Young Men Olympians Social & Benevolent Society

I haven’t been out to a second line in a while. But, everybody comes out for a big event like this one. The Young Men Olympians were rolling to celebrate their 135th year of serving the residents of Central City, New Orleans. 

A little bit about YMO. They were founded in 1884, when post Civil War racism ruled the south. African Americans could not buy certain services. Medical care, groceries, insurance and burials were among their basic needs. Social and Benevolent Societies began to emerge in Black communities. They bought groceries for those who couldn’t buy them elsewhere. They took care of medical expenses using Black doctors. They paid for burials and provided money for the family of the person who died to get back on their feet.

As the years rolled by, many of these services became common for all people. Black and White. Many of these groups started to fade into the mist. Not YMO. Today they work with youth. Young members – some as young as six or seven  – join the club. They sign contracts that ensure they will get good grades in school, will not use drugs, get arrested and that they will be respectful and obedient in school and at home. They cannot wear some of the current “hood” style clothes and they must dress appropriately for whatever they are doing. 

They say that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, here’s the village. 

The pictures.

I photographed what I saw, with this little kicker. I tested my baby Leica. It’s a great camera for some things. But, it is limited in some respects. It has a fixed 28-75 mm short zoom lens. In order to fill the frame in the way that you would like, you have to work closely. Since I like to work from the inside out, that wasn’t a problem. I think both it and I did pretty good. Especially since the temperature was in the mid-90s. Working in an urban and very crowded environment made the “feels like” temperature seem like it was in the triple digits. Someday, we’ll cool off. 

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