You may find it hard to believe, but I rarely meet a party I don't like. That also means I am quick to host one. All I need is a reason.
More than a decade ago, while living in Kansas City, my friends and I formed a dinner club. Each month a different member hosted the food, folks, and fun. And we took great pride in sponsoring a memorable culinary adventure. One February I hosted a Black History Month party with guests dressing as influential African-Americans. Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, and Aviator Bessie Coleman were a few of the guests that evening. I wore a high-neck cream-colored blouse, long black skirt, and spent the evening reading poetry. You guessed correctly...I was poet, Phyllis Wheatley.
Today, I sit on the board of the YWCA here in Saint Louis...where the crown jewel of the organization is the Phyllis Wheatley Heritage Center. The center was an important gathering place for the African-American community during the era of legal segregation. It was established in 1911 to offer safe housing, job opportunities, and a social circle for single women of color...many of whom made Saint Louis their home after visiting during the 1904 World's Fair.
Over the years, the building fell into disrepair. But in 2004, there was a multi-million dollar renovation. The historic facility is used for private and commercial rental, but most importantly, it hosts YWCA life-skills and leadership development programs to help women and youth build better lives for themselves. And that is worth celebrating!