Y is for YMCA

The YMCA on Wabash Avenue is in an area that was known as Black Metropolis; more commonly referred to these days as Bronzeville. It was a social center for African Americans in the early 1900s. For those migrating from the south, the Y on Wabash provided job training and housing as well. It was there where a man named Carter Woodson and others would spend time discussing black history. In 1915, Woodson with his associates formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

In 1926, they designated a week to black history because it had otherwise been ignored or misrepresented.  The second week in February was chosen as it coincided with the birthdays of both abolitionist Frederick Douglass and former President Abraham Lincoln. The group still exists today as The Association for the Study of African American Life and History; and from what was once known as Negro History Week grew into Black History Month.

As for the YMCA on Wabash Avenue in Black Metropolis-Bronzeville, it is a Chicago landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



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