Ralph Emerson McGill, American journalist, was best known as the anti-segregationist editor and publisher of the Atlanta Constitution newspaper. He won a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1959.
McGill was born near Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee and attended school at the The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, but did not graduate because he was suspended his senior year for writing an article in the student newspaper critical of the school's administration. McGill served in the Marine Corps during World War I. He got a job working for the sports department of the Nashville Banner and soon worked his way up to sports editor. In 1929, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia to become the assistant sports editor of The Atlanta Constitution. Wanting to move from sports to more serious news, he got an assignment to cover the first Cuban Revolt in 1933. He also applied for and was granted a Rosenwald Fellowship in 1938, which allowed him to cover the Nazi takeover of Austria in 1938. These articles earned him a spot as executive editor of the Constitution, which he used to highlight the effects of segregation. In response, many angry readers sent threats and letters to McGill. Some acted on the threats and burned crosses at night on his front lawn, fired bullets into the windows of his home and left crude bombs in his mailbox.