Eurma C. Hayes Community Center and Murals (441 East Willow Street)

Eurma C. Hayes Community Center and Murals(Click the photo above for an audio tour)

The Eurma C. Hayes Center was constructed in 1974 with support from the Model Cities program — a nationwide project backed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his “unconditional war on poverty.” The center is named after Eurma C. Hayes, who died in 1970. Hayes was a longtime community activist and was devoted to giving back to her community. She had a dream of opening a center that would help countless friends, neighbors, and community members. The center sought to provide critical social, medical, and educational services to the northeast side of Carbondale, which is where Black residents were once segregated. The community center was once a hub of activity in Carbondale's northeast neighborhood. The center provides essential services like childcare and literacy programs, while hosting an array of community events and inclusive workspace. Eventually, the 12,000-square-foot building fell into disrepair and stood largely vacant for many years. Community efforts to revive this vital community resource began in 2020. Extensive renovations, including a new heating and cooling system, new flooring and tile, and kitchen upgrades, were complete in 2022. The center once again serves the community as an education and community center, hosting a computer lab and programming to teach kids important life skills. In the summer of 2023, Maddie Dieters, a young artist from Marion, Illinois, completed two murals on the west side of the building. The first is a portrait of Eurma C. Hayes between the words “Eurma Hayes” and brightly colored with red, yellow, green, and blue. The second mural pays homage to the Attucks School mascot, the bluebirds.