since been released on bond. “I can’t think of anything more tragic,” a lawyer for Mr. Williams, Casey Keirnan, said of the killing. But, he said, “my client denies that he is the person who shot him.”

The case drew widespread attention in Texas, as did another in Houston involving a 9-year-old girl, Ashanti Grant, who was shot and seriously wounded in February while riding with her family to a grocery store.

“It is unique to this moment,” Mr. Turner said. “I’m a native Houstonian. I’m in my seventh year as mayor. We have just not had it to the point where it has been a noticeable event, except in the last year.”

Mr. Turner said that a string of deadly cases had prompted the city to take steps to reconfigure its traffic cameras to preserve recordings, to eventually help catch roadway shooters.

In Texas, drivers have been allowed to carry firearms without a license in their cars since 2007, a law known as the Texas Motorist Protection Act. A new measure, enacted last year, allows most Texans to carry a handgun in public without a license.

Online, there are videos and trainings that offer tips for carrying and using a gun inside of a car.

placed in a medically induced coma. “It was a cut-off type deal,” he said.

As gunfire erupted, Lieutenant Cones said, Ashanti’s family members in the car got low. But Ashanti, who was watching a video with headphones on, did not.

Mr. Castro, David’s father, said having a gun in the car only made such tragedies more likely.

“What I want people to do,” he said, “is talk to their husband, talk to their brother, talk to their son, and say, ‘Do you really need a loaded weapon in the cab of your vehicle?’”

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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Gosar, Far-Right Incumbent, Faces G.O.P. Challengers in Arizona

Jeanne Kentch, the chairwoman of the Mohave County Republican central committee, said that most conservative voters in the area were still devoted to Mr. Gosar. Yes, people are worried about inflation and housing scarcity and looming water shortages from climate change and uncontrolled groundwater drilling. But she said his hard-right conservative views were the most important factor in earning her vote.

“He’s the only one who would guarantee America first,” Ms. Kentch said.

Chuck Coughlin, an Arizona political analyst, said that challengers like Mr. Morgan were not just fighting Mr. Gosar but going against the DNA of most Republican primary voters. He said the challenger campaigns were likely to fail.

“Those Republican primary voters believe the election was stolen,” Mr. Coughlin said. “The more extreme the candidate is, you’re rewarded for that behavior. Because that’s the constituency that votes.”

Still, Mr. Gosar recently sought to distance himself from white nationalists who have become his allies and supporters. After he gave a video speech to a conference organized by a white nationalist, he blamed his staff for a “miscommunication,” telling Politico that the video had gone to the wrong group. Mr. Gosar spoke in person to the same group a year earlier.

The question of whether Arizona’s Republicans choose Mr. Gosar or a more mainline Republican reflects broader tensions about which faction will prevail as Republican standard-bearers as the party tries to hold control of the Arizona governorship and unseat one of the Senate’s more vulnerable Democrats.

Gov. Doug Ducey, a conservative Republican, recently signed laws banning abortions after 15 weeks, prohibiting surgeries for transgender minors and requiring that voters provide proof of citizenship. Nevertheless, he still received the ire of the state’s Republican Party for affirming President Biden’s narrow win and for defending how Arizona had run its elections.

Kari Lake, a former television anchor and a leading Republican contender to succeed Mr. Ducey, has promoted falsehoods that the election was stolen. One of the Republican candidates for Senate, Jim Lamon, falsely claimed to be an elector able to cast Arizona’s electoral votes for Mr. Trump.

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The Conservative College That’s Expanding to Charter Schools

With only 1,500 students on a small-town campus in southern Michigan, Hillsdale College is far from the power corridors of government and top-ranked universities.

But it has outsize influence in the conservative world, with strong ties to the Washington elite. Republican leaders frequently visit, and Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the 2016 commencement address, calling Hillsdale a “shining city on a hill” for its devotion to “liberty as an antecedent of government, not a benefit from government.”

Now the college is making new efforts to reach beyond its campus, this time with an even younger audience. The college is fighting what it calls “progressive” and “leftist academics” by expanding its footprint in the charter school world, pushing the boundaries on the use of taxpayer money for politically tinged education.

