On the South Side of Chicago stands the famous Wabash Avenue “Colored” YMCA, opened in 1911 as the first Y in the country that African Americans were allowed to use. This is the spot where in 1926, Carter G. Woodson first proposed the idea of “Negro History Week,” which became Black History Month.

In this video by our friends at ’47 brought to you by SLAM, Chicago Bulls star Taj Gibson and viral visual artist Swopes joined some of Chicago’s most elite high school ballers at the historic landmark. The moving words of eloquent poet Joekenneth Museau narrated by Chicagoland rapper Lil Bibby help us reflect on the chance we all have to make history now.

#MakeHistoryNow

The legacy of the Black Fives will live forever on the hardwood—or the asphalt. Taj Gibson and ’47 join in honoring these pioneers. #MakeHistoryNow #BlackHistoryMonth

Posted by SLAM Magazine on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 
 

At one time the YMCA was racially segregated. Most early so-called “Colored” branches of the Y had members but no building. In 1910, Sears Roebuck chairman Julius Rosenwald created a philanthropic program promising to match any funds raised by African American communities wishing to build their own buildings, so long as they surpassed a certain threshold.

The result was the construction of many such facilities during the 1910s, starting with the Wabash branch. Booker T. Washington was at its grand opening. Chicago’s black community had its first reliably available indoor basketball court that was open to the general African American public. The rest is history. #makehistorynow #blackfives

The latest Black Fives x ’47 gear is dropping this week at LIDS.

#makehistorynow cap by '47