News Of Post-Racial Era Slow To Reach Swim Club


“There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club.” — Valley Swim Club President John Duesler explaining why he refunded the $1900 Creative Steps Day Camp paid to swim there one day a week. The kids that attend Creative Steps are black. The majority of members of the Valley Swim Club are white.

RELATED: “When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool,” Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. “The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately.” MORE

RELATED: The club issued this statement late Thursday, responding to the allegations of racism: The Valley Club is deeply troubled by the recent allegations of racism, which are completely untrue. We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multi-ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps. All funds were returned to the camps and we will re-evaluate the issue at a later date to determine whether it can be feasible in the future. Our Valley Club deplores discrimination in any form, as is evidenced by our multi-ethnic and diverse membership. Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board. MORE

UPDATE: Homer Floyd, executive director of the state Human Relations Commission, said the civil-rights agency began its investigation after receiving requests from the NAACP and other groups. “We thought that with issues like this — swim clubs and so forth — we had crossed that hurdle, but clearly we have not,” Floyd said. In a letter to the club, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (D., Pa.) suggested that the day-campers be allowed to return. MORE

RELATED: After Fighting It For 40 Years, Philadelphia Agrees To Desegregate Schools

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