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Interracial programs records

 Collection
Identifier: Y.USA.2

SCOPE AND CONTENTS OF THE COLLECTION

Reports, minutes, correspondence, newsletters and clippings, conference materials, and other records documenting various committees, programs, and conferences intended to monitor and promote the process of integration and the elimination of racial inequality within the YMCA, as well as to identify and address the unmet needs of African American and other non-white people served by the organization. Major bodies represented include the National Study Commission on Interracial Practices (1950-1954), the Commission on Interracial Policies and Program (1955-1967), the Committee on Interracial Advance (1965-1969), and BAN-WYS (1968-1980). Records are organized primarily by committee, conference, or program, but there are additional materials from these bodies included in the files of individual National Board staff members (primarily those of Leo B. Marsh) as well as in the substantial series of reports. Also included are collected printed materials concerning race relations published by various other organizations, including the NAACP.

Dates

  • 1946-1980.

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Use of Materials:

This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright, ownership, and to obtain all the necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

HISTORY OF YMCA INTERRACIAL PROGRAMS

Although segregation of YMCAs as a national policy ended in 1946 with the approval of a resolution by the National Council calling for the elimination of all racial discrimination, these changes were accepted and adopted to varying degrees and speeds at the local and national levels. During the next thirty to forty years, a variety of programs and committees were established to monitor and promote the process of integration and the progress of racial equality within the movement, as well as to identify and address the unmet needs of African American and other non-white people served by the organization.

During the period from 1949 to 1970, there were four National YMCA bodies commissioned to give primary attention to the elimination of racial segregation and the advancement of racial integration in the YMCA. The first body was the National Study Commission on Interracial Practices, which was appointed by the Program Committee of the National Board for two years, initially, to study and review facts and make recommendations for advance in the area of interracial practices within the YMCA. The Commission was reappointed in 1952 and culminated in the organization of the 1954 National Consultation on YMCA Interracial Work, a symposium held in Columbus, Ohio. The Commission was reorganized in 1955 as the Commission on Interracial Policies and Program, which developed the "Five Year Plan for YMCA Leadership for Interracial Practices and Developments."

The Board Chairman's Committee on Interracial Advancewas created in 1964 and worked to help resolve legal suits brought against the YMCA by plaintiffs charging violation of the 1964 federal civil rights legislation. It also convened national conference in Washington D.C. to consider the implications of this legislation for the YMCA. Following the conference and a reorganization of the National Board, the Committee for Interracial Advancewas constituted as a successor to the Commission on Interracial Policies and Program. The Committee provided the leadership for the development of a landmark amendment to the YMCA constitution, passed in 1967, which required all local associations to annual certify that "their policies and practices provide that eligibility for membership or participation in program shall be without any discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin" as a condition of membership.

Despite the efforts and progress made during the 1950s and 1960s, in 1968 the YMCA still counted 20 local associations practicing segregation. The National Conference of Black and Non-White YMCA Laymen and Staff, known as BAN-WYS, was founded in November 1968 by Leo Marsh (who served as its first chairman), Meredith Matthews, Dunbar Reed, Gordon Rowe, William McAllister, and other YMCA staff members who were disenchanted with the slow pace of change, the persistence of segregation and other discriminatory practices in some areas of the YMCA movement, and frustrated with the inaction of the YMCA's white leadership. A group of 120 black and other non-white YMCA staff members met in Atlanta, Georgia for a conference focused on making the YMCA, which was widely perceived as a white-oriented and dominated movement, more aware of and responsive to the unmet needs of African American and other non-white persons in the cities of the United States, more aware of the negative effects of certain personnel practices and policies on non-white YMCA staff, and more committed to utilizing the leadership resources of other black and non-white laymen. What began as an ad hoc group developed into an organized network to provide support and representation to non-white YMCA staff members. The group was also responsible for leading the planning and celebration in 1978 of the 125th anniversary of the YMCA service by and to the African American community.

Extent

5.6 Linear Feet (14 boxes)

Abstract

Reports, correspondence, and other records documenting various committees, programs, and conferences intended to monitor and promote the process of integration and the elimination of racial inequality within the YMCA, as well as to identify and address the unmet needs of African American and other non-white people served by the organization.

ORGANIZATION OF THE RECORDS

These documents are organized into the following sections:
  1. Background Information
  2. Committee, Program, and Conference Files
  3. Reports
  4. Staff Files
  5. Printed Materials

Physical Location

See Detailed Description section for box listing.

RELATED MATERIALS

The following related materials are separately cataloged in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives:

Colored Work Department records, 1871-1946: Records of the YMCA department which was, until 1946 when the decision was made at the national level to eliminate segregation within the movement, the avenue through which services were provided by and for African Americans.

Leo B. Marsh papers, 1944-1969: Papers of a prominent black leader in the YMCA movement who served as director of YMCAs in Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; the first black president of the Association of Secretaries, and as assistant executive director of the National Board.

Channing H. Tobias papers, 1882-1960: Papers of a prominent black leader in the YMCA movement who served as senior secretary of the Colored Work Department from 1923 to 1946.

YMCA of Greater New York. Harlem Branch records: Includes records of the Black Achievers program, which was founded in 1968 by Quentin Mease and brought to the Harlem Branch YMCA in 1971 by Leo Marsh.

Biographical files: The YMCA Archives' series of biographical files include biographical sketches, newspaper clippings, and small collections of the personal papers of numerous leaders and individuals involved in the black YMCA movement, including Leo Marsh, Channing Tobias, and Julius Rosenwald.

Student Work records: Includes records documenting the YMCAs established at historically black colleges and universities.

Armed Services Records: The City USO Histories series includes histories of black USOs around the country.

Mjagkij, Nina. Light in the Darkness: African Americans and the YMCA, 1852-1946.

Processing Information:

Processed by: David Carmichael; Jessica Dagen and Lara Friedman~Shedlov, 2003.

Catalog Record ID number: 3753447
Title
YMCA INTERRACIAL PROGRAMS:
Subtitle
An Inventory of Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Lara D. Friedman~Shedlov.
Date
2003
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Kautz Family YMCA Archives Collecting Area

Contact:

612-625-3445