Document 27A: Baltimore YWCA, Minutes of Metropolitan Board Meeting, 19 January 1920, unprocessed collection of YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin Street.

Document 27A: Baltimore YWCA, Minutes of Metropolitan Board Meeting, 19 January 1920, unprocessed collection of YWCA of Greater Baltimore, 128 W. Franklin Street.


        These minutes and the subsequent Affiliation Agreement (see Document 27B) describe the new relationship that developed between the Baltimore YWCA and the Colored YWCA when the latter became a branch Y in 1920. Structurally, there was little change from the period of affiliation, as a committee of ten (five white and five black) continued to govern the relationship between the two Y's, with a white member of the group acting as chair. Once again, the Treasurer of the Colored Branch operated under the direction of the white Treasurer of the YWCA of Baltimore City.

       From the documents one gains glimpses of the delicate "racial etiquette" that operated as white and black women in the Baltimore YWCA's interacted. Notice that the chair of the affiliating committee was to be white and she served on the board of the Baltimore YWCA. This arrangement insured that no black leader would serve on the parent Y's board. This arrangement did provide for an interracial Affiliating Committee, but not an integrated YWCA. No doubt the National Board of the YWCA in establishing general guidelines for affiliation displayed sensitivity to Southern "racial etiquette" in these matters. The second aspect of race relations evident here is the fact that the black Y had to turn over ownership of all its property to the white Y as it became a branch. In the initial arrangements established here a black treasurer continued to exercise financial responsibility for the branch Y, "for the present," though it was clear that more direct white control might develop subsequently.

       Despite these accommodations to racial hierarchy in Baltimore, the branch Y's "committee of management" consisted entirely of "colored women chosen by colored women" and was authorized to "direct and control the affairs and work" of the branch Y. While we do not know the details of any negotiations in this period, this arrangement may well have been an accommodation to a proud group of black clubwomen determined to continue to control the branch Y they had worked so hard to build over more than two decades. The substantial authority of black leaders to determine branch policies was reflected in developments at the national level for the YWCA as Lugenia Burns Hope of Atlanta spoke for black YWCA leaders more generally in calling on the National Board to address a series of their concerns.[20]

JANUARY 19, 1920.

       The regular meeting of the Metropolitan Board was held on Monday, January 19th, at eleven o’clock, the following members present:-

Mrs. Cator. Mrs. Gibson Miss Carter.
Mrs. Motley. Mrs. Stinson. Miss Fischer.
Mrs. Ramsay. Mrs. Keech.
Mrs. Evans. Mrs. Baker.
Mrs. Mathews. Mrs. Dill.
Mrs. Carey.

       Mrs. Motley led the devotional service.

       The minutes were read and accepted on motion.

       The Treasurer’s Report was read and on motion approved.

       On motion it was decided to open an account at the Mercantile Trust & Deposit Co. for the funds now being received.

       Mrs. Cator announced the resignation of Miss Inglis.

       Miss Rogers presented the plan of the League of Women voters and reported the first annual meeting of that body to be held in Chicago this next summer. Each state when Suffrage exists has chairman of the League and each state attains membership in the League as suffrage is gained. The object of the League is to further such general interests as Child Welfare, Social Hygiene, American Citizenship, etc. The platform includes naturalization of women in their own right to direct citizenship, each citizen to take an oath of allegiance to United States, before being permitted to vote. Miss Rogers laid stress on the fact that the League of Women voters by its affiliation with the Suffrage Association must be non partisan, standing for measures and not for any party.

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       Mrs. Bruce the retiring Chairman of the Affiliating Committee of the Colored Y.W.C.A. reported that on Mr. Ritchie’s advice a paper was drawn up dissolving the colored Y.W.C.A and making it a branch of the Y.W.C.A. of Baltimore City with representation on the Metropolitan Board through the Chairman of an Affiliating Committee[,] this Committee five (white) to be appointed by the President of the Metropolitan Board and five members appointed by the Branch Chairman for Colored women. This Committee shall be appointed for a term of one year. The Colored Y.W.C.A. transfers its property in full to the Y.W.C.A. of Baltimore to be used for colored women and girls. A Colored woman is to be elected by the Committee of Management which is to be composed of colored women chosen by colored women, and this Treasurer is to act as Assistant Treasurer of the Y.W.C.A. of Baltimore City. She is to act as treasurer of the Colored Branch which for the present is to collect and administer its own funds. On motion the contract was adopted unanimously.

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