A week after publisher and editor Goodloe Sutton penned an editorial that called upon the “Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” the Democrat-Reporter of Alabama has announced its choice to relieve Sutton of his duties.
Founded in 1879, the editorially conservative paper is so old its name reflects a time when most southern whites were Democrats.
Elecia R. Dexter, a 46-year-old black woman, will take over Sutton’s editorial duties while Sutton will retain his stake in the paper, which retains a circulation of around 3,000. Sutton, 80, is in the process of selling the paper.
Auburn University and the University of Southern Mississippi have both rescinded past honors of Sutton, who rose to prominence after exposing corruption in the local sheriff’s office.
Dexter told the Associated Press that she hopes her appointment would show the community that the Democrat-Reporter was ‘everybody’s paper,’” she said.
Dexter’s predecessor, Sutton, had a lengthy history of racist and bigoted op-eds and opinions and called for the Klan to raid the communities of “Democrats in the Republican Party” who were looking to raise taxes.
In a subsequent interview, Sutton suggested lynchings as an acceptable measure to clean up Washington, D.C., claiming the Klan “didn’t kill but a few people.”
Sutton says he’s received numerous comments since the printing of his editorial, some of which were printed on the front page of this week’s paper. Though comments from the Klan were nicer than comments from Democrats, Sutton says he doesn’t regret the editorial, claiming that many missed its intended point.
“The point of the editorial was ironic,” Sutton said, “in that, all these years, the FBI and the Department of Justice have been investigating the Klan and now, that shoe is on the other foot. [The FBI and Justice Department] are doing wrong and the Klan needs to investigate them. That’s what the point was. Not a lot of people understand irony today.”