The Kansas City Star’s editor-in-chief and president apologized for the unjust coverage of the Black community, which fed into fueling racism and segregation among its residents.

“A long overdue apology from @KCStar today: For much of its early history — through sins of commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians,” Mike Fannin, who has been an editor at The Kansas City Star since 2008, wrote on Twitter.

In its 140 years of existence, the coverage of the Black community by The Kansas City Star has been deprived of “opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition,” Fannin wrote in the newspaper's six-part series, which was published on Sunday.

The idea for the series on accountability and equity started with Black education reporter, Mará Rose Williams, who works at the newspaper.

Williams contributed to the series by writing a piece on the continued two-decades-long segregation of Kansas City schools – even after the Supreme Court deemed it illegal. The Star failed to cover the ongoing bias and discrimination that occurred in its own backyard.

She combed through the Bonneye Massey deposition and chronicled how Black students from Ladd Elementary School went for half-day sessions because the institution was so overcrowded. After the high court’s decision, district officials bussed Black students to the all-white Humboldt Elementary only to be excluded from classes and activities with white students.

“They were never considered Humboldt students,” Massey testified. “Their records stayed at Ladd.”

“That way,” she said. “They would move on to the predominantly Black junior high in their neighborhood, not the largely white school other Humboldt students would attend.”

That act ensured that Black and white students’ education would remain separate and unequal.

It wasn’t until 1977 that the city’s continued exclusionary practices resurfaced publicly. Jenkins v. Kansas City Missouri School District was a lawsuit filed by four school board members and their children against the states of Kansas and Missouri, federal agencies and suburban school districts in both states.   

The Star’s lack of coverage of the ongoing inequities in the school district, essentially, erased its Black victims.

As reporters gathered data for the series,  “they were 'sickened' by what they found,” Fannin wrote — coverage that focused on "criminals living in a crime-laden world" with no mention of the Black community's aspirations, achievements and milestones.

Up until the 1960s, Black life coverage was relegated to perpetrators or victims of crimes committed by other Black people, ignoring the blight of the city’s Black population.

Williams further highlighted the newspaper’s lackadaisical coverage of the city’s Black residents with a piece about one of Kansas City’s most disastrous floods in the city’s history. The Star opted to reference property damage of suburban homes and businesses that occurred in the September 1977 natural disaster, while the city’s Black newspaper reported about the destruction and death that hit poorer, minority residents on the east side of the city.

As the publication went into great detail over its biased past, Fannin noted his commitment to ensuring that everyone’s stories are told in the "Letter from the Editor."

“This fall, we hired an editor to focus on race and equity issues, and we’ll continue to make diverse hires a priority. We know the quantifiable value that diversity brings to our journalism,” he wrote.

“It’s been an education for us, and yet it’s impossible to acknowledge every failure or bad decision or mangled assignment," he added. "We think these stories are representative."