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Celebrating Black History: Senate Avenue YMCA

Celebrating Black History: Senate Avenue YMCA formed in 1900

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — All month long, WISH-TV is highlighting people and places where you can celebrate Black History Month.

A group of African American leaders came together back in 1900 and formed the Young Men’s Prayer Band. It merged into a colored YMCA by 1910, and by 1913, it would be known as the Senate Avenue YMCA.

The Senate Avenue YMCA, 420 N. Senate Ave., was the center of community through activism and education. For many years, it sponsored what became known as “monster meetings” that attracted leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington Carver and Eleanor Roosevelt. The Senate Avenue Y also offered various cultural, religious, cultural and exercise classes.

By the 1950s, the Senate Avenue YMCA was one of the largest Black YMCAs in the United States. The center would close and move to Fall Creek in 1959.

A state historical marker for the Senate Avenue Y is at the corner of Michigan Street and Senate Avenue in downtown Indianapolis.