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Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Michigan Street YMCA, 1924 - 1977

This biography was originally released on August 17, 2022 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Written by Madison Matthews on the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission

The Michigan Street YMCA was an organization created in 1924 for Buffalo’s black men and boys. Owned by John Edmonton Brent in 1926 who was the second African-American in the country to design a “colored” YMCA. The organization was located on 585 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, New York

The YMCA was built as a home to help foster and give purpose to the black community in Western New York. In the YMCA, there were classrooms, club rooms, cafeteria, women’s area, and dorms for at least 70 men. As well as a 20 by 60 foot swimming pool, gymnasium, barber shop, and a lounge for men and boys. At the YMCA, many performers and activists would come from all over to visit the building like W.E.B, Du Boris, Count Basie, and Jim Brown. 

In 1977 the Michigan Avenue YMCA was torn down and the site is now vacant.


Thank you to our sources:

We want to give a special thanks to Buffalo Stories Archives & Blog, Preservation Ready Sites Buffalo, WBFO npr, and The Buffalo News for providing the information for this story. Further readings on The Michigan Street YMCA are available on their websites.

If you have additional resources about The Michigan Street YMCA, please email us to let us know!

Do you have an idea of who we should include in our series?

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