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Editor and the Dragon – Horace Carter

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W. Horace Carter (1921–2009)

CarterTodayIn 1953, Ernest Hemingway received a Pulitzer Prize for his monumental work The Old Man and the Sea. That same year, the Pulitzer committee also awarded a prize to 32-year-old UNC graduate Horace Carter, editor of the Tabor City Tribune (NC), who was in the middle of a real-life struggle with the Ku Klux Klan in his small town.

Carter earned a Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for his reporting on the Ku Klux Klan. Despite receiving death threats against himself and his family, Carter used the editorial authority of the Tribune to protest the Klan’s racist rhetoric and vigilantism. Carter’s bold reporting and the unwavering integrity of his editorials helped lead to the first federal intervention in the South during that era, and to the arrest and conviction of nearly 100 klansmen.

Walter Horace Carter was born on January 20, 1921, in a small house owned by the Efird Cotton Mill on the corner of Church and Mill streets in Albemarle, North Carolina. Both of his parents worked at the mill, where he later worked as well. Carter arrived in Chapel Hill as a student in 1939, worked at the UNC News Bureau, and was elected editor of The Daily Tar Heel. His schooling was interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, but he completed his degree in journalism in 1949, by which time he was already editing and publishing the Tabor City Tribune.

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