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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with W. Horace Carter, January 17, 1976. Interview B-0035. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Integrating African Americans into the local newspaper

Carter explains his general support for racial equality and his effort to more fully include positive news about African Americans in the <cite>Tabor City Tribune</cite> in its early days. According to Carter, it was unusual, even unheard of, in those years to integrate African Americans into mainstream news sources; nevertheless, he believed it was the right thing to do and set a precedent for doing so, despite some initial criticism.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with W. Horace Carter, January 17, 1976. Interview B-0035. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Well, Mr. Carter, along about this same time I believe you supported black attendance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School. And this seemed to be a rare position indeed to take in this part of the country. Do you think this hurt you in any way in terms of advertising or circulation, or your creditability with the people in your area?
Well, I think that, again, we had the same type people who were klansmen who felt that the blacks weren't entitled to any privileges that they didn't already have. And they felt that this was their lot in life, and they weren't supposed to ever get any better, just to stay in the same rut. I don't know that we lost any advertisers; I know that we had people who thought we were too liberal. But coming from Chapel Hill, they said they could expect that; so this is the kind of people I had. I know we were the first, insofar as newspapers in this area are concerned, newspaper (be it ever so humble, because we were a mighty small operation then— and now, for that matter) to carry news stories and pictures of the blacks in the community for the ordinary deeds that they did. Now, people carried the names of the blacks and the stories on the blacks if they were indicted in the courts and if they were criminals, and various things that they were charged with, but up to then nobody had run any pictures of blacks and stories of blacks if they were on the library board, for instance, or if they'd done some of the better things in the community. I know we were the first. In fact, I recall very well that at this same period of time the Wilmington Star News, which was the biggest daily paper in the area, wouldn't even run a group picture with a black in it. I've seen pictures in their paper in which they routed out the faces of the blacks, just to keep from showing them in the paper. And the first ones that we ran on the front page, I got some criticism from. Some of those people that were critics of that are not even living now, but I've had some of them say, "Well, you sure never should have run that black fellow's picture on the paper. You never should have had him in the paper." And that was during the period when little weekly papers had just an inside column somewhere that was called "Negro News," and then they'd just put everything into that one column that had to do with the blacks. We had such a column for some time, but then we did away with this and started just handling them like we would anybody else, any other news. And I still feel that we were right; I feel that's the way it should have been handled.