For most of the twentieth century, the 100 block of East Ann Street was a hub for Black-owned businesses in downtown Ann Arbor. A rotating set of barber shops, shoe shine parlors, dry cleaners, restaurants, blues bars, and pool rooms formed the backbone of Black social life, especially for men. The district stretched around the corner onto North Fourth Avenue where the Colored Welfare League housed Black-owned businesses and community organizations such as the early Dunbar Center.
The Dunbar Center--also known at various times at the Dunbar Civic Center and the Dunbar Community Center--was a social and social services organization for Ann Arbor's Black community in the mid-twentieth century. It was the direct precursor to the Ann Arbor Community Center. Along with the Bethel AME Church and the Second Baptist Church, the Dunbar Center was a major hub of social life for the Black community during this period.