Nebraskan Sends Money for Stolen Papers — From 40 Years Ago

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Inspired by the story of another person who wanted to set things right, an anonymous reader has sent $240 to the Lincoln Journal Star for newspapers stolen 40-plus years ago by someone else.

“The year was 1966 or 1965,” said the unsigned letter, and the writer had been a college student at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

“On a Sunday morning, a fellow Wesleyan college student (I believe I had stayed at his house the previous night) was driving in University Place. He stopped. (I had no clue what he was going to do.) He took the bundle of newspapers intended for delivery. …

“I believe I told him that wasn’t right. He said he had done it before.

“I didn’t do anything about it. I probably even read a stolen paper. …”

The writer said he (or she) had seen a story in the Journal Star last month about a white man who had stood by in the 1960s in Mississippi while a black man was treated rudely.

The white man, Mike Braunsroth, has since moved to Pleasant Dale, Neb.

“Many times I have thought of this incident, and felt I should have done something,” Braunsroth said.

Braunsroth had written a letter of apology to the paper after reading a story about a John Reed Sr. of Lincoln, a retired paint salesman, a black man, who had always tried to do the right thing despite discrimination.

The anonymous writer said the Lord had moved him or her to make right the newspaper theft.

The writer figured 80 papers at 75 cents each made the total $60, which was then restored fourfold “because of the grace God has given me.”

The newspaper decided to ask Reed what it should do with the $240, because he had started the chain of good will and example.

Well, said Reed, the NAACP is trying to have a Lincoln street named for Rosa Parks.

In 1955, Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Ala., to a white man. She died last year.

The naming issue is coming up for a hearing, Reed said. The NAACP has to raise $15,000 to get it done, and “they’re getting pretty close,” he said.

“I don’t want to make anybody upset about it, but I’d like to donate the money to that.”

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