Dahleen Glanton was born in a Georgia mill town where, as she has written, “race was at the center of just about everything.” After coming to Chicago in 1989 to join the Tribune from the Los Angeles Times, she trained her keen eye and powerful writing on how “race drives everything from politics to economics to the violence that consumes so many African-American neighborhoods, including my adopted hometown.”
She held several positions at the Tribune, ranging from associate metro editor to bureau chief in Atlanta, and covered some of the biggest stories of recent decades, including Hurricane Katrina, President Barack Obama’s 2008 election, and military families during the Iraq War.
As a columnist, she addressed a variety of subjects but made a specialty of encouraging dialogue on race, poverty and violence. She received numerous media awards, including from the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of News Editors, which gave her the Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing in 2018.
The ASNE judges marveled at how Dahleen “writes with thunderous passion and uncommon clarity about the issue that affects Chicago worst and most: violence. … Her empathy for the underdog and her ability to put voice to unpleasant truths are infused in every sentence she writes.”
The year before, Pulitzer Prize judges noted those same talents when they named her a finalist for commentary. They praised “bold, clear columns by a writer who cast aside sacred cows and conventional wisdom to speak powerfully and passionately about politics and race in Chicago and beyond.”