October 11, 1957 |
Orange, California, United States
Leonard Garvey Pitts, Jr. (born October 11, 1957) is an American commentator, journalist and novelist. He is a nationally-syndicated columnist and winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. He was originally hired by the Miami Herald to critique music, but within a few years he received his own column in which he dealt extensively with race, politics, and culture.
Raised in Los Angeles and educated at the University of Southern California, Pitts currently lives in Bowie, Maryland. He has won awards for his writing from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and was first nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, eventually claiming the honor in 2004.
Pitts is a bestselling author. His first book, Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood was published in 2006. Pitts’s first novel, Before I Forget was released in March 2009, and earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. The novel centers on a faded soul singer whose early-onset Alzheimer’s compels him to reconnect with his father and son. Pitts’s third book, Forward from This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2008 was published in August 2009. It is a selection of Pitts’s columns from the Miami Herald.
Pitts gained national recognition for his widely circulated column of September 12, 2001, "We'll go forward from this moment" in which he described the toughness of the American spirit in the face of the September 11 attacks.
In June 2007, Pitts was the subject of a campaign of death threats and harassment by neo-Nazis, including Bill White, who were angry at a column he wrote about a white couple who were raped and murdered by five black assailants in Knoxville, Tennessee. In his column addressing the murders, Pitts wrote:
"I am [...] unkindly disposed toward the crackpots, incendiaries and flat-out racists who have chosen this tragedy upon which to take an obscene and ludicrous stand. I have four words for them and any other white Americans who feel themselves similarly victimized. Cry me a river."
- Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood. Agate Bolden. 2006. ISBN 978-1-932841-17-6.
- Forward from This Moment: Selected Columns, 1994-2008. 2009. ISBN 978-1-932841-32-9.
- Before I Forget. Chicago: Agate Bolden. 2009. ISBN 978-1-932841-43-5.
- Freeman. Chicago: Agate Bolden. 2012. ISBN 978-1-932841-64-0.
- Who's Who Online
- Stanley Fish (2011-03-14). "So’s Your Old Man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-17.
- Pitts, Lenard (2001-09-12). "We'll Go Forward From This Moment". Miami Herald.
- "The loonies of Knoxville". The Seattle Times. 2007-06-03.
- "Neo-Nazi White's trial begins today".
- Shameful death threats mar Pitts’ visit here | TheNewsTribune.com | Tacoma, WA
- Greg Gordon (2007-06-20). "FBI probes death threats against Pulitzer Prize winner". McClatchy Newspapers.