On May 5, 1958, it was announced that the Arkansas Gazette had received two Pulitzer Prizes. These were for the coverage of the 1957 integration (or lack thereof) at Little Rock Central High School.
The first Pulitzer was for Public Service. It was awarded to the newspaper. The citation stated:
For demonstrating the highest qualities of civic leadership, journalistic responsibility and moral courage in the face of great public tension during the school integration crisis of 1957. The newspaper’s fearless and completely objective news coverage, plus its reasoned and moderate policy, did much to restore calmness and order to an overwrought community, reflecting great credit on its editors and its management.
The second Pulitzer was for Editorial Writing. It was awarded to Harry Ashmore. The citation read:
For the forcefulness, dispassionate analysis and clarity of his editorials on the school integration conflict in Little Rock.
This was the first time that the Pulitzer for Public Service and Editorial Writing went to the same publication in the same year.
The newspaper coverage in the afternoon Arkansas Democrat and morning Arkansas Gazette was provided by the Associated Press. The Democrat‘s story ran on the afternoon of the announcement. The front page story had the headline “Pulitzer Honors Go to Gazette.” The next morning the Gazette ran a longer story under the headline “Gazette and Editor Win Two Pulitzer Prizes for Race Crisis Stand.” It included a quote from publisher Hugh Patterson, Jr. He stated, “This recognition belongs to every member of the staff of the Gazette. I am proud to be associated with these men and women.”
The Pulitzer for National Reporting went to Relman Morin of the Associated Press for his coverage of the events. His citation noted:
for his dramatic and incisive eyewitness report of mob violence on September 23, 1957, during the integration crisis at the Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Photographer Will Counts of the Arkansas Democrat was the unanimous choice of the jury to receive the Pulitzer in photography for his photo of the crowd jeering at Elizabeth Eckford. The board overruled that selection, as was their purview. Speculation was that the board may not have wanted to award four Pulitzers for the same news story.