Leonard Pitts

Leonard Pitts Jr. joined The Miami Herald in 1991 as its pop music critic. In 1994, he began writing a column on pop culture and social issues. Working out of Washington, D.C., Pitts continues to defend and define American culture in unique and interesting ways.

He is the author of several books, including “Freeman,” “Before I Forget,” and “Becoming Dad: Black Men and the Journey to Fatherhood.”

Pitts began writing as a freelance music critic for Soul magazine in 1976 at 18. In the years since, Pitts’ work has appeared in Musician, Spin, TV Guide, Reader’s Digest and Parenting.

In addition, Pitts wrote, produced and syndicated “Who We Are,” an award-winning radio documentary on the history of black America, and has written and produced radio programs on subjects as diverse as Madonna and Martin Luther King Jr.

Pitts is a four-time winner of the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors’ Award for Excellence in Commentary, a five-time winner of the National Headliners Award given by the Press Club of Atlantic City, and a six-time winner of the Green Eyeshade Award given by the Society of Professional Journalists. The Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Editor & Publisher magazine and GLAAD Media, among others, have also honored him. In 2002, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists named Pitts Columnist of the Year, and in 2004 he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

Recent Work

The Day We Used Tear Gas Against Children Opinions
The Day We Used Tear Gas Against Children
November 28, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

The United States is composed of 329 million people spread over 3.8 million square miles. In population and landmass, it's a pretty big place. But those are not the only criteria that matter. Morality matters, too. And on Sunday... Read More

A Few Words About ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ Opinions
A Few Words About ‘Us’ and ‘Them’
November 25, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

"All life is interrelated." -- Martin Luther King Jr. "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." -- John Lennon A few words about "us" and "them." It is, of course, the baseline division of human existence, probably dating... Read More

GOP Cannot Win Without Cheating Opinions
GOP Cannot Win Without Cheating
November 21, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

So Georgia voters decided against Stacey Abrams as their governor. Maybe. With all the shenanigans perpetrated by Republicans in that state, we'll never know for sure. Had they not passed a restrictive "exact match" law... Read More

Michelle Obama Tells Her Truth Opinions
Michelle Obama Tells Her Truth
November 18, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

So now Michelle Obama finally tells her truth. There has always been about her a sense that she did, indeed, have a truth of her own and that it was, if not at odds with the one her husband expressed with high-flown... Read More

What Journalists Do Opinions
What Journalists Do
November 14, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

"The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw in character." -- Lyndon Johnson "They are a sort of assassins..." -- John Quincy Adams "I look forward to these confrontations with the press to kind of balance up the nice and pleasant things that come to me as president." -- Jimmy... Read More

We Could Lose Our Country, Or Save It Opinions
We Could Lose Our Country, Or Save It
November 2, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

"What are these politicians going to do for us?" A guy in Texas asked that question a few weeks back on "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee," by way of explaining why he won't be voting in the most important midterm election... Read More

Trump Sets a Poisonous Tone Opinions
Trump Sets a Poisonous Tone
October 31, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Rob Rogers is an editorial cartoonist who was fired in June after 25 years with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. His departure, he said, came after weeks of tension with a publisher who wanted a more pro-Trump stance. Read More

Young People, the GOP Is Scared of You Opinions
Young People, the GOP Is Scared of You
October 17, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

A word for young people, people of color and, in particular, young people of color: The Republicans are scared of you. Maybe you find that hard to believe. Maybe you wonder how the party can be scared of you -- or of... Read More

America Doesn’t Shrug Opinions
America Doesn’t Shrug
October 14, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

What if the end of the world came and nobody noticed? It's not quite an idle question. You see, something remarkable happened last week. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists... Read More

The Republican Party has Clearly Lost Its Way Opinions
The Republican Party has Clearly Lost Its Way
October 8, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

The other day, a woman confessed to me that she's a Republican. Republicans may bristle at the verb, but it's used advisedly. The lady admitted her party affiliation the way you would some personal failing. "I don't tell a . . . Read More

Where There’s Doubt, Men Get the Benefit Thereof Opinions
Where There’s Doubt, Men Get the Benefit Thereof
October 3, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Let's get something straight: Men are not the victims here. It is a foolish and offensive line of reasoning, so naturally it has caught traction on the political right. Indeed, for some, it is an article of faith as the... Read More

The Republicans Put On Quite a Show Opinions
The Republicans Put On Quite a Show
October 1, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Give the Republicans credit: they worked hard to create the appearance of enlightened compassion. Meaning, of course, Thursday's Senate Judiciary... Read More

‘What Boy Hasn’t Done This in High School?’ Opinions
‘What Boy Hasn’t Done This in High School?’
September 26, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Gina Sosa is not impressed by attempted rape. "What boy hasn't done this in high school?" she asks. "Please, I would like to know." Since she asked so nicely, I went on Twitter... Read More

Hazards of an Era of Digital Lynch Mobs Opinions
Hazards of an Era of Digital Lynch Mobs
September 21, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged." Jesus preaches that in the book of Luke. But then, Jesus never had Twitter. Or, for that matter, Instagram or Facebook. He never had, in other words, one of the social media platforms on which millions of us routinely judge other people every day. It's a habit we might do well to reconsider. Read More

Ari Fleischer asks if we’re being fair to Brett Kavanaugh Opinions
Ari Fleischer asks if we’re being fair to Brett Kavanaugh
September 19, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Ari Fleischer wants to know if we’re being fair. “How much in society should any of us be held liable today when we’ve lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue, took place in high school? Should that deny… Read More

Where have you gone, Bob Woodward Opinions
Where have you gone, Bob Woodward
September 14, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

"Where have you gone, Bob Woodward? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you." I asked that question in January, repurposing a Paul Simon lyric to implore the dean of American political reporters to help us make sense of the mess that is the Trump White House. On Tuesday, Woodward finally came through. Read More

Both-sideism Not Just a Journalistic Problem Opinions
Both-sideism Not Just a Journalistic Problem
September 12, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

When the history of this era is written, when future generations wonder how a mostly educated and largely literate nation became mired in "truthiness," when they ask how we became so mentally muddled that we lost the ability to identify facts and the capacity to care, they'll find many culprits. Read More

A Corporation Takes a Risk to Support a Man who Gave Up His Career for Justice Opinions
A Corporation Takes a Risk to Support a Man who Gave Up His Career for Justice
September 11, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

Colin Kaepernick is staring at you. It's a black-and-white image, a portrait taken from a distance that feels painfully close, even intimate. Read More

Actually, There Are No ‘Adults in the Room’ at the White House Opinions
Actually, There Are No ‘Adults in the Room’ at the White House
September 11, 2018
by Leonard Pitts

For a man who places such a premium on loyalty, Donald Trump inspires remarkably little. Bad enough his administration is a sieve, embarrassing accounts of bungled phone calls with foreign leaders and cheeseburger-fueled rants with cronies regularly showing up in the news. Bad enough top aides keep fleeing his White… Read More

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