In preparation for their upcoming 70th anniversary, the Holcombe Rucker Community League celebrated their 69th anniversary with its first gala/fundraiser this past week. Held at the Alhambra Ballroom on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and 126th Street in Harlem, the event was organized to raise funds and continue their local education and sports youth programs.
In addition to honoring their founders, the organization has started the Holcombe Rucker Community League Hall of Fame to pay homage and give recognition to community servants and Rucker’s bright and future leaders.
First to be honored were Holcombe Rucker himself and inductees Mary Rucker-Thomas, Donald E. Adams and Henry J. Carter.
“Our founder, the late Holcombe Rucker, was a visionary,” stated Executive Director Alan White. “He saw the need to improve the condition of his community and his people back in 1946, and his vision is still relevant to this day.”
Rucker-Thomas will be honored for sharing her late husband’s vision by being one of the first members of the board.
“Mrs. Rucker’s strength and support of their growing family allowed Holcombe to continue to serve his community.”
Adams, also being honored, was a basketball coach at Cooper Junior High School and an athletic director at William Howard Taft High.
“Mr. Adams also shared the same ideas and hopes for a positive community. He ran the Holcombe Rucker Community League until his health prevented him from doing so 2012, the year that he passed away.”
Carter was also honored for his contribution to his community and the community at large. After his good friend was shot and paralyzed, Carter was motivared to raise funds for those in need of wheelchairs. He started his Wheelchair Charities in the 1970s and also raises funds for uniforms and equipment for kids. Carter is the first African American to have a hospital named after him in New York City.
Rucker Community League organizers also honored two outstanding students, Gabrielle Wilks and Tae-Jae Jenkins.
Wilks, a biology and mathematics major at Virginia State, worked as an intern for the Rucker Ambassador Sports Management Program. Jenkins was named the league’s MVP for 2019. He earned the award for scoring the most amount of points per game and for his high GPA at St. Thomas More Prep in Connecticut.