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318 Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota, 222 21st Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455

YMCA INTERRACIAL PROGRAMS:
An Inventory of Records


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Historical Sketch | Contents Summary/Organization | Administrative/Access Info | Contents Details | Related Materials | Indexed Terms/Access Points


OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION

Creator: National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations.
Title: Interracial programs records.
Date: 1946-1980.
Collection Number: Y.USA.2
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.
Quantity: 5.6 linear ft. (14 boxes).
Location: See Detailed Description section for box listing.


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 Advance was 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 Advance was 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.



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.



ORGANIZATION OF THE RECORDS

These documents are organized into the following sections:
Background Information
Committee, Program, and Conference Files
Reports
Staff Files
Printed Materials


ADMINISTRATIVE INFORMATION

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.
Preferred Citation:
[Indicate the cited item and/or series here]. YMCA Interracial Programs Records. Kautz Family YMCA Archives. University of Minnesota.
See the Chicago Manual of Style for additional examples.
Processing Information:
Processed by: David Carmichael; Jessica Dagen and Lara Friedman~Shedlov, 2003.
Catalog Record ID number: 3753447


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

Background Information

Box 1 Historical summaries, undated and 1911-1970s. 2 folders.
Includes articles on the history of YMCA service to and by African American men and youth written by Jesse Moorland, Charles H. Wesley, Channing Tobias, Willis D. Weatherford, Ronald C. White, Jr., and others.
"The YMCA in Black Communities, One Hundred Twenty-Five Years, 1853-1978: Selected Black Leaders of the YMCA," by Jesse N. Alexander and Leo B. Marsh, 1977.
Resolutions on interracial policy, 1946-1965. 2 folders.
National, area, and state resolutions and recommendations related to interracial policies in the YMCA.
Researcher correspondence, 1972-1976.



Committee, Program, and Conference Files

Includes minutes, conference materials, correspondence and memoranda, and other records from various YMCA conferences, committees, and other programs concerning the movement's role, policies, and activities vis--vis issues of racial integration and race relations.
Box 1 Role of the YMCA in Interracial Advance Conference materials, 1948-1957. 4 folders.
Reports and other materials from an annual conference with the purpose of identifying problems and searching for methods and techniques for racial advance within the YMCA movement. Material includes statistical data on non-white participation at various levels of the YMCA, reports of local conditions for blacks, and reports on various local initiatives.
National Study Commission on Interracial Practices/Commission on Interracial Policies and Program:
Box 2 Reports, minutes, and correspondence, 1950-1959. 9 folders.
Box 3 Reports, minutes, and correspondence, 1959-1966.12 folders.
Box 4 "Manual on Interracial Practices in the YMCA," 1952.
"Interracial Practices in the YMCA: A Guide for Officers and Leaders," 1953.
National Consultation on YMCA Interracial Work:
Minutes, 1953.
Reports and correspondence, undated and 1954. 2 folders.
Five Year Plan for YMCA Leadership for Interracial Practices and Developments: Reports, 1963-1965. 2 folders.
Plan was developed by the Commission and approved by the National Council.
Consultation on Interracial Advance, 1964. 3 folders.
Planning committee records and conference materials for this event, which was developed as a result of recommendations in the five year plan.
Box 5 YMCA Training Institute on Interracial Advance, 1964. 2 folders.
Minutes, conference materials, and other records of this training program developed as a result of recommendations in the five year plan.
Committee on Interracial Advance: Minutes, 1965-1969. 6 folders.
National Conference of Black and Non-White YMCA Laymen and Staff (BAN-WYS):
Reports, conference materials, newsletters, and other records of this group include lists of members, descriptions of the group's activities and goals, and accounts of incidents of both racial discrimination and progress. Much of the material from 1976 through 1978 focuses on the planning and celebration of the 125th anniversary of YMCA service to African Americans and includes records of the National Task Force on the YMCA in Black Communities.
Box 6 Reports and conference materials, 1969-1978. 10 folders.
Box 7 Reports and conference materials, 1979-1980. 2 folders.
BAN-WYS Newsletter, December 1969-August 1972. 2 folders.
Primer (newsletter), February 1973-July1978 (incomplete).


