This came to mind when I was composing a post in which I said that "American society has become a lot more egalitarian over the last 60 years or so." It didn't quite fit there, but I thought it still deserved a spot.
When Chuck Berry died in March 2017, the New York Times gave him and his contributions to American popular music a lot of attention. That led me to wonder how much coverage they gave him when he was making hit records. In the 1950s, he got only one mention, in a brief (four-sentence) wire service story on August 29, 1959 entitled "Negro Singer Jailed| Accused of trying to date Mississippi white girl." After playing a dance, Berry allegedly asked a young woman (aged 20) for a date. He said it was a misunderstanding, but was held without bond "while authorities conducted an investigation." The story explained that Berry "was popular among the high school set for recordings such as 'Maybellene' and 'Memphis, Tennessee.'"
The next mention came in September 1963, when he was included in a list of rhythm and blues musicians. There were a few more incidental mentions in 1965. Overall, it's clear that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the New York Times didn't think that Chuck Berry was someone that its readers would or should know about.