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Race & Demographics

Publisher And Civil Rights Activist Honored With A Highway Marker

Louis Austin served as the editor of the "Carolina Times" from 1927 until his death in 1971.
Courtesy of Jerry Gershenhorn

For more than 40 years the “Carolina Times” was the preeminent black newspaper in North Carolina. It covered the day-to-day happenings in Durham, but its power and reach went far beyond the Triangle.

From 1927 to 1971, the paper was like an arm of the Civil Rights movement in the state. It posted the names of companies who refused to hire blacks; told the community which establishments to boycott; and encouraged black voters to change their party affiliation. The man behind the paper was Louis Austin.

Historian Jerry Gershenhorn chronicles the life of this African-American publisher and editor in the book “Louis Austin and the Carolina Times: A Life in the Long Black Freedom Struggle” (UNC Press/2018). Gershenhorn is Julius L. Chambers Professor of History at North Carolina Central University.

He joins host Frank Stasio to share stories about Austin’s life, his radical activism and his many tactics still in use today. Austin will be honored with a North Carolina Highway Historical marker in his birthplace of Enfield, NC. The dedication is Friday, June 14 at 122 SE Railroad Street in Enfield.

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