Historic black cultural center in Asheville faces hard times

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — A black cultural center that has been a part of Asheville for nearly 120 years is facing hard times with low membership and a significant debt burden.

The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the YMI Cultural Center is down from about 300 paying members to about 40 now. The organization also has more than $400,000 in debt and has been without paid staff members since 2010.

The center opened in 1893 as the Young Men’s Institute. It has been a touchstone for the area’s black community since the era of legal segregation. Former board member Al Whitesides worries the center wll soon close.

But Chairman Richard Fort says the debt is lower than it was, and the center has bounced back from adversity in the past.
This article was written and provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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