Hillsdale has ambitious plans to add to its network of classical public charter schools, which focus on “the centrality of the Western tradition.” And Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee recently invited the college to start 50 schools using public funds, including $32 million set aside for charter facilities. Hillsdale’s network currently includes 24 schools in 13 states.

1776 Curriculum,” which sets out to portray America as “an exceptionally good country.” During a time when education has become inflamed by divisive cultural debates, Hillsdale has been criticized for its glossy spin on American history as well as its ideological tilt on topics like affirmative action. Educators and historians have also raised questions about other instruction at Hillsdale’s charter schools, citing their negative take on the New Deal and the Great Society and cursory presentation of global warming.

Mr. Lee, a Republican, sees his new charter school expansion as part of an effort to develop what he called “informed patriotism” in Tennessee students.

“For decades, Hillsdale College has been the standard-bearer in quality curriculum and in the responsibility of preserving American liberty,” Mr. Lee told lawmakers recently. “I believe their efforts are a good fit for Tennessee.”

Charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately run, have been more commonly promoted as alternatives to low-performing schools in urban centers. In Tennessee, they have been clustered in the state’s four biggest cities, where like other charters, they have been criticized for siphoning money and students out of more traditional public schools.

Mr. Lee’s plan envisions an expansion into suburban and rural areas where, like many Hillsdale charter schools, they would most likely enroll children who are whiter and more affluent than the average charter school pupil.

the college’s Washington program.

The college accepts no state or federal funding, including no student grants or loans, allowing it to avoid some government oversight, such as compliance with federal Title IX rules governing sexual discrimination.

Instead, it relies partly on donations from conservative benefactors that are fueled by aggressive fund-raising campaigns, including on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program before he died, and in Hillsdale’s widely circulated digest, Imprimis, which is known for provocative articles — including a 2017 piece in which President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was called “a hero to populist conservatives around the world.”

In a recent fund-raising appeal, Hillsdale pleaded for $17.76 to help counter “leftist” academics teaching a “biased and distorted” view of American history. The pitch cited The New York Times’s 1619 project — which argues that slavery and white supremacy are dominant themes in American history — as an example of false teaching in schools.

taught by its graduates, while tapping into government money to run the schools.

Hillsdale’s president, Larry P. Arnn, and his daughter Kathleen O’Toole, who runs the charter school initiative, declined interviews. But in a speech last year to Hillsdale supporters in Tennessee, Dr. Arnn outlined his vision for expansion — including plans for a new master’s program to train teachers in classical education, a home-school division, online students and education centers.

“It’s a grand adventure,” he said.

At Atlanta Classical Academy, one of the member schools in Hillsdale’s network, the motto — “Virtus, Scientia, Felicitas” — is inscribed in the lobby, near a photograph of Frederick Douglass, the once enslaved abolitionist writer and orator, who is now lauded by American conservatives for his emphasis on self-reliance.

1776 Curriculum, an ambitious 2,400-page program released last year, appears to be partly an outgrowth of President Donald J. Trump’s 1776 Commission — which Dr. Arnn chaired.

1776 Commission report, openly criticizes affirmative action.

chief critics of The Times’s 1619 Project, also criticized the 1776 Curriculum, calling it overly positive.

“It talks about the enormity of slavery, but in almost every case, everything that’s bad about America will be undone by what is good,” Dr. Wilentz said. “Almost, literally, that American ideals will overcome whatever evils may be there.”

Hillsdale’s history curriculum also appears to take on the modern liberal state. A school curriculum guide posted in one school’s charter lists the book “New Deal or Raw Deal? How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America.” The author, Burton Folsom Jr., is a fellow and professor emeritus at Hillsdale, and a frequent speaker at conservative conferences.

The National Center for Science Education also reviewed the 2018 science curriculum, after an unsuccessful effort by Arizona officials to adopt it in public schools.

“The phrase ‘climate change’ doesn’t appear at all, and ‘global warming’ occurs only once, at the sixth-grade level, as ‘global warming theory,’” Glenn Branch, the organization’s deputy director, wrote in an email.

according to a 2020 state report.

