When the M. Robinson Baker YMCA opened in 1926 it was known as the the Market Street YMCA. 3 Later it was called the Northwest Oakland YMCA; the 1951 Sanborn shows it as North Oakland YMCA. When its building was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; the community rallied to its aid. MRB reopened in 1996. The 15,000-square foot MRB facility provides place-based services to the community with a gymnasium, outdoor gardening area, classrooms and computer lab.


c.1939, M. Robinson Baker was acting executive director. 2 He had to take a step back for health reasons, and Joshua Rose then ran the branch. Later, M. Robinson Baker was on the board of the branch YMCA, and then the central YMCA. 1

Lionel Wilson was involved in the "lay leadership" of the YMCA. 1

Picture from March 14, 1957 California Eagle
(fair use)
Picture from November 9, 1957  Oakland Tribune
(fair use)
1939 2

1951 Sanborn excerpt

There are several murals at the YMCA. One of them features Oakland scenes including the lake, graduates, current issues like eviction, and the Y itself.

photo CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 byWilliam Newtonphoto CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 byWilliam Newton

Links and References

  1. Interview with M. Robinson Baker, Oakland Y.M.C.A. director by Ruth Beckford, 1972, AALMO -- Ruth Beckford Papers

  2. Activities of Negroes by Lena Wysinger Oakland Tribune February 19, 1939

  3. Activies Among Negroes by Delilah Beasley Oakland Tribune June 13, 1926