Facebook Twitter

Donate to BlackPast Blog
  • African American History
  • African American History in the West
  • Global African History
  • Perspectives

NOTE: will not disclose, use, give or sell any of the requested information to third parties.

15 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Rock the Vote

NAAAS & Affiliates 27th Joint National Conference

Shop Amazon and help in the Classroom

Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA

Image Ownership: Public Domain
This Seattle branch of the YMCA is located at 23rd Avenue and East Madison Street.  The site was formerly used as a tennis club by members of the community.  The property was owned by the Colman family, long-time supporters of the YMCA.  Members of the black community persuaded the owners to deed the property to the YMCA and in 1936 the modest building and grounds became a new branch of the Seattle YMCAs.

During the World War II years the East Madison YMCA became an Armed Services YMCA for black servicemen and catered largely to them.  Under the leadership of John Copeland in the mid 1940s, the Y reached out to the schools and with increased youth programs began to attract more and more young people.  The programs and facility grew even more under the leadership of Meredith Mathews.

In 1965 a sturdy, modern structure, designed by black architect Leon Bridges, was built to include a gymnasium, swimming pool, activity rooms and offices.
It was remodeled and enlarged in 1991.

In December 1993, the YMCA of Greater Seattle Board of Directors named the branch the Meredith Mathews East Madison Branch of the YMCA in recognition of Mr. Mathews’ outstanding contribution to the YMCA and to the Seattle community.  This is the first YMCA facility of Greater Seattle to be named for an individual.

Mary T. Henry, Tribute:  Seattle Public Places Named for Black People (Seattle: Statice Press, 1997).


Independent Historian

Entry Categories:

Copyright 2007-2017 - v3.0 NDCHost - California | | Your donations help us to grow. | We welcome your suggestions. | Mission Statement is an independent non-profit corporation 501(c)(3). It has no affiliation with the University of Washington. is supported in part by a grant from Humanities Washington, a state-wide non-profit organization supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the state of Washington, and contributions from individuals and foundations.