An African-American woman is now the publisher and editor of the Alabama newspaper that recently urged the Ku Klux Klan to “night ride again,” the paper said, reports CNN. Elecia R. Dexter, a “strategic leader with expertise in human resources, operations and change management,” took up the position Thursday, the weekly Democrat-Reporter of Linden said in a press release.
Dexter replaces Goodloe Sutton, the newspaper’s owner who penned a staggering editorial with the headline “The Klan Needs to Ride Again” in the paper’s Feb. 14 edition. Sutton still owns the newspaper, Dexter told CNN. Her family has “strong roots and a rich history in Marengo County where her dad, John Dexter Jr. was born,” the newspaper said. Sutton’s editorial sparked outrage around the country.
“Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama,” Sutton also said in his editorial. He told the Montgomery Advertiser that he urged the White supremacist group to “clean out D.C.” via lynchings. “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them,” Sutton told the newspaper. He stressed that he wasn’t calling for the hangings of all Americans, just the “socialist-communists.”
“Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there,” Sutton wrote in the editorial. Beginning in the late 19th century, Klan members used night rides to terrorize Blacks and their White allies with violence, including lynchings and firebombings. When asked by the Advertiser if he recognized the Klan as a White supremacist group, Sutton compared it to the NAACP and said, “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.” U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, had called for Sutton to resign.
On Friday, he applauded the change at the paper. “Good riddance Goodloe,” Jones tweeted. “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.” Another Democratic lawmaker from Alabama who had called for Sutton’s resignation, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, tweeted late Friday that she wants him to take another step. “Mr. Sutton has made a lot of poor decisions but stepping down is the right thing to do. Now, he must apologize,” Sewell tweeted.