Important notice Because of the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic COVID-19, Booker T. Washington Center will be following the CDC Guidelines. All personnel entering are required to wear a mask, have their temperature taken, must answer the guideline health questions, and maintain social distancing at all times. You will not be permitted in the building if you do not meet the CDC Guidelines. Thank you

About Us

Founded In 1923

Named after Booker T the educator, writer, and speaker, who was an instrumental leader for the African-American community following the American Civil War. His autobiography, Up from Slavery, is still widely read today. Washington believed that the best means of improving conditions for people was education.

The Booker T. Washington Development and Education Center is located in the heart of the City of Erie, PA and is focused on creating quality educational programs and resources available to the public. We offer after-school programs and other educational programming that invests in our youth and the future of our community.


The Booker T. Washington Center strives to improve the conditions for work, play, study, health and living in the Erie community and to work with other agencies whose goals and objectives are consistent with those of our organization.


During World War I, the Victory Club provided support services for African American soldiers and social activities for the broader African American community. When the war ended, the government closed the Victory Club. In response to the tremendous need felt by returning black soldiers and their families, which led to the founding of  the Booker T. Washington Community Center. 

Who was Booker T. Washington?

Born in 1856 in Virginia, Booker Taliaferro Washington is known as the foremost black educator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During his life time, he was known as an African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor to several Presidents of the United States.  In 1881, he founded the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute in Alabama (now known as Tuskegee University), which grew immensely and focused on educating African Americans in agricultural pursuits.

Volunteer and Opportunities

BTWC has many volunteer opportunities for those interested in sharing their time and talents to benefit the Center. Experiences vary from volunteering for one-time special events, to ongoing involvement in program activities. If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, please visit BTWC in person for an application or call 453-5744. Please note that all volunteers who will be working regularly with youth require criminal background checks, and child abuse registry clearance, all of which are provided by BTWC.

We welcome community volunteerism  at BTWC!

BTWC welcomes community members who would like to volunteer either on a regular basis or for specific events and activities. Student internships are also available for those interested in fields such as child care, Community Outreach, and other related areas. Please contact BTWC for more information.


  • All people by treating them fairly and with respect
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Compassion
  • Outcome-based programs with proven results
  • Commitment to community
  • Creative Solutions
  • Partnerships and collaborations


  • courage – strength in the face of pain
  • Honesty – the quality of being honest, having integrity
  • attention – the act or power of fixing the mind on something
  • resilience -ability to recover from or adjust to change
  • Achieve – effort, skill, and courage 
  • Calm – not showing or feeling nervous, anger, or other strong emotions
  • trust – belief  in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of something 
  • excellence – outstanding
  • ready – fully prepared



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