Reports

Includes field reports generated by staff members with observations on interracial practices around the country, as well as reports generated or collected by the Commission on Interracial Policies and Program and the Committee on Interracial Advance examining conditions for African Americans and progress towards integration with the YMCA and society in general.
Box 7 General agency staff reports on interracial practices, 1966-1967.
Miscellaneous reports on interracial and black work, undated and 1947-1950. 3 folders.
Box 8 Miscellaneous reports on interracial and black work, 1951-1961. 11 folders.
Box 9 Miscellaneous reports on interracial and black work, 1962-1965. 11 folders.
Box 10 Miscellaneous reports on interracial and black work,1966-1980. 10 folders.
"Interracial Study of Selected YMCAs Which Have Closed Their Negro Branches," 1960. 2 folders.
Box 11 "A Study of Interracial Relationships and Practices of Selected YMCAs," 1951. 4 folders.
"Racial Integration in the YMCA," by Harold Harlow, 1960, 1962.
"Health and Welfare Issues in the Life of Black People in the United States," by Leo Marsh, 1968.


Staff Files

Primarily the files of Leo B. Marsh, a National Board staff member from 1948 to 1967, assistant executive director of the National Board from 1967 to 1976, staff aide to the Committee on Interracial Advance, and one of the major leaders in the campaign for racial equality in the YMCA. Also included is a small group of material from the files George B. Corwin, another National Board staff member. Corwin's YMCA work focused mainly on youth work (the Hi-Y program in particular) but he worked with Marsh on interracial programs for a couple of months just before he retired from the YMCA in 1965. The bulk of the records related to the two men's work on the National Board Chairman's Committee on Interracial Advance and the Interracial Policies and Program Committee.
Box 11 George Corwin subject files, 1965. 2 folders.
Leo Marsh Files:
Box 12 Committee on Interracial Advance: Reports, 1965-1969. 10 folders.
Human rights: Reports and correspondence, 1963-1965. 2 folders.
Includes materials from the YMCA Conference on the 1964 Civil Rights Legislation, held 9 April 1965 in Washington, D.C. organized by the Board Chairman's Committee on Interracial Advance.
Box 13 Human rights: Reports and correspondence, 1966-1967. 2 folders.
Consultation on Racial Tension and Conflict: Correspondence and reports, 1966-1967. 4 folders.
Includes reports from YMCAs around the country on situations in their cities which breed racial tension and activities, programs, and projects initiated and/or conducted by the YMCA to abate and combat this tension.
General correspondence and reports, 1964-1969. 5 folders.
Box 14 Correspondence and news clippings on desegregation of local YMCAs, 1964-1965. 6 folders.
Includes lists of YMCAs still having practices of racial discrimination during the 1960s, and correspondence and news clippings concerning protests and attempts to integrate YMCAs which had not complied with the National Board's policy.


Printed Materials

Box 14 Non-YMCA publications on race relations, undated and 1911, 1930-1970. 5 folders.



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.


INDEX TERMS

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Topics:
Affirmative action programs -- United States.
African Americans -- Civil rights.
African Americans -- Segregation.
African Americans -- Social conditions.
African Americans -- Societies, etc.
Discrimination in employment -- United States.
Race discrimination.
Race relations -- Religious aspects.
Social work with African Americans.
Young Men's Christian Associations -- Administration.
Young Men's Christian Associations -- Employees.
Persons:
Alexander, Jesse N.
Marsh, Leo B.
Organizations:
National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations. National Board Chairman's Committee on Interracial Advance.
National Conference of Black and Non-White Laymen YMCA Laymen and Staff.
National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of the United States of America. National Task Force on the YMCA in Black Communities.
National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations. Committee on Interracial Advance.
National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations.
National Study Commission on Interracial Practices.
National Board of the Young Men's Christian Associations.
Commission on Interracial Practices and Program.
Functions:
National Consultation on Interracial Work of the YMCA (1954: Columbus, Ohio).