A black woman is the new publisher and publisher of an Alabama newspaper after her predecessor resigned after widespread condemnation of his Feb. Feb. 14 editorial, which called for Massenlynchen, and his statements that the Ku Klux Klan Washington "to get rid of the way".
"It's time for the Ku Klux Klan to go back to the night," read the editorial in the weekly Democrat reporter. The text alleged that Democrats were planning to raise taxes in Alabama along with some Republicans. "Seems like the clan is welcome to plunder the gated communities up there," he continued.
When the editor and editor of the newspaper, Goodloe Sutton, was confronted, he stuck to his words and told the Montgomery Advertiser that angry people could do so. Call him, write a letter, or boycott the newspaper if You want. The in Linden, Ala., Resident publication he inherited in the 1980s from his father.
On Thursday, however, Sutton had an obvious change of heart. He handed over control of the Democrat reporter to Elecia Dexter – an African-American woman from Chicago who served as an office clerk for the newspaper with a circulation of about 3,000.
"Everything was a bit surreal," Dexter said on Saturday in an interview. "I am grateful for this opportunity."
"Good luck, Goodloe," wrote Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) on Twitter .
Jones, who had prosecuted two members of the Klan for his role in the Birmingham bombing campaign (1963), in which four young girls were killed, had called Sutton's editorial staff "disgusting" and called for his resignation. "I've seen what happens while we're at it, while people – especially those with influence – publish racist, hated views," he wrote last week.
After Sutton was replaced, [Jones Jones wrote: "His dangerous views do not represent Alabama or the Kleinstad newspapers in Alabama, which do a good job every day. The good people of Linden deserve so much better than these racist riots, and I am confident that they will get it with the new publisher Elecia Dexter. "
Dexter holds a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Eastern Illinois University. She announced her appointment, according to a press release. She also received a Master's Degree in Human Services from the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago and a Master's Degree in Counseling from Argosy University in Virginia.
46-year-old Dexter said she only worked in the newspaper for six weeks and was disappointed when she saw the editorial. She has submitted phone calls, questions and e-mails from supporters of the newspaper who were dismayed by the editorial and negative publicity.
Dexter told the post office that she intended to leave the house when there was no change. She said she and Sutton had an "open and honest" dialogue about his comments, declaring his decision to call Lynch and KKK in the newsroom.
[Hey] accepted a group with a lot of negativity. This is especially true for people like me for the color, "said Dexter.
"There are several ways to communicate that you want to clean up Washington without using that particular reference," she added.
Dexter said Sutton spoke on her Thursday and said he had resigned as editor and publisher. He told Dexter that she could continue the legacy of his family, which has run the Democrat reporter for decades, by taking the newspaper in a "new direction."
Sutton, who did not immediately return a call requesting a comment, maintains the Democrat reporter's holdings but no longer oversees the day-to-day business.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.), Who called for Sutton's resignation, welcomed the decision, but said the newspaper man's work was not yet complete.
Sewell had previously written : millions of colored people who were terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of "editing" about lynching is no joke – it's a threat. "
Two decades ago, Sutton was praised by his peers and discussed as a candidate for the Pulitzer Prize following a report that resulted in a sheriff being sent to federal jail for allegations of corruption.
The news in the editorial bothered Many readers of the Democrat reporter who "do not want to be identified or defined what he has used this paper," Dexter said.Long-term readers pointed out, however, that the newspaper's editorial page was not the first In May 2015, an editorial published that the mayor of a city "in the north" h. In another, published in June of this year, were hung up drug dealers, kidnappers, rapists, thieves and murderers , "in the courthouse where the public can watch." 19659022] Archive show many more Bei The controversial editorials ran without a side line, so it's unclear what, if any, Sutton wrote.
Dexter said she did not know about the editorials before joining the newspaper, but "started hearing little things" as she became familiar with the community. She moved to her father's home near Sweet Water, Ala., In December, and soon joined the Democrat reporter.
"When this article came out, I saw what other people had seen years and years ago," she said
But the February 14 editorial became viral and drew from Sutton's colleagues, legislators, and the head of Alabama NAACP, which demanded an investigation by the FBI, a strong complaint. Sutton did not withdraw from his editorial and told the advertiser, "If we could get the clan to go there and D.C. to clean up, we would have done better. … We pick up the hemp ropes, place them over a high limb and hang them all up. "
Dexter described Linden as a small, eclectic city with traditional values. She wants to expand the scope of the newspaper and put her stories online to highlight the "big things happening in the community".
She knows it takes time to fix the image of the newspaper and restore confidence to the newspaper for those who read it. A change of leadership message was sent to subscribers to the newspaper.
"One thing that is important to us as we move forward is to make sure that people in this community feel that this newspaper represents them and their views," she said. "Family, community seek each other – I want to advance a personal component so that people feel like their newspaper, which it is."
Antonia Noori-Farzan contributed to this report.