by Max Brantley
Did anybody else notice this correction in this morning's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette?
Three Japanese-American students attended Little Rock Central High School during the 1957-58 school year, during which nine black students integrated the school. Until then, segregation laws barred black students from Central High. A Nation in Brief item in Wednesday’s editions about President Bush’s comments at a black-history month event at the White House erroneously reported that Central High was all-white before the nine black students were admitted.
UPDATE: The question of whether Central was "all-white" before 1957 has now entered into the newspaper's strange policy on inserting partially erroneous boilerplate into stories about Central. It is designed to make Gov. Orval Faubus look a little more law-abiding. (Back story: Executive Editor Griffin Smith's father labored inFaubus-friendly legal trenches back in those dark days.)
Check the jump for new marching editors for D-G writers. The error is the implication that Faubus had to remove troops to comply with the court order. He did not. The judge said the troops could remain to keep peace, but they could not block entry of black students.
E-MAIL TO DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF
From: Sandra Tyler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 15:22:18 -0600
Subject: Central style update
Please make the following correction in your stylebooks:
Little Rock Central High School became internationally known Sept. 2, 1957, when Gov. Orval Faubus sent Arkansas National Guardsmen there. Faubus said he called out the National Guard ³to maintain ... the peace and good order of the community² and directed the Guard to prevent nine black students from entering the school, notwithstanding a court-approved desegregation plan. On Sept. 20, complying with the order of a federal judge, Faubus removed the guardsmen. When the black students went to Central three days later on Sept. 23, a violent crowd gathered. The students were removed for their protection. President Eisenhower then federalized the National Guard and sent 101st Airborne Division troops to the school the next day to enforce the school¹s integration. The black students attended school the rest of the year under federal protection. OR Little Rock Central High School became internationally known in 1957, when nine black students integrated the school. Until then, segregation laws barred black students from Central.
The long version goes in cover stories, 1A or 1B. The short version generally appears in briefs of say 4 inches, the idea being that we don't need to double the size of a brief by adding the longer boilerplate. And, of course, when we have multiple Central High '57 stories, we do not use the boilerplate multiple times on one day; once is enough.