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Alabama newspaper editor who urged KKK return replaced by black woman



The editor of a small-town Alabama newspaper who published an editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to “ride again” has been replaced by a black woman.

Goodloe Sutton, the editor and publisher of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Alabama, wrote an editorial in February calling for the KKK to “raid” politicians’ homes in response to an idea that the politicians would raise taxes in the state.

“Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there,” Sutton wrote.

Then in an interview with the local Montgomery Advertiser he said he wanted to “clean out DC” through lynchings: “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” he said.

Sutton had resisted calls to resign at the time, and told the Advertiser that people could write letters or boycott the paper.

Read more: An Alabama newspaper editor called for mass lynchings and for the KKK to return and ‘clean out DC’

But he then changed his mind and decided to turn control of the paper — which had belonged to his father — to Elecia Dexter, a black woman from Chicago, The New York Times reported, citing a statement from Democrat-Reporter.

Dexter had worked at the paper for just six weeks, and was the one receiving complaints about Sutton’s editorial while working as a front office clerk, The Washington Post reported.

Dexter told the Post that she was disappointed when she saw the editorial and had planned to quit her job at the Democrat-Reporter if no changes took place.

Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama called for Sutton to step down as editor and called the editorial “disgusting.”
Marvin Gentry/Reuters

She said that Sutton “took a group that has a lot of negativity associated to it, especially for people like me, of color.”

“There are different ways to communicate you wanted Washington to be cleaned up without using that particular reference,” she said.

How he stepped down

Dexter told the Post that Sutton came to her on Thursday to tell her that he was resigning as editor and publisher, and said that she should continue his family’s legacy by taking it in a “new direction.”

“Everything has been a little surreal, and there’s a lot going on,” she said.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” she said, adding that she and Sutton had an “open and honest” conversation about the contents of the editorial.

Read more: An Alabama judge has overturned a law protecting Confederate monuments from being taken down

Sutton will remain the owner of the newspaper, which had a circulation of 3,000 as of 2015, according to

“One thing that sticks out to me as we move forward is making sure the people of this community feel this paper represents them and their views,” Dexter told the Post.

“Family, community looking out for each other — I would like to take a personal component moving forward, so people feel like it’s their paper, which it is.”

Sutton faced calls to step down

Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, a Democrat, tweeted that Sutton should resign after the editorial was published.

“OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under?” he tweeted. “This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign -NOW!”

Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama also said Sutton should apologize and resign.

“For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of ‘editorializing’ about lynching is not a joke — it is a threat,” she tweeted.

Read more:Missouri teacher suspended after student dresses as a Klansman in a skit about voter suppression

The Alabama Press Association also suspended the membership of The Democrat-Reporter and censured Sutton.

Jones celebrated Sutton’s decision to step down by tweeting: “Good riddance Goodloe. His dangerous views do not represent Alabama or the small-town papers in Alabama that do great work every day.”

“The good people of Linden deserve so much better than these racist rants and I am confident they will get it with new editor, Elecia Dexter.”

Before Sutton stepped down, journalists and Democrat-Reporter readers also shared past editorials in the paper that included racist, sexist, and homophobic content, including advocating for public hangings and deriding Jewish people, people of color, women, and LGBT people.

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