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. She is also the author of A Dream of Freedom, a young adult history of the civil rights movement (Scholastic, 2004). 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. 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.