New center will honor Carl Maxey legacy
by Sandra Williams, The Black Lens
Friends of the Black Lens, a small, African American led, non-profit organization, embarked on a mission a few months ago, to purchase and reclaim a building on 5th Avenue in Spokane's East Central neighborhood and turn it into a cultural center that will honor the life and legacy of Carl Maxey, Spokane's first Black attorney.
After a whirlwind, eight-week capital campaign that raised nearly $100,000 in contributions from the Spokane community and from private donors, the Friends of the Black Lens Board closed on the building the morning of August 3, 2018 in a historic sale that filled the room with both laughter and tears.
To thank people for the overwhelming support that they received, Friends of the Black Lens hosted a community open house on Saturday, Sept. 15, in the building that will become the Carl Maxey Center.
About 100 friends, neighbors, donors and community members visited the Center for the three-hour open house to tour the building, share cake and punch, meet the Friends of the Black Lens Board members and offer their thoughts about what programs and activities should be included in the renovated building.
The vision for the Carl Maxey Center is that it will be an inspiring, interactive and technologically advanced hub that will be a transformative force in the East Central neighborhood by focusing on social and racial justice, education and advocacy, economic and workforce development, and cultural enrichment, with a goal of uplifting and empowering the community from the inside out. The center will offer all of Spokane the opportunity to celebrate the richness of the African American experience and to interact and make connections with each other in an environment that is uniquely African American.
As Friends of The Black Lens moves forward with the remodeling phase of the building, they are starting the process by hosting a Community Focus Group from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Carl Maxey Center building, 3116 E. 5th Ave. The Spokane community is invited to join a discussion on what the priorities should be for the Center.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, October, 2018