Howell Raines was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala. He decided at age ten that he wanted to write when he grew up. Raines attended Birmingham-Southern College, earning a BA in English in 1964. Deciding that journalism would be more exciting than graduate school, Raines worked for the Birmingham Post-Herald from 1964 to 1965. He was a staff writer for a Birmingham television station, WBRC-TV, from 1965 to 1967. A member of the US Army National Guard, Raines was called to active duty for six months in 1967. In 1968, he enrolled at the University of Alabama, working on a master’s degree in English (which was awarded in 1973). He also worked at the Tuscaloosa News from 1968 to 1969. To support his wife and children, he quit the News and worked briefly in his family’s store-fixture business as a plant foreman. From 1970 to 1971, Raines was the film critic for The Birmingham News.
In 1971, Raines went to Atlanta to work for The Atlanta Constitution. He became the political editor in 1974, a few months before quitting to write full time. He wrote freelance articles and worked on a novel and a collection of civil rights movement oral histories. Raines returned to journalism in 1976, when he became the political editor of the St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times. The two books he had been working on, Whiskey Man and My Soul Is Rested, were published the following year. In 1978, Raines joined The New York Times. He worked for the Times for twenty-five years, rising from National Correspondent to Executive Editor. Raines won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 for his essay about his family’s maid, Grady Hutchinson, and his introduction to the injustices of the segregated South. In 2003, Raines left The New York Times in the wake of a plagiarism scandal involving a reporter on the newsroom staff. He left New York and moved to Pennsylvania where he has resumed his career as a writer.
Howell Raines’s books include a collection of oral histories about the Southern civil rights movement, a novel set in rural Alabama, and two memoirs.
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Last updated on May 30, 2008.