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Historical marker commemorating Senate Avenue YMCA damaged, missing from site

Posted at 2:07 PM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-04 05:44:07-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- A historical marker commemorating the Senate Avenue YMCA, an important community center for black Hoosiers and Americans for decades, was recently damaged and is now missing. 

Staff at the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis notified the Indiana Historical Bureau Tuesday that one of the markers was missing. Officials believe a vehicle hit the sign, knocking it off the post.

The Senate Avenue YMCA opened in 1913 as one of the largest black YMCAs in the United States. Booker T. Washington, one of the foremost African American leaders at the time, was the principal speaker at the dedication. 

"The completion of this building should mean less idleness on the part of black people in Indianapolis," Washington said at the dedication, according to the Indiana Historical Bureau. "It should mean less crime, less drink, less gambling, less association with bad characters. . . . Through this building every discouraged young man should be reached and a new ambition and friendly courage put into him."

The YMCA sponsored "Monster Meetings" with national leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, George Washington Carver, and Eleanor Roosevelt. The YMCA integrated in 1950, then moved to Fall Creek in 1959.

The historical marker was installed at 420 N. Senate Avenue in 2016. 

Anybody with any information on what happened to the marker or the whereabouts of its location should contact the Indiana Historical Bureau via email at cpfeiffer@library.in.gov, or via phone at 317-232-2535.

Click here to read more about the marker and the YMCA. 

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