As African Americans struggled to find a foothold in the work place, they created strong institution that cultivated a sense if solidarity. The oldest and strongest of these is the Black church.
The first and most thriving church was St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1915. One if the most active leaders of St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church was C.L Johnson who owned a successful tailoring business and was founder of the Booker T Washington YMCA on Eighth and Walnut.
Johnson became known as the Father of the Black Community. His counterpart, Bernice Copeland Lindsay, an equally powerful activist who found the Hillside Terrace was known as the Mother of the Black Community. Lindsay was the first African American director of the Milwaukee YWCA, a position she had after protesting the YWCA's discriminatory housing practices.
These two active pioneer laid the foundation for a steadfast tradition that helped the community in the administration of job placement, tutoring, repair services, medical assistance and youth focused organizations.