[Dear Mr. Bell: The Coalition of Concerned Black Americans calls your attention to the enclosed copy of a letter to Secretary of State Vance …]

by Jewell Handy Gresham, Coalition of Concerned Black Americans
New York, New York, United States
April 22, 1977
2 pages
Type: Correspondence
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Copy of a letter to Griffin Bell, Attorney-General of the United States about the recent appearance in America of South African athletes who engaged in official competition with American tennis professionals at Newport Beach, California under the auspices of the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the U.S. Tennis Committee. The letter says we enclose a copy of the CCBA Newsletter, The Questioner, which is designed to provide information to the Black community and the wider public relative to a subject which we do not believe the media has treated accurately and fairly. The letter says in our letter to Secretary Vance, we set forth the reasons that we believe attempts by American tennis officials to force acceptance of the South African athletes is this country and abroad represents a grave threat to public peace. The letter says aside from the problems of confrontation toward this general situation will surely lead, we believe there are serous legal questions which relate to the actions of the U.S. Tennis Committee. The letter says an important preliminary point has to do with the fact that it is very near an all-white body, who--whether deliberately or otherwise--appears to be promoting the interests of a racist foreign regime in a manner which immediately represents ramifications extending beyond sports; notably, last summer at the Women's Federation Cup meet held in Philadelphia, the same Tennis interests invited Rhodesians to participate in that competition, though Rhodesia is an illegal government which no country in the world--with the possible exception of South Africa--recognizes. The letter says in the present instance, if--in the case of the importation of chromium from Rhodesia, also a violation of UN resolutions--in effect, it took an act of Congress to authorize such transactions (namely through the Byrd amendment, a violation only recently repealed), why would the U.S. Tennis Committee, then, nonetheless have the license to import South African athletes for professional play, and thus also for profit, in the absence of such authorization? Copies of the letter were sent to the President of the United States, Vice-President Walter Mondale, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, UN Ambassador Andrew Young, Senator Dick Clark, Congressman Charles Diggs, and the Black Congressional Caucus.
Collection: Private collection of Robert Edgar