Charles Patrick Joseph Mooney

 

 

Induction Year: 1969

Lived: 1865-1926

 

Papers:

Graphic, Press-Eagle, Pine Bluff, Ark.; Avalanche, Scimitar, Memphis

The Commercial Appeal, Memphis; News, New York

New York American; Examiner, Chicago

 

Charles Patrick Joseph Mooney, whose unrelenting opposition to the Ku Klux Klan helped win a Pulitzer Prize for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, did not start out to be a newspaperman.

 

He was a school teacher for two years after graduating from college in his native Kentucky before he took a job, in 1888, as a reporter for the Graphic and Press Eagle in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He went to the Avalanche in Memphis in 1890, quickly switched to the Scimitar, where he became city editor, and six years later became managing editor of the Commercial Appeal. He joined the staff of the New York News in 1902, then moved to the American, where he was both city and managing editor, and finally went to Chicago to manage Hearst's Examiner. In 1908 Mooney returned to Memphis as managing editor of the Commercial Appeal.

 

He later became editor and in 1923 was named publisher. When he saw that Crump was building a ruthless political machine, Mooney began a campaign against him that lasted until the editor died at his desk on November 22, 1926.

 

But Crump was not Mooney's only target. He campaigned for better schools, stronger levees, public health measures, a free bridge across the Mississippi, diversified farming, and other worthy causes.

 

Foremost of Mooney's achievements was his joint effort with cartoonist J.P. Alley that won the Pulitzer Prize for the Commercial Appeal in 1923. The prize was given for their vigorous editorials and cartoons against the Ku Klux Klan and its helpless victims.