In 1901, George Foster Peabody and his brothers made an offer to the colored men and boys of Columbus to build a YMCA on the condition they raise $1,000, purchase a building lot and get membership of 300 men. On Sunday, April 28, 1901 a mass meeting at St. James A.M.E. Church was held and the Ninth Street Branch YMCA was founded with 178 men. About 1902 the lot at 903 Sixth Avenue was purchased. Mr. Peabody and his brothers donated $20,000 to the colored people of Columbus to build the YMCA in 1907. At that time, it was the second modern Negro YMCA building in the country and the first in the South.
(Continued on other side)
(Continued from other side)
The Ninth Street Branch YMCA was dedicated on Tuesday, October 8, 1907. The toastmaster for the evening was Dr. M. L. Taylor and the featured speaker was Dr. Booker T. Washington. Gertrude Pridgett "Ma" Rainey, accompanied by pianist Leila Price, performed "Lift Every Voice and Sing." This song would later become the Negro National Anthem. The Ninth Street Branch YMCA entertained over 100,000 men, boys, soldiers and visitors during its existence. From 1907 until its demolition in December of 1963, more than 4,000 men held active memberships in the Association.