2013 March 25

Anthony Lewis Dies; Won Two Pulitzers for Civil Liberties Stories


Anthony Lewis, columnist for the New York Times, died on this day. In his long career as a reporter and columnist, he won two Pulitzer Prizes for civil liberties-related stories. He won the Pulitzer for National News in 1955 for a series of stories he wrote on the case of Abraham Chasanow for the Washington Daily News. Chasanow had lost his job as a civilian employee because of anonymous allegations of subversive associations, which he did not have an opportunity to rebut (see July 29, 1953). Lewis’ stories highlighted the anonymous labeling of people that was rampant during the Cold War. Lewis won a second Pulitzer in 1963 for National Reporting for his coverage of the Supreme Court for The New York Times.

Journalism historians credit Lewis’ stories with transforming the quality of reporting on the Supreme Court. In 1964, he wrote the now-classic book Gideon’s Trumpet about the landmark Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright, decided on March 18, 1963, in which the Court held that all felony defendants were entitled to the assistance of counsel at trial. The book has never been out of print. After becoming a columnist for the Times in 1969, Lewis wrote frequently on civil liberties issues.

Read: Anthony Lewis, Gideon’s Trumpet (1964)

Watch an interview with Anthony Lewis: http://www.booknotes.org/Watch/22178-1/Anthony+Lewis.asp

Find an Index of Lewis’ articles in the New York Review of Books: http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/anthony-lewis-2/

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