YWCA Blue Triangle Branch In Wheeling
In 1921, Wheeling was a segregated city. As such, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), an organization founded in the mid-nineteenth century to help women, was not exempt from the so-called “Jim Crow” laws designed to keep blacks and whites legally separate. But the YWCA was ahead of its time in promoting racial equality, and in 1921, Wheeling’s YWCA sought to extend its protections and advocacy to African American girls and women.
Among those involved in the founding of this new branch were Mrs. Sarah Robinson, Mrs. Mindel, Mrs. Mary Banks, and Miss Mary L. McMechen.
Miss Escobeda Sarreals was named executive director and began organizing Girl Reserve Clubs at Lincoln School. After a contest, the name, “Blue Triangle Branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association,” was chosen – a blue triangle having long been one of the YWCA’s iconic symbols.
The Blue Triangle Branch officially opened on June 21, 1921 on Chapline, later moving to 1035 Chapline, then in 1943, to 108 12th Street.
In addition to Girl Reserve, committees included Young Adult, Education, Interracial and Intercultural, World Service, Leadership Training, Membership, House, Hospitality and Room Registry, Finance, World Fellowship and Y-Teen. Classes included sewing, basketry, manicuring, folk dancing, ukulele, photography, figurine painting, crafts, typing, shorthand, arts, gym work, dancing for children, tray painting, dressmaking, and bridge.
Wheeling’s YWCA was fully integrated in June 1956 at 1100 Chapline Street.
▶ 1100 Chapline Street
▶ 108 12th Street
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▶ Vertical File: YWCA: Young Women's Christian Association, Wheeling Room, non-circulating, ask for access at the reference desk.
▶ Special Collection: YWCA Collection, 1910s-2000s. Unprocessed Archival Collection, non-circulating, must make an appointment to view materials.
▶ Special Collection: Zou Hastings Frazier Memorial of the Young Women's Christian Association, Archival Collection, non-circulating, please call 304-232-0244 for more information and to make an appointment to view materials.