Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

September 11, 2013

Pat vs. the muckraker

I shouldn’t write while so angry but here goes.

Dr. Calvin Davis shared an article published online by the George Mason University’s History News Network, titled “Mitch Daniels: Friend or Foe to Academic Freedom?” He had nothing good to say about Daniels or anyone except himself.

He wrote that the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, impressed with his research and writing about ‘sundown towns’ had coordinated three additional events - later canceled because he had written an article titled, ‘Honda’s All American Sundown Town,’ posted on the History News Network. It noted that Honda had chosen Greensburg as the site for its new factory. “Like many towns in Indiana, Greensburg was a sundown town. …A majority of all towns in the state were sundown towns…”

What the article stated about Greensburg was something that no real journalist would write without proof. “Sundown towns, are communities that for decades were (and some still are) all-white on purpose… In 1906, Greensburg’s white residents drove out most of its black population. By 1960, the entire county, which had 164 African American residents in 1890, was down to three, all female.”… “While Honda was choosing its site, its executives had to have noticed the racial composition of Greensburg and Decatur County.”

He told of the Bloomington Herald Times asking Mayor Manus if Greensburg was a sundown town. Manus replied, “Well, I’ve heard it was, but I’ve also heard there’s an Easter bunny.” He went on to use the term “colored people,” which angered the publisher of the GDN who has a black son and wrote an editorial about it. “His antiquated terminology, typical of sundown towns, caused the Bloomington paper to make his sentence a “quote of the week.”

Why go after the mayor? Did the writer of this article and the publisher of the paper not know that the word “colored” is still part of the name of a highly respected organization, the NAACP that has done so much for Black Americans?

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