Crusading Southern Pulitzer Winner W. Horace Carter Dies at 88

By: W. Horace Carter, a North Carolina newspaper publisher and editor whose crusades against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s earned him a Pulitzer Prize, died Wednesday. He was 88.

Mitchell Ward, director of Inman Funeral Home in Tabor City, confirmed that Carter died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center after suffering a heart attack one week ago.

Carter's paper, The Tabor City Tribune, and the nearby Whiteville News Reporter shared the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service "for their successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, waged on their own doorstep at the risk of economic loss and personal danger, culminating in the conviction of over one hundred Klansmen and an end to terrorism in their communities," according to the Pulitzers' Web site.

Carter's campaign against the Klan began in 1950 when klansmen rode through Tabor City's black neighborhoods before reaching downtown, where they handed out recruiting information.

During his two-year campaign, Carter's reporting on Klan rallies exposed him to death threats, as well as threats to his family, his pets and his business. The grand dragon of the Klan told Carter that he would order members to stop reading the newspaper and businesses to stop advertising with him.

Joining Carter in the crusade was Willard Cole, the editor of the twice-weekly Whiteville paper.

The Klan actions that drew the most attention from Carter and Cole were floggings that occurred in Columbus County, and in Horry County, S.C., between 1950 and 1952. Of 13 floggings attributed to klansmen, only three of the victims were black, according to researchers for a documentary project on Carter's career.

All 13 victims were reportedly punished for moral misconduct such as adultery, physical abuse, child neglect, not attending church, excessive drinking, or making moonshine.

The floggings drew the attention of the FBI, the State Bureau of Investigation, and local law enforcement officials.

According to Carter's paper, now called the Tabor-Loris Tribune, 254 Klansmen were convicted and 62 sent to prison or fined during Carter's campaign.

A funeral service was scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. in Tabor City. Burial was to follow at a later date.


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