How Did a Multi-Racial Movement Develop in the
Baltimore YWCA, 1883-1926?


       After the Civil War, industrialization and urbanization dramatically changed the United States. New jobs in cities like Baltimore, and the promise of a better life drew many people from the countryside. Additionally, rising rates of immigration during the late nineteenth century further swelled urban populations. In these circumstances, many people faced difficult problems in Baltimore and other cities. The demand for city services grew with the rising population, much more rapidly than cities could supply these services. Concerns for young, single women alone in cities led to the growth of the Young Women's Christian Association movement. Given the practice of segregation in the Baltimore, however, two YWCA's emerged, the (white) Baltimore YWCA founded in 1883 and the Colored YWCA founded in 1896. This project traces the founding of the two Y's and the fitful process that resulted in their merger in 1920 and the emergence of interracial efforts to meet the needs of white and black young women on their own in the city.

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