[Dear Secretary Vance: On April 15-17th, in Newport Beach, California, US tennis professionals competed against white South Africans …]

by Jewell Handy Gresham, Coalition of Concerned Black Americans
New York, New York, United States
April 20, 1977
3 pages
Type: Correspondence
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Letter to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The letter says on April 15-17, in Newport Beach, California, U.S. tennis professional competed against white South Africans in the International Davis Cup matches under the auspices of the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the United States Tennis Association; this meeting by US with South African athletes violates repeated resolutions by the UN which requests the international community to "suspend cultural, educational, sporting and other exchanges with the racist regime and with organization or institutions which practice apartheid" (Resolutions 2396, 2775D, and 3411E). The letter says such open distain for the UN position and the anguish of 21 million Black South Africans is an affront to the international community, the nations of Africa, and Black Americans—and the Black community is deeply angered by it. The letter says the overwhelming majority of nations of the world honor the UN sanctions against South Africa, at least in the area of sports. The letter says last summer, after full hearings in Montreal, the international bodies of soccer, swimming, track and field barred South Africa. The letter says it is inconceivable under such circumstances, American tennis interests more persistently press their attempt to reverse their own ban of the early 1970's. The letter says we know that corporations provide lucrative purses for winners at profession tennis meets; multinational corporations profit shamelessly and obscenely from the virtual slave labor of Black South African workers in gold, coal and diamond mining. The letter says we protest the issuance of visa to white South African athletes to play in our country in defiance of out non-discriminatory laws and ideals; we remind the Department of State that no reciprocal freedom would for a moment be extended to Black Americans for the purposes of visiting and participating in the national life of South Africa. Copies of the letter were sent to Vice-President Walter Mondale; UN Ambassador Andrew Young; Senator Dick Clark, Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Congressman Charles Diggs, House Sub-Committee on Africa; and the Congressional Black Caucus. The letter discusses the International Lawn Tennis Association (ILTA) and the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Collection: Private collection of Robert Edgar