An eagle-eyed reader, Mark Cehelyk of Princeton Landing, noticed an error in Richard K. Rein’s October 31 column on the partisan divide. Rein had recalled the resolve of John F. Kennedy as he stood up to segregationists trying to prevent admission of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi.
But the chilling audio tape of that encounter, which Rein recalled hearing at the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis more than 20 years ago, could not have had Walllace, the governor of Alabama, on it. Cehelyk suggests that it was instead Mississippi governor Ross Barnett.
Rein recalled an indignant governor challenging Kennedy, saying in effect that “you don’t mean to tell me that you are going to send federal marshals to tell us what to do.” And Kennedy responding: “That’s exactly what I mean to tell you.” The details have faded. The memory remains of a president standing up to a bully.