HORACE CARTER ’ 43 1921–2009
Newspaper Editor Won Pulitzer Prize for Stand Against Klan
Carter telling him many times of the threats
against him and his family, getting so serious
that one night they moved out of their house.
As editor and publisher of The Tabor City Tribune, Horace Carter ’ 43 wrote many
editorials against the Ku Klux Klan’s activities.
Graham (class of 1909). Rusty
Even when the grand dragon of the
Association of Carolina Klans visited his newspaper offices twice, he did not back down.
“But his mind was made up, and he knew
this was a test that had come to him as an editor of a small-town paper, and he stood up to
it, and he won,” Friday told the radio network.
“He was fearless when it came to newspaper crusading,” says Carter’s son,
“To him, right was right, and wrong was
Russell “Rusty” Carter ’ 71. “He
never thought about stopping.”
Horace Carter died on Sept. 16
at age 88.
In 1953, Carter and his paper
won the Pulitzer Prize for
Meritorious Public Service, sharing
it with The News-Reporter of neighboring Whiteville, for a four-year
crusade against the Klan. Many of
the local arrests and convictions of
Klansmen were attributed to the
articles and calls for law enforcement to take action.
Carter was motivated to speak
out when the Klan mobilized close
to home, particularly in Horry
County, S.C. It eventually moved
into North Carolina near Tabor
City, where it found support among
many local residents.
In 2007, his children established a distinguished professorship in the School of
Journalism and Mass Communication in honor of Horace Carter ’ 43.
Rusty Carter says his father’s first
article was sparked by a motorcade
in 1950 when the Klan rode
through the city’s black neighborhood and
then downtown, trying to recruit members.
Carter says his father considered Graham to be
one of his most important teachers and attrib-
uted his anti-racist sentiments to him.
Clarence Whitefield ’ 44, former director of
alumni affairs and head of the GAA, says he
and Carter became friends working in the
University news bureau before they
left to serve in World War II and
returned to get journalism degrees.
“I was exceedingly proud of
Horace when he won the Pulitzer
Prize for public service, the first
weekly newspaper in the nation to
do so,” Whitefield says. “He brought
honor to his family, his adopted
hometown and his alma mater.”
After serving in the Navy in
WWII, Carter founded The Tabor
City Tribune, now the Tabor-Loris
Tribune, in 1946. He continued to
write on and off for the paper until
his death but passed management of
the Atlantic Publishing Co. Inc.,
which he had formed with
Marcellus Garner to publish his
paper and one other, to his son in
Carter was inducted into the
N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in
1983 and received an honorary
doctorate from UNC in 2000,
among many honors and awards during his
The next day, Carter published “An Editorial:
No Excuse for KKK.”
William Friday ’ 48 (LLB), a longtime friend
and president emeritus of the UNC System,
said in an interview with National Public
Radio that even though Carter was a shy and
withdrawn man, he had strong ideals about
what freedom for everyone really meant, and
he wrote to protect those freedoms.
In 2007, Carter’s three children, including
daughters Velda Carter Hughes ’ 76 and Linda
Metzger, established the W. Horace Carter
Distinguished Professorship at the UNC
School of Journalism and Mass
Communication in his honor.
Some of the Klansmen threatened to stop
advertising in the newspaper if Carter didn’t
stop writing about them, and Friday recalled
Rusty Carter says he was influenced by his
father simply by his presence and strong convictions. “He was a great person, father and
friend,” he says. “He tried to make the world a
better place, and did. He lived the life we all
want to live.”
wrong,” his son says. “He believed that everyone was created equal in God’s eyes and so
should be equal in our eyes, too.”
He recalled going to Tabor City’s segregated
town hall meetings with his father and sitting
in the black section to show disdain for discrimination and to make a stand for equality.
“He sought to make the world a better
place,” Rusty Carter says. “His philosophy was
to give back to the community, defend the
defenseless and advocate for justice.”
At UNC, Horace Carter was editor of the
student newspaper, then called The Tar Heel.
While he served in that position, he worked
directly with UNC President Frank Porter
— Brecken Branstrator
Richmond Times-Dispatch. At UNC, he was on the
staff of The Daily Tar Heel. u Hubert Gregory
Scarborough (’ 47), 83, of Debary, Fla.; July 3, 2009.
Scarborough had been president of a rock products
company. In WWII, he was in the Navy. At UNC, he
belonged to Pi Kappa Alpha. u Kalman Sherman
(’ 41), 88, of Hendersonville; Aug. 5, 2009. Sherman
was president of the family business, Sherman’s
Sporting Goods. He was former chairman of the local
chapter of the Red Cross and was active in a local
theater group. He served in WWII with the Marine
Corps. At UNC, he belonged to Carolina Playmakers.
u Harry George Shipman (’ 48 AB, ’ 53 MEd), 89, of
Greensboro; July 13, 2009. Shipman was band director at Page High School and taught music in other
Greensboro schools. He served in the Army Air Corps
in WWII and became band leader of the 14th Air
Force Dance Band. At UNC, he was president of both
the Marching Band and Phi Mu Alpha. u Charles
Gerstley Sunstein (’ 40 BSCOM), 91, of
Southeastern, Pa.; March 23, 2009. Sunstein was
president of an investment firm in Philadelphia. At
UNC, he belonged to Hillel Foundation, Zeta Beta Tau
and the wrestling and lacrosse teams. u Andrew
Jardine Sykes (’ 48 BSCOM), 84, of Flossmoor, Ill.;
May 2, 2009. Sykes retired as a merchandise manager for Marshal Field and Co. He was a Marine veteran of WWII and the Korean War. u Dorothy Cole
Vass (’ 44 BSLS), 88, of Topeka, Kan.; July 4, 2009.
Vass, a librarian, was librarian of the Post Library of
an Army Air Forces unit at Bolling Field in
Washington, D.C., early in her career. u William
Abdon Vernon Jr. (’ 40 AB), 90, of Greensboro; Aug.