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As word spread, the club quickly grew to members; its name was changed in to the Boys Busy Life Club. When the club outgrew the Plymouth Church basement, Whitcomb oversaw the purchase of a building at N. Jackson St. Inthe club also initiated some of the first child labor and compulsory education laws in the state of Wisconsin. A few years later it helped organize the first united drive for funds for Milwaukee's social agencies--known today as the United Way.
Over the next fifty years, the club grew steadily, officially ing the national Boys Clubs of America inas well as officially stating its mission to serve economically deprived boys between the ages of six and eighteen in Milwaukee's most densely populated neighborhoods. As formal education became more widely accessible, the club's activities were also transformed, with traditional vocational and educational training being replaced by recreational and social activities such as swimming, boxing, and billiards.
Bymembership had reached boys, and more space was needed to accommodate new members. Ina new club was constructed at Franklin Place, also on the East Side, to replace the Jackson Street site, and a survey determined that Milwaukee's North Side, with a fast-growing African American population and few recreational activities, was the area in the most need. Inwork was finished on a club at N. Bymembership in the two Boys Clubs reached ; another ed when a third center opened on Milwaukee's South Side.
While recreational activities remained the club's focus, the ethnic and racial makeup of the club changed dramatically during the second half of the 20th century.
While the organization had always been open to any boy, regardless of race, the original East Side location had been overwhelmingly white. The branch on the city's North Side was purposefully built to serve the mix of whites and African Americans who lived near the club.
The South Side club was located in an area of the city that would soon become predominately Hispanic. In addition, girls had unofficially participated for years, and the Board of Trustees voted to extend membership to girls and to change the club's name to the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club. By the middle of that year, girls constituted 30 percent of the club's membership.
Today, the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club has six branches and serves well overchildren. The documents in this special section include excerpts from the annual report of the Boys Busy Life Club, samples from the club's clippings file suggesting the range of activities and interests of club members, and selections from a series of newspaper advertisements setting forth the values the club hoped to instill in its members.
Additional documents related to this topic may be discovered by searching the CUAP archive with the following keywords: boys, clubs, entertainment, girls, philanthropy. Boys' Week to Be Celebrated in City. Milwaukee Sentinel Articles on Boys' Club. Search CUAP. Brief history of children in urban America. For teachers, students and general users. Nixon was the board chairman of the Boys' Clubs of America.Women search in Milwaukee
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