WESTERLY, R.I. —
A Rhode Island group’s plan to put up a mural depicting a historic newspaper front page announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor has been canceled because of concerns that the headline used an offensive word.
The group Bricks and Murals voted to cancel plans for the mural, according to a report in The Westerly Sun. The mural was going to depict the newspaper’s front page from Dec 7, 1941, which used an offensive term for describing the Japanese in declaring “Japs attack Hawaii and The Philippines.”
The Sun was the only U.S. newspaper at the time with a regular Sunday afternoon edition, and therefore was the first to announce the attack. Other U.S. newspapers had to print special editions.
Town Councilor Jean Gagnier, co-chair of the group, worried the mural would bring unwanted attention to the coastal town on the Connecticut border.
“Picture some white supremacist group coming down and wanting to stand in front of the mural. I don’t want that in any way, shape or form,” he said. “I just want it to be a warm and inviting place about culture and history.”
The story The Westerly Sun printed that day was not just historic but also erroneously noted that the White House made the announcement at 2:23 p.m. In fact, the time was 2:22 p.m., but the newspaper’s typesetting machine had run out of the number two in the correct size, according to a Sun account of that day. Instead, they fudged the time, using a three instead so they could make the paper’s 3 p.m. deadline.
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