Reporting: Trouble in Notasulga

Whenever race trouble erupts in the South, newsmen are about as welcome as segregated schools. Tempers can flare at the mere presence of reporters, who are there to record an example of Southern inhospitality. Last week in the little Alabama farm town of Notasulga, local hostility turned into violence—with an ironic twist. The victim was a Southern er: Vernon Merritt III, 23, a freelance photographer from Birmingham. His attackers were officers of the law.

What earned Merritt his beating in Notasulga might in another locale have come under the heading of journalistic enterprise. He simply slipped aboard the school bus...

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