Overall, Hillsdale’s charter school racial demographics are close to that of the Atlanta Classical students. That is a departure from charter schools nationally, which are about 30 percent white.

“They’re catering to white families and affluent families,” said Charisse Gulosino, an associate professor of leadership and policy studies at the University of Memphis, whose research has found that students in suburban charter schools do not outperform their public school counterparts.

Not all of Hillsdale’s charter school collaborations have been successful. Hillsdale recently announced it is ending ties with Tallahassee Classical School in Florida.

The school, approved by the state despite local opposition, set out to serve a diverse student body. But two teachers interviewed by The Times said they suspected that the school was trying to jettison low-performing students, a tactic that charter schools have been accused of as a way to increase test scores.

appeared at Hillsdale last year, where he applauded efforts to move quickly in Tennessee by placing students in seats before a liberal governor could take over.

Once that’s accomplished, Mr. Corcoran said, “You can’t put the animals back in the barn.”

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Two Men Acquitted of Plotting to Kidnap Michigan Governor in High-Profile Trial

Others have also been charged in connection with the investigation. Two men, Ty Garbin and Kaleb Franks, pleaded guilty before the trial to kidnapping conspiracy and testified against the defendants in the federal case. Eight other men were charged with related crimes in state court.

Outside the courthouse, Andrew Birge, the top federal prosecutor in western Michigan, did not respond when asked directly whether his office would seek a second trial for Mr. Croft and Mr. Fox. But he said in a statement that he was limited in what he could say because “two defendants now await re-trial.”

“Obviously we’re disappointed in the outcome,” Mr. Birge said. He added: “We still believe in the jury system, and really, there’s not too much more I can say at this time. I appreciate the time the jury put in. They listened to a lot of evidence, deliberated quite a bit.”

During weeks of testimony at the federal courthouse in Grand Rapids, prosecutors showed jurors inflammatory social media posts and chat messages from the defendants, and presented audio secretly recorded by Mr. Chappel and other informants. One former co-defendant who pleaded guilty testified that he hoped to set off a chain of events that would prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from being elected president and would perhaps foment a civil war.

“That was the whole plan: They wanted to kick that off by kidnapping the governor,” Nils Kessler, a federal prosecutor, said during closing arguments.

But the prosecution’s case was hampered by a lack of clarity on what exactly the men were accused of plotting. No attack ever took place and no final date for an abduction was set, testimony showed. The details of the alleged plan sometimes differed drastically from prosecution witness to prosecution witness.

The F.B.I. informant, Mr. Chappel, said he believed that the group planned to kill Ms. Whitmer, whose handling of the Covid-19 pandemic had infuriated the men. Mr. Garbin, who earlier pleaded guilty in the case, said he thought the group of men might abandon the governor in a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan. Mr. Franks, who also pleaded guilty, told jurors that he had hoped to die in a shootout with the governor’s security detail.

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Jury Reaches Partial Verdict in Trial of Men Accused of Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — After deliberating all week, jurors said Friday morning that they had reached a verdict on several charges in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap the governor of Michigan but that they were deadlocked on other charges. The judge told them to continue deliberating to try to reach agreement on all counts.

The note from the jury on Friday was the first substantive update on the progress of deliberations since closing arguments concluded a week ago, in one of the highest-profile domestic terrorism cases in decades.

Prosecutors said the men — Brandon Caserta, Barry Croft, Adam Fox and Daniel Harris —  wanted to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, at her vacation home in northern Michigan in 2020. Defense lawyers argued that there was no firm plan to abduct the governor, and that their clients had been drawn into heated political conversations by F.B.I. informants and undercover agents.

scholars on domestic extremism said the openness to political violence and embrace of political conspiracy theories alleged in both cases represented a chilling pattern.

combat domestic extremism, and the administration called white supremacists and militia groups a top national security threat.

In the Michigan courtroom, testimony focused narrowly on the conversations and training of the men accused of planning to kidnap the governor.

