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Southern school news. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1954-1965, September 03, 1954, Image 1

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[gen ERAL LIBRAE Factual Southern School News OCT 14 1954 UNI^fej^ve OftGlA VOL I, NO. I NASHVILLE, TENN. SEPTEMBER 3, 1954 Reporting Service To Tell School By c. a. Mcknight Executive Director LEGAL STATUS OF SEGREGATION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS 5l Segregation required 17 states and District of Columbia Segregation permitted in varying degrees 4 states SERS NEWS BEAT—The 17 states and the District of Columbia shown in black in the map above, where seg regation in the public schools has been required by law, will be the principal news beat of the Southern Education Reporting Service. But facts will also be reported as they occur in other states where segregation has either been permitted by law, or where the law was silent on the sub ject. The map is from the book, “The Negro and the Schools,” by Harry S. Ashmore, published by the Univer sity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N. C. W/ith this first issue of Southern ” School News, the Southern Ed ucation Reporting Service undertakes a major new journalistic assignment —to tell the story, factually and ob jectively, of what happens in educa tion as a result of the Supreme Court’s May 17 opinion that segrega tion in the public schools is uncon stitutional. Much has been done—and in a short time—to organize the Report ing Service. It was in April that several south ern members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors got together at the annual Washington convention to talk over with representatives of the Fund for the Advancement of Educa tion the need for such a reporting service. It was on May 11 that a group of southern newspaper editors and ed ucators met in Nashville and con stituted themselves a board of direc tors for SERS, electing Virginius Dabney, editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, as chairman, and Thomas R. Waring, editor of the Charleston News & Courier, as vice- chairman. On June 6, the board held a second meeting in Nashville, elected C. A. McKnight, editor of The Charlotte News, as executive director, laid down broad project directives, and designated the George Peabody Col lege for Teachers, Nashville, to act as fiscal agent for the project. On July 5, formal application for a grant of $99,200 was made to the Fund for the Advancement of Ed ucation. On July 15, the Nashville office of SERS was opened. Since that date: 1. A central headquarters staff has been employed. 2. Top-flight newspapermen and women in the District of Columbia and 17 southern and border states have been appointed SERS corre spondents. (Their names appear in the masthead on Page 4). On July 24- 25, the correspondents attended a two-day seminar in Nashville at which the objectives of the Report ing Service were explained. 3. A mailing list of nearly 10,000 names has been built up. It includes governors and members of their ex ecutive staffs, chief state school of ficers, members of state boards of ed ucation, local school administrators, university presidents and heads of interested university departments, public libraries, all daily and weekly newspapers in the region with a cir culation of 2,000 or more, leading newspapers and magazines in the non-South, radio and television sta tions, wire services, federal agencies, and hundreds of interested private citizens. 4. SERS has been incorporated under Tennessee law as a general welfare corporation. 5. This first issue has been prepared, printed and distributed. The initial issue is not a prototype of future editions, insofar as format and content are concerned. At the outset, it seemed desirable—even es sential—to go back to May 17, pick up the many loose ends of the public school story, and tie them together in a full and detailed documentary, which would be useful to school ad ministrators, newspaper editors and others as background material for understanding subsequent develop ments in the several states. Hence, the reports in this first issue are somewhat long, somewhat weigh ty. And since SERS is not trying to compete with daily newspapers, but rather to supplement them, these initial reports lag behind the head lines in several cases. But they are loaded with facts for the thoughtful reader and student. The story revealed by the facts is one of watchful waiting throughout most of the region, with the begin nings of desegregation this month in the states of Missouri, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Future monthly issues will not only carry along the chronological story, state by state, but will look closely at key communities, give excerpts from significant public addresses, legislative proposals and court deci sions, report editorial and other opin ion from responsible sources, digest important books, magazine articles and other writing on the subject, and analyze statistical information com piled by state departments of educa tion and other agencies. This initial issue speaks for itself in answer to the two southern news papers which have voiced the opinion that SERS was established to en courage integration, and to the east ern Negro newspaper which ex pressed the fear that SERS was a scheme by “Dixiecrats” to thwart the Supreme Court and preserve segrega tion. But it should be stated again—as categorically as possible—that the Southern Education Reporting Serv ice will not be an advocate for or against anything, that it will express no opinions of its own on what is good and bad or wise and unwise, and that it will adhere scrupulously to the accurate and objective report ing of facts as it finds them. This fundamental policy of the Re porting Service has been emphatically endorsed by the members of the board of directors, whose personal convictions about segregation cover a wide