34. Colored YMCA

The YMCA at 102 Witherspoon Street served as a recreational club for youths and young adults. Originally informally maintained in private homes, the YMCA and the YWCA met briefly at other locations, like the Odd Fellows Hall, before becoming branches of the national YMCA in 1917 and moving to this residence. Activities included Summer Vacation Bible School, sports, recreation programs, education trips, and “wholesome activities under Christian supervision.” In addition to churches, the Y was a focal point of the Black community until the 1950s when a new building was built on Avalon Place and the Y became integrated. This building, which now houses the Arts Council of Princeton, was built in 1938-39, replacing the original Y building which was destroyed in a fire.

The football team photograph was taken in front of the Witherspoon School on the corner of Witherspoon and Maclean Streets. Back row: Eddie Moore; Professor Thompson, the principal of the Witherspoon School; Hannibal James; Tom ”Dewey” Moore, Sr. Third row: unidentified; Irv Scudder; unidentified; Howard Garreston; Charlie Redding; Travis Ellis. Second row: John Richmond; Fred Hoagland, Jr.; Ben Robeson, holding the ball; William Gales; and Willie Mitchell.

Six men stand next to a sign with the results of the annual membership drive. They are identified on the back of the original photo as: Mr. Carl Brown; Mr. Garnell Herron, Sr.; Mr. Thomas Brown; Mr. Geo. Reeves; Mr. Steward; and Mr. Ira Dickerson.