It’s never too late to whitewash a front page

“North Carolina’s Wilmington Morning Star (circ. 17,866) went to press with a front-page picture of four Marine witnesses in the court-martial of Sergeant Matthew C. McKeon. As soon as the paper hit his desk, the editor on duty gulped and stopped the presses.

“He had failed to notice, in the shadowy impression on the Associated Press mat that supplied the picture, that one of the marines, Private Eugene W. Ervin of Bridgeport, Conn., was a Negro. The deskman met the crisis by ordering a pressman to take hammer and chisel to the press plate.

“Next morning Private Ervin’s ragged ghost haunted the spot where the Morning Star cut out the Negro and spited its front page.”

— From Time magazine, Aug. 13, 1956

Don’t miss the belated, bittersweet coda in this morning’s Wilmington Star-News.

Not a single surviving clipping of the infamous front page? Might the North Carolina Collection hold any evidence?