TABOR CITY, NC (WMBF) - William Horace Carter, owner of the Tabor Loris Tribune, has died at the age of 88.
The news was announced by a close family friend at Carter's home in Tabor City, NC. Carter, they said, died from a heart attack Thursday.
According to The Carter-Klan Documentary Project's website, Carter was born in Albermarle, NC in 1921 and graduated from Endy High School in 1939. Carter entered the journalism program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before serving in the U.S. Navy.
After returning to North Carolina following his service, Carter pursued his love of journalism and published the first edition of The Tabor City Tribune in 1946. The Tabor City Tribune was written, edited and published solely by Carter.
Shortly after its release, Carter joined forces with Marcellus Craig Garner, a UNC graduate, and founded the Atlantic Publishing Company in 1946. The company, designed to print The Tabor City Tribune, also published the Myrtle Beach Sun, a tabloid newspaper at the time.
During his service for the Atlantic Publishing Company, Carter was the recipient of a number of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service for "An Editorial: No Excuses for KKK."
The Carter-Klan Documentary Project's website says Carter was a resident of Tabor City at the time of his death.
Family friends say a visitation service will be held Friday night. A location, they say, has yet to be confirmed by the family.
Following is the unedited news release from the Tabor-Loris Tribune:
TABOR CITY - W. Horace Carter, the crusading publisher who earned a Pulitzer Prize for The Tabor City Tribune in 1953, died Wednesday afternoon at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington. He was 88.
Carter also founded Atlantic Corp., now the parent company for the newspaper he launched in 1946 and later renamed Tabor-Loris Tribune.
Carter suffered a heart attack a week earlier, and had been treated at the Wilmington hospital. He was discharged from the hospital, and on his way to his Tabor City home where hospice care awaited, when he died on board an ambulance at about 3 p.m.
"Our father Horace Carter ran an amazing race, actually many, during his 88 years with us, said Rusty Carter, son and current President of Atlantic. "He was an inspiration to many, and friend to everyone he met, and a legend in community journalism for over 50 years. His commitment to social justice, God and country, his family and friends never wavered regardless of the challenge."
"Freedom of the press had no greater friend than our dad who just happened to be the Tribune's founder. He was that one person who believed he could make a difference and who used his life and talent to make the world a better place. We will miss him mightily. His loss will be felt far and wide but he gave us all gifts to carry on for our lifetimes."
Visitation for family and friends will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the offices of Tabor-Loris Tribune, 102 Avon Street in Tabor City.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Tabor City Baptist Church on Live Oak Street. Family will receive friends immediately following the service at the Tabor-Loris Tribune offices.
"I'm not sure that Tabor City will immediately realize its loss," said Deuce Niven, Associate Publisher and Editor of the Tribune. "Mr. Carter was a giving employer, a charitable citizen, and a true friend to many in this community and far beyond.
"Mr. Carter well represented what Tom Brokaw called 'the greatest generation.' We in this community have been blessed that he passed our way."
Stanley County roots
Born on Jan. 20, 192 at home in the Efird Cotton Mill village in Albemarle, in Stanley County, Carter was a son of Walter Raleigh Carter and Waulena Florence Lowder Carter.
A 1939 graduate of Endy High School near Albemarle, Carter enrolled that year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was the first male, and only the second graduate of Endy High to attend any college.
Carter worked his way through school on the staff of the UNC News Bureau.
World War II intervened, and in 1942 Carter left UNC and entered the U.S. Navy. He worked from Apprentice Seaman to Ensign after being sent to Notre Dame from Hospital Corps School at Portsmouth, Va. and Charleston, SC where he was a Pharmacist Mate 2nd class.
Following four years in the Navy during which time he served in the Scouts and Raiders and amphibious forces, he returned to Chapel Hill for one term and graduated with an AB degree in journalism.
Carter married Lucile Miller of Richfield, NC a year before his discharge from the Navy. Their first child, Linda Carol, was born the day he officially left military service, on Jan. 28, 1946.
Merchants, and a newspaper
Two days after graduating from UNC, Carter came to Tabor City and accepted a job as executive secretary of the newly formed Tabor City Merchants Association. His employers clearly understood that Carter was planning to launch his own weekly newspaper.
The Tabor City Tribune published its first edition on July 6, 1946. The newspaper remains in the hands of the family owned Atlantic Corp.
While serving as editor-publisher-janitor and chief of everything else for the newspaper, Carter's Tribune in 1953 became the first weekly newspaper in history to win the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service. The award was for his four-year crusade against the Ku Klux Klan that saw 254 Klansmen convicted and 62 sent to the penitentiary or fined.
The award was shared with The News Reporter in Whiteville.
Carter later donated his Pulitzer Prize to The School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where it remains on display today.
Carter won many other local, regional and national awards for his crusading including "One of the Ten Most Outstanding Young Men in America for 1954," NC Distinguished Service Award from, the NC Junior Chamber of Commerce, Tabor City Man of the Year, Distinguished Service Award from the National Editorial Association, NC Press Association Certificate of Merit, among many others.
The News & Observer in Raleigh named Carter "One of the 100 persons who made the greatest impact on the lives of the people of North Carolina in the 20th century" and an international award named him "One of the 2000 most outstanding writers of the 20th century."
For his achievements, and his support of higher education, Carter was awarded honorary Ph.D. degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Campbell University, and Coastal Carolina University.
Mike Easley, then North Carolina's governor, presented Carter with the state's highest civilian honor in 2007, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
"I appreciate the opportunity to be here to honor somebody I think is special to North Carolina," Gov. Mike Easley said before presenting the award. "Horace has devoted so much of his time and career to the state. He's done so much, not only for Columbus County but for the reputation of North Carolina."
Carter's response was succinct.
"Thank you so much," Carter said. "I appreciate this honor. I hope we've done something to help Tabor City over the past 60 years. We'll keep on trying."
Carter launched or helped launch other newspapers during the early years of his long newspaper career, including The Loris Sentinel and The Myrtle Beach Sun, now The Sun News. He eventually sold off those holdings, but never his Tabor City newspaper.
In 1974 Carter turned over the company to his son, Russell, and launched a different kind of writing career. During that second phase of his writing career, Carter wrote 22 books and more than 2,000 magazine articles, mostly relating to fishing and the outdoors, two of his passions.
Carter served three terms as the president of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, one year as president of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and six years on the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
He lived in Cross Creek, Fla. for about 20 years, before moving back to Tabor City in 1995. He has served as publisher and the day-to-day manager of the newspaper since that time.