[Dear Sirs: The Coalition of Concerned Black Americans has for some time been considerably disturbed by the kind of news coverage]

by Jewell Handy Gresham, Coalition of Concerned Black Americans
New York, New York, United States
April 22, 1977
4 pages
Type: Correspondence
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Copy of a letter to the Publisher and Editors of The New York Times. The letter says the Coalition of Concerned Black Americans has for some time been considerably disturbed by the kind of news coverage (and frequent lack of coverage) relating to news stories or matters of critical importance to Black Africa, and to Black America; by logical extension, of course, any such subject matter has major concurrent significance for our national well being and the image and position of our nation in the world; hence, failure on the first level irrevocably means degrees of inadequacy and distortion in news reporting and analysis in the widest sense. The letter says for the moment, we wish to discuss this matter specifically in relationship to South Africa; while the Times frequently engages in sharp criticism of the violation of human rights by the Pretoria government, your editorial position seems stoutly opposed to sanctions against South Africa and you seem in favor of a "gradualist" approach to correction of the monstrously oppressive ills under which the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa--the Black masses--are forced to live, and die. The letter says South Africa is the only country in the world which openly bases its ruling policies directly on the right of rule by a white minority of millions of Black men, women, and children legally adjudged to have no rights whatsoever, human or otherwise. The letter says this reference is to the choice made by your paper, one of the most influential in the world, to accept South African advertisements of employment opportunities in that country; in making such a choice, it hardly appears that you can fail to be aware that such ads are inherently discriminatory--since Black people cannot apply--and thus in violation of the letter and spirit of American legal edicts; you have chosen to defend in the courts your right to accept whatever advertisements you wish. The letter says for the moment, New York courts have ruled that the plaintiffs who contested your right to do so, specifically including the New York City Commission on Human Rights, in effect had no legal standing. The letter says our concern in this instance has to do with the sponsorship, by the International Lawn Tennis Federation and the U.S. Tennis Committee, of South African athletes in the International Davis Cup match recently held in Newport Beach, California; prior coverage of this event by Times sportswriter Neil Amdur appears to us to represent precisely the kind of omissions and distortions of news relating to Africa which is the subject of this letter; American tennis interests, in this instance, defied the UN ban against sports exchange with South Africa; it seems to us that fact at least should be reported, whether or not it is approved. The letter discusses Professor Haywood Burns, the New York School of Law Dr. Charles Cobb, the United Church of Christ (UCC), the National Conference of Black Churchmen, Dr. Lennox Hinds, Esq., the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and John Backe.
Collection: Private collection of Robert Edgar