Educate. Empower. Support.
Empowering Youth and Families to Reach their Full Potential
Crispus Attucks Community Center strives to improve the quality of life for youth and families in Lancaster by providing services that promote community prosperity, physical and mental health; and by offering programs and cultural events which preserve the African American heritage.
Crispus Attucks sponsors community-wide cultural events, including Lancaster’s Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, Black History Month events, and the Juneteenth Celebration. The Center is also home base for the African American Veterans Project and the African American Historical Society.
January 16, 2023 – 35th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast
Sincerely, Crispus Attucks
To honor the significance of Juneteenth and to celebrate multiple generations of Black leadership and excellence, the Crispus Attucks Community Center partnered with MAKE / FILMS this year to create a series of videos titled “Sincerely, Crispus Attucks.” Each video features three generations of local Black leaders sharing letters detailing the inspiration they have drawn from the previous generation, with the eldest among them offering wisdom to future leaders.
- 15th Amendement – Lancaster Celebrates Black Men Who Regained Right to Vote by Dr. Leroy Hopkins
- Register to Vote – VotesPA.com
- Black Lives Matter Movement – https://blacklivesmatter.com/
Crispus Attucks Community Center strives to improve the quality of life for youth and families in Lancaster by providing services that promote community prosperity, physical and mental health, and by offering programs and cultural events which preserve the African American heritage.
In 2013, the Infamous Unstoppables drill team was founded to revive the African American traditions of stepping, dance and drumming. The Infamous Unstoppables is an award-winning program that provides youth an opportunity to embrace and better understand arts and culture, while uplifting the Lancaster community and empowering children.
Crispus Attucks Food Bank
Twice a month, we provide nutritious and wholesome food to members of the community at our food bank. The food bank is open every second and fourth Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. for seniors and individuals with disabilities, and from 4 to 6 p.m. for others who need support.
Crispus Attucks Café
Crispus Attucks provides free grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 11 a.m. to Noon. Due to COVID-19, the dine-in option is currently suspended.
Reunion Food Truck
The Reunion food truck is a social enterprise that offers delicious Southern fare to the community and gives every customer an opportunity to invest in our community through its mission of Feed Your Soul, Feed Your Neighbor. See more at: www.eatreunion.com.
Also housed at the Community Center
Navigation is designed to support and coach individuals and families in assessing their own needs, setting goals, connecting to their communities, and celebrating accomplishments on their journey to an empowered future.
Navigators provide targeted support with goal planning and action steps. CAP Navigators use a person-centered, strengths-based approach to care – meaning the person is in charge of defining their own goals and where they would like to be. The Navigators are available to offer support, guidance, and resources to make the journey achievable. Navigators help keep participants on track and motivated to accomplish their goals. For more information, click here.
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
In a collaborative effort between Music for Everyone, Lancaster County Community Foundation and Crispus Attucks Community Center where we provide a safe space for children to explore the importance of music education and an appreciation for the arts through music. We see music education as a portal to program educational success and uplift the vibrancy of our community.
The origins of the Crispus Attucks Community Center are found in the decade after World War I when local veterans returned to a society that was profoundly segregated along racial lines. Lancaster County’s African-American population, due in large part to discrimination and segregation in all aspects of County life, had declined by 30% from a pre-Civil War high of 3,600. A recently arrived pastor at Lancaster City’s Bethel A.M.E. Church, Rev. F.M. Webster, conceived the idea of a “Negro Civic League” to promote the interests of local Blacks in the social, economic, and political arenas. Civic Leagues existed in other states of the Union and Lancaster had a pressing need for what, in today’s terms would be considered a civil rights organization. For the full history, click here.
Ruby M. Payne Cook was the executive director of the Crispus Attucks Community Center for 29 years. She directed the recreational activities of thousands of Lancaster children from 1930 until her retirement when she was honored at a testimonial dinner.
A pioneer in social service work in the Lancaster area, Mrs. Cook came to the Crispus Attucks Recreation Center in 1929.
On her retirement 30 years later, she was asked how many children had gone through the center during her long tenure. “They’ll run into the thousands,” she said at the time, “I know that when I left I was working with the grandchildren of the teenagers who were at the center when I first came there.”
When she joined the staff, the organization was in two rented rooms at 449 S. Duke St., the budget was $1,000 a year, and she said, “we rented rooms in the rest of the house to make ends meet.” A great believer in “people power,” Mrs. Cook was often quoted as saying that she could never estimate the dollar value of service contributed by all segments of the community.
In 1963, she was given the distinguished citizen’s award by the Venture Club; and in 1966, she received a citation from the National Recreation Association. She also received a certificate of achievement from Mayor Thomas J. Monaghan for Oustanding Civic Service in connection with work done for the Lancaster Redevelopment Authority in the Adams-Musser Towns projects.
Mrs. Cook, who was the wife of Culbreth B. Cook, resided in Lancaster from 1930 until 1958, and in Millersville from 1958 until 1967. Born in Carlisle, Ohio, a daughter of the late Andrew J. and Sophia E. Kernan Martin, she was graduated Magna Cum Laude from Wilberforce University in 1916, and took graduate courses at the University of Wisconsin and Chicago University. She also had National recreation Association training.
Before coming to Lancaster, Mrs. Cook taught at St. Augustine’s College, Raleigh, NC; East High School, Xenia Ohio and Lincoln High School, Paducah, KY. In addition to her work at Crispus Attucks, she served as the Board of Directors of the Mental Hygiene Association; the YWCA; the Lancaster Day Nursery; and the advisory board committee of the Family and Children’s Service.