Claudia Whitworth (1927- ), Roanoke
Humanitarian, philanthropist, and editor and publisher of the roanoke tribune
Claudia Sedonia Alexander (1927- ) was born in Fayetteville, West Virginia, to Sedonia Rotan Alexander and the Reverend Fleming E. Alexander, the founder and editor of the Roanoke Tribune, a weekly newspaper established in 1941. She attended both Christiansburg Industrial Institute and Bluefield State College in West Virginia. After apprenticing with her father at the Tribune, she left Virginia and continued her work in the often male-dominated field of printing at newspapers in Ohio and New York.
When her father was incapacitated by an automobile accident in 1971, she took over the Tribune's operations. Later that year, she married Clifton Whitworth Jr., who assisted her with public relations and bookkeeping for the paper. Today the Roanoke Tribune remains as one of the longest-running black community newspapers in the nation.
Whitworth's lifetime of leadership demonstrates her commitment and investment in both Roanoke and the state of Virginia. In 1991 she was appointed to the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors, and the Virginia Council on the Status of Women inducted her into the Virginia Women's Hall of Fame in 1992. The City of Roanoke honored Whitworth as Citizen of the Year in 2004.
The most recent manifestation of Whitworth's philanthropy was her purchase of the Roanoke Funeral Home in 2007. She plans to donate the space, rent-free, as a base of operations for existing service agencies to operate within her neighborhood.
Images courtesy of the Roanoke Tribune
SEE Whitworth with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
READ Whitworth's ideas about the changing place of women as leaders in the world.