Witness after witness for the prosecution recounted regular training sessions during the summer of 2020, called “field training exercises,” where members went through shooting drills, received medical training and practiced navigation skills. Others described how some members of the group twice went to scope out Ms. Whitmer’s vacation home in northern Michigan, where prosecutors said they planned to snatch her. (On one of those trips, they had the wrong address for the house, so they just drove aimlessly down her street.)

No attack ever took place, no final date for an abduction was set, testimony showed, and the details of the alleged plan sometimes differed from witness to witness. The F.B.I. informant, Dan Chappel, said he believed the group had planned to kill Ms. Whitmer, whose handling of the Covid-19 pandemic had infuriated the men. Ty Garbin, the man who earlier pleaded guilty in the case, said he thought the group of men might abandon the governor in a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan. Another man who pleaded guilty, Kaleb Franks, said he had hoped to die in a shootout with the governor’s security detail.

“There was no plan to kidnap the governor, and there was no agreement between these four men,” Joshua Blanchard, a lawyer for Mr. Croft, said in closing arguments. He said the government tried to conjure up a conspiracy by using a network of informants and undercover agents, and that “without a plan, the snitches needed to make it look like” there was movement toward a plan.

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For the New Census Bureau Director, the Challenge of the Decade

The new director of the Census Bureau, Robert L. Santos, has his work cut out for him. He took office in January on the heels of a 2020 census hobbled by a pandemic, natural disasters and political interference by the Trump administration.

The census proved accurate enough in the end to be used to reapportion the House of Representatives and guide the drawing of new political maps nationwide. But it also undercounted Black and Latino people — and overcounted white and Asian people — to an alarming degree. Those flaws resonate with Mr. Santos, a Latino who is the first person of color to hold the top Census Bureau post.

His task is not just to rebuild battered public trust in the census, but to prepare for a 2030 count that could rely on government data and even private data from internet giants like Amazon to achieve a more accurate count.

Mr. Santos is a statistician with more than four decades of experience in corporate, nonprofit and government posts, most recently at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit that analyzes social and economic policies. In a recent question-and-answer session, edited for length and clarity, he talked about those challenges.

redrawing of the boundaries of congressional and state legislative districts. It happens every 10 years, after the census, to reflect changes in population.

There are a variety of areas where we expect the data only to improve. Part of it is coming from the work that we’re doing with O.M.B. on setting statistical standards.

It would be nice if we could encourage states to abide by those too, to embrace those standards, but that is a state choice. Maybe it would be nice if the commercial sector adopted those standards, but sometimes that’s in conflict with what the Census Bureau needs.

The 2020 census questions about race and ethnicity led to seismic shifts in how people characterized their race and ethnicity, which confused many people. Is there a better way to ensure that answers to that question are more accurate?

There are certainly ways to come to ask questions to more accurately collect self-identity. Our country not only is becoming more wonderfully diverse, but we’re also appreciating culture and ancestry in ways that maybe didn’t exist 20 years ago with the advent of DNA testing and finding where your roots and ancestors are with genealogy and so forth. We’re appreciating who we are more, and I think that’s a beautiful thing and we should be capturing that.

I don’t think it’s useful to superimpose somebody else’s idea on what race or ethnicity you are, and instead I tend to prefer that people self-identify. But I leave it to our wonderful subject matter experts and demographers and O.M.B. and our federal statistical community to discuss.

Political interference was a big problem in 2020. Are there steps that Congress or the administration could take to better protect the bureau from inappropriate political interference?

I can tell you that I have thoughts, but I will not communicate them. I don’t think it’s the role of the Census Bureau to be advising Congress on what it can be doing. What I can say with confidence is that regardless of what the structure is I have absolutely 100 percent confidence in the career staff to maintain scientific integrity and reduce and eliminate any political meddling, including my own by the way.

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A New Surge of Ukrainians at U.S. Border

A 33-year-old cryptocurrency investor named Denys, No. 1170, said he had paid a smuggler 5,500 euros to guide him over mountains and through dense forest to cross into Romania. “I didn’t want to fight. I don’t know how to fight,” said Denys, who declined to give his last name because he had fled in violation of Ukraine’s order barring military-age men from leaving the country.

