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History's most unique track club - New York Pioneer Club (NYPC)


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  • History's most unique track club - New York Pioneer Club (NYPC)

    New York Pioneer Club (NYPC)
    History’s Most Unique Athletic Team
    Mr. Joseph J. Yancey Jr. – Founder & Coach
    Civil Rights Leadership through Sports

    New York Pioneer Club: Team Origins & Mission:
    The athletic club was founded in 1936 by three African Americans; Joseph J. Yancey, Robert Douglas and William Culbreath in 1936 in Harlem, New York. Robert Douglas was manager of the Renaissance Casino and the Harlem Rens Basketball team.

    The clubs 1942 constitution stated:
    The object of this organization is to support, encourage, and advance athletics among youth of the New York Metropolitan district, regardless of Race, Color or Creed.
    To encourage and further the ambition of our youth for higher education that they might become intelligent, civic – minded citizens, and to work toward a better racial understanding through the medium of education and sports.

    The Pioneer Creed: The Pioneer Club, a club of gentlemen and athletes. This does not signify mere outward refinement. It speaks of a refined and noble mind, to which anything dishonorable, mean or impure is abhorrent and unworthy.

    The NYPC team was a means of building men of character; gentleman as athletes and citizens.
    Gentlemen first, athletes second

    Team Leaders:
    Coach - Mr. Joseph J. Yancey 1936 - 1991
    Manager - Assistant Coach – Edward Levy 1943 - 1991
    Coach – Edward J. Levy 1991 - 2001

    Learn more about the club here:

  • #2
    And the very existence of NYPC was because the NYAC, by accident or design, had no AA members. This was true as late as 1964 when I wore a winged foot shirt in summer meets at VCP.


    • #3
      from the Wiki entry on NYAC

      <<There were also claims, over the years, that the club discriminated against blacks and Jews. In 1936, Olympian Marty Glickman was turned away in the lobby by the NYAC's Athletic Director when he sought to join his fellow runner and work out at the club. Glickman believed this was because he was Jewish.[13][14][15] In the mid-1950s, New York City Councilman Earl D. Brown, a Manhattan Democrat, refused to attend an outing at a NYAC facility, to protest the fact that the club: "discriminates against Negroes and Jews on its track team". The Race Relations Reporter reported that a spokesman for the NYAC, Mr. Alfred Foster, "admitted that the club has no Jewish or Negro athletes on its teams". However, they also reported the club secretary saying the club did have some Jewish members.[16][17][18]

      In February 1962, New York City Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Jr. quit the NYAC due to allegations that it barred blacks and Jews.[19][20][21][22][23][24]

      Woody Allen had a joke about a Jewish couple that was dressed as a moose and was shot and stuffed and mounted at the NYAC, with his punch line being: "And the joke is on them, because it is restricted."[25][26][27]

      In May 1964, the club was picketed by demonstrators from the Congress for Racial Equality who shouted slogans calling for integration of Negroes and Jews.[28] In the late 1960s, The Olympic Project for Human Rights convinced black athletes to boycott events held at the NYAC on the grounds that the club excluded Blacks and Jews from membership.[29] Olympian Byron Dyce, with the NYU track team and most Black athletes, boycotted the NYAC Games at Madison Square Garden in February 1968 to protest the club's allegedly discriminatory membership policies.[30][31] A 500-600-person crowd protested the club's exclusionary practices outside the Games, with picketers charging police who swung their nightsticks at the picketers in reaction, with each at times knocking the others to the ground.[32][33] At the same time, fifty alumni of Notre Dame encouraged their fellow alumni to resign from the club unless it explained its exclusion of non-Whites and Jews.[29][34] In June 1970, columnist Nat Hentoff criticized Ted Sorenson, who was running in the primary election for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York, because Sorenson had lived for a time at the NYAC, writing: "what kind of man would choose to live in one of this city's redoubts of bigotry?"[35]

      In March 1981, prior to a press conference at the NYAC, Muhammad Ali picked up the microphone to test it out and said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jews and niggers and all the other members of the NAACP welcome you to the NYAC."[36][37] In 1989, Olympic gold medal winner Antonio McKay became the first Black track and field athlete to compete for the NYAC.[38]>>


      • #4
        Bringing things up to date, there are 16 New York AC athletes competing in Beijing. At least eight of them would not have been admitted to the club back in the day.


        • #5
          Thanks for this update as the club should be recognized for the way it has changed over the years.


          • #6
            The NYPC was formed in 1936 for the development of Harlem youth after a 1935 riot. The exclusion of AA and Jewish athletes was by design. Only the very top athletes were selected to represent the club. The NYPC was open to all athletic abilities.


            • #7
              Above post has me confused....


              • #8
                Originally posted by dukehjsteve View Post
                Above post has me confused....
                I think the middle two sentences of GaryC's post refer to the NYAC.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by NotDutra5 View Post
                  I think the middle two sentences of GaryC's post refer to the NYAC.
                  I thought that too, but wanted to diplomatically get him to change it...


                  • #10
                    I ran for the Pioneer Club from 1969-1971. I enjoyed the entire experience. I was one of the few white runners. I also was not fast enough to run on the top mile relay team, but I was given the opportunity each year to run in early mile relay race in the Garden. I found the coaches, Joe Yancey and Ed Levy to be fine men who were interested in all of the athletes. Everyone was very friendly and supportive. It was a wonderful experience for me.


                    • #11
                      Hi - The statements reflects the NYAC exclusionary practices in the 1950s and 1960s. The NYAC today is a quite different inclusive club.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GaryC View Post
                        The NYAC today is a quite different inclusive club.
                        Is that true of its non-elite (paying) members as well?


                        • #13
                          I don't know enough about the club to answer.