Posted by Thomas McConnon
RC Harlem and History
Rotary Club of Harlem’s Charter Night was held on Fri May 10. The occasion celebrated the Club's history, development and contributions to us all. Several of RCNY's members attended and shared in the joy. 
        more about RC Harlem inside.

About The Rotary Club of Harlem
In 1966 the Legendary Rotary Club of New York at the request of David Rockefeller and New York Rotarian and best selling author of “Positive Think”, Norman Vincent Peale, chartered the Rotary Club of Upper Manhattan. It was felt that a Rotary Club in Harlem would expand the African-American business and civic community's access to the rest of the world.

The Rockefeller Family had often reached out to the Rotary Club of New York, especially during the creation of the United Nations. In this case, the Rockefeller family donated space for the newly established Upper Manhattan Club to conduct their meetings at the Denmark Room of “The International House”: a dormitory for foreign students that was founded by the Rockefeller Family to promote international understanding and by providing housing to foreign students attending New York City’s finest Academies and Universities. The International House is located at Riverside Drive and W. 123rd St., just opposite Grant’s Tomb.

The Upper Manhattan Club met there free of charge for 42 years starting in 1967 until that time they changed their name to The Rotary Club of Harlem and moved to a more central location in Harlem to conduct their meetings .

Many of the club’s founding members were a “Who’s Who of the the New York and national civil rights movement of the late 1960s and 1970’s. It’s members had fought many battles of civil rights and liberties. In fact, ironically, they were instrumental in ending all discrimination including gender discrimination even with in Rotary International. This was because even in the 1970's membership in Rotary was available only to men. The club fought for the removal of all gender restrictions from membership in Rotary International. In 1972, they submitted a legal proposal enactment to change the Constitution and Bylaws of Rotary International to admit women into Rotary. The club did so at each Council of Legislation until it passed in 1989. It must be said however that The United States Supreme Court ordered Rotary International to admit women in the United States. As of July, 1989, women are valuable members in nearly all of the 35,000 Rotary Clubs around the world.