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Tabor City tribune. : (Tabor City, N.C.) 1946-1991
Place of publication:
Tabor City, N.C.
Geographic coverage:
  • Tabor City, Columbus, North Carolina  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
W. Horace Carter, 1946-
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (July 5, 1946)-v. 45, no. 5 (July 31, 1991).
  • English
  • North Carolina--Tabor City.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01220368
  • Tabor City (N.C.)--Newspapers.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • Issued with: The Tribune (Tabor City, N.C. : 1989), Aug. 2, 1989-July 31, 1991.
sn 91068761
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Tabor City tribune. July 5, 1946 , Image 1


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Tabor City Tribune

W. Horace Carter (1921-2009) published the first issue of the Tabor City Tribune on July 26, 1946. Carter, a veteran of World War II and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, moved to Tabor City, a small town in southeastern North Carolina, to work as executive secretary of the local merchants association. Within several months of his arrival, Carter, who had worked for the Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at UNC-Chapel Hill, started the Tribune, which published on Friday and charged two dollars for an annual subscription.

The Tribune included coverage of local and regional politics, society news, weather, and a full page of practical advice to farmers. It featured news from and circulated to readers in Tabor City, the surrounding Columbus County, and Horry County, South Carolina, just across the state border. Carter wrote in the newspaper's inaugural issue that the newspaper was "designed to live and serve the peoples of all races and colors" and would have "no political obligations, no pledges to any pressure groups, no motives other than honorable." He added that the Tribune would include editorials that call officials to action. "Perhaps we will make an enemy of a few individuals in doing so," Carter wrote, "But, at the same time, perhaps many others will be served."

One of the enemies made by Carter and the Tribune was the Ku Klux Klan. After Carter witnessed a Ku Klux Klan motorcade roll through Tabor City in July 1950, the Tribune took on the organization through steady reporting and editorializing about its violent activities. Over three years, the newspaper published more than 130 articles and editorials about the Klan. The Tribune's coverage raised the ire of Thomas Hamilton, Grand Dragon on the Association of Carolina Klans, and other KKK members, and Carter faced threats of violence for several years. The newspaper was also subject to boycotts by readers and advertisers.

The Tribune's dogged attacks on the Klan resulted in its receipt of the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1953. The newspaper shared the award with the News-Reporter of Whiteville, NC, a town about 20 miles from Tabor City. The award citation lauded the papers "for their successful campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, waged on their own doorstep, at the risk of economic loss and personal danger, culminating in the conviction of over one hundred Klansmen and an end to terrorism in their communities." The Tribune was the first weekly and shared with the News-Reporter the distinction of being the first North Carolina newspapers to win a Pulitzer Prize. The story of the newspaper's fight against the Klan was the subject of the 2013 documentary film "The Editor and The Dragon: Horace Carter Fights the Klan."

While battling the Klan in the pages of the Tribune in the early 1950s, Carter and a partner purchased three South Carolina newspapers: the Horry County News and Loris Sentinel, the Conway Field, and the Ocean Beach News. Carter continued to edit and publish the Tabor City Tribune until 1974, when he turned over management of the newspaper to his son, Russell M. "Rusty" Carter (b. 1949) and moved to Florida. From his new home, the senior Carter contributed an occasional column to the Tribune. He also wrote books on hunting and fishing. Carter returned to Tabor City in 1994 and returned to writing and editing at the newspaper, which had dropped Tabor City from its title in 1991 to become the Tribune. Today the newspaper is the Tabor-Loris Tribune, and Atlantic Publishing, a company owned by the Carter family, continues as publisher.

Provided by: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library, Chapel Hill, NC