As executive editor of The Arkansas Gazette, Ashmore (1916–1998) was a leading voice against segregation

I remember going over to the President’s house. It was a very impressive thing for a young man from Greenville, South Carolina, to go to, to have dinner with the president of Harvard University. And he received us, and at the end of the dinner we thanked him very kindly for the great privilege of being in Cambridge, for being exposed to this great university. And he said, “You know it’s only three years; you’re the third class. But I think maybe you people are doing a great service to Harvard.” This shocked us because we didn’t think we were. I said, “Well, Mr. President, what are we doing?” “Well,” he said, “you are running around this campus asking rude questions. Many members of this faculty haven’t had a rude question asked in 25 years, and I think it is very good for Harvard University.”

From “Asking Rude Questions” by Harry S. Ashmore in Nieman Reports, September 1960

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