The president of Delta Sigma Theta, one of the nation's largest black women's organizations, was incorrectly identified in yesterday's editions. Her name is Thalma Thomas Daley.
The resignation of U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young was greeted with outrage and shock by black leaders and activists. Some foresaw a serious setback to President Carter's reelection chances and the administration's Third-World policy.
At the 22nd annual convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) last night at Norfolk, some black leaders condoned Young's controversial meeting with the Palestine Liberation Organization's representative at the United Nations, saying the meeting with Zehdi Labib Terzi was a major step toward peace in the Middle East.
There also was skepticism among the 2,000 attending the convention of SCLC, which Young had helped found and which he was to address last night, that the ambassador's resignation was voluntary. The Rev. Jesse Jackson and SCLC President Joseph E. Lowery called for a meeting between President Carter and black leaders for an explanation of the resignation.
Jackson also called for an immediate meeting between black and Jewish leaders.
"This is the most tense moment in black and Jewish relations in my memory," he said. "This, as well as other events like the Bakke (affirmative action) case, is going to lead to a major reassessment of the black and Jewish relationship."
"I am indignant that the reason for the resignation is so trivial," said Del. Walter Fauntroy (D-D.C.) "Obviously, if you're going to settle the Middle East question, you're going to have to talk to the PLO."
Lowery said: "Andy brought a freshness and an honesty to the world of diplomacy and if the world of diplomacy cannot take that, then something is wrong with diplomacy, not Andy Young.
"There's . . . no one else in the administration who enjoyes the confidence of black Africa as Andy did."
Jackson said Carter should name a black to replace Young as U.N. ambassador.
Based on reactions at the SCLC meeting, Carter could lose crucial political support in the black community as a result of Young's resignation under fire.
Even before yesterday's resignation, Lowery had been quoted as saying that SCLC would withhold its verdict on Carter until after his first term.
Last night Lowery said that "time is running out" on the president.
In other reaction, Benjamin Hooks, executive director of the NAACP, said last night that he believed Young was "the sacrificial lamb for circumstances beyond his control."
And Jesse Jackson, in his comments, agreed. "There is a serious question as to whether or not Andy is being used as a fall guy in all of this," he said.
Some black leaders said privately last night that they thought Young erred in contacting the PLO official without the sanction of the State Department. But they said they believed he was trying to do the right thing.
"Andy did make a mistake," said one ranking civil rights spokesman, who asked not to be identified because of impending public statements by his organization.
"But his departure is going to cost Carter symbolically. Carter is going to lose on this one," he said.
Nearly all black leaders who were willing to respond last night to the resignation said that Carter's Third-World policy has been weakened by Young's departure.
"Andy's departure is a tragic loss to this country and to the promotion of human rights for all persons," said Thelma Thomas Bailey, president of the 80,000-member Delta Sigma Theta, one of the nation's largest black women's organizations.
Bailey's group, holding its annual convention in New Orleans, had enthusiastically received Young Sunday night. She expressed disappointment over Young's resignation, but was cautious about saying what effect she thought the action might have on Carter's reelection chances.
"Let's just say that black people are going to be watching very carefully before coming out for any candidate," she said.
Washington Mayor Marion Barry said, "I can say that (Young's) departure means that Africans and Third-World peoples have lost a lucid and understanding spokesman in their struggle for independence and justice.
"Wherever I went on my recent trip to Africa, everybody from heads of state to the man in the street expressed admiration and thanks for Andy Young's presence at the U.N." he said.
Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.), who in the past has expressed displeasure with Young's freewheeling style of diplomacy, said last night in Logan, W. Va.: "His liabilities outweighed his assets.
"He has had a habit of making public statements of poor judgment that reflected badly on the Carter administration and this country." Byrd said.
A Senate colleague, George McGovern (D-S.D.), said of Young: "There is no question that sometimes his judgment has been questionable. But, on balance, I think Andy Young has been a positive force in Africa . . . He has put us clearly on the side of majority rule, the wave of the future."
Coretta Scott King, widow of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., expressed "shock" at the resignation. Young and King worked together in civil rights struggles in the 1960s.
"Andrew Young, more than any other individual, symbolized the administration's commitment to human rights -- both at home and around the world," Coretta King said.
Vice President Mondale called Young's decision to step down a courageous and selfless act." He praised Young for having "a positive and growing impact on the way this country is viewed in Africa and throughout the world."
In separate statements, three U.S. senators, Frank Church (D-Idaho), Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) and S. I. Hayaawa (R-Calif.), said Young did the right thing by resigning.
"Andy Young made a serious mistake and he had no alternative," Cranston said.
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said Young "in many ways has served this country well. In some ways, particularly with his rhetoric, he has not."
"You have to admire Andy Young. He is a man of his convictions," said Rep. Larry P. McDonald (D-Ga.), the only member of Congress to testify against Young during his Senate confirmation hearings. "But in supposedly representing the United States, he does the country a disservice when he represents his views."
Most members of the Congressional Black Caucus were in Tokyo and unavailable for comment. However, a caucus spokesman said she was sure that the members "will be standing solidly with Andy."