Dunbar Post 1642: Serving the African-American Veteran Since 1948
Posted on 02/20/13
Nestled in the Westcott Neighborhood on the city’s east side the Dunbar V.F.W. Post has been operating for over 66 years. The predominantly African-American post has been quietly working in the greater Syracuse area offering veterans a place to congregate talk and engage in events.
Annually the local post has participated in state, national V.F.W. programs, 4 moved on to competitions in Indianapolis, IN. Dunbar was only post that has collaborated on city-wide oratorical which was brought about by National African American Involvement day. That’s when parents and Dunbar Post members are actively involved with the school district which began under former Superintendent Dan Lowengard.
The facility at 119 Dell Street resembles a large house once inside you’re treated to a building unique in its functionality with a kitchen, a bar and seating area, tables for socializing, eating or just listening to music. Friday evenings you can buy one of their dinners to go or eat-in.
In addition to the first floor the entire second floor is a banquet facility! The room has hosted everything from organization meetings to wedding receptions. Recent improvements include a chair lift for those unable to navigate the stairs.
The Post is considering making additional improvements to 119 Dell Street. As an aging building there are upkeep costs and maintenance. Most improvements have been paid for from the pockets of these veterans most of whom are on fixed incomes. The group hopes that by increasing their membership and raising funds they can continue to serve those Veterans’ of this modern era.
For additional information on membership and how to help the Dunbar Post 1642 please contact Darlene Spivey at 315) 474-1167 or by mail: 119 Dell Street, Syracuse NY 13210Dunbar American Legion-Post 1642 History 1947-72In January of 1947 a group of six veterans met with the idea of forming an organization for veterans that would include those with overseas service and those who did not serve overseas.
Mr. Clarence Smith, county chairman for new posts for the American Legion, was invited to attend a meeting to explain the Legion and procedure for organizing a post. After several meetings and application was made for the formation of a post.
February 21, 1947 the temporary charter was received with the following members: Herbert a Johnson, Donald Dawson, Charles and Moses Bozeman, Willie B. Gilbert, Edward Bullard, John Cooper, Franklin and Charles Harlow, James C Foy, John Clare, Richard Williams, D. Wesley Caldwell, Mannie Rhodafox and John H. Williams, Sr.
March 15, 1948 the permanent charter was granted. On May 16 a public ceremony was held, and the charter was presented by William N. Pope, County Commander.
July of 1948, the building fund committee was formed with John H Williams, Sr. as the chairman.
March of 1949 the women's auxiliary was organized. Mrs. Katherine B. Johnson served as its first president.
January of 1951 negotiations was started for the purchase of the property for the post home at 205 – 206 South Crouse Ave.
May 1, 1951 the post held its first meeting in its own Rooms.
The post occupied these rooms until July of 1970 when Urban Renewal took over the property and a new location had to be found for the post in November of 1971 plans are made to purchase the property of the Odd Fellows Lodge located at 119 Dell St.
January 1972 the negotiations were completed and the post held its first meeting in his new home.
From February to May the members worked on renovation of the clubs rooms: Howard D Smith served as chairman, assisted by Charles and Robert Curry, Eugene Cutler, David Werts, Donald Dawson, John Mitchell, and Herbert A. Johnson.
On May 30, 1972, the dedication and open house was held with a short program. Howard Gray, County commander, represented the county. The post gratefully knowledge the help of the woman's auxiliary and it's cooperation.