The Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association has removed Edward J. Clarke, the late editor and owner of the Worcester Democrat, from its Hall of Fame after a review of his published work revealed what the association called “vile commentary, extreme racism and the promotion of lynching.”
The newspaper’s coverage of a 1940 case in Pocomoke City, Md., in which three Black men were suspected of killing a white farmer and assaulting his wife “contained horrible, angry rants and racial attacks” against the three men, particularly Clarke’s accompanying commentary pieces regarding the incident, the MDDC Press Association’s board of directors said in a statement Wednesday.
“Clarke was vicious and dehumanizing in his opinion writing, likening the accused to ‘a rabid dog’ and ‘savages’ and ‘brutes’ and ‘a disease-spreading germ’ and ‘garbage,’” the board wrote. “He championed ‘a good stout rope, a noose at one end, good stout arms at the other, a neck and a limb of a tree’ as justice to be applied to ‘fiends who violated the home’ of the white couple.”
The paper’s coverage was brought to light by Gabriel Pietrorazio of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland as part of the center’s #PrintingHate series, with an article on the incident scheduled to be published early next month.
Clarke, added to the association’s Hall of Fame in 1954, was removed this week after the board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Clarke and his paper’s coverage of the Pocomoke incident.
His picture previously was removed from the MDDC Hall of Fame display in a classroom at Knight Hall at the University of Maryland. His name has been removed from the Hall of Fame listing on the MDDC website, although a link to this article and the executive committee resolution are posted on the site to be transparent about this action and MDDC’s past, the board said.