The Alabaster Alliance, a community-based civic organization with headquarters located on Davis Island, is planning a special luncheon for Black History Month to which only Caucasian people will be invited.
“Nobody should get the wrong idea about this particular event”, says club president Glinda Glirche-Gaffle. “White people are the only ones ever invited to all of our events. This one just happens to be about black people, during Black History Month; just not for black people. That’s all.”
She went on to explain, “We don’t have any black people as members. Or even know any black people for that matter, and frankly, that’s why we’re having this luncheon.”
One club member, Janet Horsen-Douffer , is excited about the learning opportunities that will be presented at the luncheon. “My daughter Lindsay is dating a black man and I’ve always wanted to touch his hair, but she says I can’t do that. I’m hoping to learn why. I’d also kind of like to know what’s going on downstairs, if you know what I mean. What fun!”
Another member, Annette Piven-Piivven says she’s something of an authority on African-American history and is also excited about attending the luncheon. “Studying all the great African-American historical figures that have made such valuable contributions to this great country socially, politically and in the arts and sports is something of a hobby for me. More like a passion, really,” she said. When I asked if she had a particular favorite, she answered, “Oh yes, that one who danced with Shirley Temple. No question.”
The group is hoping to book a speaker they describe as “authentically ethnic” to address attendees at the luncheon and possibly lead a discussion regarding Africana and African-American culture. They plan to drive through Tampa neighborhoods east of Nebraska Avenue in an effort to find someone who meets those qualifications. I mentioned that USF has a school of interdisciplinary global studies with a full faculty that may be able to provide a speaker and Ms. Glirche-Gaffle replied, “Oh, that’s very sweet of you to make that suggestion but we’re actually on something of a limited budget. We can’t afford an honorarium to a college professor. We need someone who will do this for a bottle of Henny.”