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Claude Sitton
Born Claude Fox Sitton
(1925-12-04)December 4, 1925
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Died March 10, 2015(2015-03-10) (aged 89)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Occupation Newspaper reporter, editor
Alma mater Emory University
Notable awards Pulitzer Prize for Commentary (1983)
Years active 1950s – 1990s
Spouse Eva Whetstone (m. 1953–2015) (his death)

Claude Fox Sitton (December 4, 1925 – March 10, 2015) was an American newspaper reporter and editor. He worked for the The New York Times during the 1950s and 1960s, distinguishing himself by his coverage of the civil rights movement.[1] He went on to become national news director of the Times and then editor of The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Claude Fox Sitton was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Claude Booker and Pauline Fox Sitton and raised on a farm in Rockdale County, Georgia. He had one sibling, Paul Lyon Sitton, who was the first administrator of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration.[2]

Sitton graduated high school in 1943 and entered the Merchant Marine before joining the U.S. Navy.[3] He reached the rank of boatswain’s mate 2nd class in the Navy. His primary ship was the USS LST-706. [4]

Taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, Sitton entered Oxford College of Emory University, moving to Emory's main campus, in Atlanta, after a year. Sitton, who started out as a business major, graduated in 1949 with a journalism degree. While at Emory, he was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Emory Wheel. He returned to his alma mater to teach from 1991 to 1994, and was a member of Board of Counselors of Oxford College from 1993 to 2001.[3]

In 1953, Sitton married Eva McLaurin Whetstone. They had four children, Lauren Lea, Clinton Whetstone, Suzanna Fox and Claude McLaurin.


Sitton started out with wire services, working for International News Service and United Press. Wanting to work outside the country, he joined the United States Information Agency in 1955 as an information officer and press attaché at the American Embassy in Ghana.[5]

The New York Times[edit]

Sitton joined The New York Times as a copy editor in 1957. Nine months later, he was named Southern correspondent. Sitton covered the civil rights movement for The Times from 1958 to 1964.[1] In the Pulitzer Prize-winning history of civil rights journalism The Race Beat, authors Gene Roberts and Hank Klibanoff describe Sitton as the standard bearer for civil rights journalism in the 1950s.

"Sitton's byline would be atop the stories that landed on the desks of three presidents," they write.[6] "His phone number would be carried protectively in the wallets of the civil rights workers who saw him, and the power of his byline, as their best hope for survival."[7]

In 1964, Sitton was named national news director of "The Times".[1] He left "The Times" in 1968 for The News & Observer.

The News & Observer[edit]

In 1968, Sitton moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, to become editorial director and vice president of The News and Observer Publishing Co. Within two years, he was also editor of The News & Observer. He oversaw the editorial and news pages of The News and Observer and the news in its afternoon sister paper, The Raleigh Times. [5]

Sitton was a forceful editor who was determined to hold accountable those he thought were not acting in the public good. Among those his paper covered who eventually stepped down were Wake County school superintendent John Murphy, North Carolina State University Chancellor Bruce Poulton and popular NCSU basketball coach Jim Valvano. [5]

Sitton retired in 1990 as editor of The News & Observer and vice president of The News & Observer Publishing Co.


Sitton died March 10, 2015, in hospice care in Atlanta, Georgia, from congestive heart failure. He was 89.[1] Survivors included his wife of 61 years, Eva Whetstone, four children and 10 grandchildren.


In addition to the Pulitzer for commentary, which he won in 1983, Sitton received the George Polk Career Award (1991) and John Chancellor Award for excellence in journalism (2000). Sitton lived in Oxford, Georgia.[1]


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Sitton — Please support Wikipedia.
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52 videos foundNext > 


Freedom Summer

Former journalist Claude Sitton describes Deputy Sheriff Cecil Ray Price and the jailer's wife lying to cover up the murders of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County, Miss. (Warning:...

Silencing the Press

Former journalist Claude Sitton remembers fleeing to avoid being subpoenaed after Montgomery (Ala.) City Commissioner L. B. Sullivan sued The New York Times. (Warning: Video contains language.

