WYSO

elizabeth early-gainous

Elizabeth Early-Gainous, president of the nonprofit Early Visions, outside the site of the first African American YWCA in the U.S. on South Paul Laurence Dunbar Street. Early-Gainous was a member of the West Dayton YWCA as a child.
Leila Goldstein / WYSO

The National Park Service has awarded the Dayton nonprofit Early Visions $500,000 to preserve the site of the country’s first African American YWCA. The branch originally formed in 1889 and moved into a West Dayton house on South Paul Laurence Dunbar Street, what was then Summit Street, in the early 1940s. While the branch closed in the 1970s, one childhood member has had a lifelong vision of reopening the center as a community resource for women and girls in West Dayton.