New York Tennis Club Pledges Not to Practice Bias in Membership

Sworn testimony that the West Side Tennis Club–center of charges that it had bars against Jewish and Negro members–has adopted a bias-free membership policy was given yesterday by its vice-president. James G. Heiges.

Mr. Heiges announced this policy at a hearing of the New York City Commission on Intergroup Relations, which is holding a series of hearings on membership policies of private sports clubs in the metropolitan area. The hearings stemmed from a disclosure by Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Nobel Prize winner and United Nations Undersecretary, that he and his son, Ralph J. Bunche, Jr., had been denied membership because they were Negroes. The commission opened its hearings with testimony last Friday from Dr. Bunche.

Mr. Heiges spent about an hour yesterday and after the hearing, Dr. Alfred J. Marrow, chairman of the commission, said the vice-president had made a statement under oath that the club “will accept members who meet its regular qualifications without regard to race, creed or national origin.” Dr. Marrow said the commission accepted the statement “on behalf of the people of the City of New York.”

A public report will be issued after a third hearing scheduled for later this month with officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association, which has used the West Side Tennis Club stadium for championship tennis matches. Following Dr. Bunche’s disclosure, the club’s board of governors accepted the resignation of Wilfred Burglund as president. Dr. Bunche had declared that Mr. Burglund had told him the club did not accept Jews or Negroes.

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