JULY 15, 1959
NEW YORK—I was very glad to read last week that the acting mayor of New York City, Mr. Abe Stark, has taken a stand as regards the West Side Tennis Club ban on Negroes and Jews. The club's policy was revealed recently when Dr. Ralph Bunche and his son were informed they could not become members. Mr. Stark has suggested that the club give up the Davis Cup and National Championship matches unless it drops its discrimination policy.
Mr. Stark also has asked the United States Lawn Tennis Association to survey public stadiums and parks that might be suitable for next month's Davis Cup matches and the National Championships in September. He said he would ask the Board of Estimate to appropriate money for such a project with the receipts going to youth work.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bunche has announced that he and his family have been invited to become honorary members of the Town Tennis Club.
Since Mayor Robert F. Wagner is out of the city Acting Mayor Stark has directed the Department of Licenses to investigate the West Side Tennis Club for having public sports exhibitions without a license. And he said he would introduce legislation in the City Council prohibiting the issuance of a public exhibition license to any organization, except a religious institution, that had membership policies based on race, color and national origin.
This whole thing will, of course, engender a great many discussions and, while it can do no good to the West Side Tennis Club, it may be a good thing to have the public forced to decide what it would be willing to do in these circumstances.
I also read with interest that as desegregation is accepted in the South in certain areas the idea of segregation by sex is going to be tried out. Word comes from Charlottesville, Va., that this will be the case in certain classes there when they begin racial desegregation next fall.
In these areas they do not seem to be thinking of starting desegregation in the first grade, which seems to me to be the easiest and most sensible way to bring about a painless change. The segregation by sex should mean that one of the reasons most frequently given for dreading any kind of desegregation will be removed.
Since the tax on fares law was enacted, many taxicab drivers in New York City have felt it a hardship to take the time required to change their meters and have them tested according to police regulations. Mayor Wagner has, however, redeemed his promise to have a study made of the effect on both owners and drivers of this highly controversial legislation. The five-member committee he has appointed has as its first assignment to examine the tax and examine its effect on both owners and drivers.
We had a very busy weekend in the country last week, and my guests, Mr. and Mrs. Clark Eichelberger, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Eichelberger, Dr. and Mrs. Milan Kuna, and Mr. Gideon Tadmor were happy, I think, to have a little while in which they could relax in the sun and swim. Most of Saturday morning they spent in the Memorial Library, and on Sunday morning some of them wanted to go to church and visit the Vanderbilt mansion.
We have 10 o'clock services now on Sunday, so this was easy to manage. But I left them to make the tour by themselves, for I returned after church to the Memorial Library to meet Ambassador and Mrs. Aziz Ahmed of Pakistan with their four children and Mr. A. Hacohen, Mayor of Safad in northern Israel.
We had a picnic lunch afterward for our large party of 18 or 20, and I hope that they all felt the day had been pleasant.