note to an alabama newspaper: you can’t micromanage change!
By Awa Gueye
March 18, 2019
It’s a tale that’s been told time and time again: white man uses his platform to rally the KKK, gets denounced, Black woman becomes new voice of newspaper to create necessary change, white man micromanages and undermines Black woman, and Black woman resigns! Same old, same old.
Goodloe Sutton, owner and editor of the Alabama newspaper Democratic-Republic, created a hateful mess on February 14th by penning an editorial calling for “the ku klux klan to nightride again” as a response to Sutton’s notion that “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama.” As expected, this story was circulated in the media. In an effort to save the paper’s reputation, Sutton stepped down from his position as editor and hired Elecia R. Dexter to restore and renew it. Although she had no formal journalism experience, Dexter was promoted from clerk to top job.
This new partnership quickly went South as Sutton dishonored Dexter’s authority by sending out an altered February 28th version of the controversial editorial to various media outlets. In this version, he defends his initial editorial and attacks the Montgomery Advertiser reporter who interviewed him at the time. The updated editorial by Sutton forced Dexter to release a reactionary press release explaining the issue went out without her knowledge. Though she wanted to seize this opportunity to create real change and replace fear with warmth, Sutton made this impossible.
Less than a month after her rise from clerk, Dexter made the difficult decision to step down from her new position to protect herself and her integrity.
We salute you, Elecia R. Dexter!
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