range, by the newspapermen and women who accepted appoint ment as SERS correspondents, and by officials of the Fund for the Ad vancement of Education who ap proved the grant. Exchange of Correspondence Explains Purpose (Editor S Note: Ttie fnllnunns av_ . . (Editor’s Note: The following ex change of correspondence explains fully the objectives of the Southern Education Reporting Service and its relationship to the Fund for the Ad vancement of Education, which is financing the project, and to George Peabody College for Teachers, Nash ville, which is serving as fiscal agent, this correspondence makes public the full record of SERS.) Richmond, Va. July 5, 1954 Mr. Clarence H. Faust, President Tne Fund for the Advancement of Education 575 Madison Avenue New York 22, New York Dear Mr. Faust: A S ^ ou know, the several southern educators and newspaper editors whose names appear below have re cently constituted themselves as the Board of Directors of the Southern Education Reporting Service. We are convinced that a major contribution can be made at this time to the ad vancement of education and to the general public interest by an impar tial reporting service which provides accurate and unbiased information oncerning the adjustments which various communities in the southern egion make as a result of the Su preme Court’s recent opinion and forthcoming decrees in the five cases involving segregation in the public schools. We believe that the primary bur den for making these adjustments rests with the school administrators and other leaders, both public and private, of each individual communi ty, and that the appropriate program for any one community must be tail ored to fit the particular circum stances. We believe also, however, that communities can learn useful lessons from the experiences of one another. The Southern Education Reporting Service has therefore been estab lished with the aim of assisting re sponsible local and state leaders, and particularly school administrators, in developing practical and constructive solutions to their own particular school problems by supplying them with objective facts about the de velopments in other communities. It is our resolve to report the facts im partially as we find them, and to re frain from taking sides on any con troversial issues or advocating any particular point of view. Our Board, with the assistance of our Executive Director, has devel oped a plan of operation which we believe is efficient and practicable for carrying out these aims. We have arranged to establish headquarters at Nashville, Tennessee. There a small central staff consisting of the Execu tive Director, an assistant director, a research assistant-analyst, a librarian and a secretary will gather pertinent information about developments in the District of Columbia and the 17 states whose public school laws are affected by the recent Supreme Court opinion. That information will be assembled from many sources, but the main re source will be a staff of 18 field cor respondents who will report at regu lar intervals the developments in their states. In all cases, these cor respondents will be working news papermen of established reputation; in most cases they will be the regular education writers of their news papers. Their reports and the facts gathered from other sources will be analyzed and digested in the Nash ville office and then redistributed through a printed publication to be called Southern School News. Distribution will be made without charge and upon request to the fol lowing board audience groups: (1) In the field of education: university presidents, librarians and heads of interested departments; school officers, members of sta' boards of education, local superir tendents, local school board chaii men; public libraries. (2) In the fiel of government: governors and men bers of councils of state, members < southern state legislatures, local gov eming officials; (3) In the field < communications: daily and week! newspapers in the southern state magazines and newspapers of nation al circulation, wire services, radi and television stations; (4) Intereste citizens. TO ESTABLISH LIBRARY In collaboration with one of tb southern university libraries, tb Southern Education Reporting Serv ice will also supervise the concur rent filing of all the factual data assembles for the use of contem porary writers and researchers, an will arrange for the permanent filinj indexing and preservation of thes data for the scholars of the future. Other collateral activities wer suggested to the board of director including the establishment of a per sonal consulting service for loc; school officials, the arranging of pro grams for interested profession, groups, and the making of intensiv studies of selected communities froi iewpoint of the behavioral sci of SERS ences. In all cases, the members of the board unanimously agreed, upon the recommendation of the Execu tive Director, to avoid such interest ing by-paths and to limit the Report ing Service to its essentially journal istic function. Since the Southern Education Re porting Service is not yet incor porated as a non-profit organization, (see footnote) we have made ar rangements with George Peabody College for Teachers to receive any funds available to support the South ern Education Reporting Service and to provide fiscal services. The Chairman and the Executive Director, with the approval of the Executive Committee and under in structions from the Board, have de veloped a budget to cover the costs of initial establishment and the first of operation. We wish to emphasize that there are necessarily certain un knowns in the picture which can be resolved only after the service has gained some operating experience. For example, until the Supreme Court issues its decrees, it is impos sible to forecast accurately how many developments there will be to report. Hence the budget item for printing and mailing was predicated See CORRESPONDENCE On Page 15