This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately from the article and its talk page, especially if potentially libelous.Find sources: "Diane McWhorter" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (March 2008) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Diane McWhorter
Born1 November 1952 Edit this on Wikidata
OccupationJournalist Edit this on Wikidata

Rebecca Diane McWhorter is an American journalist, commentator, and author who has written extensively about race and the history of civil rights. She won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize in 2002 for Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution (Simon & Schuster, 2001; reprinted with a new afterword, 2013).

Early life and education

McWhorter is from Birmingham, Alabama, where she attended the Brooke Hill School.

Among McWhorter's elementary school classmates was Mary Badham, who portrayed "Scout" Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. When the film was released, McWhorter was among the students who went to a viewing of the film as part of a school field trip.[1] She later reflected on that experience:

"By, you know, rooting for a black man, you were kind of betraying every principle that you had been raised to believe, and I remember thinking "what would my father think if he saw me fighting back these tears when Tom Robinson gets shot?" It was a really disturbing experience; to be crying for a black man was so taboo."

McWhorter graduated from Wellesley College in 1974.[2]


External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with McWhorter on Carry Me Home, May 27, 2001, C-SPAN

McWhorter has written extensively on race and the struggle for civil rights in the US. In 2002 she was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.[3][4] She is also the author of A Dream of Freedom, a young adult history of the civil rights movement (Scholastic, 2004).[5] She is a long-time contributor to The New York Times and has written for the op-ed page of USA Today and for Slate, Harper's, Smithsonian, among other publications.[2] She is a member of the Board of Contributors for USA Today's Forum Page, part of the newspaper's Opinion section, and has been managing editor of Boston magazine.[6]

She has been a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, Germany, a Guggenheim Fellow, a resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, and a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study[6] and at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University.[7] In 2015 she was one of the recipients in the first year of the National Endowment for the Humanities' Public Scholar program to underwrite the production of general-readership non-fiction books by scholars.[8] She is a member of the Society of American Historians. She is working on Moon over Alabama, a study of Wernher von Braun and the US space program in Alabama.[7][8][9]

Personal life

She married Richard Dean Rosen in 1987; they have two children.[10][11]


  1. ^ "New details about Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, expored in new documentary". Public Radio International. June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Wellesley Alumna Wins Pulitzer Prize". Wellesley Wire. Wellesley College. 2002-04-10.
  3. ^ "2002 Pulitzer Prizes". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  4. ^ "J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project". Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  5. ^ Noble, Don (2005-07-10). "'Dream' offers a clear account of the civil rights movement". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 4E.
  6. ^ a b "DianeMcWhorter: 2011–2012 Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  7. ^ a b Long, Alan (2012-09-28). "Back to Birmingham: Du Bois Fellow McWhorter plans update on her Civil Rights classic". Harvard Gazette. Harvard University.
  8. ^ a b Charles, Ron (2015-07-28). "Uncle Sam wants YOU to read 'popular' scholarly books". The Washington Post.
  9. ^ Theil, Stefan (2015-01-09). "How A Nazi Rocket Scientist Fought For Civil Rights". NPR Berlin.
  10. ^ "Diane McWhorter Is Married to Richard Rosen". The New York Times. 1987-05-03.
  11. ^ Schumer, Fran (1990-04-02). "Star-Crossed: More Gentiles and Jews Are Intermarrying—And It's Not All Chicken Soup". New York magazine. pp. 32–38.