Modesty is indeed one of the many traits possessed by Phyllis Bass — she doesn't like to take credit for the many accomplishments she's attained in her lifetime.

Modesty is indeed one of the many traits possessed by Phyllis Bass — she doesn't like to take credit for the many accomplishments she's attained in her lifetime.

She's more likely to talk about others she believes more deserving of praise.

However, Bass won't deny she's been a visionary in the local community, someone with the ability to lead.

The Board of Directors at the Richard Allen Cultural Center and Museum in Leavenworth honored Bass for her numerous achievements during a Community Appreciation gathering Friday at June's Cottage, Sixth and Pottawatomie streets, and more specifically for her 22 years as Cultural Center director.

But, Bass was more than director — she was the woman who led the community in helping raise money needed to build the Cultural Center.

In December 1991, Army National Bank deeded 412 Kiowa to the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

It was suggested by church Trustee Staff Johnson that the property be used as a museum to preserve African-American history.

The center was named after Richard Allen, who founded the first national black church in the U.S., the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816. 

The Richard Allen Cultural Center in Leavenworth officially opened in July 1992.

Bass didn't stop there, though.

She had a vision of a larger structure that would allow more space for displays and artifacts, and an expansion was later completed to host such historical items.

Bass was the center of numerous proclamations Friday night, one of which was from U.S. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver II, of Missouri, and read by Rik E. Jackson, Cultural Center board member.

"I have come to the conclusion that God does not measure our lives by what we do for ourselves, but by what we do for and give to others," Jackson said from the proclamation. "...You have helped preserve the often purged history of African-Americans and helped create an opportunity for unborn generations to learn about the rich record of accomplishments of our people, which should generate only a fraction of the pride you should feel each day for the rest of your life." 

"You have accomplished more in 22 years than most do in a lifetime," her son, Dr. Elliott Bass, said during closing remarks.

He said that when it came to the Cultural Center, everything his mother ever wanted for it she earned.

When the museum was built for $500,000, there was never more than $2,000 in the bank at any one time, he said.

A plaque she received in recognition of her contributions to the Cultural Center was a challenge she has posed to countless boys and girls during her 22 years as a history teacher: "If it is to be, it is up to me. … It is up to you and you did."

She received her third standing ovation of the night when she took the stage to speak to more than 300 people gathered.

"The Center is one of the best things to happen in Leavenworth and through the building of it we realized that we all need each other," Bass said. "I love young people and I want them to be successful and it is important that they learn who they are."

"I am overwhelmed and amazed by the people who turned out and I thank you."