Sewickley Community Center

Sewickley Black History Tour

Sewickley Community Center

Sewickley, Pennsylvania 15143, United States

Created By: Sweetwater Center for the Arts


Sewickley Community Center
15 Chadwick Street, Sewickley

The Sewickley Community Center has played a vital role in Sewickley and surrounding boroughs for more than 80 years. After the flood closed the “Colored” YMCA, members of the Black community were in need of a recreational facility that would admit African Americans. In 1935, a local group of young Black men organized and formed The Young Men’s Club. This group, with the support of the Sewickley Valley Ministerial Association and a group of prominent local citizens, joined together and established the Sewickley Colored Community Center. In 1937 the SCCC, which was meeting temporarily at the Triumph Baptist Church, opened its doors with recreational programs for African Americans in the Sewickley Valley region. In 1955 the SCCC moved to its current location. On Chadwick Street, the Center became a neighbor to the American Legion Post 450 and the Y-Field baseball park. The dead-end street became a haven for Blacks and a safe place for African Americans in Sewickley. At its inception, the Center primarily served African Americans, but has always been open to ALL people. For decades it has served as the focal point for the African American community offering instructional and recreational athletics, martial arts training, crafts, a bridge club, Girl and Boy Scout Troops, and an early childhood education and development programs; as well as social gatherings and activities including parties, bus trips, a bowling league, the annual “Come on Home” reunion, and performances by Diana Ross and the Supremes, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, and other headliners from the Motown Era. As years have passed, the Center now serves a multi-racial, economically diverse array of families, individuals, and young people who are drawn by the Center’s distinct programs and offerings. The Center’s Community Food Pantry is open twice a month. The Center also provides a full-time day care, a before- and after-school program, and a fully-staffed outdoor swimming pool, which is an annual highlight of the Center. It is the only outdoor pool in Sewickley proper and does not require a membership fee. Many youth sports organizations such as QV Recreation Association and QV Wrestling Association utilize the outdoor field and beautiful renovated gym for practices and competitions. The “Amazing” mural on Chadwick Street was done by Baron Batch, a Pittsburgh artist and former Steeler. The mission of the Sewickley Community Center is to provide affordable activities, opportunities, and space to meet the diverse needs of the Sewickley Valley Area.

Black History of the Time (1935-present)
The depression hit the African American community hard and as America began recovery in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Africans Americans were left behind in many ways. The New Deal offered a series of programs and reforms to aid in American’s financial recovery, but most were entrenched with discrimination. Denial of mortgages to Black families and redlining, the CCC segregated camps, the Social Security Act excluding jobs traditional held by African Americans, the AAA (Agricultural Adjustment Administration) acreage reduction program that put over 100,000 Black farmers off the land they worked, as well as the NRA (National Recovery Administration) employing whites first and authorizing lower pay scales for Black workers, are all examples of how the New Deal did not work for African Americans. Another important program for the financial recovery in this time was the GI Bill. While there were many Black veterans who served this country, they were unable to benefit from this legislation because of vast inequalities in the bill’s implementation, leaving Black veterans out of most benefits. The racism and discrimination that was entrenched in these programs fueled the racial wealth gap and the institutional racism American is still dealing with today.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Sewickley Black History Tour


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