Black History Month is a time for recognizing the central role African Americans have played in our country’s history. We’re proud to honor, celebrate and remember the achievements and contributions of African Americans and how they have richly shaped our country, including the YMCA. Established in 1928, the Moorland Family YMCA played a huge role in shaping the lives of Dallas African Americans as being the first all African American YMCA in Dallas. Here are a few facts to celebrate the beginnings of the Moorland Y and the impact is has created in the Dallas community.

  1. Moorland YMCA was named after Dr. Reverend Jesse Edward Moorland

Moorland was the second secretary of the Colored Men’s Department of the YMCA in Washington D.C. He raised over $2 million dollars to create 29 new YMCA buildings across the United States, including our very own Dallas Moorland YMCA.

  1. Moorland YMCA served as the Dallas post for the Negro American Legion

Chartered in 1943, the legion offered programs for health as well as character building. With World War II occurring, there were up to 700 soldiers per month in the recreational program and the Moorland Y served as housing for many soldiers.

  1. Much of the civil rights movement in Dallas was based at Moorland YMCA

NAACP held public meetings during the 1950s at the Moorland YMCA. Travelers who would come to Dallas would stay at the Moorland Y since no other facilities would allow them residence. The Dallas Committee for Full Citizenship was formed in 1963, where they called for full desegregation of Dallas school and complete desegregation within the greater Dallas community. Practicing nonviolent methods, the 50 members would meet at the Moorland YMCA and eventually went off and participated in statewide demonstrations.

  1. Great personalities have passed through the Moorland YMCA

Throughout the years, the Moorland Y was the center for the Dallas African American community’s social, civic, and political center. It has provided a space for all citizen groups, meetings, seminars, bi-racial meetings, and even as a hotel. Many inspiring people started at the Moorland Y such as welterweight champion Curtis Coke who began boxing there. Professional football player Jimmy (“Iron Claw”) Hill started at the Moorland Y, as well as Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks. During the period of segregation, Muhammad Alli and Justice Thurgood Marshall stayed at the Moorland YMCA.

We are proud to honor the amazing achievements the Moorland YMCA has done throughout history and the role it had in shaping the African American community within Dallas. The Moorland Y embodies the strength, courage, and unity that makes up the Dallas community.


Source: HISTORY of the MOORLAND YMCA ; JESSE MOORLAND (1863–1940) 

Authored by: cmccauley