Thanks to Sitton, new recognition for ‘Old Reliable’

On this day in 1983: Claude Sitton, editor of the News and Observer of Raleigh, wins the Pulitzer Prize for commentary — the paper’s first. .

Sitton made his reputation as chief Southern correspondent for the New York Times during the civil rights movement (his peers appreciated his inventing the “Sitton notebook,” a cut-down version that didn’t revealingly jut out of a hip pocket at a Klan rally).

In 1968 he moved to Raleigh to continue the liberal tradition of the modern N&O, which Josephus Daniels bought at auction in 1894 to serve as an organ of the Democratic Party.


Legislators, lobbyists and liquor: A front page to remember

On this day in 1957: The News & Observer of Raleigh runs seven front-page photos of liquor lobbyists furtively unloading crates of their goods at the Hotel Sir Walter, home away from home for most lawmakers, and of bellhops distributing bottles of bourbon and Scotch.

The expose ends the longtime practice of legislators receiving free liquor.


For N&O editor, ‘colorful’ word was worth fighting for

“Aware of the term’s inappropriateness in everyday speech, [Jonathan Daniels in 1941] yet considered [“nigger”] ‘an indispensable word… in all colorful discussions of American life.’

“He believed, and hoped others would agree, that when he used the word ‘nigger’ or ‘pickaninny,’ he used them with sympathy and not malice and to describe more accurately the condition of many black people. In most cases he did, but little credible excuse could have been made for his describing… night as ‘black as a pickaninny’s hide’ and summer as almost having ‘a pulse in it like a buck nigger panting.’ ”

— From “Jonathan Daniels and Race Relations: The Evolution of a Southern Liberal” by Charles W. Eagles (1982)