Joshua Rose 4

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.


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 Read more about Joshua Rose and listen to an interview with his daughter on the Black Liberation Walking Tour. 4

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

c.1969, George Killingsworth became the executive director.

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.

The YMCA was closed again in [ ? ]. It reopened in January of 2023 and now operates as an Early Childhood Learning Center under the leadership of center director Lovette Trammel.

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

1951 Sanborn excerpt

There were several murals at the YMCA. One of them featured 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

  4. Northwest Branch YMCA Black Liberation Walking Tour