to the city. This request resulted in the creation of Studebaker Park, which was the only recreation outlet for African American young people for nearly 20 years

In 1940, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited Kokomo’s Douglass School, creating front page news for several days. Rev. Perry used this publicity to request financial backing for a community center. The city and others obliged. However, with the onset of World War II, the money was withdrawn before construction had begun.

After the war, Rev. Perry began fundraising again with the idea of naming the center after his Tuskegee Institute mentor, George Washington Carver. Rev. Perry’s vision was realized with the opening in 1948. Since then, the Carver Community Center has been a mainstay in Kokomo, offering many different activities for all the youth of Kokomo.

Carver Center on the African American History Project at the Howard County Library

The Carver Center on the web.