Black Editor Who Took Over Alabama Newspaper which Called for K.K.K. to ‘Ride Again’ Steps Down

When a white newspaper editor in Alabama drew widespread condemnation for an editorial which called for the Ku Klux Klan to ride again, only to be replaced by a black woman who hoped to take the newspaper in a completely new direction, the idea seemed like a symbolic moment.

The completely new editor along with also also publisher, Elecia R. Dexter, said she wanted to make the newspaper, The Democrat-Reporter, more reflective of the community the idea serves in Linden, a smaller town in western Alabama which is usually about 59 percent white along with also also 41 percent black.

however today, after only a few weeks, Ms. Dexter has stepped down.

Her departure This kind of week, which she attributed to continuing interference coming from the editor she was meant to replace, complicates the future of the weekly newspaper, which was once hailed for its journalism, along with also also reflects the thorny reality which healing coming from racially hurtful acts is usually rarely a once-along with also also-done process.

“I might have liked the idea to turn out a different way, however the idea didn’t,” Ms. Dexter, 46, said in an interview Friday. “This kind of is usually a hard one because the idea’s sad — so much not bad could have come out of This kind of.”

Representative Terri A. Sewell, a Democrat whose congressional district includes Linden, called on Mr. Sutton to step down, along with also also universities quickly rescinded past journalism honors given to Mr. Sutton, who had been recognized, along with his late wife, for exposing corruption from the local sheriff’s department from the 1990s.

The incendiary editorial was the latest in a series of pieces from the Democrat-Reporter in recent years which were seen as racially insensitive. An editorial in May 2015 referred repeatedly to black people as “thugs.” along with also also in 2017, during the national debate over football players kneeling in protest of police brutality, the paper published an editorial titled “Let football boys kneel.”

“which’s what black folks were taught to do two hundred years ago, kneel before a white man,” the idea read. “is usually which the idea? Let them kneel!”

Amid the controversy last month, Mr. Sutton, 80, offered to hand the paper over to Ms. Dexter, who had been working there as an office clerk. Though she did not have journalism experience, she said she was excited about the opportunity to make a difference from the community.

“People have stopped by or they saw me from the store,” she said last month. “today they feel like the idea’s going to be a true reflection of everyone.”

however from the weeks since, Ms. Dexter said she ran into problems with Mr. Sutton, who retained ownership of the paper, which had been in his family for decades.

She said he emailed an altered type of the Feb. 28 issue of the paper to local news outlets along with also also advertisers. She shared copies of both versions of the front page with The completely new York Times, which showed which an article about his retirement had been replaced with one defending the editorial along with also also criticizing The Advertiser for its coverage.

The subject line of one of the emails, which were sent coming from a work account along with also also which Ms. Dexter shared with The Times, read: “fake news hurts little paper.”

Mr. Sutton also interfered with Thursday’s issue of the paper, Ms. Dexter said in a news Discharge saying which the issue “does not reflect the views or thoughts” of the completely new editor. Ms. Dexter said she was stepping down to maintain her “integrity along with also also well-being.”

Mr. Sutton did not respond to an email or phone call requesting comment Friday. He has previously defended the K.K.K. editorial as satire meant to draw attention to corruption in Washington.

For Ms. Dexter, the whirlwind experience plunged her into a national debate about racism along with also also entitlement — along with also also briefly depicted her as a symbol for change. She recalled how she received a message coming from a man letting her know which his biracial daughter was inspired by her role at the paper.

“the idea is usually things like which which give me peace,” said Ms. Dexter, who said she was not sure what she might do next.

from the end, she said, her decision to step down was complicated by her concerns over Mr. Sutton’s cognitive well-being. She said which his recent behavior was illogical along with also also “more extreme” than the idea had been from the past.

“You can be mad at him, however we can’t keep producing This kind of about him,” she said. “People like him will exist. which’s just the reality of life.”

“The point,” she said, “is usually not to give those people all the energy.”