Each day, Clio connects thousands of people to nearby culture and history. Our website and mobile app are free for everyone and designed to make it easy to discover cultural and historical sites throughout the United States. You can search for nearby sites, take a walking tour, create your own itinerary, or simply go for a walk or drive and let Clio show you nearby sites using our mobile app. Clio is non-profit and free for everyone thanks to the support of people like you. Donations are tax- deductible! Click here to learn more!
Wabash Avenue YMCA
George Williams and 11 friends started to organize the first Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), a refuge of Bible study and prayer for young men seeking escape from the hazards of life on the streets in the city of London, England in 1844. A man named Thomas Sullivan created the first YMCA in the Old South Church in Boston, MA in 1851.
The Wabash YMCA was a major social and educational center in the "Black Metropolis", the center of Chicago’s African American culture in the early 1900's. Funds for its construction came from Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, who was known for his support of YMCA's throughout the country.
The Black Metropolis district thrived through the 1920's, but competition from white-owned businesses and the effects of the Great Depression led to the closure of many black owned businesses. Declining membership due to businesses and residents moving out of the area resulted in the buildings deterioration and closing in 1981. However, in the late 1990's a nine-million dollar renovation project was undertaken to return the building to its rightful condition. They offer fall, winter, spring, and summer programs for the YMCA for all age groups now.
Sourceshttp://www.ymcachicago.org/wabash http://www.ymca.net/ Light in the Darkness: African Americans and the YMCA, 1852-1946 By Nina Mjagkij. This book speaks about how racial tensions and divides grew and were created in urban YMCA.
Chicago, Illinios 60653
This entry has been viewed 511 times within the past year