Y.M.C.A, Colored – Indianapolis, Indiana

colored ymca 1
I believe this image is from The Indianapolis Recorder, but it is in my collection without a label. I found the same drawing with a different heading in The Indianapolis Freeman, dated October 21, 1911.

“A cartoon drawn by Garfield T. Haywood, the colored artist, pictures the attitude of the Indianapolis colored people toward the movement for raising money for the proposed colored men’s branch building of the Y.M.C.A., and is meant to show that the colored people will do their best toward raising a fund of $15,000 among themselves. Haywood is thirty-one years old and was born at Greencastle, Ind. He was educated in Indianapolis public school No. 42, and studied for a time at Shortridge high school. Drawings have been contributed by him to the Indianapolis Recorder, the Freeman, Dignam’s Magazine, of Richmond, Ind., which has ceased publication, and other magazines. Mr. Haywood is identified with the colored Y.M.C.A.”

The Senate Street Colored Y.M.C.A.
Indianapolis, Indiana Colored YMCA. Photo from the University of Minnesota Libraries, Kautz Family YMCA Archives.

I was familiar with the campaign in Indianapolis, Indiana because my grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr. and his brother, Henry W. Cleage, were very active in this effort. While looking for bits in the local papers about my family, I ran across many articles about the campaign. The Y.M.C.A. was segregated at the time. Click all images to enlarge.

colored ymca
The money was collected and the Senate Street YMCA was built. Article from the November 4, 1911 Indianapolis Recorder – “A Weekly Newspaper Devoted to the Best Interest of the Negroes of Indiana.”
My grandmother before she married. The Indianapolis Star, Friday May 8, 1908
Madame Walker
Madam C.J. Walker pledged $1,000 to the Y.M.C.A. fund. She made her fortune selling hair care products and  was the first black woman millionaire. From the Nov. 4, 1911 Recorder.

10 thoughts on “Y.M.C.A, Colored – Indianapolis, Indiana

    1. I don’t know if they were legally segregated when I was growing up in Detroit, but housing was so segregated, they were segregated in reality. My husband said they were segregated in St. Louis. Pretty much everywhere in the U.S. in those days, either de facto or legally I guess.

  1. You have some interesting news items.Were the newspapers of the time even handed in reporting on colored people’s news and events?

    1. No, they weren’t. Some of them had columns called things like “News of the Colored People” where they would report what they considered the major stories. Indianapolis also had two black newspapers, “The Indianapolis Freeman”, and “Indianapolis Recorder – A Weekly Newspaper Devoted to the Best Interest of the Negroes of Indiana.” The article with my grandmother’s picture came from an article in the “Indianapolis Star”, a white paper. They also ran a story about the concert itself. Most days the column “News of Our Colored People” or whatever it was called in the different papers, consisted of small society items. The others came from the Recorder, mentioned above. The cartoon ran in both of the black papers.

  2. Interesting story. I read a book about Madam CJ Walker- it was a fascinating read!

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