A friend in Poland, he said, planned to put his beloved American Staffordshire Terrier on a flight to Chicago once he and his girlfriend arrived there.

Like many of those waiting at the border, he said he had never contemplated immigrating to the United States before the war. “I had a flat, a car, a dog. I was happy,” he said, standing outside the tent he was sharing with his girlfriend, Rina, and two other people. A sign in Cyrillic posted on the side said: “Don’t leave food on the ground. Keep rats out.”

The family of Daria and Sonia Speranska, two sisters, was cut off from the world when rocket fire hit a village outside Kyiv where they had sought refuge. With no power, the sisters said, they boiled water in the fireplace and rationed food. On the 10th day, they managed to escape in a convoy, and eventually, their parents convinced them that they must depart for the United States, where they had friends.

“We had no desire to leave to another country. We had a great life, we traveled,” said Daria, 24, who works in information technology.

Sonia, 16, said that she had agreed to come “only because I knew my sister couldn’t go without me; I’m the strong one.”

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Jury Selection Begins in Sentencing Trial for Parkland Gunman

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In the four years since a former student killed 17 people and injured 17 others in Parkland, Fla., the classroom building where the shooting took place has remained standing, unused and fenced off, on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Someday, the thinking went, the gunman could go on trial, and prosecutors might want to take jurors there to witness the remnant horrors of the tragedy from Feb. 14, 2018.

That trial began on Monday in a Fort Lauderdale courthouse with the first stages of jury selection in the state’s case against the gunman, Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty in October to 17 murders and 17 attempted murders. Now, a jury will have to determine whether he should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Though the trial will consist of only a sentencing phase, it could still last four to six months, according to lawyers for both sides. Prosecutors will detail how the gunman planned his rampage and killed or injured each of his victims. His public defense lawyers will lay out his difficult family life, mental health problems and attempts to get treatment. Testimony is expected from many victims and mental health experts.

emotional and painful toll from the two communities, Stoneman Douglas and Parkland, whose names became synonymous with America’s unbridled gun violence. The shooting, in a school of largely affluent teenagers vocal about their political opinions, ignited a national gun control movement and propelled young people and some of their parents into sustained activism.

adopted some gun restrictions, though the following year, it allowed some staff members in schools to carry guns. The tumultuous local repercussions to the shooting included the removal of the elected sheriff and the resignation of the superintendent of the county’s school system, following a perjury charge stemming from a grand jury investigation. Separately, a sheriff’s deputy assigned to Stoneman Douglas awaits trial on charges of felony neglect of a child for staying outside the building during the shooting.

Both the superintendent and the deputy have pleaded not guilty.

Killed in the shooting were Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Scott Beigel, 35; Martin Duque, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Aaron Feis, 37; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Christopher Hixon, 49; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16, and Peter Wang, 15.

is unusual for mass shootings, in which perpetrators often die, either by suicide or by being killed by the police.

The gunman’s guilt was never in doubt: Police officers captured him in the hours after the shooting, and his lawyers offered a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence. (He was 19 at the time and is now 23.) But the Broward County state attorney, Michael J. Satz, turned down that plea, saying he was obliged to seek capital punishment for such a heinous crime.

wanted him forcibly committed for psychiatric evaluation, but he never was.

failed to investigate tips about his interest in school shootings. Last month, the Department of Justice finalized a $127.5 million settlement for 40 of the shooting victims and their survivors. A separate settlement was reached last year with Broward County Public Schools for $25 million.

The gunman, a former Stoneman Douglas student, recorded three videos on his cellphone before the shooting. “You’re all going to die,” he said in one of them.

Armed with a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle, he killed 14 students and three faculty members in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history, targeting them from the hallways of Building 12, also known as the freshman building.

Bullet-pocked, bloodstained and strewn with valentines, the building has not been used since. The school district plans to eventually demolish it.

Prosecutors have said they might want to take jurors to the building during the trial. Defense lawyers have countered that such a tour would only “inflame” emotions.

The judge decided that she would allow it.

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A Georgia Restaurant Has a Racist History. What Should Become of It?

