White women in Boston formed the first Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in 1866 to provide moral support and later housing for young women who had moved to the cities to work.
Four years later black women started the Philadelphia Colored Women’s Christian Association.
The national YWCA was organized in 1886, but white and black remained separate groups until the mid-1940s.
Jewish women formed their own “Y” in the mid-1880s, in part because they felt Christian women did not understand the culture of Jewish immigrant women.
Their organization was called the Young Women’s Hebrew Association (YWHA).