Black History Month

Throughout our history, the YMCA has worked to meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse communities and provide a place where people of all backgrounds can gather to create positive social changes. The Y has been privileged to support African American leaders who have moved our country forward.

One of the first YMCAs in the United States was also one of the earliest African American organizations in the country. Former slave Anthony Bowen founded a black YMCA in Washington D.C. in 1853 (the recently renovated Anthony Bowen YMCA). By 1896, there were 60 active YMCAs for Black Americans, and by 1924, membership grew to 28,000 members across 160 Ys. Our very own Meredith Mathews East Madison has been a hub for the African American community and Black service members for over 80 years!

During Black History Month, we are honoring and celebrating Norman Rice and his many contributions to the City of Seattle, the YMCA of Greater Seattle, and the communities we serve. Read More

Black History Month Message from Our CEO

Video Description: Each year we celebrate Black History Month to honor our past, celebrate how far we've come, and to re-commit to the work and the journey ahead.

Celebrate With Us

In collaboration with the Equity & Justice Center of Excellence, the African American Resource Network (AARN) has created a month-long celebration of Black Excellence. We invite you to join our free events that are open to all.


Equity & Justice
Center of Excellence

The Y is committed to become an anti-racist organization.
Will you join us on our journey?

Learn More


Equity and Justice Community Fund

This community fund is the engine that drives innovation, learning, and action in creating equitable and just communities that thrive.

Unleashing Potential for All

Catch up on our series of equity and justice in athletics from non-traditional sports, to the Olympics, to young athlete leaders in our community.

Diversity & Inclusion

The Y is a place where people of all backgrounds, faiths and other dimensions of diversity can come together, strengthen community together, and gain a greater appreciation for one another.