Basketball and Harlem, they almost seem synonymous. It’s no secret that street basketball has had an huge impact on the culture of New Yorkers, but what about their lives? One program in particular Each One Teach One has not only brought more attention to the basketball scene in Harlem, but has been shaping the lives of youth within the community… For 50 years as of Thursday August 10.
I was given the opportunity to attend the Each One Teach One 50th Year Anniversary celebration at the RAW SPACE Gallery. In addition, I was able to speak with one of the co-founders of the organization Bob McCullough Sr., along with Each One Teach One alumni and board member Mishea Johnson about history, significance, goals of the organization.
When I first interviewed McCullough, he explained the history of Each One Teach One, stating, “I started the program Each One Teach One primarily because on the Pro level we [Rucker Park] were gaining a lot of attention from media sources (ABC, NBC, WPIX, FOX, etc.)...” He continued to explain, “A lot of civic leaders in the community thought that we should do more for youth in the community... So we began to have basketball clinics for the youth in the community to more or less keep them out of trouble… And then we decided to talk to them about health, education, and staying free of drugs during our clinics during the summer time” (McCullough, Each One Teach One). McCullough began to tell me how in the winter time, the organization would expose to the youth to civic and business leaders basketball players in the community. He states, “We would invite NBA players influences to come and talk to the youth about their youth development and the problems they had with girls, money or their parents, and how they overcame those problems to set an example for the youth that they too can solve complex financial and social issues” (McCullough, Each One Teach One). McCullough also remembers eventually taking the youth to college tours both HBCUS and Predominately white universities to not only expose them to educational opportunities, but display the differences between the two institutions.
In addition to interviewing McCullough, I also caught up with alumni and board member Ms.Johnson, as she discussed the significance of the phrase “Each One Teach One” stating, “Each One Teach One was developed by Fred Crawford and Bob McCullough (Professional basketball players) who decided to come back and to give back” (Johnson, Each One Teach One). Johnson then told me, “The mantra Each One Teach One means ‘when we learn, we do better and give back, so that others can give back, and help others do better’” (Johnson, Each One Teach One). Johnson also spoke on one of the main goals of the program--- ending violence in the community some goals of the program. Johnson told me, “The goal with stopping the violence is having the program [after-school program]... During the summer, the Summer Youth Program helps out with the Bob McCullough basketball clinics” (Johnson, Each One Teach One). As Johnson illustrated the significance of the programs both during the school year and summer, she mentioned, “Statistically we know children (ages 11 to 18 years old), if not occupied, a lot of times get into trouble… Each One Teach One has provided children a place to come to avoid violent situations” (Johnson, Each One Teach One). Johnson made an excellent in identifying one of the major reasons for why youth become involved with violence is because they aren’t occupied with productive and uplifting activities.
Furthermore, the event was an overall success as the program not only celebrated it’s anniversary, but the professional women who contributed to the prominence of Each One Teach One and Rucker Park basketball. One woman in particular that was being honored was Gold Medalist and Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman who conducts basketball clinics for Each One Teach One. According to McCullough, “She’s white and always said when she came to play in Each One Teach One at Rucker Park, we didn’t care whether she was white or not, the only thing we cared about was whether she could play or not… And she could play, she eventually made the All Star team at age 15… She still remembers playing in Each One Teach One at Rucker Park” (McCullough, Each One Teach One). This shows that although Each One Teach One mainly served to the Black community, the organization refrained from rejecting other races from participation in the program. Overall, the environment was filled with food, laughter, memories, and of course the legacy of Each One Teach One.
In conclusion, Each One Teach One should not only be celebrated for its success and longevity, but praised for their dedication to influencing the youth to continue the process of community service. If you would like to learn more about Each One Teach One and its success, I recommend reading article in the link provided.