Story & Photos
By DEUCE NIVEN
Invited guests on Sunday were among the first to view “The Editor And The Dragon: Horace Carter Fights The Klan,” a new documentary produced by Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Memory Lane Productions.
Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman narrates the 58-minute telling of the life of Tribune founder and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist W. Horace Carter.
Filmmakers are hoping for a much wider audience than the 200 or so in Chapel Hill, or the hundreds of Atlantic employees scheduled to view it during company-wide showings this morning.
Carter founded this newspaper, and grew Atlantic from the newspaper he launched in 1946.
UNC-TV in Chapel Hill has expressed interest in airing the documentary, co-producer and co-director Walter E. Campbell said Sunday. PBS, the national Public Broadcasting System, has also been contacted and could give the film exposure across the country.
When, or if, wider distribution happens is uncertain, Campbell said, adding that he’s hopeful.
Martin Clark, the other co-producer/director, said the film was well received at a recent film festival in Durham, and was the first there to sell out its seats.
“We went from being worried about having a good turnout to worrying that the theater was too small,” Clark said.
A story worth telling
Archival footage from CBS legend Edward R. Murrow’s story on the 1952 Pulitzer, other film and still images from that error, and dramatic recreations combine to present a compelling narrative of the very real dangers Carter faced as he challenged the Klan in the Carolinas and its leader, Thomas L. Hamilton.
An FBI investigation resulted in arrests and convictions of Klansmen who flogged and beat blacks and whites who crossed what the KKK saw as moral lines.
A program note from William R. Ferris, Senior Associate Director at the Center, described the decade-long effort to get the film made, starting with a note from Rusty Carter, some of the elder Carter’s Pulitzer Prize winning clippings, and a request to consider making a film on the topic.
“Carter’s refusal to allow the Ku Klux Klan to attack black and white citizens in his beloved Tabor City community is a great American story,” Ferris wrote. “This film will inspire its viewers and will remind them that Horace Carter’s life is a model to which we should all aspire.”
Introducing the film Sunday in Chapel Hill were Carter’s son, Atlantic President Rusty Carter; Center Director Jocelyn R. Neal; and W. Hodding Carter III, University Professor of Leadership and Public Policy at UNC.
UNC Student Stores is the authorized distributor for The Editor & The Dragon DVD. Order the documentary here.