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We Wear Black on February 28

February 19, 2019

The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis has a rich African America history.

African-American leaders formed the Young Men’s Prayer Band in 1900. It became a branch of the city YMCA by 1910. Black and white leaders helped raise funds for a new building here, which opened as the Senate Avenue YMCA in 1913. Booker T. Washington dedicated the building and Faburn DeFrantz led it from 1916-1951. It became one of the largest black YMCAs in the U.S.

[caption id="attachment_13191" align="alignright" width="300"] Fall Creek Y basketball league[/caption]

100-year history

The Senate Avenue YMCA became a center of community life, social activism, and education for African Americans. For decades, it sponsored “Monster Meetings” with national leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, George Washington Carver, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The Indianapolis YMCA integrated in 1950. The Senate Avenue YMCA moved to Fall Creek in 1959.

And just this month, we unveiled the new Legacy Wall at the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA to tells the story of how Ys on Indy’s west side served as a hub for the African American community for over 100 years.

Wear black on February 28

Join us, the Y-USA African American Resource Network and the Y movement in wearing black on Feb. 28. Then post a selfie or us-ie (with two or more people) and short videos with why YOU wear black on social media using #WeWearBlack.

Why do we wear black?

  • [caption id="attachment_13342" align="alignright" width="240"] Meresa Creekmore-Armor and LaShanda Lang from the Avondale Meadows YMCA supported the cause last year.[/caption]

    We wear black to honor the struggle of those who came before us.

  • We wear black to bring awareness to the institutional and systemic racism and oppression of black and brown people in the United States and around the world.
  • We wear black in unity of those who are working daily to fight injustice, prejudice and inequity.
  • We wear black to do our part to ensure that future generations have great opportunity and access to thrive.

Thank you for getting involved and making a difference.


Your YMCA of Greater Indianapolis African American Resource Network


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We Wear Black on February 28

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