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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Josephus Daniels used his newspaper to extend his religious and ethical beliefs

Daniels's father, Josephus Daniels, owned the <cite>Raleigh News and Observer</cite>. He used the newspaper as a vehicle to advance his ethical and religious beliefs. Josephus Daniels pushed for the closure of Storyville, New Orleans, a site of legalized prostitution, in 1917.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHARLES EAGLES:
If he didn't run the home, he ran the News and Observer. How did he run that?
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
He ran it with a very gentle hand but with a very iron hand. It was his life, really, and he loved it, and he it and worked at it, and he meant it to be a great force for good as he saw it in his community. The News and Observer was him; he was it.
CHARLES EAGLES:
When you say he made it a force for good in the community as he saw it, what were his standards? How did he decide what was good? How did he decide where he was going to stand on an issue that arose?
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
For instance, somebody said that the reason North Carolina has never had any financial scandals as other southern states have had was because of the News and Observer. He was watching his own party. He was a great Democrat, but when the Democrats got into office he didn't stop looking at them. Also, his standards were those of his church. He believed in Prohibition, was violent on the subject of prostitution. He was against sin, as Calvin Coolidge once said. [Laughter] My father, I've often said, was the father of jazz music in America. You read that, I'm sure. Closed up Storeyville in New Orleans. I think he was a little bit too puritanical sometimes in his views about sex, but there was never anything thwarted or puritanical in his relationship with my mother. None of this Grant Wood, "American Gothic." Our house was joyous, and I'm sure he and my mother had a very adequate sex life. But the idea of anybody deviating from that kind of a sex life was to them just the most horrible thing in the world. And divorce; when my Uncle Henry Bagley got a divorce from his wife, Father insisted that he leave the paper. You see, times have changed a little bit, Charles.