Lovejoy Recipient Confronts Reality

 

Cynthia Tucker's journalism career has earned her admirers and enemies,and, now, Colby's 2005 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award.

By S.C.
 

The syndicated columnist and editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution received the award October 16. Countering the notion that "discernible reality doesn't matter," an attitude she attributed to some misguided public servants, she told the Lorimer Chapel audience, "Facts do matter. Indeed, access to reliable and verifiable information is one of the things that separates a rational functioning democracy from a dictatorship."

As a reporter Tucker covered Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and, in the 1980s, the U.S. military build-up in Nicaragua. In Atlanta she has taken the lonely road of chastising the family of Martin Luther King Jr., accusing them of profiteering with the sacred relics of America's civil rights movement"prosecuting authors for using King's words, then selling permission for telecom companies to use the "I Have a Dream" speech for marketing.

President William Adams compared Tucker with Lovejoy, who was killed defending his press from a pro-slavery mob in 1837. "On November ninth, one-hundred and sixty-eight years ago, Elijah Lovejoy was buried on his 35th birthday. Had he survived the mob, one can imagine him saying at some later date, 'I was too young and dumb to be as frightened as I should have been,'" Adams said, quoting Tucker's words about some of her own work.

Full coverage, including a transcript of Tucker's address and coverage of the Goldfarb Center panel discussion, is online at www.colby.edu/lovejoy.