[Josephus Daniels, half-length portrait, facing right]
- Upscale 2x948x1280
Josephus Daniels (May 18, 1862 – January 15, 1948) was an American newspaper editor and publisher. He controlled the Raleigh News and Observer, at the time North Carolina's largest newspaper, for decades. Daniels was a vehement white supremacist and segregationist. He believed that "the greatest folly and crime" in U.S. history was giving Negroes the vote. He and his newspaper "championed the white supremacy cause in frequent news reports, vigorously worded editorials, provocative letters, and vicious front-page cartoons that called attention to what the newspaper called the horrors of 'negro rule.'" Daniels argued that as long as African Americans had any political power, they would block progressive reforms. A Democrat, he was appointed by United States President Woodrow Wilson to serve as Secretary of the Navy during World War I. He became a close friend and supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served as his Assistant Secretary of the Navy and later was elected as United States President. As Secretary of the Navy, Daniels handled policy and formalities in World War I while his top aide, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, handled the major wartime decisions. In North Carolina in the early 20th century, he had been a leading progressive, supporting public schools and public works, and calling for more regulation of trusts and railroads. He supported prohibition and women's suffrage and used his newspapers to support the regular Democratic Party ticket. He was a powerful supporter of the Ku Klux Klan although never a member. The "white supremacy" campaign led to Democratic victories in 1898 and 1900. Having regained control of the state legislature, the Democrats passed a suffrage amendment raising barriers to voter registration, which affected most African Americans in the state. Later in life, Daniels admitted that the paper was occasionally excessive in its bias toward Democrats and that stories were not fully researched before publication and probably could not be 'sustained in a court of justice. After leaving government service in 1921, Daniels resumed the editorship of the Raleigh News and Observer. Daniels strongly supported Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt for president in 1932. The News and Observer remained under Daniels' family control until 1995. Josephus Daniels looked a lot like Kevin Spacey who played Frank Underwood, South Carolina Democrat in the House of Cards.