Someone Had to Be Hated

Julian LaRose Harris: A Biography

by Gregory C. Lisby, William F. Mugleston

Tags: African-American Studies, Biography, Civil Rights, History, Regional Interest

Table of Contents (PDF)

368 pp  $45.00

ISBN 978-0-89089-631-0

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This book is a biography of Julian LaRose Harris (1874-1963), Southern journalist and publisher. From his father, Joel Chandler Harris, the noted Georgia journalist and folklorist, Harris gleaned the ideals of racial tolerance and sectional reconciliation following the Civil War. After stints at the Atlanta Constitution and the New York Herald's Paris edition, as well as service in World War I, Harris and his wife Julia Collier Harris, herself an accomplished journalist and author, purchased the Columbus (Georgia) Enquirer-Sun in 1920. There, for the next nine years, they battled the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, anti-evolution laws, prohibition, and corruption in government. They also championed civil liberties, rights for women and blacks, the public education system in Georgia, and the underfunded University of Georgia, being rewarded with the Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism in 1926.

Unfortunately, Harris was a careless businessman and, due to indebtedness and the speculation of a trusted treasurer, he lost the Enquirer-Sun in 1929. He spent the next five years back at the Constitution and then seven more years as executive editor of the Chattanooga Times before retiring in 1942.

Harris was one of a handful of southern journalists in the twenties championing liberal causes; others included Gerald W. Johnson, Grover C. Hall, George Fort Milton, and Louis I. Jaffe. Although there have been articles by Lisby, Mugleston, and a few others about Harris, this is the first full-length biography. While Henry L. Mencken may have been somewhat on the mark in his caustic characterization of the American South in the twenties as the "Sahara of the Bozart," Julian Harris (who, in fact, was a close colleague of Mencken) was proof that a liberal, enlightened strain of thinking persisted in the South in those very years.

Someone Had to Be Hated was cited as the best book published in journalism history or media history for 2002 by the American Journalism Historians Association.

"Lisby's and Mugleston's thoroughly researched study is both a biography of a pioneering and morally resolute American newspaper editor and fascinating social history of his times… a valuable, and brutally honest, study of southern prejudice, institutional hatred, ignorance, and political corruption during the 1920s." — Georgia Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, Winter 2002