Tulane Alumni Association




Distinguished Alumnus/a Award 1995


Betty Werlein Carter

In 1932, Betty Werlein Carter and her husband, the late Hodding Carter Jr., started their first newspaper in Hammond, La., and began two of the most illustrious careers in journalism.

Together the couple pursued a lifelong mission of exposing political corruption and racism through the written word-first at the Daily Courier in Hammond and then at the Delta Democrat-Times in Greenville, Miss., where they edited and published the city's newspaper for more than 40 years. As two of the earliest advocates of civil rights reform in Mississippi, the Carters were often the victims of social ostracism and threats to their personal safety. None of this, however, discouraged Carter or her husband, who went on to write several books and win a Pulitzer Prize.

While advertising manager of the Democrat-Times, Betty Carter frequently served as a dedicated researcher for her husband's books. During World War II, she left the newspaper to work for the Office of War Information, and later returned to the paper as editor of the farm page and special editions. 

While her children were in school, Carter served as president of five PTA's organized Greenville's first PTA President's Council. She also served as president of the Greenville Junio Auxiliary and the Greenville Garden Club.

In 1947, Carter began promoting Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and later served on the organization's national committee. She also supported Church Women United, an integrated organization dedicated to improving race relations in the state.

An advocate of after-school recreation, Carter was the first chair of Greenville's Park Commission; she was on the board of National Educational Broadcasters; and for more than 23 years, she served on the board or as president of Mississippians for Educational Television.

As researcher and co-author with her husband, Carter wrote So Great a Good, a history of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana; and Doomed Road of Empire, a volume in the American Trails series. In 1968, she served as an editor of The Past as Prelude, published by Tulane in commemoration of New Orleans' 250th anniversary.

After Hodding Carter's death in 1972, Carter became publisher of the Democrat-Times until its sale in 1980.

More recently, Carter has served as a committee head for the Greenville Foundation, a bi-racial citywide organization, and she currently serves on the advisory boards of the Center for Study of Southern Culture and Louisiana's Agenda for Children.

Carter received honorary degrees from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (1979); Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. (1989); and Tulane University (1983). In 1980, she received Newcomb's Distinguished Alumna Award; in 1991, she received Greenville's prestigious Stein Award for outstanding service to Greenville; and in 1994, she was honored as volunteer of the year for the national Public Broadcasting Service.

Mother of Hodding Carter of Alexandria, Va., and Philip Carter (A&S '64) of New Orleans, she has six grandchildren and two great granddaughters. 


Alumni Relations, Tulane University, 6319 Willow Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5901