Claude Sitton Hall of Fame Video

Claude Sitton - Inducted into Atlanta Press Club Hall of Fame - November 7, 2014.

'The Most Idealistic' Group

Former reporter and editor Claude Sitton praises CORE for not "perform[ing] for the cameras." Journalist Gene Roberts remembers CORE leaders worried about including high school students. From...

Claude Sitton ● A Simple Tribute

Claude Fox Sitton (4 December 1925 - 10 March 2015) "Pay Your Tribute" Twitter: https://twitter.com/RIP3ooo Facebook: https://facebook.com/RIP3ooo Google+: https://plus.google.com/+RIP3ooo...

Laurie Pritchett's Cleverness

Former reporter and editor Claude Sitton and journalist Gene Roberts explain how Police Chief Laurie Pritchett stifled the civil rights movement in Albany, Ga. From the Newseum Digital Classroom's...

'A Great Enemy'

Former journalist Claude Sitton explains why Birmingham (Ala.) Commissioner of Public Safety Eugene "Bull" Connor made the ideal enemy for the civil rights movement. From the Newseum Digital...

CORE and the Lunch Counter Sit-ins

Former New York Times reporter Claude Sitton explains CORE's role in the Greensboro, N.C., sit-ins. From the Newseum Digital Classroom's "Protesting for Right" Timeline First Lunch Counter...

sir a rex regansons half time teamtalk !!!!! priceless... 1993..part 2 uncut !!!!!

the half time teamtalk 1993..jolly carter versus monton sports .!!!!!.....the inspirational .......... sir a rex regan son....and see tony darcy doing his jean claude van damme impression.......

52 videos foundNext > 

403 news items

New York Times

New York Times
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 08:20:11 -0700

Claude Sitton, a son of the South whose unwavering coverage of the civil rights movement for The New York Times through most of that tumultuous era was hailed as a benchmark of 20th-century journalism, died on Tuesday in Atlanta. He was 89. The cause ...


Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:18:45 -0700

I noted with sadness the death of a great American journalist, Claude Sitton, who encouraged me early in my career, and who was a good friend of the Poynter Institute. The giants of the Civil Rights movement are passing from this life. Their witness ...

Morganton News Herald

Morganton News Herald
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:22:30 -0700

All tours are guided by the docents, she said. “The docents do a wonderful job conducting the tours,” said Executive Director Claude Sitton. As a strong supporter of the museum, Elmore feels that it brings people to downtown Morganton even on the weekend.

Jackson Clarion Ledger

Jackson Clarion Ledger
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:15:00 -0700

It took a dark chapter in Mississippi's civil rights history — the 1959 lynching of Mack Charles Parker in Poplarville — to first bring legendary newsman Claude Sitton and me together during what became perhaps the proudest era in American journalism.

News & Observer (blog)

News & Observer (blog)
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 13:44:58 -0700

After Medgar Evers, the 37-year-old NAACP field secretary for Mississippi, was shot and killed as he entered his house one night in June 1963, Claude Sitton of The New York Times described the path of the bullet. … The sniper's bullet struck him just ...
Jackson Free Press
Fri, 20 Mar 2015 09:30:00 -0700

#Journalist Claude Sitton, 89, died last Tuesday in Atlanta, his place of birth. Between May 1958 and October 1964, Sitton covered the storied "Race Beat," which was the Jim Crow Era Deep South, for The New York Times. Sitton wrote almost 900 articles, ...
News & Observer (blog)
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:17:17 -0700

Among the many pleasures of my long stint in newspapering was knowing the late Claude Sitton, former editor of The News & Observer. Before then, Sitton was national news director for The New York Times. During the civil rights movement in the South, ...

Jackson Free Press

Jackson Free Press
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 03:52:30 -0700

#In addition to Doar, the documentary includes interviews with recently deceased civil-rights journalist Claude Sitton and Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of Medgar Evers, who was gunned down in Jackson in 1963, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hank ...

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