On Saturday, May 14, Assemblyman Keith Wright of Harlem, along with the Harlem Police Ath- letic League (PAL), hosted a renaming ceremony at the Harlem PAL Center at 441 Manhattan Ave. The center’s game room was renamed in honor of the late Judge Kenneth M. Phipps in recognition of his lifelong work on behalf of the community of Harlem.
As a member of the New York State Assembly, Phipps represented the 14th District, which at the time included the majority of Har- lem. He was elected in 1954 to fill a vacancy and served until 1958, when Mayor Robert Wagner appointed him a magistrate.
Phipps became a member of the New York State Bar after receiving a bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University and a law degree from St. John’s University. The judge was also a graduate of George Washington High School and both P.S. 89 and P.S. 139.
He was a decorated veteran who saw combat with the U.S. Air Force in the southwest Pacific during World War II. Phipps passed away in 1968 after suffering a heart attack.
“Many people in Harlem may remember that the old Harlem PAL Center on Fifth Avenue was named for Judge Kenneth Phipps, and I have found it a fitting tribute to this great man that we rename at least a part of the new PAL Center in respect of his legacy and commitment to the children of Harlem,” said Wright. “I remember Judge Phipps well and am proud to serve the same district that he so selflessly represented many decades ago.
“We in Harlem should keep this dedicated public servant in our minds as we move our community forward and remember all that he did for the neighborhood which he so cherished.”