SMYRNA, Ga. — For half a century, celebrities, tourists and local residents flocked to Aunt Fanny’s Cabin, a restaurant known as much for its Southern menu as for its depiction of plantation life and racist imagery, where white patrons were served by young Black waiters with yoke-like wooden menu boards hung around their necks.

Aunt Fanny herself — Fanny Williams, a Black cook who worked for the white family who owned the business — was once described in a newspaper article as “a famous colored mammy.”

The restaurant shut down 30 years ago, but the little white cabin itself, easily overlooked along Atlanta Road in the small suburban city of Smyrna, has become the center of an unlikely debate about how a Southern community can move on from its painful past without forgetting its history in the process.

tearing the building down, arguing that it had fallen into such disrepair that fixing it would be too costly. The place had been a source of civic discomfort for years, but among those pushing hardest to save it were members of Smyrna’s Black community, who argued that demolishing the cabin would erase a critical part of local Black history. Last week, a decision to preserve Aunt Fanny’s Cabin but move it to a nearby farm gave supporters a chance to wrestle with how best to preserve the complicated story of the restaurant — and of Ms. Williams herself.

Jackie Gleason ate at Aunt Fanny’s. So did Clark Gable.

Some former employees recall the institution with nothing but disgust.

“It don’t remind me of nothing but racism,” said Roderick McNeal, who worked at Aunt Fanny’s in the summer of 1959. “It’s an old racist’s house, and it’s past time for it to go.”

Lisa Castleberry, who worked there in the 1970s, said that simply passing by the now-vacant building regularly reminds her of a painful time in Smyrna’s history.

“Now that I’m older, I’m like, ‘Oh man, that was so degrading,’ but it was a job,” said Ms. Castleberry, who is 61.

Ms. Castleberry, who is Black, said that although segregation was officially over by the time she worked there, she and her family, friends and neighbors never felt comfortable going to Aunt Fanny’s.

Other former employees had fonder memories.

“Even if it was based on slave times, no one treated us like slaves, and it is a part of history,” said Jo Ann Trimble, who worked at Aunt Fanny’s for 19 years. “I’ll be 75 this year and I’ve done every kind of job, and that is the only job I’ve ever loved.”

Ms. Trimble supported her children with her salary and tips from Aunt Fanny’s. Her sisters, children, aunts and cousins all worked there too at different points. The fact that the restaurant helped many Black Smyrna residents build their lives is reason enough to save the building, she said, even if it makes people uncomfortable.

Smyrna, a city of about 56,000 people, is about 46 percent white and 33 percent Black. In 2017, Ms. Blackburn became the first and only Black woman to sit on the City Council. She and others working to save Aunt Fanny’s said that the project presented the community with an opportunity to confront the racism that existed within it while also honoring a Black woman who helped build her community.

More than 70 years after her death in 1949, very little is actually known about Fanny Williams beyond her role as the restaurant’s namesake and cook. Local researchers believe she made financial contributions to African Americans in the region, donating to Wheat Street Baptist Church, an African-American church in Atlanta, and raising money for Marietta’s first Black hospital.

Activists are working to locate Ms. Williams’s grave in the city’s South View Cemetery. They have plans to tell her story at schools and are holding a design competition to reimagine the cabin.

Turning the building into a welcome center, a museum or culinary school for Southern food, supporters said, would be a way to honor her.

“We have no standing structure that honors our history in Smyrna,” said Shaun Martin, an architect who is Black and has been studying the cabin for years. “Aunt Fanny’s Cabin could be a place where all of Black Smyrnites could be celebrated in a space that is reclaimed to give us the dignity that they stole from us for decades.”

Members of the City Council and other residents who wanted the building gone said that the city could memorialize Ms. Williams in other ways.

“Why don’t we honor her by putting a picture of her in a museum? We can teach kids about her or build a statue,” said Bernice Livsey, a resident who is Black. “Anything’s better than keeping this little house and saying it’s to honor her.”

The restaurant was originally created as a store by Isoline Campbell McKenna, the daughter of a wealthy white family for whom Ms. Williams worked. It changed hands over the years — outliving Ms. Williams by four decades — and hasn’t been operated as a restaurant since 1992. The building has been in the city’s possession since 1997, when the government saved it from being torn down by developers. In recent months, it has been cordoned off with yellow caution tape, deemed unsafe by the city.

