Thursday, September 17, 2009

Honoring two champions of justice

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Two great champions of justice died yesterday. You may not have heard of him, but W. Horace Carter was a newspaper publisher from North Carolina who started the Tabor City Tribune in 1946. In 1949, at a time when opposition to white supremacy could literally get you killed, Carter launched a journalistic crusade against the Ku Klux Klan. The investigations continued for four years, bringing about the conviction of 254 Klansmen. As a result, the Tabor City Tribune became the first weekly newspaper to win the enormously prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service. W. Horace Carter was 88 years old.

Mary Travers, the blonde, straight-haired, bangs-flipping singer whose work with Peter Paul & Mary made her an iconic cultural figure of the 1960s, died of leukemia yesterday at age 72. As part of PP&M, Travers popularized the folk music revival of the late-50s/early-60s, a movement that had an enormous influence on American popular music. Their hit recording of “Blowing In The Wind” brought Bob Dylan to mainstream America’s attention in 1963. The group backed up its message of justice and racial equality -- often in the face of threats of violence -- by performing numerous benefits for civil rights causes, including an historic performance of “If I Had A Hammer” at the March on Washington in 1963, the event at which Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech. Here is songwriter Pete Seeger introducing a performance of “Hammer” by PP&M at the ’63 Newport Folk Festival.

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