Mississippi Paper Offers Apology for Its 'Gross Neglect' During Civil Rights Struggle

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In a remarkable statement one day before the birthday holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. -- and two days before the inauguration of Barack Obama -- the Meridian (Miss.) Star has, in an editorial, offered an apology for its past coverage of civil rights issues.

It closed: "There was a time when this newspaper – and many others across the south -- acted with gross neglect by largely ignoring the unfairness of segregated schools, buses, restaurants, washrooms, theaters and other public places.

"We did it through omission, by not recording for our readers many of the most important civil rights activities that happened in our midst, including protests and sit-ins. That was wrong. We should have loudly protested segregation and the efforts to block voter registration of black East Mississippians.

"Current management understands while we can't go back and undo some past wrongs, we can offer our sincere apology -- and promise never again to neglect our responsibility to inform you, our readers, about the human rights and dignity every individual is entitled to in America -- no matter their religion, their ethnic background or the color of their skin."

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