We've got a bunch of great stories, art and quotes we'll share from John McMeel's friends and colleagues. Here's a great one to start it off:
In 1966, when John was still living and working in New York and I was in my second year at Newsweek, a controversy occurred concerning the racial policies of the New York Athletic Club. A black track star and recent graduate of Georgetown University was trying to make the 1968 Olympics and asked for backing by the NYAC. They turned him down because they did not accept blacks as members--as everyone knew, but the club would not acknowledge.
The issue became a public one. Since the NYAC was heavily Catholic in membership I formed a group called Catholic Alumni against Racism in Sports along with another Notre Dame alumnus, the writer William Pfaff, and sent letters to the alumni offices of all the Catholic colleges and universities in the New York metro area, plus the ND Alumni Club of New York, for support.
As it turned out, they all signed our statement except the Notre Dame Club, which complained about our public stance to Father Hesburgh as president of the university, forgetting that he was also chairman of the National Commission on Civil Rights. Our message was that a private club is within its rights to restrict membership any way it likes, but it should also make its restrictive policies public. and live with the consequences. If the club refused we urged all Catholic members as a matter of conscience to resign. Only one did: John McMeel.
Kenneth L. Woodward
Contributing Editor, Newsweek