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AT&T Employees Respond to Racial Slight

September 23, 1993

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. (AP) _ More than 200 employees of American Telephone & Telegraph Co. offered suggestions to the company’s president after an in-house magazine published a picture many called racially insensitive.

″Some people wanted more intensive diversity training, others wanted to see a larger representation of African-American people throughout the company,″ spokeswoman Gail Purpura said Wednesday. ″Some people want to see Martin Luther King’s birthday made a company holiday.″

A drawing on the Fun’N’Games page of September’s AT&T Focus shows a globe with characters on several continents conversing by telephone. All the characters are human except the one standing on Africa, which is a monkey.

Reacting to widespread criticism, AT&T President Robert Allen set up a toll-free telephone line on Sept. 17 to field calls from employees with suggestions and complaints, Purpura said.

But AT&T has yet to act on any of the suggestions, Purpura said, adding: ″We’re not doing any knee-jerk responses.″

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