In my humble opinion, the Black Power group does not truly represent the 21,508,000 Negroes in this country. It does not even represent 5%, of the Negroes. I am certain that the movement leaders are not sincere in their beliefs when it is a known fact that they agitate and provoke other people to destruction while they flee the consequences. Again, I say to Tommie and the others, we as Negroes do have grievances, but we do not need spokesmen who are poisonous propagandists and who capitalize on our real grievances for their own personal gains.
Tommie Smith and the rest of the great Negro athletes can show the world how well they can perform despite the many injustices that we face in our own country. I have been all over the world and have seen, lived and talked with many people, and when you come down to the final nut-cracking, the United States is a damn good country to be a citizen of. I have also talked with Ralph Boston and a few of the other top athletes, and they all have told me that in their opinion a boycott would serve no definite purpose. I am looking forward to having Tommie Smith as a member of the U.S. Olympic team.
STANLEY V. WRIGHT
Western Illinois University
I was both astounded and dismayed to read your recent report of a possible Negro boycott of the impending Olympic Games. Certainly the athletes have a right to actively participate in the civil rights movement. The American Negro's quest for justice and equality in a land of racial hypocrisy is long overdue.
The express purpose of the Games, however, is to create an atmosphere conducive not only to international athletic competition, but to human fellowship and understanding as well. By abandoning the Games, the athletes will partially destroy the very cause they seek to further.
The contemplated action to boycott the 1968 Olympics would dramatize to the rest of the world the oppression of our black minority. But what impression would the boycott make on Congress? What can the "rest of the world" do for our black minority that Congress cannot?
The reaction of Congress following such a boycott would probably be one of anger. It would probably punish the black people who could afford it the least by stopping legislation that they really need. Anger causes people to act in a way that makes the right or wrong of the act incidental.
The Tommie Smiths of this country would not suffer. "Smithie" could count on help from the American Civil Liberties Union. He could go to a foreign country, like Canada, and be a hero and live comfortably. The black people who really need help would not have this recourse.
The responsible black leaders in this country would not advocate an Olympic boycott. They would weigh the pros and cons of such an action and decide to do what they think would help the black people improve their lot. Personal glory is incidental.
I am of the firm opinion that every American should consider it a privilege and an honor to wear the uniform of the United States of America, be it in peace or war. I had that distinction as a soldier and I have always considered it one of the highlights of my life. By refusing to become a member of the Olympic team I personally feel that Tommie Smith would do far more harm to the cause to which his people are so justly entitled than he would if he ran and won—and covered himself and his country with glory.
As the manager of Oscar Bonavena, I can report that the article concerning the one-sided victory by the Argentine heavyweight king over European Champion Karl Mildenberger (A Bean-can Bout in Frankfurt, Sept. 25) was a lot of beans. I might also add that Bonavena, whom Mark Kram describes as the "mild bull of the Pampas," is now riled and has promised to bounce his next opponent into Kram's lap.