This past Saturday was a great milestone in the history of the Y and in the City of Baltimore, as friends and community members gathered to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the historic Druid Hill Y. While a centennial anniversary of any institution or organization is always worth recognizing, this one held particular significance.
The event included a gathering of people who had, as they said, “grown up” at the Druid Hill Y and returned, some for the first time in years, to help celebrate the anniversary. As the photos below will attest, it was a warm reunion of good people bound by special memories of a Y that was, and remains to this day, seminal in the lives of those who spent time there in their youth. Stories were shared of learning to swim in the only indoor pool in Baltimore that was open to African Americans during segregation. Generations of Baltimoreans were influenced by this Y, including Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court Justice of the United States and civil rights trailblazer responsible for the desegregation of public schools. Jazz great Cab Calloway was also a Druid Hill Y kid back in the day, along with legions of other prominent Baltimoreans who went on to make significant contributions to our community in many ways.
It was heartwarming to be able to bring so many of them back together to pay tribute to the institution which helped shape the individuals they became and which continues its mission and purpose today and will continue to do so well into the future. During the event, a special video and history display were unveiled. The video is well worth watching. It depicts the importance of this Y better than anything I could possibly communicate here! Click this link to take a look.
When you get a chance, stop by the Druid Hill Y to read the history so beautifully captured on the display pictured here (it’s much more impressive in person!):
This small gathering was followed by a festive, free and fun street party open for all! Activities included a BBQ, live DJ (courtesy our friends at Radio One), dancing, arts & crafts, moon bounce and more! The photos below tell the story of a happy, fun celebration.
As is always the case, these events don’t come together by themselves! Hours of planning go into them. We have so many people to thank it’s hard to know where to start, but I’d like to first call out Y Board volunteers Dwight Taylor and Dr. Ricardo Kimbers, who rolled up their sleeves to work on this event steadily for the past year. They are the true authors of Saturday’s success! A big thank you also goes to Y associates Eric Somerville, Jeff Sprinkle, Sara Milstein, Leslie Tinati, Sharon Johnson, James Weathers and many, many more, including our resident historian and lifelong Y friend Bradley Alston. Thanks also goes to Y board member Tom Brandt, who generously stepped forward to enable the colorful street banners pictured above, as well as our many sponsors who made the event possible, including title sponsor CareFirst and Whiting Turner. Many others deserve our thanks in helping us to keep expenses to a minimum by donating food and professional services for the day.
Proceeds from this event will fund summer camp scholarships for kids from the Druid Hill/Upton neighborhood to enable an active, safe and purposeful summer for them.
And who knows? Among these kids may even be the next great musician, lawyer or even the next Supreme Court Justice. Perhaps they, like their predecessors, will look back and say that “the Druid Hill Y helped make me who I am today!”
All the best,
John K. Hoey
President & CEO
The Y in Central Maryland