The Rotary Club of Upper Manhattan was chartered on November 25, 1966 and formally welcomed on February 23, 1967 on Rotary International’s 62nd birthday with a gala banquet sponsored by the Rotary Club of New York.
Our club is a community based charter member of Rotary International, which is comprised of roughly 1.3 million individual members worldwide. The Rotary Club of Harlem is one of 35,000+ clubs that work together to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, sanitation efforts, hygiene, safety of mothers and children, support education and grow local economies.
Many of our founding members were the New York and National leaders of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. Our Club’s members had long fought many battles for civil rights and liberties. In fact, they were instrumental in ending all discrimination including gender discrimination even within Rotary International. This is because even in the 1970’s membership was available only to men. In September 1970, our club decided to seek the removal of all gender restrictions from membership in Rotary International. In 1972, we submitted a legal proposal enactment to change the Constitution and Bylaws of Rotary International to admit women into Rotary.
We did so at each Council of Legislation until it passed in 1989. Finally, the Supreme Court ordered Rotary International to permit women to be permitted in the United States. As of July, 1989, women are important members in many Rotary clubs in the world. Hundreds of thousands of women worldwide are now Rotarians.
Our club was founded with the encouragement of David Rockefeller and he invited the Rotary Club of Upper Manhattan to conduct their meetings at the Denmark Room of The International House that was founded by the Rockefeller Family to promote the same goals as Rotary of international understanding and exchange. The International House is located at 500 Riverside Drive, just opposite of Grant’s Tomb (Riverside Drive and W. 123rd St.) Our club met there until 2009.
At the meetings we plan and develop community and international service projects. Often, we invite an informative and recognized industry or community leader to be our Guest Speaker and to meet with club members. They provide us with first-hand insight on a wide-array of relevant topics such as politics, education, economics, finance, poverty-eradication, health, media, art, music, history, film, etc. The presentation and Q&A period normally lasts about 30 minutes, but our guests usually remain for an informal, extended conversation. We invite all Rotarians, and those interested in joining Rotary, to visit us.
Dean E. Williams, President
Marva Wade, President Elect
Yvette Forbes, Treasurer
Janetha Hinds, Secretary
Ishmael Brown, Membership Chair
Wayne Charles II, Foundation Chair