updated 10/01/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 10/01/1984 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Vanessa Williams (PEOPLE, Sept. 10) is spunkier than all those other bland Miss Americas put together. A lot of people jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions—the self-righteous always do.
To believe that Vanessa Williams didn't know what she was doing, one would also have to believe in Tinker Bell and the Tooth Fairy.
Mrs. Dave Hatfield
Blue Springs, Mo.
In your story Vanessa Williams announces she is not a "lesbian." The '80s have spawned a new type of carpetbagger—people who use lesbian and gay appeal for their own personal gain, then staunchly deny that they are one of "those." Perhaps their close brush with this alternate life-style will give them insight into the tremendous prejudice that exists against it.
South Pasadena, Calif.
More photos of Vanessa. More explicit, more shocking. As the song says, it don't matter to me. She made a mistake when she was younger. Maybe it was desperation. Who cares? The fact remains that while she was Miss America she behaved with dignity.
Lynn Haven, Fla.
What bothers me is that there are many blacks like Vanessa who hate themselves and their people, whose lives are dedicated to white America. The only time they come back to us is after whites have rejected them to the point where it finally dawns on them that what they love doesn't love them. Through all the years that it takes them to learn who they really are, it is blacks like Vanessa who hurt my people over and over again. Right now Vanessa loves Vanessa and the white world, not, as she professes, her people and her family. She will win riches and fame to a certain degree. And that's it. And it saddens me. Until we learn to love ourselves as a race, we can never succeed at anything else.
Roy Ryales Lott
I don't care what Vanessa Williams did or is about to do. I love her.
As a black American, I can certainly see why critics are calling Sheena the silliest movie of the season. I bet Columbia Pictures had a ball in Kenya, stealing and rearranging black African culture so that a pale, blond Tanya Roberts could star as a jungle queen fighting to save her people. It would have made just about as much sense for Eddie Murphy to play Gandhi. Tarzan was enough!
Larry B. Williams
Rosa and Joe Blair
The way in which two fine people like Joe and Rosa Blair, the mildly retarded couple in your story, "take good care of each other" is wonderful to me. I pray that my son meets someone like Rosa.
Barbara E. Rash
Thank you very much for your enlightening tribute to the fine writer Truman Capote. However, at the end of the article, you explain that Capote "will be forgiven the peccadilloes of alcohol, drugs, homo-sexuality and even of genius." Please remember that homosexuality is neither a peccadillo nor something to be forgiven for.
I just finished reading your story on Don Dulac, one of the men who paints the Golden Gate Bridge. My husband also works on the bridge, and, knowing the heights at which he works, I was amazed at the photos that accompanied the story. Did the photographer actually go up on the cables?
Sun Valley, Nev.
Ressmeyer made the four-minute elevator trip up the north tower twice to photograph Dulac from the catwalk and the main strut. Despite the fact that previous assignments had required him to ride in the open cockpit of a Stearman biplane during acrobatic maneuvers, cling to a wrecking ball and hang out of a helicopter while "a disgruntled pot grower fired shots at me," heights had never bothered him. This time, looking at the water below, he was "pretty nervous."