In December, city officials said the building would be destroyed if no one came forward with a proposal and the money to move it. Last week, the City Council accepted an offer from the owners of a nearby cattle farm to move the cabin there and to honor Ms. Williams with a plaque.

Ms. Castleberry said that while she had hoped the building would be demolished, she was relieved that it would be moved from the city and she and others would not have to see it daily.

For those who wanted to preserve the building but also keep it in Smyrna, the outcome was only a partial victory. Susan Wilkinson, a City Council member who is white, said the community had only begun to learn about Ms. Williams and the value of educating residents about her legacy.

At a recent council meeting, Ms. Wilkinson argued that that mission would now be more difficult. “How do we preserve history when the physical space is no longer there?”

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We Know the Pledge. Its Author, Maybe Not.

For well over a century, the Pledge of Allegiance has been a pillar of America’s national identity. New evidence has emerged, though, to indicate that perhaps the man who pledged that he originated it did not.

Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian socialist from upstate New York, went so far as to swear in at least two affidavits that he had formulated the oath one blistering August night in 1892 in the Boston headquarters of a magazine for young people that he was promoting.

Bellamy’s authorship was reaffirmed during the 20th century by, among others, the American Flag Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Legislative Research Service (now the Congressional Research Service) and the Library of Congress. He was credited again as recently as last year in a resolution by the United States Senate and a citation by the “New Yale Book of Quotations.”

In February, however, simmering doubts about the oath’s origin resurfaced. A New York history buff discovered a newspaper account that appears to contradict Bellamy’s.

The discovery may also vindicate a longstanding but disputed claim that the oath actually originated in 1890 when a 13-year-old Kansas schoolboy — remarkably named Frank E. Bellamy — said he submitted it to a contest that was organized by Francis Bellamy’s own magazine to promote American values such as patriotism.

In February, Barry Popik, a historian and lexicographer who had been researching the pledge’s origin, was stunned to find a clipping on newspapers.com from the Ellis County News Republican of Hays, Kan., dated May 21, 1892.

The article described a school ceremony several weeks earlier, on April 30, 1892 — more than three months before Francis Bellamy swore he wrote the pledge -— in which high school students in Victoria, Kan., swore allegiance to the American flag using virtually the same words.

Mr. Popik collaborated with Fred R. Shapiro, the associate library director for collections and special projects at Yale Law School, who immediately noticed the inconsistency in the timeline: How could Francis Bellamy have created the pledge in August 1892, as he claimed, when a nearly identical pledge had already been recited and published the previous May?

Mr. Shapiro is also the editor of “The New Yale Book of Quotations,” which attributed the pledge to Francis Bellamy in its latest edition, published last August. He said that in subsequent editions, he would credit the oath to Frank Bellamy instead.

The May 1892 newspaper clipping does not prove that Frank Bellamy wrote the pledge, but it seems to suggest that perhaps Francis Bellamy did not.

“It’s very hard to explain what you see in that newspaper,” said Debbie Schaefer-Jacobs, curator of the division of cultural and community life of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

“I think you can’t rule out that Frank may have been the author and that Francis came across it and consciously or subconsciously used the words,” she added in an email this month.

Elizabeth L. Brown, a reference librarian at the Library of Congress, agreed that “if Francis Bellamy wrote the pledge in August of 1892, how did it come to be published in a Kansas newspaper in May 1892?”

In 1957, the Library of Congress certified Francis Bellamy as the author of the pledge on the basis of a 148-page investigative summary submitted by the Legislative Research Service. It was requested by Representative Kenneth B. Keating, a New York Republican, whose upstate district included Bellamy’s birthplace.

But that report focused almost entirely on determining whether the pledge had been written by Bellamy or by his boss, the magazine’s editor, James B. Upham, as the deadline loomed for the Sept. 8 edition of Youth’s Companion, which was to feature the oath in a printed program that schools could follow for the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage of discovery the following month.

