Wabash Avenue YMCA


When visiting Chicago for the Exposition of Negro Progress in summer 1915, Howard University educator Carter G. Woodson stayed at his usual place in town: the YMCA on 37th and Wabash in Chicago.As was the custom in Bronzeville, Woodson met and interacted with a number of like-minded intellectuals and activists, all keen on celebrating black history and promoting education as a means to continued liberation.

On the evening of September 9, Woodson met in the Wabash Y’s basement with four other individuals: Dr. George Cleveland Hall, notable physician at Chicago’s Provident Hospital; W.B. Hartgrove, a teacher in the Washington, D.C. public schools; Alexander L. Jackson, the executive secretary of the Wabash YMCA; and James Stamps, a Yale University graduate student in economics.Together they formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.

Not only did Woodson help found the organization, he returned to the YMCA just over a decade later to announce a plan to designate the second week of every February as “Negro History Week,” the precursor to what we now celebrate as African American History Month.  ASALH created Negro History Week in 1926. Woodson selected the week to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.  Each year, Woodson established a national theme for the celebration. Since 1976, ASALH extended the celebration for the entire month of February.

The organization publishes The Journal of African American History (formerly The Journal of Negro History), and the Black History Bulletin (formerly the Negro History Bulletin). In 2005, ASALH established the ASALH Press, reissuing Carter G. Woodson's Mis-Education of the Negro. The same year ASALH established The Woodson Review, a magazine that promotes its Annual Black History Theme, including it as part of its Black History Kit. In 2005, ASALH discovered a previously unpublished manuscript by its founder, Carter G. Woodson, and published it in a special edition as Carter G. Woodson's Appeal: The Lost Manuscript Edition.

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The Chicago Branch is one of the oldest Branches of the  Association.  We ould like you to become a part of our mission. We are committed to supporting ASALH at the national level, as well as, being prevalent at the local level, by connecting and engaging its members in meaningful activities and programs. If you are passionate about what we're doing? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team!

ASALH Chicago Events

What's going on this month? Check out our currents events!

Come celebrate Woodson's Birthday: 

December 19th, at the Chicago Bee Library, 1pm-3pm, Speaker: Mr. Reed

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ASALH Chicago Branch

4315 S. Vernon, Chicago, IL 60653, us


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2017-branch-membership-form2 (docx)


2017-mail-in-membership-form (docx)


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