Hodding Carter: The Reconstruction of a Racist
The editor and publisher of the Delta Democrat-Times liked a good fight.
Using his little daily paper to battle for equality before the law and an end to mistreatment of black people, Hodding Carter took on the power structure of the state of Mississippi. Castigated by politicians, denounced by his fellow editors, threatened with economic reprisal and physical violence, he drew the wrath of everyone from the country club to the crossroads store. White Citizens Councils anathematized him. The Ku Klux Klan sent him threatening messages.
What kind of a man was this who stuck to his guns - for a time he even kept a gun close by - for what he believed, in the face of anger and vitriol, detestation and denunciation? In Hodding Carter, Ann Waldron tells the story of a colorful, complex, combative man who spent much of his life on the unpopular sides of political and social issues.
As a youth sent off to college in Maine, he was an outspoken white supremacist; he began changing his mind only when he came back home to the South to live. Nor was his battle for racial justice in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s his first fight against heavy odds: in the early 1930s, as editor of a tiny newspaper in Hammond, Louisiana, he fought the Louisiana Kingfish, Huey Long, and his powerful machine.
Nor did Carter confine his writing to newspaper journalism. He wrote books, magazine articles, history, novels, poetry. Married to a woman who was equally courageous and who stood loyally and firmly with him in his outspoken, unpopular stands, he was passionate, creative, greatly complicated. His friends cherished him, his opponents abhorred him.
No uncritical eulogy, Hodding Carter re-creates the passionate life, public and private, of a flawed but authentic American hero.
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HODDING CARTER: The Reconstruction of a RacistUser Review - Kirkus
Workmanlike biography of the combative (but socially adept) editor/publisher of Mississippi's Greenville Delta Democrat-Times. Carter (1907-72) was hailed as a courageous integrationist by the eastern ... Read full review
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