Their goals were patriotic and promotional: To enlist students in the anniversary celebration; to help Americanize the flood of immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe; to heal still-festering sectional divisions widened by the Civil War; and to sell off the overstock of United States flags that Bellamy had ordered as marketing director of Youth’s Companion, which had sponsored a campaign to “float a flag over every schoolhouse” in the nation.

By the 1920s, when Francis Bellamy swore in his affidavits that he had written the pledge in August 1892, it was possible, of course, that he misremembered and meant April or earlier — except that he and his colleagues said they recollected his eureka moment so vividly.

“My memory serves me with almost photographic clearness of detail as to the circumstances under which you wrote this classic gem of patriotic expression,” Harold Roberts, the magazine’s publicity director, vouched in his own affidavit. “It was a blistering August day in 1892 and I was in our general office on the third floor of the Youth’s Companion Building, Boston.”

Bellamy himself recounted his “distinct memory” of straining for two hours in his office that August until the muse finally landed and inspired the 22 words that would be published in the magazine on Sept. 8: “I pledge Allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.”

The 1892 Kansas newspaper said the pledge recited by schoolchildren that April 30 was precisely the same, except it extolled an “inseparable” nation rather than an “indivisible” one and specified “to” the Republic.

Francis Bellamy later said that he had originally written “to the republic” and restored it in later versions. (It was unclear who originally wrote “inseparable.”)

The official wording of the pledge has been changed since then: specifying “the United States of America” for “my country” in the 1920s to remove any ambiguity among immigrants, and inserting “under God” during the Cold War to distinguish the republic from irreligious international Communism. The traditional stiff-arm salute was dropped in the 1940s in favor of the hand over the heart to avoid analogies to the Nazi salute.

So far, no written record has directly demonstrated that young Frank Bellamy originated that oath. But scholars are now asking: How else to account for the newspaper report that Kansas students had already been reciting the pledge as early as April 1892? No other Kansan has claimed authorship, and Frank said he had submitted the pledge to Youth’s Companion before the 1890 contest deadline.

“Our teacher suggested we enter the contest,” Frank was later quoted as saying in The Emporia (Kansas) Gazette. “We did so, each writing what they thought would express best their opinion of what each boy and girl had in mind, when they were saluting the U.S. Flag.”

When the pledge appeared almost word-for-word in the September 1892 edition without attribution, he said he wrote to Youth’s Companion and was told only that all submissions became the property of the magazine.

Just to add to the confusion, the local Woman’s Relief Corps, a group formed to serve Civil War veterans, submitted a version of the pledge Frank wrote as part of a high school assignment in 1896 — this time to an “indivisible” nation — as an entry in the corps’s 1899 national contest to honor the flag. Frank, who enlisted in the 20th Kansas Infantry shortly after the start of the Spanish-American War, was serving in the Philippines when his entry won.

In a letter to the corps in 1918, Frank’s sister Laura said, “We all remember of having heard him often say that he remembered writing the pledge” in 1896, but she made no mention of his having written one earlier for Youth’s Companion in 1890 or 1892.

The corps’s award prompted allegations that he had plagiarized Francis Bellamy’s pledge, as well as plaudits in his home state, including a 2014 resolution by State Senator Jeff King, citing Frank Bellamy as the original author.

Still, Mr. Shapiro of Yale said that the May 1892 newspaper clipping makes it look “very strongly that Francis could not have written it, and less strongly but compellingly that points to Frank E. Bellamy.”

Even the Legislative Research Service, while stating that Francis Bellamy “told the absolute, literal truth as he saw it,” added: “We recognize that there are still certain gaps.”

Both Bellamys implied at one point or another that they might have been able to help fill those gaps.

Francis later said he had become resigned to the pledge being published anonymously in the magazine in 1892, and his subsequent career as an advertising executive “only strengthened the habit of personal submergence.” But when he died in 1931, his claim to authorship of the oath was largely intact.

Frank Bellamy contracted tuberculosis during his war service. He was mustered out the Army and relocated to Denver, where he made leather goods. He died in 1915 and was buried in Cherryvale, Kan. Asked how he felt about winning the Relief Corps contest, he replied: “It didn’t express half of what I tried to write.”

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