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West Side Tennis Club Has Jewish Members, Board Says; President Resigns

July 16, 1959
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The board of governors of the West Side Tennis Club last night repudiated the statement to its president, Wilfred Burglund, that the club barred Jews and Negroes from membership. The board indicated that the club does have Jewish members. At the same time the board announced that it accepted the resignation of its president.

The action of the board came after a week of widespread public disapproval of Mr. Burglund’s statement of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, Nobel prize winner and United Nations Undersecretary, that neither he nor his son could be accepted because the club’s policy was not to admit Jews and Negroes as members.

Repudiating its president’s statement, the board said it was "the policy of the club to consider and accept members without regard to race, creed or color" and that if Dr. Bunche or his son, on whose behalf Dr. Bunche had called Mr. Burglund, were proposed for membership, "their applications will receive prompt and courteous attention." Dr. Bunche called the board’s statement "very complete and clear." He added that if such a statement had been made to him when he called Mr. Burglund, there would have been no West Side Tennis Club story."

In disavowing Mr. Burglund’s statement to Dr. Bunche, the board declared. "Any statements of the club’s president to Dr. Bunche were, we are informed, solicited as personal opinions of one individual to another and were given without indorsement or consent of the board of governors. Some of these reported opinions are contrary to opinions and beliefs of the board of governors and other club members."

"The club presently has members of Oriental and other ancestry and there is representation of the Jewish faith among the membership," the statement added. "There are presently no Negro members. To the best of our knowledge, no Negro has ever applied for membership."

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