Building Community Organizations
Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail
In turn, the YWCA was founded in 1895 by seven spirited African American women who were members of the Druid Hill YMCA Women’s Auxiliary, including Martha Howard Murphy, the wife of the publisher of the Afro-American Newspaper. In 1896, this group bought a house at the corner of Dolphin Street and Druid Hill Avenue and began to provide employment services, relief to unwed mothers and classes in stenography and typing.
(Inscriptions under the images on the right)
The Colored YMCA
The Colored YMCA was founded at Union Baptist Church in 1885. Members met in people’s houses until 1900 when the YMCA moved to a building on West Biddle Street. IN 1906, they moved to Druid Hill Avenue and in 1911 received a matching grant of $25,000 from John Rosenwold, one of the founder’s Sears Roebuck, to build a new facility. Within a year, the African American community raised over $75,000 to match the Rosenwold grant and around 1916 construction began.
The Elks Lodge
Founded in 1900, the Monumental Elks Lodge No. 3 provided a brotherhood and a platform for black employment. Lodges provided the only opportunity many African Americans had to “run for office,”
Baltimore’s Prince Hall Lodge traces its origins to New England in 1784, where Prince Hall, the brother of black Masonry in the United States is credited with making it possible for African Americans to become Masons. In 1924, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge moved into its Eutaw Street location, a former synagogue. Their charitable donations and educational scholarships are legendary in the Baltimore community.
The Arch Social Club
Formerly located in downtown Baltimore, the Arch Social Club moved to its present location on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1972. It is one of the oldest African American social clubs in the United States. During the early 1900s African Americans’ social activities were restricted and access to insurance was difficult. To counter these racial practices, the club was incorporated in 1912 “for the social, moral and brotherhood spirit of its members and in order that charity may be practiced in a Christian spirit.”
Orchard Street Church (Baltimore Urban League)
Orchard Street Church was founded in 1925 by Trueman La Pratt, a former slave of Maryland Governor John Eager Howard. The church
Reverse Side of the Marker
Take a walk through history in storied Old West Baltimore. You’ll relive the glory days of Pennsylvania Avenue and its surrounding neighborhoods. Follow the lives of inspiring people. Tour churches that served as places of empowerment and beacons of enlightenment, and gain new perspective on this African American community’s role in the struggle for civil rights. Explore at your own pace following these story signs to learn about Baltimore African Americans who helped build a city and changed the face of American music, art, literature and politics.
(Inscriptions under the images on the right)
1.Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland
2.The Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum
3.Douglas Memorial Community Church
4.Elks Lodge 5.Morriah Keyhole Houses
6.Booker T. Washington Middle School
7.Bethel AME Church
8.Union Baptist Church
9.Sharp Street Methodist Church
10.Henry Highland Garnet School/PS 103
11.The Royal Theatre Marquee Monument
13.Macedonia Baptist Church
14.The Comedy Club
15.Trinity Baptist Church
17.Ideal Savings and Loan
19.Thurgood Marshall’s Childhood Home
20.Romare Bearden Mural.
(Inscriptions under the images)
*Listen, Can you feel it pulsating down the Street of Royalty?
*It’s bee-bop, jazz, comedy—and of course—the blues.
*All the greats were here. Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Eubie Blake and more!
*Learn about African American politicians and lawyers like William Ashbie Hawkins and George McMechan who fought against on ordinance segregating whites and blacks block by block.
*Visit churches that nurtured the soul, and also fed, clothed and housed the poor.
*Follow Thurgood Marshall from Henry Highland Garnet School/PS 103, to winning landmark Supreme Court cases, to becoming a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
*Learn how Old West Baltimore residents and church leaders played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement and in the Buy Where You Can Work jobs campaign.
*And walk in the creative footsteps of writer Zora Neale Hurston, artist Romare Breaden and actors at the Arena Players.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Churches & Religion • Civil Rights. In addition, it is included in the Harriet Tubman, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. series lists.
Location. 39° 18.27′ N, 76° 37.896′ W. Marker is in Upton in Baltimore, Maryland. Marker is on Druid Hill Aveune. The marker is in front of Trinity Baptist Church. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1601 Druid Hill Aveune, Baltimore MD 21217, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Suffrage Leaders (within shouting distance of this marker); J. Howard Payne (1887-1960) House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Community Growth and Faith (about 400 feet away); Thurgood Marshall House (about 500 feet away); The Elks Lodge (about 600 feet away); American Legion Federal Post No. 19 (about 700 feet away); Buy Where You Can Work Campaign & Higher Education (approx. 0.2 miles away); Creating an African American Neighborhood (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Upton.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 5, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 188 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 5, 2017, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.