“It would make a historical and moving work about a critical time in Asheville’s history and also be an inspiring statement that could be a teaching lesson for the whole city.”
On October 24, 1970, Virginia Bailey, president of the Asheville YWCA, shared with the Asheville Citizen the most common complaint the organization received following the announcement: “‘We want our white Y; it is as important to us as the South French Broad branch is to the blacks.’”
In 1965, Thelma Caldwell became the Executive Director of the Central YWCA in Asheville: the first African-American in the South to hold the position.
The Asheville YWCA’s African American division, the Phyllis Wheatley branch, began as an informal weekly meeting of women who worked to support and aid each other in finding employment opportunities. It officially opened in 1921.
It was Josef Albers who invited the Lawrences for the 1946 summer session. They were provided with private transportation to shield them from segregation.
“Why is Asheville so segregated?” was the topic at a Drinks and Dialogue event in held on Aug. 21 at the Haywood Lounge in West Asheville. This brief video is by AskAsheville.