N&W in 1904 - Colored YMCA

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Fri Dec 14 22:31:50 EST 2007

Colored Railway Employes' Y. M. C. A. in this City is Prosperous
In this city, at 434 Scott Street, in a well-furnished, handsome four-story brick building, may be found an organization entirely out of the ordinary, and toward which the eyes of the world might well be turned, for in this building is the only Y. M. C. A. composed of colored railway employes in the world.
On December 4th, 189? a few earnest young colored men desiring to spend their time profitably and pleasantly while off duty, met and formed themselves into a Social Reading Club. They afterwards rented a room, taxed themselves $1 each initiation fee, and made provisions for collecting funds to buy newspapers and periodicals and pay other expenses.
The officers of the club were W. C. Penn, president; ?. W. Allen, vice president; C. E. ??????, secretary; and Adam ??????, treasurer. To these men belong much credit for keeping the organization alive, in fact, they were the whole club at times and kept it alive often at a sacrifice to themselves. In course of time this club became the Y. M. C. A.
In October 1902[?], E. W. Vaughn succeeded W. H. Randolph as general secretary. Under his administration the membership increased to 482. This association is now a member of the national organization and has recently purchased its own home.
A member of the association writing of the work says:
"As ours is a Railroad Association, the natural inquiry is, to what extent is the Norfolk and Western Railway interested? We can give as a measure of their interest the following things done: In 1903 we received $200.00, this year $300.00 toward the support of the association. They also have since 1903 contributed $25.00 on the secretary's salary per month and still there is more in store for us. Seeing that our course is just, they come often to give such advice and lend such assistance as will make us strong in every essential thing. 'Who are they that come to do you good and what office do they hold?' They are the General Superintendent, Mr. A. C. Needles [later, President]; Division Superintendent, Mr. M. J. Caples, and other officers. From the lips of one of the above mentioned officials comes this advice: 'Keep your men out of saloons, keep them out of the dives, and so long as they give us good service, as they are now giving, they will have a place with the company and an opportunity to advance.' ' The Door of hope is not closed against him.'
"Our building is 22 x 60 and arranged as follows:
First floor, bath, toilet, and gymnasium. Second floor, lunch room and kitchen. Third floor, reading room and auditorium. Fourth floor, dormitory.
"The educational work is progressing nicely. Night school is conducted through the fall and winter for the benefit of the young men. Religious work: We hold mid-week services, Sunday Bible class at 3 p. m., and Y. M. C. A. meeting at 4 p. m. Great good is being done for the souls of these young men, and many have entered the fold of Christ.
"But why should the history of the association claim the attention of any reader? Because the class of men of whom it is composed have long been known for their prodigality and fast living. This body is an indication that they are beginning to think ?????? Secondly, because they have learned self-reliance. Self-support and self-reliance are two strong factors in Christian manhood. These men support the association from their own earnings, and thereby through help of God, the good work goes on.
"The present officers are: ?. W. Allen, president; W. C. Penn, vice-president; G. W. Hatter, recording secretary; J. B. Gentry, treasurer; E. W. Vaughan, general secretary."
The association is going to give a bazaar for the purpose of raising funds to meet a payment on the building recently purchased. Our people are asked to make contributions of supplies and money to this object.

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 4, 1904

[The microfilm copy was blurred in places. Where completely illegible, question marks were substituted. Where partially legible, the best estimate of the original was given, but there is a small possibility that the estimate could be wrong, particularly pertaining to numerals.]

Gordon Hamilton
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